Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Cache Creek Ridge Ride - Lucy Chaplin Trumbull

The inaugural Cache Creek Ridge Ride was this weekend, held on
the annual weekend where it "suddenly gets really hot and everyone
wilts" (followed next weekend by the "pours with rain and everyone
gets wet at Wild West" weather... we'll see how that goes).

Looking at the GPS track, the trail was a tangled mess of loops, but
in reality it was *perfectly* marked and only a lack of attention on our
part had us go off trail a couple of times (gawping at the views).

What is most memorable about this ride is it had more water than
I've ever seen at a ride before - at times it was every half mile. It was
quite astonishing. Where there weren't troughs, there were a multitude
of cow ponds... so much for being worried about the water issue. We
actually made bad time because we kept stopping to sponge and let
the horses drink (good for the horses, bad for "making time while it
is still cool").

But it was just as well - the temps went up into the mid/high 90s (after
only just getting into the low 80s for the last few weeks) and we quavered
at the thought of being out there. I even clipped my horse for the first
time in my life (and afterwards wished I'd taken more off).

RM Jennifer Stalley opted to start the ride at 5:30 (well, I *did* want to
go to this ride for "Tevis training" - and that's exactly what I got), which
worked out really well.

There were a fair few climbs - thankfully, mostly gotten through before
the worst heat of the day; the footing was about perfect (probably a
good ride for a comfortably barefoot horse); and the views were beautiful.

I have to complain however. Jennifer told us there would be no rocks
or branches and I saw at least three rocks. And whacked my head on
a branch twice. And I saw some dead cow bones. She never mentioned

Of course I fell off (which makes the fourth ride I've managed to fall off
during), but got a soft landing.

Roop was a little hot at the very end and took a while to pulse down, but
he'd been in Mr Self-Preservation mode for most of the day and was
getting As for everything else, so I was very pleased with him.

It was definitely Hot Weather Horse Management 101 out there - good stuff.

I know many people wisely chose to pull at the last vet check when a
long climb in the worst heat of the day took quite a bit out of the horses,
but as far as I know, none of those pulled horses were any worse for
wear - just very hot.

All in all, an excellent ride - lots of fun - kudos to Team Stalley and their
volunteers (many of which had never seen a horse, let alone done anything
endurance related) for putting this ride on.

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