Tuesday, December 22, 2009

California: Look, Ma, No Car!

Concierge.com - Full Story
by Susan Hack | Published January 2010

In the Egyptian desert, near the Pyramids, a horse bolted. I wasn't hurt, but now whenever I get on a horse, instead of pleasure all I can think about is falling off. I've ridden since childhood but have come to Ricochet Ridge Ranch, just north of Fort Bragg, hoping to recover confidence and strike a balance between common sense and obsessive dread.

Ranch owner Lari Shea is a breeder and champion rider of endurance racehorses. Her weeklong riding holidays take guests through Mendocino County's forests, cattle flats, and miles of undeveloped beach, mainly at a high-speed trot. Veterans of twenty-five- to hundred-mile-long contests, Shea's horses, many of them Arabian and Russian Orlov crosses, are equine ultra-marathoners. A high-energy, five-foot-tall ringer for Sandra Dee, Shea greets me wearing a flamboyant red-and-black western shirt, black riding tights, cowboy boots, and knee holsters for cell phone and hoof picks.

In the barn I meet my charge for the week, Citron, a fourteen-year-old palomino mare, half Arabian and half Akhal-Teke, an obscure but smooth-gaited breed from Turkmenistan.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Terry Rashid

The Coso Junction Warmup (sanctioned under the name Death Valley Warmup) was the first ride of the 2010 season, at least within any reasonable commute of the bay area. It was also my last chance to get Keen qualified for the FEI1* in January. Unfortunately, Keen was still slightly lame prior to the ride, so once again Escapade needed to step in and take her place. (I can only imagine the conversation that Escapade is going to have with Keen when she returns: “Hey you lazy mare, you stop faking this front foot lameness or I’m gonna *kick* your butt. I am tired of these ridiculous multi-day rides!”)

Of course in some ways, it made it easier on me, because now I was only planning to bring one horse, instead of two. Even if Keen had been OK for a 50 miler, I would not have done two days of 50s with her recent issues. So now it was just Escapade and me. No worries about a horse left in camp while I was off riding, and I only needed to haul water for one, and pick manure for one – a lot less work.

I like to head out in the early morning for long drives. This one was around 375 miles, so I headed out at 4:00am. While that meant I didn’t have any traffic to deal with headed out of the bay area, it also meant that I would be driving Pacheo pass in the dark. Thankfully there were no accidents going in the eastbound direction. Unfortunately there was a nasty looking multicar pileup going the other way. I must have driven by just after it occurred because there was steam or smoke still coming from at least one of the cars and there were no emergency vehicles on the scene. I kept thinking, “Please let no one be badly hurt,” as I drove on, shaken.

Once I reached I-5 the driving became very straightforward and flat. I turned on some music and watched the miles roll by. I knew where I planning to stop for breakfast, a McDonalds in Coalinga. In an unusual bit of advance planning I had located the McDonalds along my route, picked one at a good distance for breakfast (~140 miles) and looked at the aerial satellite imagery to make sure there would be a place to park the rig. Amazing! Actually, it worked really well, so perhaps I will try to remember to do that again for other trips. J

There was diesel at a Mobil station across the way from the McDonalds, so I thought I would fuel up there even though I wasn’t low. Unfortunately it had the SLOWEST pump I’ve ever dealt with – less than 1 gallon per minute! I decided to hang out there for a while so I could eat some of my breakfast while not driving, but I still only got around 8 gallons before my patience (and my egg & cheese biscuit) ran out. The sun had risen during my stop, so between that and the latte, I hit the road again considerably more awake.


Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2009 DVE Warm Up Ride Day 1 - Becky Hackworth

The day dawned I think....it was still dark with clouds. I did something we all know we shouldn't, but I tried some new things for the ride that I hadn't tested out at home. A head/neck warmer, a waterproof pair of pants and a new lightweight jacket. It all worked out well though. I did bring my been there done that horse, Marc, because my most frequent riding partner Sue wasn't sure she would be able to ride. So just to be safe, I didn't bring Roy my youngster. lol

We started off on the first loop on essentially the same trail as the old Geo Bun Buster ride. Marc felt really strong all the way to the quick vet check on the back side of the mountain. I took about 5 minutes for him to pulse down but he was quite warm and has a really heavy coat this year. I don't have the heart to clip since we had snow last Monday and it is still very early in the year for cold weather here in the Sierra's.

Well after cooling off he was fine and good to go. So off we went. At this point we were alone and we were heading for a little pass that lead down to a little valley that sometimes has wild horses. Well just before we got to the pass, it got foggy. Really foggy. Really sort of cool riding in it. At times it got cold but the new outfit proved very good at keeping me warm and dry. It really does pay to have the right gear.

Just before climing out of the valley, Marci Cunningham and Lori Bertoluchi(sp) caught up with me so I tagged along for the rest of the day. The fog stayed with us the rest of the first loop. I could tell where we were just because I have ridden the area before, not because I could see where we were.

All good at lunch in camp, then back we go for the second loop. About that time it started to rain. Nothing like they saw in Kentucky this year, but certainly a lot for the desert. Really just a heavy drizzle, but the water was running off my vizor. No wind which was good.

On the last leg in to camp instead of the desert ride phenomenon of being able to see camp from everywhere on trail, we could only see two lights. Everything else was fog and rain.

We all finished in good shape, all the ponies good to go again even though I was the only one planning to ride day two.

Becky Hackworth

Death Valley Warmup Ride Report, Part 2

Karen Chaton

I’ll start with what it was like just getting to the ride. For a few days leading up to the trip, we were experiencing extremely cold temperatures (for here). We’d had a high temp the day before I left of 16, while it got down into the minus 10 and teens at night. A storm had come in a couple of days ahead of the really cold temps and dropped a foot and a half of snow.

It took me awhile traipsing through the snow just to get everything loaded into the trailer for the trip. The day before I ran an extension cord from the barn to the trailer. I brought out a small electric heater figuring I’d turn it on inside the trailer LQ to keep things from getting too cold. At temperatures below zero, things will still burst inside the refrigerator. The only problem with that idea is that I overloaded the circuit breaker in the barn. Between the lights in the barn, the two stock tank heaters and the trailer it was just too much. And of course, I found out by noticing that the horses water trough was frozen the next morning. Doesn’t take long in minus temps. Fortunately it didn’t freeze enough to kill the fish. They have been frozen before and come back to life.

Each time the breaker tripped I’d have to go back and forth from the house through the snow, until I realized that it was a losing battle and just ended up unplugging the trailer and forgetting trying to heat it and didn’t pack any food ahead of time.

snowtable 150x150 Death Valley Warmup Ride Report, Part 2The road conditions during this time were horrible. It’s almost a week later (today) and the county finally came along and plowed our street. Ha! I knew that I wouldn’t be able to leave early and had to watch for my window of opportunity so that I could get from here down to Coso Junction. It’s about 270 miles if I go down Highway 395. It adds at least an hour if I go around through Nevada and come over Montgomery Pass. Dave put the chains for both the truck and the trailer in the back seat of my truck. I really wasn’t looking forward to the idea of having to chain up. I just don’t like hauling horses in those kinds of conditions.


Saturday, December 05, 2009

Ride & Tie - A Great Race by Patrick Davies

Patrick's Blog - Full Story, pictures, and video

Friday, December 4, 2009

I thought that it was about time to create a blog about the Ride & Tie, for it's the Ride & Tie that got me involved in everything endurance related. Back when I was 25 my brother Mike called and told me that his running partner had a friend, Nick Larsen, who needed a race partner. I'd always loved horses, so I thought that I'd give it a try.

That spring I met Mike, his running partner Tim Fenton and Nick for a test ride. Mike and Tim had done the Ride & Tie the year before, but this was a first for Nick and me. On this "test" ride we probably went out and rode/ran for about 5 miles, and you'd have thought we'd gone around the world. At that time I'm sure we never thought we'd be able to do 40 mile training rides and runs in the mountains, but over the next 10 to 15 years that's how it worked out. We improved each year, and about 4 years after the first Ride & Tie we had our best race chronicled in the video.

Justin, Karli, Jake and I were going through some old videos, and found a video of the Park City Ride & Tie. Using that old footage, I put the video below together.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Oklahoma Season Finale - Lucie Hess

Day 1

Had a great ride today at the Season Finale ride in Oklahoma.

Lot's of folks showed up today 24 or so 50's had to be close to 40 LD riders. The weather was lovely, clear, some wind, highs in the 70's. unheard of in late November.

Louise Burton won the 50 and got BC too, she also won the 1/2 Arab National Championship ride this fall.

I finished with a stong horse, he was pulling me to get in. This time I wasn't the turtle, maybe 6 or so people behind me.

After a fast morning trying to keep up with some friends. I dropped back and I just rode at my own pace, and worked on having a sane, calm horse when he's being ridden alone.
I usually ride with someone else, so he gets frantic sometimes when he's by himself. But we had 8 miles of moving along with a loose rein. But not so much on the first 17 miles!
No big spooks so I stayed on! (there's always tomorrow).

Tomorrow same trail, about same number of folks ridng.
Looking forward to the last ride of the year.. Should be another nice day.
More later!

Day 2

Finally I'm home after driving 8hrs. Well, I've really been home since 5 pm, but who's counting?
The Saturday Ride was on the same trail as Friday. Lot's of riders were riding the 2nd day on the 50 and 25.

Jane Huff and Mike Jaffee surprised all of us when they rode up and Mike was riding Jane's horse and Jane was riding his MULE! Jane said no time like now to try to ride a MULE. I told her she was gonna be a mule skinner! So off they went, both finished and had a great time. But ask Jane how well Emme Lou likes mud puddles

My day started off great! Donna Huetteman wanted to ride slow and easy, so we hooked up and rode together. It's always fun to ride with people you don't know very well, because after you spend time together riding the trails and chatting, you get better accquainted.
I was having a good ride, but on the way back, (it was an out and back trail), Spanky took a bad step and then took 3 bobbles on his right leg., then was fine.. this happened a few more times, but it was so intermittent, he was sound on a hard packed road and was trotting sound on the flat ground. I sure didn't know what was going on, but I was pretty concerned. We were close to camp so I just went ahead and rode in.
So I know in my heart we were done and went into the vet check knowing I'd be pulled. And we were and rightly so, by that time he was a grade 2, the vet thought it was on his left front, I still think it was his right front since that's the leg that I felt wasn't quite right.

Donna went ahead and finished the ride, she was pleased with her finish, her first back to back 25's I think it was.

I was pretty disappointed, but oh well.. there's another day.

The day was so nice, clear skies, but much cooler than Friday. There was a stiff cold wind coming in. But much better for the horses, with their winter hair on.

By the time we had awards and a potluck dinner, the wind had really picked up and it was getting pretty cold, a couple of propane heaters were brought out, We talked about how most people think we are crazy to sit outside on a windy, cold night to eat dinner. Well, they think we are crazy for riding so far anyway.
There were lots of riders on Saturday, probably as many as there were on Friday. Lot's of Texas folks as their Thanksgiving ride was cancelled. I got to see Captain Thunderpants, who is leading the nation in Jr miles, he is a cute little pony who just keeps up with the bigger horses and carries his rider, Hannah, around carefully. We told Hannah her pony was cute as we rode by and I heard her tell the person she was riding with, "Everyone says he's so cute".

Even tho I was disappointed with my pull, I still wouldn't have missed the ride. I had a great time both days.

Over the winter, I'll have to remember the unseasonably warm weather and the fun that was had, riding the trails, sitting around a fire with good friends and adult beverages enjoying being out in nature, with Horses! And I'll plan for next year!

Going to ride 50's and hope this lameness was "just one of those things". Doesn't hurt to think positive.

Thanks to Susan Young and Ann McFarland for putting on a great ride with well marked and well trimmed trails.

Now to clean out the trailer and winterize it! Yuck.. I'd rather clean the stalls.
More next year!.

Desert Gold - Judy Etheridge

Also here is my short Desert Gold story:

I really wanted to do at least one day of this ride but was short of horses due to problems with my mares. So I decided to ride minimally conditioned Orion, 24 -1/2 years old, on the LD on Sunday--I was in luck with the weather and the direction of the trail--we went down a bunch of shortish, steep hills--up is definitely not a favorite at his age. Our first loop was perfect--the best ride I have ever had on him--we didn't see any other horses so I was able to let him set the pace. At the lunch break he pulsed right down even with a heavy winter coat and he ate and drank at the trailer--with age comes wisdom--he used to hardly eat or drink during a ride. He was pokey at first on the second loop until a friend of a friend who was looking for someone to ride with caught up with us. That brought him back to life and we trotted most of the loop with O wanting to be in front like the old days. I had to throw some water on him at the end to get his pulse down but it only took a few minutes. He vetted out OK and I breathed a sigh of relief--we did it!
Have to say LDs have their charms--I am not as sore and tired as after a 50 and I didn't really worry about how O was doing because the pace was not nearly so fast as an endurance ride. Today his legs are tight and he doesn't look like he did anything special yesterday which makes me even happier.

Thanks to Scott, Susie and all the volunteers who made the ride possible:):)


Judy Etheridge

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Season Finale Endurance Ride - Heather

Sabumi.blogspot.com - Full Adventure

Monday, November 30, 2009

I didn't want to talk about it before it happened because I didn't want to jinx myself... But I have been scheming and planning to attend the Season Finale 50 Mile Endurance ride in Chandler, OK this weekend!
All day Wednesday, I was busy packing and getting food ready. I was also making a Thanksgiving dinner for John and I. I couldn't handle the thought of going without Thanksgiving food! This is by far my favorite holiday. So, I ruined the turkey, bought a rotisserie cranberry glazed chicken from Target, and everything else was awesome. The chicken was darn good too! We had a grand dinner and packed up the leftovers to take camping with us!

Thursday, John did his traditional Turkey Day 20 miler in the morning, then we packed up and got the horse. Once we were on our way, we just settled in for the 5.5 hour drive. Boomer was a great traveler for the most part. He was moving around a lot for the first hour, so we tied him up and gave him a hay bag. He was much better after that even though he didn't touch the hay. One minor mishap on the drive was a pesky little (HUGE) grasshopper in the truck. He kept flying up between the door and me and scaring the beejesus out of me. I tried opening the window, but he wouldn't leave. He finally perched on my seat to my left, I leaned forward while driving, and John smashed him on the seat behind me. Victory.

Once we arrived we set up camp and I took Boomer for a walk through camp to start getting used to things and also so I could figure out how to enter/get a vet card. Boomer was a totally different horse compared to last time we went camping at Clinton Lake. He didn't pace or call to the other horses at all. He just settled right in and started eating and drinking.