Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Sunriver 100 - Tami Rougeau

OK, so finally got home and got all the chores done and can get a bit
of a note off regarding May's first 100.

As advertised the Sunriver 100 was a great first 100 mile ride. We
could not have asked for a better situation (unless maybe we could
make it not rain or hail).

We drove up from Reno on Thursday so that May would have a day to
rest. That worked out great as it also gave me a day to get organized
and not feel rushed. The people at the ride were so nice and friendly
and I can't say enough good things about the managment, vets and

We checked in on Friday and while we were waiting to vet we met a very
nice lady who was also riding in Easyboot Gloves. Since we were both
planning on a slow steady pace we agreed to meet up in the morning.

So morning came and just as I was thinking that I really should have
found out where my new friend was parked, there she was. All smiles
and ready to go with her wonderful gelding Thunder. Oh May was going
to be in love in no time at all. My new friend Karen said that she
did not want Thunder to see the front runners or he might get
excited. Of course I was exptecting May to be her typical psycho
anyway so the less stimulus the better. We left the trailers a few
minutes after 5 and headed to the start. Then the most amazing thing
ever happened....May calmly walked out right next to Thunder. We had
the best start ever!

The two of them paced along very nicely all day. The footing was
heaven and for a Nevada horse it was like walking on clouds. The
trail was really well marked as well. Since we were riding in the far
back of the pack we never had to wait in any line and there were
always plenty of volunteers to help us out. There were lots of water
stops along the way and the horses drank well. May did her usual
routine of trying to single handedly drain every tank and ate
everything she could get her face into.

We headed out with 30 miles to go and all A's from the vets (along
with a few comments that we could probably start riding the horses now
- CRIs 44/44). Since we still had loads of time we decided that we
would take our time and be mindful of any bad footing, playing the
conservative card at this point in the game. We did not make it to
the last check before dark which was a bummer but with good headlamps
and a well marked trail we managed to make it with only one missed

After we left the last check it rained on us a bit which was a downer
but most of the last leg is common trail from earlier in the day and
the horses were ready to get home. We walked pretty much the whole
way. We had picked up another rider so now we were a party of three
which was fun. We were only a few miles from the finish when the
tempurature really dropped. That was uncomfortable but we had
prepared and knew how to keep warm. Our partner was not very used to
the cold and it bothered her a bit more.

Then we saw the finish. The warm fire and the smiling face of Lois
the ride manager to welcome us in. We were later than we had expected
but we were done at 0200. The vets gave us all A's and again CRI
40/40. Well done little May, well done!

It was a great ride with all the key necessities covered tenfold.
Lois and Sharon and their team of vets and volunteers were simply top
notch; the trail was amazing, great footing and marked to the gills.
To top it off every single person in camp was so nice. There were
three distances going on so even though the field for the 100 was
small there were still a large number of folks in camp.

So, long story short, we had the best experience - great riding
partners (huge thank you to Karen and Thunder!), great trail and great
management. I am so proud of my little Mare. She grew up on this
ride and really earned her stripes. Thank you to everyone who made it
possible. Sunriver 100, not just a great first 100, a great ride

Tami and Amatzing Grace (May)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Fort Howes - Karen Cox

I was #2 to sign up for Fort Howes. The 35 mile LD.

My TB mare "Hey Rose" (Rosie) can be, uh, moody. I knew the excitement
of ridecamp would not help. My husband was travelling so could not be
there as my crew (and crazy horse handler) as planned. Just me and my
son and our stock trailer and tent in the "redneck section" of camp :)
We had some good laughs about that with the other tent campers.

Friday night Rosie was pacing on the hi-tie and stomping if tied to
the trailer so I thought I'd take her for a walk. While standing
talking to someone with her on the lead and she stomped her front foot
and caught me hard in the calf, causing a bruise that covered my
entire calf. (Thank you to the girl from Europe with the magic salve,
and to the Bozeman cowboys for the beer and frozen sausage icepack,
and advils). I thought there was no way I’d be able to ride Saturday.

My leg looked scary in the morning, but it wasn’t feeling bad enough
to keep me from at least trying the ride. I mounted up before the
start and Rosie, hopping around and being an idiot (again), tossed her
head back and bonked me in the head causing me to bail off. Thank you
helmet. She also tossed a boot. Instead of trying to put it back on I
just pulled the other one off. By that point I was thinking, if we
ever get going here, and you step on a rock, serves you right, we'll
have to quit and that's fine with me. So stashed the boots in my pack.
The ride began and I started at the back of the pack and within 100
yards from the start Rosie just. FROZE. I could not even budge her
head. I got off and walked her, back on, still no go. I only got going
with the generous help of another rider (sorry didn't catch your name
- but thank you!) that started late. Though a part of me was thinking
it might be a better idea to just stay stuck there forever.

The first 15 miles or so of loop 1 were a fight. I rode with four
lovely ladies for a while. I learned that the Arab trot is faster than
the TB trot but slower than the TB canter. So, we invented a new gait
that was trot in front and canter in back - or something like that -
the right speed but we boing boinged down the whole trail. Sometimes
we did an actual canter, which normally on this horse is like
gliiiiiiiiding, but not today. The last 5 miles or so she finally
seemed to settle in though. We cantered and galloped about the last
mile right before the vet check, thinking I might blow my pulse-down
but I didn't care because we were both having fun - finally. But we
pulsed in at 52, no problem.

I also learned my horse is now a real barefoot horse. At least at Fort
Howes, where the footing was great. I had never ridden her more than a
few miles without boots, but we did the entire 20-mile loop barefoot,
without a bad step, even over the rare rocks we encountered.

We got all A's at our first vet check, except for a B in skin tenting!
No surprise there as she was in a white froth and heavy breathing for
a good part of this loop, using twice as much energy as needed, and
not at all interested in drinking until the end.

The second loop I delayed my start to be able to ride alone and we had
a great ride. I was thinking this is as much fun as riding at home.
(Which made me wonder if I should ever try this again - but like
pregnancy, I'm over it now). I put the boots on a few miles out
because she just seemed a little slow on the shale road, and she
perked right up after that. We had such a relaxed ride I thought our
mph was way slower than the first loop- but it was actually faster.
If she could go like that the whole ride life would be much easier!
She was also drinking well on this loop and we ended up with an A in
skin tenting. B- on gut sounds so I'll work on getting her to eat more
next time.

After the ride I met some friends of the Stevens, non-riders that were
there just to help out in any way (including keeping the ranch clean
of gophers and gopher holes, thank you). And help they did -
cappucino, home-made sausage, and best of all, a gigantic ice pack and
a couch to sit on in their trailer! Not to mention great company.
Their friend kept my son and another boy occupied with rides in his

I’m glad I stuck it out to the finish. But phew, what a workout. After
all the bouncing, it hurts to move - even my fingers! But Fort Howes
is such an amazing beautiful place. We have a long dry season in
Montana so I was happy about all the recent rain and all the green. It
wasn't too muddy, at least on the loops I did.

I'm looking forward to doing it again next year. Thank you to the
Stevens family for putting this on. I hope they do it forever and I
can come back to ride it many times.

I looked at my ride picture and I'm grimacing in every one, but Rosie
(horse #2) just looks happy as can be. Grrrrr! I'll need to do a 50
mile next time and see if I can wear her out. If she can calm down a
bit next time I’ll be able to let her run some, and maybe not go for
the turtle award.

That's my "ride story"! I endured. I finished. I won (the monkey butt

Old Dominion 55: The Trail to the Best Condition Award

Sandra's blog full story
Sandra Fretellier
Wednesday, June 16, 2010

photo: Easycare Inc
Where to start? First, I was not sure I would go to Old Dominion since my mare got pulled at the end of her first 50 at Biltmore. Her recoveries were really good, she never felt lame on trail but was off at the final exam and had a sore foot. She was sound two days later and acted normal during our training rides in Gloves.

I had the opportunity to get a ride to OD and when I heard my good friend Kevin Myers was going to be there, then my mind was set: Twist and I were going! But what distance, 25 or 55? I knew the course from last year and heard it was even harder this year, so I hesitated to enter the 55, but at the same time it was my only way to see if Twist was sound. I knew she could breeze through the 25 without a problem. If she had an issue, it would probably not have shown up in 25 miles.

So I decided to go for the 55 and RO if it was too hard on the pocket pony. She felt really good when I rode her the day before the ride. Kevin glued the boots on (it was tough on him with the humidity, thank you for all your hard work my friend) and we were set to go! The morning of the ride was quiet until I got on her. She is a little fireball and I have to use a Pelham with two reins at the start otherwise it's an endless fight. I prefer having a strong bit to use if needed. If she is gentle, I use the mild part of the bit. If she pulls I can be more reactive and I found it to work much better than fighting and me getting tired and yanking on her mouth.

So off we went, a little bit sideways at the back of the pack. At the base of the first climb Twist was still fired up and wanted to trot. I knew what was ahead of us, so I forced her to walk. Twist quickly gave in and started panting so I got off to help her. She was pooped at the end of the first climb and I let her recover by walking for a long time. We then started to trot slowly, but when we caught up to some horses Miss Twist got a second wind and was eager to go, so we kept trotting.

She pulsed down easily at the first vet check: she always eats and drinks everything in sight, even on trail. So off we went for the second loop, the loop of hell, with a 2.5 mile climb covered with big rocks. It was around noon so the heat was unbearable. Twist was leading a group of horses while I was walking (panting myself) in front of her. I saw she was getting tired so I let the horses pass us and stop for a couple of minutes in the shade (sort of). We kept on going and then it was the going down: I walked all of this.

When we arrived on flat ground Twist agreed to trot but she was dragging her feet so I let her graze and drink (and sponged her) at every opportunity we had. Once again when we caught up to some horses she perked up and it made me feel good. She pulsed down at the second VC in eight minutes. I know it seems long but it was hot and that is when most of the horses got pulled for failing to recover. Her CRI was 52/50, woo hoo!!! I knew the last two loops from last year. Twist was good so we kept a steady pace (nothing crazy around 5.8MPH).

We passed VC 3 with bright As all around, so I was happy and Twist was still eating and drinking. I left a couple of minutes late so she could eat more. The last six miles are not hard and the heat was slowly decreasing so we averaged a speed of 6.5MPH. I caught up to some good friends half a mile from the finish and we decided to tie. Once we passed the finish line they told us we were top 10. I could not believe it, I was sure I was closer to 20th place and would have been happy with it.

I waited to get our completion from the vets before getting too happy. When Nick congratulated me, I jumped on Twist. I was SO happy, her second 50 and top 10 at a tough Old Dominion. What a power pocket pony I have.

I decided to stand for BC, just to give Twist the experience and to get the chance to see how she recovered. I weight 145 lbs with all my tack and arrived an hour and a half after the winners, so I knew there was no way I would get BC, and probably not high vet score since Twist is still a green endurance horse.

A little Twist history: I bought her online (I know her sire has tons of get excelling in endurance), I could not go to see her as I was flying to France for the holidays. I found a vet, had her go through a pre-purchase exam and decided to get her as she was sound and healthy. As you can tell, she was. She arrived at my barn on January 9th, did 2LDs (one she got pulled at the end because of my stupidity). Foxcatcher 25 was OK but she was still a nutcase at the start, even starting 15 minutes after the pack. She still has a lot to learn, but she is quick learner!

Long story short, when they called my name for high vet score at the awards meeting the next morning, I was amazed. But when they told me "Hold on stay here, Twist also got BC", well then I cried. I got Twist because I lost my first horse last year and I couldn't get myself to think of not riding anymore. I'm a foreigner and the endurance community feels so much like a family to me, I had to get a new project to work on to keep riding the trails with my endurance peeps, and Twist crossed my path!

What an amazing little mare she is (14.1), she also has humor, she is a goof and I LOVE her. And I know Mona Tika is giving her all her blessing from the heaven meadows. I miss her every single day but it makes my love for Twist even stronger!

full story and more ...

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Long Road Back - Karen Bumgarner - Full Story

Sunday, June 6, 2010

This ride was a long time coming. It wasn't just a matter of getting in shape and doing it, there were so many hurdles jumped to get there.

Wrecks! Injuries. In 2006 I fell down the bus steps and broke my tailbone, blew three discs in my back and missed a whole year of endurance riding. I was lucky to ride at all during late summer but had two patient friends in Carol Brand and Karen Steenhof while I rode Rushcreek Hollie. A year later i felt that I was doing well enough to start riding Hollie's son Thunder. I took him on one 50 miler but the trotting and such was just tough on me. We did finish though and I stuck with trail riding. Then the day before my birthday, Thunder spooked, bolted, I came off when he skidded on the gravel road and that was the end of that ride, and any rides for awhile. Broken ribs, punctured lung, concussion, lost horse for 6 days, great friends out searching for him, oh my gosh what a nightmare.

I learned that I will never ride in a bosal again, a one rein stop doesn't work in a true emergency in wide open spaces and I also learned the horse when panicked is totally unpredictable. I also learned what superb friends I have as they worked so hard to recover my horse which is a story in itself...

Read more here:

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Wild West 3-day Ride

Nick Warhol

Hi everyone- sorry for the long gap in stories, but 2009 was a truly rotten year. In fact, it was probably the only rotten year I can ever remember having, but I guess that’s a good thing. It started out bad when my Donnie came up lame in the rear in late 2008. We believe he fell down while running in his pasture. He had this stupid come and go lameness in his right rear that just could not be diagnosed. (I took him to the vets, who said “If this is a pre-purchase exam, I’ll buy him”!) They need to see a lame horse to diagnose it, and I just could not oblige them. So- I did what I had to and gave him the year off. Then Judy got laid off, then I got laid off (but I was only out of work for a week or so), then to top it off Judy took a dive off the top of a hay stack and shattered her wrist, broke ribs, dislocated fingers, just a train wreck. (She’s all better now). I rode two rides in 2009 on her horses, which is the fewest since 1991 or so. So depressing! But as we know, life is good, and things always get better. Judy got a great job, her surgery was a success, and my Donnie is back. I started riding him in November, and found him, how shall we say, a tad energetic? We slogged through conditioning during the stupid wet winter of 09/10, and tried out our luck for a comeback at the Washoe ride in early May. Connie Creech and those Nevada guys are just the best. Washoe is a tough ride, and I have not been on those SOB’s since riding Zayante, but my Donnie is talking Zayante lessons and pulled me through looking great, and most importantly, sound! So far so good. It was very nice to be back at a ride with my horse.

Judy and I signed up for 3 days at the Wild West pioneer ride up at Skillman horse camp, near Nevada City, up at about 4500 feet in the low part of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The Sierra is famous for the classic saying- “Don’t like the weather? Just wait a minute, it’ll change!” We packed up on Thursday, May 27th, and had to sit in our living room, in beautiful Northern California, waiting for the pouring rain to stop before loading the horses. Come on – this is summer! This El-Nino stuff is for the birds. We drove out with the wipers on, and drove up in the rain to the horse camp, where it was of course snowing. Let me repeat that- it was snowing, and about 34 degrees. We put the heavy blankets on the horses and huddled in front of the heater in the camper. We braved the ride meeting in the snow, where our good friends Robert and Melissa Ribley told us about the “fun” we were going to have tomorrow. Robert, being the smart guy he is, had changed the day one trail to keep us from having to brave the five foot snow drifts up in the high country where the pink loop usually goes. Oh great, this sounds promising. It was. We started out in the morning cold, in the rain, and on very, very wet trails. As Robert had advised us- dust would not be a factor today. It was cold, wet, and sloppy. We were taking it very easy, as it was hard to see the rocks under the snow. It was not too bad, as we had on our rain gear, and at least it wasn’t windy. Just wet, and very slippery. We were walking along in the soggy forest when about 15 pounds of snow fell from a tree right on top of Donnie and me. He leaped very well- we were pretty surprised, and the snow went right down my shirt. Nice!

The first loop today was a better one to do in this weather- it started out on slippery, goopy, sloppy, wet and snowy single track trails that we pretty much walked, but the bulk of the 30 miles were on fire roads that at least were not too steep. It was raining; Judy said she wished it would snow, since that’s a little easier to deal with. So- what happens? It starts snowing again. Thanks Sweetie. It was walk, trot, walk, trot, walk between the puddles and mud bogs through the whole loop. Endurance riding puddle lesson number 1: always walk through the middle, even though the horse wants to go on the edges. A couple of people missed this one and tried the edges; they and their horse took a swim in the muddy, cold water in the road. We wound our way through the wet forest, dripping wet, passing many chained off driveways, until we came to the monster PGE hill that I had Donnie tail me up. What a hike. It took us about 5 hours to do the loop and make it back to base camp, where it was, well, still very wet. Go into camper, change clothes, get nice and warm and dry, then- go back out into the wet. The second loop was supposed to go up into the high country, but unfortunately it was impassible. Robert changed the loop so that when we started to get to the deep snow, we headed back down the mountain towards the camp and on to an out and back road that was in good shape and easy to trot. On the way there in the forest we had to cross through a little soft area, and my poor horse sank up to his hocks in the bog. Oh heart attack! He slogged his way out, and Judy wisely took Color around through the trees. About 10 miles of trotting brought us back to camp and the finish and another change of clothes. The next time someone asks you why you have 20 blankets in your trailer, just refer them to this day. (Half of them are hanging in the back of the trailer, totally soaked!) 50 brave souls started, and 48 finished this true test of endurance riding. Light rain and snow greeted people at the ride meeting; those guys who had just arrived were listening to the horror stories from today’s riders and looking up at the sky. It’s always worse when you get through! Robert just kept saying that the weather was going to keep getting better. The rain on the camper Friday night was not reassuring. If it’s snowing in the morning, do we start? I don’t know……….

[...full story]

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Owyhee Fandango - River Run!

Karen Bumgardner

Thunder was fine crossing the historic Guffey Bridge but wasn't crazy about stopping high above the Snake River for his photo!

The Owyhees have become one of my favorite places thanks to all the endurance rides put on by the Teeters and their great friends. When I am anywhere where I can see the Owyhees I just gaze at them and all these great memeories come rushing into my head! And now, once again, I was heading South to Oreana. I was pretty excited about going down to ride the 100 on Thunder. His first ever 100 and my first in a few years. The thoughts of new trails drew me like a piece of steel to a magnet.
Sunday at 6 AM my friend Lynn White and I left the Teeter Ranch, beginning our long day's trek. We headed NE to the Sierra Del Rio Ranch, a beautiful oasis not far from the Snake River. This heavenly spot was once a water and rest stop on the Oregon Trail. From here we rode through some awesome wagon ruts left over 150 years ago. When you are out in the remote country, truly very little has changed with time, and it is like taking a step back through history. Later we dropped down into the Snake River Gorge near Swan Falls Dam. Somewhere in here we managed to pass three riders, but I had a feeling we'd be seeing them again. We rode on sandy two-track roads and trails along the river, past an orchard from an old homestead, and into the large rocks decorated with petroglyphs. These boulders washed down in the Bonneville Flood over 15,000 years ago. Our trail later became skinny and hard to keep track of as it wandered through some boulders and rocks that some riders just hated. But I didn't mind, I've helped move cattle through rougher country than that. One section of the river had about 20 pelicans, the fishing must have been good!

full story -