Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cheap Thrills - Zapped Ranch

Reprinted from Karen Bumgarner's blog: http://zappedranch.wordpress.com/2011/06/28/cheap-thrills/
Posted on June 28, 2011 by zapped6000

photo: Blue and author Karen Bumgarner at Oreana, photo by Steve Bradley

Owyhee Cheap Thrills gave riders two days of fun in the Oreana sunshine thanks to John & Steph Teeter. As always the hospitality is awesome and they even opened up a small new pasture for riders to hand graze their horses in! Always so much fun to go to the rides and see all my buddies. I love it!

I took Blue to ride the first day of the two day ride. I started with Linda Ballard and her mare, Aire, Blue’s buddy. Tamara Baysinger with her mare Consolation came along with us too. Cons was quite full of it when Tamara got on, she took off and had a bit of buck to her. But Tamara made a great save, stopped her safely and stayed on board! Woohoo for cheap thrills!

Blue was calm until we got up on the road and several other horses surrounded him. He got nervous real fast and so did I. More cheap thrills! He is quite timid and thinks strange horses are going to kill him just because everyone at home beats up on him. We had tried to start late so we would stay calm but a lot of other riders had the same plan. Grrrr! Took a couple miles with him in the back, where he was happiest, to settle down. Consolation and Tamara led the way and set a nice pace for us on our first loop of 15 miles out through the Badlands. We got hung up with a group of riders again at a gate and again it took Blue a bit to figure it out, putting him in the back was again my option. Back in camp Tamara was a couple minutes ahead and unfortunately Linda’s mare was off and pulled. Blue vetted through with A’s and a bouncy trot that pleased the vet.

We had a 40 minute rest hold that seemed to whiz by. Mix feed for him, I ate, cleaned his boots, I drank, tried to get what I needed for the next 20 mile loop, took him to eat grass and it was time to go. Whew! Off we went on two slightly reluctant horses. Blue was whinnying for the red mare and his last rides had been one big 50 mile loop where he didn’t have to leave camp again. I’m sure when we ride out of camp on loops that horses think humans are just plain stupid.

Meanwhile we trotted out for the high country, toward the famous or maybe infamous landmark of Booby Rock. We kept getting in groups of horses and Blue was just rattled and he popped a right front boot off. More thrills!! We had creek crossings offering lots of water for the horses and gorgeous wildflowers along the way. Only Blue was such a handful I didn’t get to take any pics. That was a bit disappointing. Eventually we managed to separate out from the group and he settled in happily behind the grey mare that was his new buddy.

Back in camp. A succesful vet check again with A’s and a bouncy trot. Food, boots, drink, graze and out again. Our last 15 mile loop went out to lower Hart Creek, through the sand and some ravines. A few horses caught up to us in this slow stretch but didn’t want by. Tamara put Cons inbetween Blue & the growing herd behind us. Then we caught three riders. The parade got longer, my horse got bouncier, he knew he could get to the finish a lot faster without me! Then we caught two more, still no where to pass. Finally it widened out, briefly, and Blue pulled out through the brush and zipped around. Now Blue was in front and very happy. He was feeling cocky passing those horses and getting racy, tossing his head. Even with the martingale I was getting ears up my nose! More thrills! We left the notch of Hart Creek Canyon, passed through the gate and I decided this was it.

We had about 8 miles yet to go. And I let him out a notch. We both knew this trail and he ate it up, climbing the hill through the rocks at a good strong trot. “Please Lord don’t let us lose a boot now!” Thrills! He trotted all the way up to Knife Ridge. Walked a short distance. I looked back and the herd was spreading out and had dropped back walking where we had trotted. He picked up the trot again, cruised right on up to the top road and knew he was heading in. We weren’t going real fast but faster than we had all day at 10 – 11 mph. His legs weren’t moving faster, his stride just lengthened as he found another gear. Both he and Cons were having a blast! At the top of the slide Tamara and both I got off and led down as we had done earlier in the day. We got back on before the creek crossing where the two horses tried to suck it dry. We left just as one group of horses was coming over the top to start down the slide.

Both horses were eager and strong and would’ve happily raced in but that wasn’t an option. Just a nice trot was all I wanted. We lost that dang boot again after the creek, I popped it back on as fast as I could, jumped back on and didn’t waste any time with it. I held my breath at the next crossing but it was OK this time. Never lost a boot like that dangit! Tamara and I decided maybe that foot was a bit smaller than the other and needed a smaller size, next time. We trotted into the finish in 11th and 12th. Only we really had no idea where we were in the mix of things with all the shuffling of riders until they told us.

We vetted through one last time, again A’s and the vet said, “His trot still has lots of bounce!” For me it’s a thrill to know my horse has finished healthy, happy, sound and yes, still bouncy. It just doesn’t get much better than that!

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