Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Mi Primer Raid/My First Ride - Alvaro Galisteo (Spain)

El Raid Blog - Gabriel Gamiz

December 5 2012

[google translate]

This is the chronicle of a child for nine years, which has started in this world of Raid, youth is increasingly early age and with so little, and expresses perfectly and begins to know and love the horses and Riding like this mode, which is causing so much furor among the young. Nothing but must attend an initiation test and we can see the amount of chavalerĂ­a together with their horses participate in the first test of this specialty Riding, as is the Equestrian Endurance, with its routes campers both pleasing to the fans.

This is the chronicle of Alvaro Galisteo their first Raid:

"My first raid

My first raid started on a Saturday in October where we were riding to prepare our horses were Vint corresponding with Celia, Bold with Miguel, Anais with Forev ... er, David with Gorki, Iris with her ​​mare Eritrea and Luis with PacharĂ¡n .
prepare When we gave gifts to Michael, and it was his birthday. At nine we left to dispute the raid Coin. That raid was very important to me, because it was my first raid and had been punished enough time.

Upon arrival, we got down to business. Horses started pulling the truck to pass the first veterinary control. Flora was the horse with the way I ran it with no problem, only the vet told us he was a little nervous about the shuttle but that did not matter, it was very normal to happen.

At twelve I started to warm up with Flora and the 0:15 and we are very happy with the illusion of leading a prize. The place was amazing, like views, with many breathtaking landscapes. We were very quiet, to our pace and unhurried. When we do not care because they were skipped fewer miles than expected. After we assisted a man named Hugo, came with us to the finish.

Upon arrival at the goal dismantle the horses and got to refresh them to go down the beats. Flora not only get tired so soon recovered. After 15 minutes we went to veterinary control and Flora what happened, although no proof of trot trot and Celia wanted my partner helped me. After we spent all veterinary checks went to eat...

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

A Ghoulish Finale - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog

November 22 2012

The last ride of our NW season was just before Halloween at the Teeter's in Oreana. We had a rather small group but it was a blast. It felt very much like a family get together as you got to ride, hangout and feast with your best horsey buddies!

The first day it was oh so cold!!!! 20 degrees and oh yes put yet another layer of clothes on! I hate cold but its always warmer once you are on the horse. Thunder didn't seem to mind at all. As usual I forgot the darn splint boots so had to go back and put them on and then we really had a late start. At least the big T behaves himself that way! It did warm right up once we were trotting along and I had a great time riding with Carol Brand. We did the 55 in 6:45 and placed 8th. That made us right in the middle which is pretty much what we do. Yeah more points and miles for Thunder Wunder pony! Thunder has had an awesome year of 905 miles!! So what to do for day 2. Thunder looked great and it is so hard to leave him in camp. But I started the ride season on Blue so it seemed like I should do the last one of the year with him also. Blue needed one more ride for his lifetime AERC 1000 miles. He spends all his time on the backburner, in Thunder's shadow, and seldom gets his own shining moment. So I decided to take Blue, and sponsor a Junior Tori Church. Now this was costume day and Tori shows up in the flowing flapping ghoulish outfit. My horse is big eyed and definitely disapproving and I am thinking this is not going to work...

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Canyons, Caves and so much more - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales - Full Story

Just when you think Steph Teeter has had you on every trail in their neck of the Owyhees, she finds something new.

This year for the first day of the 5 day multi-day ride she was able to take us out some new trail above Browns Creek and out to the one of the areas oldest homesteads, the Spivey Ranch. The big 50 mile loop gave us our hour vet check/lunch in style as we all went up to the house for lunch and a tour. Then we followed Castle Creek out near the Crazy Woman mine and headed back to camp via the Jackass Trail then if you weren't attacked by the Jack you continued along a different stretch of Browns Creek. Great trail, lots of scenery but it was rocky and a bit slow.

The slow part may have been good because I hoped to ride Thunder all 5 days. We took almost 8 hours for day 1. We lucked out as Jack just watched as we opened the gate and went through, the two bachelors trotted off and we made it through their territory without any problem.

The second day was the Hart Creek trails, two 25 mile loops from camp.One loop takes us into the Birds of Prey Conservation area with lots of rolling hills and fun trails...

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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Fort Valley 2012 - Flora Hillman

October 30 2012

The weather was spectacular, the scenery gorgeous, and the trail (as always) a challenge. As Head In/Out Timer for both days, I kept asking riders how they liked the trail, and they all gushed over how beautiful the mountains were, how colorful the trees were, and how much fun they were having. Big smiles on all - 30s and 50s, all weekend. The trail can really kick one's backside, but that makes the triumph of riding it all the bigger in terms of the grins we got as riders timed in and out....and finished.

Average about 50 riders on Friday,  close to 100 on Saturday.   Friday temps in low to mid 70s - and cool/humid in morning. Horses came off trail and those we saw around us at the crew tents dove into the water buckets right away. Top ten horses looked great all day long. Pulls on Friday were a few lameness (lost shoes or boots) mostly, I think only two metabolic (tie-up)  Horses that were treated were both experienced horses (one was a 100 mile horse that passed the vet check, but later owner observed NQR symptoms and returned horse to vets), and the one horse that ended up being transported to Morven Park was reported as doing fine, but still taking in lots of fluid, and was expected to stay on for a day or so. Unusual seasonal warmth and high humidity in the air were contributors.

Saturday was significantly cooler, overcast with with a short period of rain showers mid morning as 50s were coming in from their first loop. Morning was cool, afternoon warmer (high 60s), but then breezes picked up by late afternoon with temps dropping into the low 60s, and jackets made a reappearance.  Times for the front runners were faster, but about average for the middle of the pack. Again, lots of huge smiles and riders simply glowing about how beautiful the trail scenery was - one rider described a section of trail as  "this long tunnel of golden leaves all above and around you as you rode along - it was magical!" The photographer (Becky Pearman) showed us some raw shots from the trail, and we were in awe at how spectacular the background was for the rider photos. I was told that a  change of trail this year on the final loop took away a particularly rocky stretch - a change I'm sure many riders appreciated as that stretch had been a bane to riders and trail markers for years (including moi during the many years I competed in this ride).

We had several juniors in the Sat 30 (hooray!!), and a number of newbies in both distances on both days. We passed around smiles and jellybeans freely as we made sure that everyone  felt comfortable, understood the protocol, knew which way to turn going out of ridecamp for whatever loop they were doing (most common question asked "do I go this way??"), and most importantly cheered riders coming in and going out on the trail.  ALL the ride-and-tie riders got huge applause (practically standing ovations) and cheers as they came in and went out. It was great fun, and especially nice for the nearby landowners who stopped in to watch and chat, particularly one landowner and her little granddaughter who visited the ridecamp to see the horses and activity close up and personal. Tons of new "endurance" puppies of all breeds to coo and cuddle over, too. The OD rides are very dog-friendly, and all the canines in attendance had well behaved humans on their leads.

This is one of the most popular fall rides, not the least for the  lovely ridecamp in a spacious flat field on the valley, but also for the mouthwatering dinners prepared by RM Claire Godwin's culinary husband Pete who (with a staff of ever smiling volunteers) can whip up soups and dinners that would rival a 4 star restaurant...and have the entire ridecamp come running to the food lineup as dinner and the ride meeting got underway. They even had big screen set up for showing (horsey) movies each night after dinner - "War Horse" on Thursday night had me sitting in the audience (I'd read the book, hadn't seen the movie).

Don't know who won the Asgard Arabian raffle horse drawing on Saturday night (I have my ticket!!) as I had to leave by sunset, but the winner will be announced on the OD website. Stunning chestnut horse that exhibited a lot of Crabbet features (as breeder Tom Sayvetz explained to me). Whoever wins this horse (and I know a lot of people were walking around with pocketfulls of tickets) will get a wonderful endurance prospect.

Again, massive kudos to RM Claire Godwin and her enthusiastic, fun (ever growing) staff of volunteers for putting together yet another outstanding Fort Valley weekend of rides. If you come next year, look for me as the Head In/Out Timer again.  This annual long-running OD autumn ride is WAY too much fun to miss, either as rider, crew, or  volunteer.

Final results and link to photographer's photos will be on the OD website  ( this coming week.

Fort Valley 2012 - Nancy Sluys

October 31 2012

Had a great weekend at Fort Valley ride in Virginia. Starting a new horse in the 30 on Friday and taking my old buddy Blue around the 50 mile course on Saturday. The weather precluding Hurricane Sandy was unseasonably warm on Friday causing  difficulty for some horses whose winter coats were growing so Tari and I just mosied along at a reasonable pace.

   I received Tari (Desert Stahar), a 12 yr old (at that time) Arabian mare,  2 1/2 years ago from a friend who was experiencing a life crisis and had to re-home her. Since then she has had her ups and downs starting with a case of mild laminitis from the change in pasture. We got through that and began conditioning. Last year she finished the 50 at JD's ride but in January was pulled for lameness in Florida. The sand was a bit too much for her. She also had a mysterious metabolic issue early in the summer which we discovered was a magnesium deficiency which we corrected. With all this in mind we decided the 30 miler would be a good test on these tough trails.  

The trail was beautiful and tough and Tari and I were having a great time checking out the scenery and taking lots of pictures. She had no problem completing the ride and looked like she hadn't done a thing at the end and the next day. I was sure proud of my little mare who I have dubbed my "Calgon take me away" horse due to her easy way of going and excellent past training. She is just so easy to ride, a real pleasure!! I  enjoyed the last loop which had been changed from the years before. Instead of doing a slow, extremely rocky loop called the "Drunken Sailor Trail" we were treated to a trip through the beautiful countryside and surrounding farms on a dirt road. It was a delight!

  Saturday was much cooler and included an occasional drizzle of rain, perfect weather for my old guy (22) Blue who has already grown quite a hair coat. He hadn't done a 50 in a year and 8 months although he did a few LDs earlier in the year and lots of casual trail riding. I really wanted to ride the tough 2nd loop which I did not get to see the day before on the 30 which is why we opted for the 50. We hit the trail on the first loop and Blue felt fantastic and really moved along, although faster than I had planned. He is pretty set in his ways and I could not convince him into a more sensible pace. He recovered quickly at the first VC so I wasn't too worried about it. After leaving the first hold I made a really stupid mistake by taking a right turn at the top of the mountain instead of the other side and did about a mile of extra trail putting me behind all the horses who had been behind me leaving the vet check. We found ourselves by ourselves which always makes Blue lose a bit of motivation. At our now slower pace I was again able to take in the gorgeous scenery and get some more pictures and videos taken as we trotted easily down the dirt road along the Shenandoah River. Leaving the river we began the long arduous climb up the infamous Indian Graves Trail. Gradual at first the trail climbs for 3-4 miles becoming ever steeper as it went along. The last several hundred yards are truly brutal with the last bit a leap up some rock faces dubbed the Cougar Rock of the east! Blue started the climb easily but soon began to slow as his breathing became labored. He has recently recovered from a respiratory infection and that was taking it's toll. As the trail became steeper I got off and hiked the last mile or so until the rock faces where I remounted so Blue could carry me over. It took us an extremely long time to climb that mountain although except for having to stop repeatedly to breath Blue handled it just fine. By the time we got to the vet check I realized that we would be finishing the 3rd loop in the dark. Blue passed his check with As although his CRI was a few beats high for my liking indicating to be that he was showing some fatague. After giving it some thought and realizing that Blue had nothing to prove I decided to call it a day and passed on the 3rd loop. We had had a fantastic day and we both felt good, I know he would have done that 3rd loop for me but it seemed like the right thing not to ask him to do it. It was the first time I have pulled from a ride with a horse that could could have continued on but I felt fine about it, after all Blue had given me a huge effort getting up Indian Graves and that was all I felt I could ask that day, we were satisfied!

Happy Trails, Nancy Sluys

Friday, September 14, 2012

Lincoln Trails 2012 - Keith Kibler Blog

Posted on September 13, 2012 by Keith Kibler

Lincoln Trails 2012

The tradition of the names of Endurance rides is bemusing. “Dead Dog Creek”, has lots of creaks but none of them are named “Dead Dog”. “Red Barn Run” has no barn, but the word is their used to be a barn. “Raptor Run” is named that because the old growth forest made the race director feel like a dinosaur might use her for lunch. “Lincoln Trails” used to be in Central Illinois. If you know history, Illinois is the “Land of Lincoln” because he did practice law in Illinois and lived most of his life here before going to Washington D.C. However, the ride was not in Springfield and is definitely not within a few hours driving of their now. It is listed as being in “Kinmundy” IL. If you go to Kinmundy, you won’t be at the ride because, it is actually at Stephen Forbes State Park and that is in Omega.

Omega has a population of about 30, but does have a general store with great ice cream and beer. It seems the store’s Sunday beer sales keep it going, as it is the only place allowed by law to sell beer in the entire area.

In any event, the ride application clearly stated in bold print, “There Might Be Mud”. Having ridden there several times, I knew they were right. I had Jazz, a 7 year old twh mare, ready for her first 100. She was 2 for 2 at LD, and 4 for 4 at 50 miles. Kate was in foal, so she stayed home. Sandy had Savanah, her 7 year old mft mare, more than ready for a 50. Savanah can fly and was two for two in Lds and 3 for 3 at 50 miles. Now, I am kind of in charge of training schedules in our program and making sure our horses are ready for rides no matter who is riding them, but my Sandy is in charge of “nurturing”. That means a variety of different things. From my male type “A” perspective, it sometimes means “worrying”. But, if “Mama isn’t happy…….” Well, you get it.

So, Sandy started worrying 3 weeks ahead that Jazz was not ready for a 100. I poured over our training catalogs. I showed her that Jazz had about 1700 miles of training in the 4 years. I submitted the question to a 100 miler friend, okay it was Paul Sidio. He said yes. I submitted it to 2 gaited competitors who are friends. They said yes. I submitted the issue to our close friend who is a local genius gaited trainer who knows the horse extremely well. He said yes. I thought, “I have a lot less trouble convincing juries than my wife”.

Then it rained. Oh, oh, new worries. Then it rained more and the forecast was for a gully washer at the race site the night before. I finally realized I just needed to ride with Sandy in the 50. Mind you, she does not need me to ride with her. Far from it, she won’t even wait for me. The woman, who does not appear to have a competitive bone in her body, turns into Billy Shoemaker when she hears “the trail is open”.

In fact, no one rode the 100 because of the mud. It became a monsoon the night before the ride. They delayed the start to make sure the creeks could even be crossed. This is an Umecra ride and they have lots of rides like competitive trail, Ld, and novice but the field for the 50 was small at 5. This was probably because of the mud. I am never apologetic about the size of a ride. All any of us can do is ride the ride presented to us by the people putting on the ride and ride with the folks that show up to ride. I figure everyone that fails to show up is missing out...

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Old Selam and Golden Trails - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog


Gold was first discovered near Centerville, Idaho on Grimes Creek August 2, 1862. The discovery started one of the greatest gold rushes the world has ever seen….the richest strike in America, with an estimated take of than $250,000,000 from this area in the two decades following its discovery….greater than the California 49er and of the Klondike in Alaska. Nearby Bannock City grew to 6000 people, with 250 places of business. Bannock City was later renamed Idaho City grew to hold 20,000 miners. Idaho City, became the largest city between St. Louis and San Francisco, until a couple severe fires in 1865 and 1867 destroyed much of town. Even then thousands of miners traveled to the area with tiny towns springing up everywhere. Most have vanished without a trace. But this year Idaho City, Placerville, Pioneerville and Centerville held their 150 year celebration.

Nowadays its all pretty quiet around the area. With the price of gold a few miners have tried their hand at dredging and sluicing out the precious metal but with marginal luck. The area around New Centerville has been home to the Old Selam Endurance Ride for several years. And I love to go to this ride because its just refreshing to go to the hills and creeks. Oscar Baumhoff allows us to invade his space and camp on his property along Grimes Creek. Just out of camp are some large piles of mine tailings from days of long ago. I went up to the ride this year with a very sore back and was determined to ride a day. I popped some pain pills and wore an Absorbine Patch. I told Thunder that he was in trail horse mode which meant slow, steady and calm. With each mile I got better and by days end of up and down hills, numerous creek crossings on Grimes, Elk and Clear Creeks I felt ready for the dance!...

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Monday, September 03, 2012

Mongolia Madness Reinvented: part 1 - Full Story

August 2012

I walked onto the plane to Mongolia with a sense of considerable relief. The build up to us leaving had been hectic: equipment hiccups, a boxing match, my birthday, then our tickets not being issued until the morning before our departure. All this punctuated by a chronic lack of funds that had caused a limb wobbling crisis, but, with the help of family, friends and our fabulous fans we managed to scrape enough dough together to make it onto the plane, ticket and all!

The flight to Beijing was a four movie flight! I could relax, veg out, eat, drink, sleep and rest my battered body, still smarting from the white collar boxing bout I had fought just three nights before. Boxing has been a fabulous revelation for me. I love it, and along with cycling it has gotten me into the best physical shape of my life. Add to that the fact that stepping into the ring has more in common with riding a belligerent Mongol pony than almost anything else I can think off, and my preparation for our second crack at the Mongol Derby was….well….perfect! The difference of course, is that you feel very much alone sitting on a manic hyper skittish equine in the middle of one of the least populated wildernesses in the world! No baying crowd a few meters away pounding the canvass, witnessing you taking another blow to a bit that wishes it hadn’t. Blood had been spilt in the ring that night and I was still fishing bloody boogers from my nose in the dehydrated air of the plane not realising that, a little over a week later, I would again be bleeding from the nose, having been driven face first into the steppe by my 23rd Mongol pony...

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Saturday, September 01, 2012

WEC Friday and beyond - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing - Heather's Blog

Wednesday, 29 August 2012
On Thursday evening we had the opening ceremonies. They were awesome as expected. All of the athletes were invited into a big party. There were appetizers and drinks and socializing and then we were all put behind the scenes and organized by countries.

The ceremonies were after dark. It was a small disappointment that not all of the people could be in the seats to watch as there was not enough room. Most of our crew were outside on the grass watching large screens instead of live performances.

All the countries were announced as we marched in with our flag. Then we all sat down and watched the show. It was a variety of dancers, light shows, mounted performances and fireworks, lots of fireworks! Very fun. We had an after party at the barn. It was pretty fun, then headed off to bed.

When we got back to the house my whole family had arrived! My Mom, Dad, Hannah, Jonathan and Dustin. Super awesome.

Friday, Jeremy and I went to the barn very early to get a ride in before the day got busy. At 10:30 our truck arrived to haul the horses over to the venue. It was decided that we would take 6 horses over, due to how the rules were written this time as far as alternates were concerned. Nicki, John, Val, Jeremy, Meg and I loaded up our ponies and made the 15 min drive to the venue. Uneventful.

We hand grazed the horses for a long while and then put them in and took care of things. 4:22 was our countries vet in time and we marched over in uniform and vetted. All but Nicki's horse, Not Tonight, vetted in. It was very disappointing for everyone.

After that we weighed in and things were officially started. Later that day Emmett told us that John, Val, Jeremy and I would make up the team.

When all was done at the barn we headed home and my sister and mom cooked pizza and we ate and went to sleep.

Sat we woke up and left the house at 5 am. Wendy had fed for us early that morning and we didn't start until 7 am. The horses were eating and relaxed when we got to the barn. The whole crew team met at the old barn, not at the race, at 6 am to set out to their points before the traffic started.

Marvel and Kutt were saddled at 6:15 and we started warming up. Both seemed relaxed. We headed over towards the start after a while and joined the masses in warm ups.

At 7 am the announcer announced the start and we were off!! The start was a long shoot with hundreds of cheering fans lining both sides. The horses shot down the stretch through the cheers. Marvel lost Kutt immediately as Kutt was going to be riding faster. Marvel was terrified...

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturday in the UK - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing Blog

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Today we got to the barn for our morning cold trot outs and all the horses were examined. More people have arrived so the group is growing.

After trot outs we barefooted Marvel and then put he and Kutt on the walker. There was a group meeting and then we did chores like cleaning stalls etc. We are also all taking shifts now watching the barn, we had the 10-12 slot. I stayed and watched the barn while Jeremy went for a run. Holly went with a group of crew to see the crew points.

When Jeremy returned we glued on Marvel's race boots. They are the new awesome Easyboot Glue On pattern with the great break over. He seemed happy with his cool new kicks on.

We went to the cottage to have lunch and then hung out for a bit. We needed to be back to the barn by 4pm for our afternoon trot outs. As Holly and I hung out on the couch I fell asleep. We woke up and headed back to the barn around 3:15. All seven horses were trotted at 4.

The whole group of people, crew, riders and staff, for the USA contingent are really supportive, helpful and amazing this year! I have never seen a more cohesive group involved in one of these International events. I credit this largely to Emmett's leadership skills and the effort he has put into this to make everyone comfortable not only physically but mentally as well...

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First Few Days in London - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing Blog

Friday, 17 August 2012

Above is a castle on loop one of the trail and we have also been riding past it in training.

Becky, Judith and I flew out of LAX on Tuesday, the 14th. It was very uneventful. Earlier in the day I got the best news, our horses had arrived at the barn in England a day sooner than scheduled. Jeremy and the horses flew to Luxemburg and instead of staying all day Tuesday and spending the night to drive on Wed, they just landed and drove.

We arrived on the 15th around noon at the Heathrow airport. My sister, Holly, landed before us so she was there waiting for us. After getting our luggage we headed for the rental car office. Judith saved me big time when she overheard that I was about to pay for the rental insurance. She asked me if my credit card company covers that for me. I had not ever checked into this or known about this feature, it turns out that I did have coverage thru my AMEX! That saved me 35 pounds a day, the current exchange is 1.558 USD to 1 pound. That would have been pricey!

After our keys were given to us we took our lives in our sleep deprived hands and got into our cars where the driver sits on the wrong side of the car, on the wrong side of the road and pulled out of the airport onto real roads...

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Tevis 2012 Ride Report: Part 1 – Getting to the start is the hard part sometimes!

Enduranceridestuff Blog - Karen Chaton

I should rename this post to be: blogging on a netbook with wordpress is more annoying than anything!!! My regular laptop has to get sent in for repair so I am at the mercy of this 10″ mini-me that makes everything I do take twice as long! Ignore the goofy formatting, I’ll fix it when I get my computer back. Well, enough of that…on with the first part of my Tevis ride this year…..

Earlier this year I had started to plan on going to Tevis. Then I changed my mind. Then I changed it again. I even printed out an official entry form and filled it out.

Then I changed my mind yet again and decided to go do the new City of Rocks multiday ride in Idaho. My thinking was that I’d rather ride both of my horses two days with pretty good odds at getting to ride all four days versus a 50/50 chance of riding one horse one day at Tevis.

Only…..Bo did so well at City of Rocks and came through it in such great shape that I decided what the heck and got my entry sent in – a day after the deadline! Bo had been coming through every single ride all year at 100%. Entering late was okay though, as it gave me less time to worry about what might go wrong. I knew that I was ready and that Bo was ready, now I just had to get all of the final details into place starting with arranging my crew!

It’s really hard to not want to do Tevis when you have a horse ready, I just couldn’t resist. I think my biggest worry was “how much is too much?” in regards to how many rides Bo had already done this season. Our horses all go great until a point at which….they don’t! I always think of each horses’ ride season as having an imaginary line…you know the one that if you cross it, you’ve gone too far? It’s always elusive but also sometimes so very close and often invisible until you’ve gone over it. Then it’s too late. I don’t want to cross that line. It’s what keeps me riding conservatively; fear of going too far, too often, or too fast, and hurting my horse...

Read more here:

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Tevis - Heather Reynolds Blog

Friday, 10 August 2012

Well Tevis started out fun... Jeremy and I rode out to the start with smiles on our faces, the weather was already T-shirt weather and it was really beautiful under the moon. At the starting line I had happy Birthday sung to me by all of the competitors around, that was super fun. The start was easy and our horses felt great. We were riding with our friends, Lisa and Garrett Ford. At mile 2 Cleo, Jeremy's mount, was leading and got spooked by some water/mud on the trail in the dark. She jumped up a very steep bank and then was about to flip over backwards when she did a pirouette and launched back towards the trail. When she landed she fell and rolled, Jeremy came off in the mud and then she scrambled and stepped on him a few times and then disappeared off the edge of the trail. There was a lot of noise and then it was silent. Very disturbing. We yelled for Cleo and there was silence. All the while the 200+ riders were at a halt on the single track waiting to see what would happen. Jeremy ran around, ahead on the trail and found a way down to where Cleo was. He had to push through the dense bushes. When he got down there we could hear Cleo moving and I yelled to see if Jeremy needed help. Cleo was stuck on her back in the brush on the hill side. Jeremy was able to grab her head and flip her over and then walk her out. After a brief inspection, in the dark, and a trot Jeremy got on and we were on our way again.

Just after the highway crossing Garrett, who was riding behind Jeremy, spotted the blood on Cleo's leg. We had to keep going on the single track so we wouldn't block everyone. When we got to the bottom of Squaw, Jeremy got off to have a good look and it was clear that Cleo, although sound, needed medical attention. His ride was over and he walked her down the mountain to get help. It turns out there was a radio guy right at the bottom and a vet with medical supplies and a trailer, very simple. Cleo got her knee stitched up and her heel flushed and went onto Antibiotics immediately.

I continued onwards...

Read more here:

Friday, August 10, 2012

In which we attend the Bare Bones ride, my bum is sore and I learn stuff - Aarene Storms

Haikufarm Blog


In which we attend the Bare Bones ride, my bum is sore and I learn stuff

When we rolled in to the Bare Bones ridecamp on the day before the ride, the sky was clear and the temps were warm...just like the day before the ride last year.

Those of us who attended the ride last year were unconvinced. All weekend I saw people squinting up at the sky, wondering if it was going to fall on us like it did on ride day in 2011.

It didn't. At least, there wasn't any rain.

There was, instead, a lot of HEAT. Anything above 80 degrees F is hot to a Swamplander. The temperature in camp was above 90, and the humidity was high. Ugh. The afternoon before the ride, we mostly hid in the shade (and squinted at the sky).

Just before dusk, we rounded up some cover models for the Endurance 101 book! Monica has been shooting people for a couple of months, collecting images for the book, but we didn't have an image we liked for the she staged one.

I took pictures of her taking pictures. This isn't the final image for the cover, but it's a tantalizing hint. More details soon.

Ride morning:

No rain in sight. However, instead of a Plague of Rain, we had several Plagues of Bugs...

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Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Llano Estacado Challenge - 2012 - Autumn - Full Story

June 16th & 17th 2012

June 15, 2012: Kenlyn Pristine, Deals Midas Moon and I headed northwest to Lake Meredith north of Amarillo for two days of riding some of my favorite trails. I had not been to Llano Estacado since... I’d have to look it up; it’s been at least two years, probably more like three years. This ride site has some history and memories for me with one particular year being “stuck” there for four days due to flooding rain that kept us all in the valley-like camp ground, unable to get out. This ride used to be held toward the end of September and in the last three years has been moved to June. And there have been many improvements made over the last decade with not only road work, but now the addition of covered picnic tables and a permanent bathroom. The trails are absolutely gorgeous. If you have ever been in the Amarillo/Dumas, Texas area, you know the terrain is, well, flat. Not at Lake Meredith though. As you enter the park, you drop down into a valley with canyon-like formations. Very pretty.

After getting a semi late start on Friday morning, we arrived in camp around 3:30 p.m. It had rained quite a bit in the days prior including Thursday night so the ground was boggy and it was humid. I set up camp rather quickly and was able to get Kenlyn Pristine vetted just prior to the ride meeting. The forecast called for near 100-degree temps but not more rain. The plan was to ride Kenlyn Pristine Saturday in the 50-miler and then Deals Midas Moon Sunday in the 50-miler. The loop order was to do 20 miles, 10 miles and then 20 miles. They put the 10-mile loop in the middle because it did not have any water available on it other than one trough about a mile out of camp and they didn’t want the last loop of 50 miles to be “dry” in the heat of the day.

June 16th; 6:00 a.m.: There were 26 starters in the 50 with 24 finishers. Kenlyn Pristine and I started out toward the front with four other riders. It was a bit of a yo-yo for me as we would move out on the flat and then drop back to slow down on the hills, only to catch back up with the other four on the flat… she didn’t care much for the “easy girl” on the hills part, but she listened fairly well, or at least my hands weren’t too blistered! All five of us came in off the first 20 miles about the same time in approximately two and a half hours. I was a bit trepid about the pulse criteria of 60 beats/minute with the temps, but I was pleasantly surprised that she pulsed down quickly...

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Vermont 100- Nancy & Zanie's ride!

july 25 2012

We got home last night from the Vermont 100 and I am just starting to reflect on the fabulous experience it was!! Zanie and I have had bad luck this year even getting to the start line of a 100 miler! At Biltmore she had a freakout at the trailer right before the start when her buddies suddenly left and was off after bruising her shoulder on the trailer, Then I was too sick with a sinus infection to do the Old Dominion so when I got bucked off my young horse just 2 weeks before the Vermont 100 bruising/cracking my ribs and hurting my shoulder I thought I was done for this one too. We were going to make the trip anyway just in case I could recover, also my sister lives in northern Vermont and we were going to pay her a visit for a few days before the ride anyway. 

Well the power of positive thinking won out and with lots of arnica, Alieve and my bionic Enell bra to support my ribs I made it to the start of the Vermont 100!!! How far I was going to get was anybody's guess. I had a fabulous crew to help me out which consisted of my husband, Bill, sister Betsy, niece Lisa, friend Lisa and her sister Karen. It was a real family affair!! After having no crew for most of my 100s it was so nice to just hand the horse over and plop my butt in a chair!!!

Well you know how it goes, as soon as we get on our horses all ailments miraculously disappear! At least while riding! I actually felt pretty good so I was optimistic that we had a chance. 

Actually I almost didn't get to start as the vet thought he saw something at vet in in Zanie's rear end and I had to represent later. Thinking that it was probably some stiffness from the trailer ride I massaged her and warmed her up better and she thankfully passed but is was niggling at my brain which made my stomach upset. Argh! Not what I needed the night before the ride!

Zanie started the ride feeling great and I soon stopped worrying about her soundness and started really enjoying the ride! The "trail" took us through downtown Woodstock and people were on the street corner cheering on the riders and runners! We got in with some horses at first that were too fast paced for my liking and Zanie was a little hyped up at the first 2 vet holds causing her to have a B on gut sounds and a CRI that was 2 points higher(very unlike her!). I realized that I had to disconnect and get her to start taking care of herself! We came into a pit crew stop by the side of the road (not a hold) and I chose to stay there until she calmed down and started eating well. There was good grass and soon she settled and ate a good meal and drank a bunch of water. After about 15-20 minutes we continued on at a more relaxed pace and really started to have some fun!. I had my camera and took tons of pictures and video clips (soon to be on Youtube). The runners were amazing and many times we came on their aid stations with the roads lined with their crews and spectators, it was like running a gauntlet of well wishers! "Good job!" was the main compliment/encouragement statement of the day! I was decked out in purple as usual and after a couple of these aid stations people started to recognize us and cheer us on even harder! Many times we would pass the same runner over and again as we would overtake them then have to stop for a vet hold only to overtake them further down the trail. The runners are not required to stop. A camaraderie developed between the riders and runners that intensified throughout the ride. 

The weather could not have been more perfect, the high was 82 with low humidity. After we got by ourselves Zanie started to get into her zone and by the time we got to hold #3  she vetted in with all As and stayed that way for the rest of the ride! The vets were surprised and pleased with her recovery and complimented my care of her and the decisions I had made.

We past through the most beautiful Vermont countryside, crossed a covered bridge, climbed the "Sound Of Music" hill, rode through private farms, it was just awesome!! People would put water tubs out in their yard and on several occasions would actually be there hosing off horses and runners! There were many times we passed runners aid stations and were handed watermelon or carrots for the horses, you could not go hungry on this ride! 

After a while I connected with several other riders whose pace was similar to ours and we enjoyed the company into the night until I missed a turn while they were getting some water and I lost them for the rest of the night. I only went a little ways out of the way before I realized my mistake and soon got right. The night riding was beautiful but with no light at all from the sliver moon I relied on my headlamp for navigation. Soon I started to hear the music from the finish line party and knew we were nearing the end. We rounded the curve and into the finish line to cheers form the large crowd and I realized that we had done it!! Zanie looked great at the final vet out having all As once again and an energetic trot and really was fit to continue!!

There is so much I could write about this ride and this is but a summary. Some day I will write more details but in this format you at least get the idea!!
To finish is to win!!!

Nancy Sluys

Monday, July 23, 2012

Rockin' the City of Rocks - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales blog

The hot temps of day 2 I knew had taken a lot out of Thunder. He wasn't tired but even though he is a big red bugger sometimes I still don't want to hurt my horse. But his appetite was good all night and he was raring to go in the morning. There was no way this boy was going to be camp lizard!

My friend Trish Frahm wanted to ride Blue on Day 3 and I figured the "two boys" would enjoy the trail together. Steve Bradley got a great shot of us on the trail! We came into the vet check near Twin Sisters when Colleen who was riding the 25 miler had only 9 minutes left, and we managed to keep her out of the boys sight so not one nicker was heard! Rushcreek Hollie looked great and CM gave me a thumbs up. They went on to finish 3rd in 2:51!! Woohoo!! And another great shot by Steve Bradley!

The route took us on some gravel roads but at least we could usually find a nearby cow trail. The Teeter crew had hauled LOTS of water and the horses stayed tanked up in the cooler weather than day 2...

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City of Rocks: Castle Rocks - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog

Day 2 of City Rocks promised to be a scorcher and it warmed up fast as soon as the sun came up.

Our trail headed towards Castle Rocks Park, a section of private land that had been purchased for National Parks. We rode past the Castle Rock Lodge and up to the Circle Creek trail which we looped around twice.

Then out to the Tracy Homestead for a vet check in the City of Rocks Reserve. Some of this was beautiful and great footing, however we had quite a few miles of hard pack gravel road to connect it all. This was probably my least favorite day because of the rocky roads with no shoulder.

Because it got so hot, 101, several horses had to be rechecked for their Cardiac Recovery Index, including Thunder. His pulse jumped to 68 on the trot out but for our recheck his CRI was 48/48 so I was very relieved and happy about that!!...

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

City of Rocks 2012 – 200 Miles in Idaho! - Karen Chaton

Enduranceridestuff Blog - Full Story

Just back and finding time to write a bit about the City of Rocks ride in South East Idaho. The ride also crossed state lines into Utah.

We had a great time and really enjoyed each day of the ride! I decided at nearly the last minute to go. I had been hemming and hawing over it for some time as I really wanted to go, but then also was weighing going to do Tevis again.

In the end, I decided that I wanted to ride both of my horses and that I’d have a greater chance of riding each horse 100 miles at City of Rocks over going to Tevis where I’d have a 50/50 chance of riding one horse 100 miles. Plus the ride looked like it was in nice country that reminded me a lot of Fort Schellbourne.

The trip to camp was almost 600 miles for me. When I got there, I found the instructions from took me to a campground rather than to ridecamp.

Fortunately I was able to call my husband who looked up Steph’s # and by some miracle was able to reach her and find out that the instructions were indeed wrong and that I was only a mile and a half from where I should be. I was one of the first ones to get to camp, that’s why I had trouble finding camp on my own. A day later and I would have seen enough rigs that I probably would have been able to figure it out on my own. They were able to put up more signs, ribbons and arrows and update the website so others would be able to get to camp without the detour.

I had a day and a half to let the horses rest before the ride started. I like to give them at least a day to rest after they have hauled a long distance. It was hot in camp. I was able to get a pretty good spot on an overgrown RV pad (camp was in an old RV park) with the trailer facing so that it provided shade to the horses in the afternoon when it would be the hottest part of the day. As it turned out, the ground temperature in the sun where my horses were reached 135 degrees. In the shade, it was in the 90′s. It is amazing that the difference in ground temp was consistently 40 degrees different between the sun and shade...

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

City of Rocks - Family Day - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog

July 17 2012

The first days ride was "Indian Grove", a trail that took us up to 7400 feet elevation. We traveled through places like Granite Pass over the California Trail and along many rock formations including Twin Sisters. However the darker spire is much older granite than the other so they are really more like mother and daughter.

We followed several roads taking us along the base of Camp Rock and Register Rock before reaching the lovely dirt trails amid the abundant rock structures. The area reminded me of Colorado's Garden of The God's. I was riding with Layne Simmons, who was aboard Thunder's son, Beautys Harley. We had been in the vet check for about 20 minutes when my friend riding Thunder's dam, Rushcreek Hollie, arrived. They were participating in the 25 and we now had three generations of endurance horses on one trail. I don't think that happens very often and I am not sure that I have ever seen it!

After the vet check we had a lot of mountainous trails. They weren't really steep as it the trail weaved around via switchbacks worn into the dirt and granite.

The scenery was awesome and many of the rocks looked like pyramids or anything you might want them to be...

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Finally a real endurance rider! - Full Story

July 17 2012
by Jillybean19

We completed our first 50 Saturday! It was completely unplanned, but that is just what we did!

Our first two rides were LD's at Owyhee Fandango and Eagle Spring Fling (both in Idaho), and this ride was our first where we planned to ride multiple days at the City of Rocks ride (on the Utah-Idaho border), a brand new ride this year. On Thursday, I rode with the same person I usually do, but, while we haven't had a ton of issues and no pulls, I wanted to go ahead and ride apart for Saturday's ride (we'd planned on another LD together) due to pacing. My solution? Ride the 50! It was beautiful country and I'd already ridden part of it on the previous ride, so why not? I checked with the vets and other people who know me and my horse, and we got lots of encouragement and confirmation that we should be good to go!

So Saturday I was up bright and early for a 6am start. I wanted to go slow since he's never gone more than maybe 30 miles within a week with conditioning and rides, and now I was asking him to do 75 miles within three days. I set the goal of turtleing and found a great group to ride with to take it slow and they have lots of experience. Snickers was losing his mind at the start since he was leaving his buddy, so we went ahead and rode out to the first trough. By then, he'd gotten over leaving his girlfriend and I got of and waited for my riding partners to catch up. I rode with them for the first loop, which was very steep but absolutely gorgeous! They get off and walk a lot, and I even learned to tail with them - WAY easier than trying to lead a horse uphill! It really makes a huge difference and I really recommend trying it if you have a horse that will do it ;) It saved a lot of energy for Snickers on quite a long climb, and I wasn't even winded even though I was exhausted after attempting to lead him for about 100 feet lol.

The vet check was an out vet check, which was new to me for these two rides. All you really need is horse snacks and hay, people snacks, and a re-supply of water. All packed neatly in a gear bag. Easy!...

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

City of Rocks - We are here!!!! - Karen Bumgarner

Karenshorsetales Blog

Over a year ago Steph Teeter and friends began planning the new City of Rocks endurance ride near Almo, ID. The pictures all looked so beautiful I knew I had to go. It takes a lot of work and planning for someone to put on a multi-day ride but hey, it takes a lot of work and planning to get there and ride it too!! It's a darn good thing we all started early!! HAHA

My good friend "Charlie Mongoose" from Washington went with me and we caravaned over with Trish Frahm. We arrived Monday the 9th and got our camp all set up before the big thunderstorm hit. Hmmmm....was this a sign of things to come?

The next day we unhooked the truck and went for a drive up in the City of Rocks Reserve and checked out the campground and a few trails. Gorgeous place is an understatement! Plus there is a great deal of history in the area. This old homestead site, now known as the Tracy Homestead has a very long history and was a vet check site for day 2...

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Dead Dog 2012 - Keith Kibler - Full Story

July 16 2012

First of all, there is no Dead Dog Creak at this ride in Kinmundy, IL. Secondly, it is not in Kinmundy, it is at Stephen Forbes State Park outside of Salem IL. The ride is put on by the lovely Mowrer family with no backing from other groups. They are endurance heroes in my book.

Thirdly, the ride was named after the previous ride where there was also no Dead Dog Creek. Supposedly, there was some ride about 30 years ago that did have a creek that featured a dog past his prime and the name stuck. Go figure. Such is the lore of endurance.

This ride features up and down and around and mud. Usually it has lots of mud and sometimes impassible creeks. They moved the ride date to miss the rainy season. Someone forgot to tell the weather. Record drought fell on the ride site. It left the course with hard as concrete dirt and mummy dust. I have never seen dust on this course before.

Sandy and I held a “This Is Endurance 101” weekend two weeks before the ride and several of those folks who attended showed up to ride. Some showed up to help and learn and they even brought someone. Sandy moved down to the LD to mentor a first time rider on a twh gelding that we had sold him. The new owner was thrilled to try his first ride but apprehensive. I told him to relax, have fun and let Sandy mother him. She is superb at that.

I had a friend come to the pre ride who had done an Ld on his mixed breed gaited horse named Buddy a few years ago. The friend, Kelley is a very experienced and gifted gaited trainer and Buddy is a super horse. In fact, I tried to buy Buddy from him when I started this adventure many years ago. I took Kelley and Buddy to the Ky Horse park a few years ago for their first 50. That course, which was held during the Egyptian Arabian Festival, it extremely stressful on the horse. It was a bit too much for Buddy and Buddy had to be pulled and it really shook Kelley up. Even though Kelley rode one of my mares in a later 50 and ended up tying for 4rth in a very well ridden ride, he was still apprehensive about another attempt with Buddy at 50 miles in hot conditions.

This was to be Kate’s last ride for a while, as I am hoping to breed her. She had been leading her last ride through 34 miles at the Ozark wilderness 100 when she lost a shoe and some hoof, along with the shoe. She had almost 2 months off to get well but her front hoof angles were wrong as not enough hoof had grown to set the angles exactly where I wanted.

Kate was the top endurance point TWH for the last two years and is leading this year. I am riding this weekend for points. Well, I am riding to help Kelley and for points. My plan was to ride on Buddy’s heart rate and let that put us where ever it put us. Kate already had a double 50 weekend this year and a 100 completion. I knew she was ready...

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Sunday, July 08, 2012

Wild West - Nick Warhol

Wild West ride
June 22-24, 2012

Robert and Melissa Ribley held the 14th or 15th or thereabouts annual Wild West 3 day Pioneer Ride at Skillman horse camp, out on highway 20, about 15 miles east of Nevada City. The ride has always been held over Memorial Day weekend, but the weather that early in the year can really be a factor. It is always really nice or really bad- not much in between. I have ridden there in the choking dust, pouring rain, wind, and snow many times. (Usually not at the same time!) They moved the ride out a month this year to help with the clearing of the trails. Robert does most of the trail clearing himself, and that’s a lot of work. This ride is a single track bonanza, and wouldn’t you know it, single track is my favorite.

Judy and Color could not make the trip, since Color’s sore hoof is still on the mend. I took Donnie up on Thursday morning by myself and found a nice, quiet, secluded spot in the woods to camp. Right! The place was absolutely packed. Melissa is the parking cop, and woe be it to you if you park someplace without her blessing. She stuck me in a nice spot, with enough room for Gretchen and Jackie’s rigs when they got there. Gretchen showed up in a while, but Jackie would not come until the next day. So much for her parking spot. I probably could have sold it for a ton of cash! (I would not do that to poor Melissa!) We used up every inch of space- at one point there were 3 rigs blocking me in. Full horse camps, the works. They were great- they approached me and said they would do what it took to get me out of there when I had to go. You always get to see and hear parking disasters here- the crunch of metal on trees is far too common. (And the cursing that always follows!)

We got a real treat when guess who pulls into camp with a horse- Julie Suhr was riding! The last ride she had completed was in 2008, so this was a pretty neat thing to see. (She has 30,000 miles!) She and Barbara had been doing a lot of riding, so she was going to give the 30 mile ride a try on Friday. Even though she tried to play it down, the camp was buzzing with the news- “Julie’s here, and riding? Really? Fantastic!” They parked in a temporary spot next to me that turned out to be their permanent camp. (Who’s going to evict her? I would have given her my spot if I could have gotten out!)
The weather on Thursday afternoon was nice- a little warm, perhaps 80 degrees, but very, very dry and dusty. That’s one downside of the date change; Sierra Nevada trail dust in the summer is the pits. On Friday morning at 7am Gretchen and I rode out of camp on the first of two loops on the 55 miler. We had a road warrior loop first, which consisted of lots of fire roads for about 20 miles. It was nice enough, and wound around through the forest, but it was only roads and was pretty dusty in spots. (At least we got to avoid that monster climb that used to be on the Scotts flat ride) We had a quick 30 minute hold before setting out on the second loop, the pink loop that was talking us to the meadow. This was the second year we got to go to Bear Valley, which is as nice a vet check/lunch stop as there is in all of the state. The second loop left lunch on single track, but then headed over to Omega road. Yuck. Three and a half miles of really hard pack gravel. It will be over soon. After a long, clomping trot we hung a right on the bear trail (I call it that ‘cause I saw a bear here once) and climbed back up to the highway rest stop (“Can we pet the horsie, please?”) then back across highway 20. Now we get the deluxe single track for about 10 miles out to the meadow. Really nice, but dusty for the people behind. Sorry Gretchen, but you know how much Donnie likes to be out front......... She put up with following my horse for most of the day. A long, downhill, switchback trail leads down to the one hour hold at the

meadow. It’s two way traffic, and can be a little hairy when you come across riders coming back up, but this year we had absolutely zero issues. Everyone was very good about giving way where they could. Once at the meadow we got to spend the one hour hold in the beautiful meadow in lush, green grass about three feet high. My buddy Rob Lydon vetted us through, and all too soon we were on our way back to camp and the finish. We missed a turn thanks to a pink forest service ribbon, but after wandering around for a bit got that figured out. The return trip was 12 miles or so of 100% single track. Oh yeah! We had to climb back up the long hill from the meadow, but once at the summit it’s a nice, slight downhill all the way to the finish. We finished at about 4:45 or so for a long day, but way more than half the ride was still behind us. The first thing I did was to ask about Julie’s ride- Melissa reported she finished just fine and had a wonderful ride. How cool is that! They had already left the camp, but their prime parking spot was quickly taken by a lucky rider. Every parking spot was full and then some. It was packed! Jackie had shown up during the day but was wedged tightly into a spot between some trees. A beer, a hot shower, dinner, walk the horses, ride meeting, and go to bed in that order. I went to bed before 9pm, and was sleeping soundly until about midnight, when I was awakened by, what is that? Yes, rain. It was raining, and reasonably hard. I hopped outside to give Donnie a better blanket, and in the morning I was glad I had. It was still raining lightly as we tacked up for day two, but it was more of a mist than rain. Okay, it was rain, but very light. It was in no way muddy or slippery, but just enough rain had fallen to make the footing perfect. Oh yummy!

Day two is a neat day that has a little of everything in it. We start out on forest roads for about 3-4 miles, then I hop off to lead down the gonzo downhill single track that every time I go down I’m thankful we don’t have to go up it. It’s long, twisty, and straight down through the trees. Really steep in spots. It ends at the river where the horses drink, then its straight back up that climb on the other side on a very long, steep uphill jeep road for a couple of miles. Donnie was blazing up the climb; I had to remind him to walk please, which he does. We pass by houses in the boonies that are accessed from this road, and finally arrive at the top and a water trough right across the highway. Big drinks all around, then it’s time for the wonderful single track that parallels the highway for about 5 miles. This trail is a blast, and the footing was perfect. We had somehow ended up with a pack of about 7 horses following me, which is a lot. We were going really fast, with me leading, just flying down this trail, when we came across Bill Gore taking pictures as he always does. The group flashed by, all smiles, but it turns out the woman who was in the rear of our group had her horse slip and fall right in the turn where Bill was. She hit hard and injured her shoulder and probably got a concussion. Bill helped her out and brought her back to the vet check to get help. That’s what good people do. I never even knew it happened until after the ride! We got to the vet check for our 30 minute hold, and once done, we decided to split up. It’s just too hard to ride with a group that big. I went with Jackie and our new friend Marina from Canada, while Gretchen joined up with Cassandra DiMaggio. We went and rode the next loop that takes you downhill to the spotters and water, more single track and forest roads for about 12 miles, back to the spotter, then back up to the vet check for lunch. (I showed Jackie where Zayante had been stuck in a bog one year- yuck) The weather was perfect and the footing great. The trail now heads back to camp along the several miles of single track along the highway, which is fun on its own, but then we get treated to the flume trail. This baby is a tight, narrow, single track on an elevated ridge in the forest that runs alongside an old logging flume. It’s a tight, twisty, knee knocker as you slalom along between the trees.

Some people don’t like trotting on this trail, but, well, trot we must! This goes for a couple of great miles, then it’s up the beautiful halleluiah hill single track to the final couple of miles of single track to the finish. (another bear trail) It was faster today- we finished around 1:45, except poor Gretchen and Cassandra, who were behind us, took a wrong turn at the top of the hill and went out on the orange loop for a long while before turning around and making it to the finish. Tonight was the pot luck dinner, which is always good. Our neighbors brought this homemade chili that was excellent. More walking of amazing horses, the ride meeting, a few minutes around the camp fire, but then back to bed.

Sunday morning brought more perfect weather, but some of the trails in the sunlight were getting dusty in spots after only one day. Today for our first loop we got a forest loop, then back out to the meadow again on the second loop. Gretchen, Jackie, and I headed out at 7am on single track right from the start for about 3 miles over to the overflow parking at the overlook, then climbed back up over the top of Halleluiah hill and to the water stop. From here we usually head out on some roads and to a mix of trails and roads for the loop, but this year Robert had something else in mind. He had said in the meeting “I hope ‘yall like single track- the orange loop is pretty good.” He went nuts! Once we dipped into the forest we were in a maze of single track trails that even I could not figure out. I have ridden here a lot, and we went places I have never been. Left, right, between bushes, over bushes, trees, up, down, bike trails, horse trails, no trails- we were on a deep forest adventure that I could not believe. We must have made a hundred turns in that 7-8 miles. It was somewhat slow going, but was some of the neatest trail riding I have done. (With the exception of the surly bees that attacked us a bit!) How do people find these trails? They joked the map was a “generalization.” Right. I’d challenge anyone to map that trail. Most of it was on trails without names, and if you used a GPS and did a plot it would look like the track was made by a drunken fly. It was really, really fun. We left the trees and lush forest behind and had an hour lunch at camp. I told Robert that he better never, ever, change or remove that orange loop from the ride. So what if it took a month to clear and mark? (Thanks Robert!) The last loop was modified a bit for the better. Robert removed the almost pavement like Omega road, so the trip to the meadow was 100% single track all the way out and back. This day really is the single track day. We rode out up the Pioneer trail again, heading up to the high country. The trail down to the meadow was quite a bit more beat up than it was on Friday- I was a little surprised how trashed it had become with the rocks buried under the silt. The dust was back after only one day- sorry Gretchen. Her horse Spice is not really thrilled to be out front- that’s my rationalization for being in front all weekend. (Donnie’s favorite spot!) We spent our hold letting the horses eat that lush grass in the meadow, then moseyed back up the long trail to the summit, and then re-traced the trail all the way back to camp. Bill Whitlock had been riding with us for a lot of the day; with about 8 miles to go he went in front and whoosh- gone. He reported having a lot of fun blazing in on his still fresh horse. We trotted the whole way back in and to the finish of the third day.

Donnie looked like he always does- ready to keep going. (Robert- maybe a 5 day?) Its nice when you are done- toss the tack in the trailer and forget about it. Let the horse roll (10 times!) Have several beers, kick back at the dinner, and then when the awards are over, sit and listen to the musicians they had come out to entertain us around the camp fire. Not a bad way to spend an evening.

Do I like this ride? I’d say so. After this year I am 24 for 24 at 50’s here, and Donnie is 15 for 15. Not too shabby. Melissa is so cool- last year I jokingly griped that I have way too many 3 day sweatshirts in my closet, so she asked what I wanted instead? I said, half-jokingly, “a crew bag”? “Sure”, she replied. She got me a nice, big, red, crew bag with the Wild West logo and Donnie’s name embroidered on it that I now use on every ride. Is that neat ,or what? This year I said, “Ho hum, another sweatshirt”, half fishing for another nice prize. She said “What do you want this year?” “How about a hay bag”? “You got it.” This is great! Next year it will be a monogrammed 911 turbo. I will be here next year. (If not only to get some more of those cool etched glass giant beer mugs!)
Next stop- Tevis number 10.
Nick Warhol Hayward, Ca.

Monday, July 02, 2012

Colorado Mountain Mettle 2012: Are You Fit to Compete?

Notes from a Rookie blog

Posted on July 1, 2012 by admin

As an endurance rider, you know that the criteria for the successful completion of a ride is having your horse pronounced “Fit to Continue” at the end of the ride. But before you ever begin a ride, especially one like Mountain Mettle, this critical question must first be answered: Are you and your horse fit to compete?

Some rides are easier than others, and there are a number of well-known rides that demand a “yes” answer to this critical question…..Tevis, Old Dominion, Death Valley, and Yellowhammer are a few that come to my mind. So before you attempt the Mountain Mettle Endurance ride, you’re better off knowing from the start that this gorgeous mountain ride is a “black diamond” run demanding the ultimate in fitness of both horse and rider.

Elevation climbs, technical trail, rocky descents and occasional triple digit heat are the hallmarks of this ride—combined with Rocky Mountain forest floors full of aspens, wild flowers, towering mountain views, and the incongruous patchwork quilt of urban Denver spread out below among red rock outcroppings to the east. Vet checks are held out on trail, which is my preference, but something that can also be tricky to deal with in the event of accidents or sick horses and people. Mountain Mettle isconsistently described by experienced endurance riders as “tougher than Tevis.” As such, it’s the perfect conditioning ride to gauge your readiness for a notoriously tough course like Tevis. It’s also the quintessential Front Range Colorado mountain ride, and one that you can say with pride, “We did it!”

I was able to sit down with some of this year’s top competitors to learn some of the things they did—and didn’t do—to successfully complete the ride at the top of the pack. In addition to an already tough course, this year was made more

so by triple digit heat indices on both days and no less than eleven wildfires burning in the presently drought-stricken state of Colorado. The following are some recipes for success that could help you and your horse better prepare for competition in your next endurance race:

The Serious Recreational Endurance Rider

Carla Hays, 1st Place in the 30

Carla Hays and her 8 year old Quarter Horse, Indigo, are an amazing anomaly in the world of Limited Distance endurance riding. Indigo is a handsome grullo Quarter Horse gelding with bull-dog conformation and old style breeding (Hancock line and Smart Little Lena) that gave him plenty of bone and big, strong hooves. His heavy build and Quarter Horse breeding fly in the face of a sport dominated by Arabians with greyhound physiques. When they’re not competing in Limited Distance rides, both Carla and Indigo love chasing cows and working in the arena.

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Colorado Mountain Mettle - Paul Sidio

June 22-23 2012

Earlier this year, I was looking for a 100 mile ride as a prep for General Lee before Tevis. Colorado Mountain Mettle sounded perfect. It had away vet checks, plenty of hills and rocks,and beautiful scenery. As a bonus, it was a two day ride, so We could do the 50 on Piper on Day 1 and then the 100 on General Lee on Day 2.

It was about a 770 mile haul for us, so we broke it up into two days. Basecamp was a nice open field with good grazing. Plenty of room for pens. RM had put out plenty of horse water tubs. Everything was good to go. Then it warmed up, and warmed up some more until it went crazy hot over 100 degrees record temps. I think some folks decided that it was going to be too hot, so they stayed home. It was hot, but humidity was in the 5%-10% range.

So on Day 1, we took off with 16 other riders. After a gradual climb through open fields. we hit the woods, and started serious climbing. Even though we were gaining and losing a lot of elevation, the trails had lots of switchbacks.In the first 12 1/2 miles, I only got off Piper one time to tail a short way up a hill. The vet check was swarming with helpful volunteers. I try to avoid knowing where we are placing wise, so am not sure where we were at this point of the ride. After a 30 minute hold we headed out to a new piece of trail that wound up on the Colorado Trail.

This is where the fun began. It was beautiful, but very technical. Lots of up and down, and twisty trail. Then there was a section that needs a name. There were three places of about 100-200 feet each of steep slippery rock. Think of Cougar Rock times three. Except this was narrow, and tree lined. There were also two low hanging trees. I dismounted and led Piper through. There was also some steep hills that I tailed up, and some I led down. We went through Aspen groves, pine stands, and spectacular overlook views. By the time we covered the 12 1/2 miles to the next vet check, we had taken over 2 1/2 hours. Piper is not a fast flat open land trail horse, but does well on the tough trails. He has great recoveries. It was fun to see the vet's face when Pipers pulse was 44 only 4 or 5 minutes after getting to the check. After the CRI trot out, it dropped to 40. After a 30 minute hold, we turned around and did that section again in reverse. It was the hardest 25 mile
section of
trail I have ever ridden. Adding to the fun was the heat which got around 100 degrees. Even though Colorado is very dry right now, there was still water on the trail. In places we might not have any, the RM put out tons of tubs for drinking and sponging.

We had now done 37 miles. It was now seriously hot. We had a 1 hour hold. I had been drinking more water than at any previous ride. We have done rides with high heat and humidity, and this heat wasn't as draining, we still drank a lot. Piper had done a hard 50 mile ride in Missouri 4 weeks before in 6:40. This ride we were going a lot slower. The last leg was not nearly as difficult as the last 25 miles. One of the best things on this ride was the views of the Denver metro area from the ridges as we headed home down the ridges.

We cruised on home and were surprised to find that even though our ride time was 9 hours, we were in second place. It would up that only 8 of the 17 entries came in and completed.

By the time we had awards, ate some dinner, took a shower, and got General Lee vetted in and ready, I only got 3 1/2 hours sleep. That morning we started off at 4:30 am. Only 7 riders answered the call for the 100 miles. My wife thought I was crazy to do this 100 after such a tough 50, as the temps were going to be even warmer. The first 38 miles had road, and trails in a county park that were nice and flat with mostly excellent footing. We had an away vet check, and then came back to base camp for the one hour hold. Then we headed out to do mostly the same trails we had done the day before. General Lee was strong and eager. When we vetted in, he acted like a wild untrained horse. He must have known what was coming :-)

By the vet check at 58 miles, we lost several riders.No major problems, but smart riders quitting before their horses got injured. The tough 12 1/2 mile stretch seemed even longer on this day. I was riding with Pauline Middleton, a first time 100 mile rider whose horse had a nice fast walk and trot. We had to hustle as the had a 7:00pm cutoff for leaving the river hold. RM didn't want riders hitting that slick rock section in the dark. We made it with 5 minutes to spare. After the turnaround and hold, we had gone about 3 miles back home and caught the lead horse, when I noticed Paulines horse had twisted a shoe. we stopped, and I pulled it off. If we tried to trot too much, she would have gotten back to the next vet check with a torn up hoof, and likely a lame horse. So we walked...and walked...found a few places to trot, but mostly...we walked. It got dark. it got dizzy out. Pauline had some electrolyte in an insulated water bottle that kept me going. We got to the vet check, and a friend of hers re-shod her horse. My wife had shown up to the vet check and took care of Lee for me, and I just rested. I was toast. Worn out, over heated, underfed, and sleep deprived. So I tried a 5 hour energy drink, and we hit the trail. The trail boss for the ride , Linda, was riding drag, so she went out just behind us. Lee was full of energy, and we trotted in the dark making time. Pauline was having problems, so we slowed down. More walking. About 2:00am, we came on the first overlook views of Denver. After being in the middle of nowhere for so many hours, it was an impressive sight to look out at all the city lights. We stopped several times to admire the view. After more time we finally hit flatter land.

I told Pauline we had two options. #1: Agree to tie for 2nd place. ( there was the rider ahead of us, Amanda Fant from Texas, but everybody else had pulled). or Option #2: The Race of Death. Run our horse as fast as they would go ...downhill.. in the dark... after 96 miles... I told her that Lee was up for the Race of Death, but I preferred the tie option. She did too:-)

So at 3:35 am, 23 hours and 5 minutes after leaving camp we came to the finish line. Both horses vetted through great. I was so weak, and unsteady, I had to get a volunteer to trot my horse out. We had indeed finished to win. The next morning General Lee, did his BC presentation like a horse vetting in for a ride instead of a horse that had done a really tough 100 miles. He got BC and High Vet Score. We received very nice awards which included a very nicely designed belt buckle. None of the 100 mile horses required any treatment on a tough day. The RM, staff, vets, and volunteers were all terrific. They made our successes possible.

This ride is a very tough test of horse and rider, but well worth the effort. Under normal weather conditions, we would have had much higher completion rates both days. The views are spectacular, and varied. We plan to come back and see it again. Put it on your bucket list if you like riding well marked challenging trail with great views.

Paul N. Sidio
KMA Chazz Piper
VA Southern Gentleman ( General Lee)
Spokane Missouri

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Retackling the Tevis Update

Judyshatir Blog

by Judy Shatir

Wow folks, it's been almost two months since my last entry! Sorry to keep you hanging! So much for reporting on the American River Ride! This shows how hard it is to keep your life together while preparing for Tevis. Its a juggling act, let me tell you. It certainly is not anywhere as easy as it was back in the eighties and nineties when I was young. Also the crappy economy is not helping. But everything is going well with only a few small glitches.

So much has happened in two months. First, I'll fill you in on how drag riding the American River Ride went. This is the oldest 50 miler in the country. It started in the 60's. It used to start down in Sacramento at the Cal Expo State Fairgrounds, then later up in the town of Folsom, the home of the Folsom Prison of the Johnny Cash song. We had to travel down a bunch of pavement for the first couple of miles due to the trail being paved for bikes, and it got old. So this year we started on the shores of Folsom Lake and travelled up the shoreline until it narrowed into the American River, North Fork. It was a crowded ridecamp, but it was nice. We got there kinda late, just in time for briefing, and managed to find a slot for the rig.

I made as many preparations as possible that evening, not being a morning person. I put on her EZ boot Gloves and wrapped her pasterns with vet wrap under the gaiters in case they rubbed. I had used the front ones only once, and the back ones not at all. It was a bit risky, but they fit well. Sue was going to try to do the whole 50, but ride management told her she could have a 25 completion if she chose to stop. She brought along her friend Stephen, and he was a godsend. He helped a lot with everything. I don't know what we would have done without him, as we had to get up before dawn and be at the starting line at 5:30, otherwise known as getting up at damn dark thirty. Usually you only do this for hundreds. I did not do well with it, needing my beauty sleep before a ride.

It still took us a while to get ready and we got to the starting line at 5:55. We got started, and after a short time I noticed the boots in front twisting. I got off and straightened them and we got on our way. I guess there were a lot of late starters because we had lots of company on the trail. We went past a lot of nice houses near the lake and passed a group of tom turkeys having a display-off, with their feathers all fanned out and posing and strutting. Then we saw a semi-tame coyote who let us pass withing ten feet of him as he strolled along...

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Ft Howes - Heather Reynolds

Reynolds Racing - Full Story

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Jeremy and I loaded up 4 horses on Thursday morning at 4 am to head to Ft Howes to try our luck at another year of races in beautiful Montana. We took Cleopatrah and Chanses for the 100/160 FEI race and Honor and Bailey for the 75/120 FEI race. The drive from Durango is long but not compared to our drive we usually do from CA. It was going to take 14 hours plus stops. Actual time was 16 hours.

We had a very uneventful drive and drove through in one day. I read the Hunger Games book out loud as we drove and although we have both seen the movie it was still entertaining. We arrived at Ft Howes about 8 pm. We set up camp and discovered that our inverter on our living quarters had died. No power in the rig unless plugged into the generator. Oh well. Ron Donley was over helping while Jeremy Olson and Jeremy Reynolds were diagnosing. Ron brought us over two lanterns and we decided to just go to sleep.

Friday morning we got up and went for two rides to get all 4 horses out. They all felt good. Then we set up crew stuff and checked in. Skip and his two friends Karl and Brian showed up and looked over the crew area and made some tweaks to how they wanted it.

On Friday night the race had an awesome steak BB-Q after the ride meeting. Bill Stevens does an outrageous job grilling up steaks. Mark Devotee was playing live music while we ate. Very cool. Skip made a request for "Red Solo Cup" and Mark did his best to sing it although it was not one he knew well. It was funny, I had never heard the song before.

We headed back to our camp and we had about 12 people come over and all hang out. We listened to music and chatted until 10 when it was lights/noise out for the camp. We headed to sleep.

Saturday was the FEI 75. Bailey and Honor warmed up and then we were off. Bailey was having a rough loop...

Read more here:

Hat Creek Hustle 2012: Day 1, A Success - Bird

RedheadedEndurance Blog - Full Story

Friday-->Saturday 50 miler

I was out of the driveway by 7 am Friday and after a stop for fuel and ice we were on the highway headed for Lassen. My gps and google mapping directed me on a different route than my husband and I took last year to the ride, but the route I drove still seemed very familiar to me. It took me ¾ of the drive there to remember I had taken this scenic route toward Susanville to try out a horse a few years ago, before I bought Desire.

I ended up taking the tourist route through Lassen Park itself, which included a $10 entry fee and 30 minutes of white knuckled, map-double-checking driving (but careful, don’t check that map for long!) along the edge of a cliff. It was a beautiful, slow, windy drive at 15-25 mph tops. Snow was six feet on the sides of the road and the views were breath taking, as was the wicked drop off immediately on the passenger side of the road. I won’t take that route again with truck and trailer as the $10 fee and slow speeds were slightly resented (by moi), but it was worth doing once!

Ride camp was still pretty empty when I pulled in around 11 am and I tucked the rig back in the trees in almost the exact same spot as last year. No one was around to see my ungodly struggle to the get the canopy up, luckily. So, turns out the “Easy-up” canopies, while easy for 2 people, are incredibly sucky to put up by yourself. The winsomely simple illustration of squeezing the cross bars up to click the top into place…um, maybe if I had Schwarzenegger hand strength, but in my case it was more like pushing, pinching, squeezing, wedging, swearing, and CLICK! Triumph. So it wasn’t a pretty process, but I *did* recreate the cozy Arabian Nights Tent my husband usually constructs for us.

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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Owyhee Fandango 100 - Nick Warhol

May 27, 2012

There isn't much better than going to a ride for the first time, especially a new 100. There are not that many around, and I'm trying to do as many 100's as I can on Donnie while I can, so it seemed natural to pack up and drive fourteen and a half hours to Idaho for the Owyhee Fandango 100, located at Steph and John Teeters, about 50 miles south of Boise. We have known these guys forever it seems, and have visited their place in the past, but without horses. Their ranch is in the middle of basically nowhere, next to open space, near nothing really, except more empty land. Sounds like the perfect recipe for a ride!

We decided to try driving up in one day, giving the boys 2 full days to rest and recover in the glorious sunshine of Idaho before the ride on Sunday. Mistake number one of two. It was a long, long, drive. Too long, in fact, and we won't be doing that again soon. (The two day drive coming home was a world better) We stopped twice for them to get out for a half hour every four hours, and for fuel, and food, but it just droned on forever. Mistake number two of two- assuming the great state of Idaho has glorious sunshine all the time. Well, this particular week Nevada, Oregon, and Idaho all shared some pretty crappy weather. It was okay till about 4 hours from the end, but then the rain came down, hard at times. It got down to 36 or so degrees outside, in fact the truck helpfully warned us there was possibly ice out there! We had not seen that warning before. Great! We slogged through the wet and finally arrived at the ranch about 9pm. Set up camp, say hi, go directly to bed.

The ride was a three day of sorts over the Memorial Day weekend. It included no less than: a 50 and 25 on Friday, a 50 and 25 on Saturday, and a whopping 30, 60, 80, and 100 including an elevator option on Sunday. The overall turnout wasn't what Steph hoped for; I think on the first day 23 started the 50, and 11 on the 25 in the rain. Judy and I worked the finish line on Friday in the on-and-off rain and wind. (We got to stay in the camper during the rain in the morning!) We went for a ride in the late afternoon, but Judy noticed that Color was a touch off in the front. Hmmmm. She found a little eucalyptus acorn in his foot wedged into the shoe. We could not make the lameness re-appear, so we let it go until the next day. The first day ended with soggy, but generally happy riders.

The rain came down during the night, and continued all Saturday morning and into the early afternoon. We thought about those guys out on the ride who were really wet. We played cards, read books, napped and killed time in the nice, new camper. (It has a pop out!) The rain finally let up a little in the late afternoon, allowing us to go for another ride in the light rain. Color seemed fine, but then not, then fine- very inconsistent. We could not make it show up trotting him on the hard ground. We went to vet in for Sunday's ride, and on the pea-gravel he was off. Slight, but consistent. Judy could not start. We joked that Color just wanted a trip to see his 'native' Idaho, being an Appy, but that's the way the sport goes sometimes. Donnie was splendid, and felt very strong. I went to bed hoping the weather would calm down for ride day. I'd go out in a monsoon, but would sure rather not.

I didn't have to! The Idaho endurance gods smiled on all of us, providing cold, breezy, and dry weather. It was overcast on Sunday morning, but no rain. The rain had done us a favor- the sandy terrain was now wet and absolutely perfect. I call it 1-800-Traction; you can't buy footing like this. At 6am I left poor Judy and Color and headed out in the cold air. The 100 started out down the main ranch driveway for a half mile or so. We turned left at the water tough and onto the trails that were so perfect. A couple of little single track climbs up and down little valleys dumped us onto a few miles of prime roads and trails in the high desert. It was slightly downhill a few miles to the highway crossing, and once across, there were more washes and more perfect, single track trails. Donnie and I were riding alone, but he decided he'd rather go catch up with a pair of horses a little ahead of us. We boogied on up and hooked up with two riders, Trish Frahm and Kathleen Edman, who were both doing their first 100s via the 80 mile elevator option. We rode along pretty quickly through a section of an off-road vehicle area that looked pretty cool. We rode along for a few miles on more nice roads and trails across rolling terrain, then at 15 miles we hit the first vet check at the Sierra something or something Sierra ranch. This place was really neat- a big, modern, adobe ranch house, miles of grass or alfalfa fields, a lake- just beautiful. The owners were very nice to let us in and enjoy it. A quick 30 minute hold and we left and rode right onto the Oregon trail. The actual Trail. It's a tight, twisty, uphill climb up a little draw that was about a half mile long. It's a neat feeling riding on a piece of history, just like riding on the actual pony express trail at Fort Schelbourne. We trotted along for a while with Bruce and Nance Worman, talking about Charles Manson and outlaws who used to terrorize possys in this area. Why? Who knows? Suddenly we crested a little rise, and right before us lay the Snake River canyon. Wow! A mile across, a half mile deep, like a little Grand Canyon, and almost as pretty. I could not believe the view; we stopped and took some pictures. The trail hung a left, and we got to ride along the top of the canyon to the, well, left, for several miles. You could look down the canyon and see the river far below. We trotted across a couple of miles of flat meadow with green grass tufts that we let the horses stop and eat on occasion. We continued along in perfect footing until the turn! We hung a right and headed downhill on a gravel road for a mile and a half or so to the river. I mean right to the river, as in we got to stop and drink from it. Well, the horses did. Now we are in the bottom of the canyon with the walls going straight up for a long ways. The Snake is a real river- deep, swift, swirling, wide, and very cold. (In Las Vegas, where I grew up, moist ground is a creek, standing water is a stream, and if it moves it's a river.) It was Memorial Day weekend, so we saw quite a few campers and fisherman on the other side, quite a ways away. We started trotting along the river's edge and continued to do so for about 15 miles. On nice little two track roads, single track, up and down little hills, sometimes right next to the water. The trail took us through a section of original Indian petroglyphs that were as good as they get. The 60's turned around here and headed home on the same trail. We continued on along the river and into the half mile section called the boulders. Yes, they were. It was a very rocky section that only people or horses could get through. Slow, careful walking through here. It was a little like parts of the Granite Chief Wilderness on Tevis, but not as nasty. I called parts of it Dicey, but only if you tried to hurry through it. Once clear, we found nice, trotable single track for a couple of miles to the radio stop and water. We turned right as the river bent that way and rode another four miles to the bridge. Steph said we were going to cross the river on a bridge to the vet check. This river is a few hundred yards across, and I'm imagining a rope swing or something. Nope- it's a real, old, unused railroad bridge converted for people and horses. Donnie led the way across the long bridge, a long way up from the river. Very cool! Off the other end and a quarter mile to the vet check. We all pulsed down and spent 50 minutes eating and enjoying the scenery. There were still some dark clouds patches far away, but we had not seen a drop of rain. We heard a rumor that some riders had been hailed on, but how could that be? Not soon enough for me we headed out and back across the bridge. Now we just had to ride the same trail backward, back the 40 miles to camp. Just fine with me! I got to see all the stuff I missed going the other direction. We rode back through the nasty rocks, along the river, back through the petroglyphs, and all the way along the river to the climb out. We walked up it, with Donnie tailing me, all the way up. Once on top it was full trot back across the open plains and towards that amazing view spot. I realized something- it was warm! The sky was blue and it was warming up. More miles of nice trotting back to the Oregon Trail again and down to the ranch for another 50 minute hold. Dennis Sousa was there with a pair of good looking horses- both Jennifer and Joyce had been pulled for lameness. Bummer! That rarely happens to those guys. He helped out crewing as he always does, allowing me to eat my hot dog that the ride provided. The ranch owners had opened up a field of grass for us to graze on, so while I grazed on my hot dog Donnie got to eat for 45 minutes in a field of grass they were probably going to harvest soon. What a treat!

The weather was actually getting warm, so I peeled down to a tee shirt and tied the other layers around my waist. The three of us left the check together, but Trish's horse Sahara was slowing down a little. Kathleen held back with her, so Donnie and I trotted off alone for the 15 miles back to base camp. We cruised along at our nice consistent trot, gobbling up the short miles back to camp. We came back on a different trail that was a little faster; we got to ride up on top of the ridge along Stephs little valley. Back over the two little ridges on single track, then we trotted on in, getting back to camp at 80 miles at about 6:55 pm. Color was happy to see us, well, Donnie anyway, and the two whooped and hollered. I vetted through quickly and let the boy eat during his third 50 minute hold. Judy happily took care of my horse while I ate- thanks sweetie! (until she found out that I had finished the meat balls. Then not so happy!) My out time was 7:45, 20 miles to go, and there was still lots of daylight left. We said good bye to Judy and the bellowing Color and trotted back out the trail the way we had come in. We had to backtrack about 7 miles on the trail we had just done on the way in. We saw Meri at the water trough on the way out, and I said we were going it alone. She said yep, but it will just be you and him in the cool evening. (She wished she could come!) Donnie is so good about this- he just goes along at a nice trot, not caring that we were all alone and going back out. The evening was coming on, the weather was perfect, the footing great, the trail fun, the scenery just spectacular, me and my horse just bopping along- you can't ask for much more. Except maybe more miles.

We trotted along on nice, soft, two-track jeep roads that led to the highway crossing; once across I let him graze for about ten minutes, then we continued down the 3 miles or so of flat, wide, gravel road heading away from camp. We trotted along to the huge ranch at the end of the road, said hi to some ranchers, and then made the right hand bend back towards camp. This road was a nice, rolling, sandy two track that wound around a little in some small hills before making the actual turn towards home. The sun was getting low in the sky as we headed back towards the other highway crossing heading back. We saw the nice guys there taking numbers, had another drink (there was lots of water on the trail) and headed out to the most fun I have had on my horse in a long while. I'll set the stage: the sun was setting with a beautiful sunset, it was cool out, no wind, we were going across the open desert on single track trail through the sage brush that smelled so good, about 7 miles to go, mild rolling terrain, the footing was perfect, just him and me together, and my horse felt as if I had just gotten on his back in the morning. We were trotting fast, and broke into a canter. Donnie and I ran the couple of miles of this wonder trail, jumping bushes, weaving in and out, just flying across the desert the way the old cowboys made it look. I was just grinning the whole time. It was so much fun it's impossible to describe. That few minutes of riding made the whole trip worthwhile. If someone asks why in the world would you do endurance, this is why. To feel like this after 90 miles; I get goose bumps thinking about it. Am I weird? I hope not.

All and far too soon we ran out of desert to canter in. The trail dumped us back on the main driveway to the ranch which we trotted down for a couple of miles. There are cattle guards on this road, but not too worry- we hung a left and headed across the little valley towards the foothills that line the, well, one side of the valley. I noticed a glow stick for the first time since it was starting to get a little dark. We trotted along on a long road / sandwash behind the hills, still heading in the direction of camp. I knew at some point we had to climb up to the right and over the ridge to get home, but we went further than I expected to get to that turn. Donnie was sure camp was to the right- he was correct, but we sort of needed that trail to progress towards home. Finally we hung the right, and Donnie just jammed up that climb of a few hundred vertical feet. Whoa horsie! He cantered up and took off on the single track that rolled up and down a few hills, all on single track. We were cooking along, and finally after the little downhill we saw camp. Donnie called out to Color as he always does, Color responded, and we suddenly had the horse philharmonic going on. What in the heck are they saying to each other? We actually had to pass camp completely by a quarter mile or so and then come back to the finish. You would think we were going to Barstow! Horses, you guys are waking the dead! Those in camp sure knew I was coming! We crossed the creek and trotted briskly back to the finish camp in 7th place, ride time 13 and a half hours, where the two horses finally shut up. It was about 10:15 pm or so and getting cooler out. The D horse said something to Color at the finish water trough, drank a ton, and vetted out great. I wanted to go back out and do that section of desert again, but sleep sounded better. We put the boys to bed, I had a hot shower and retired for the night.

Monday morning dawned with the nicest weather yet. Cool, sunny, slight breeze. The ride provided a superb breakfast, (quiche, bacon, sausage, French toast AND pancakes!) and after the awards we began packing up camp. We said good bye and left around 9:30 and drove the 7 or so hours to Winnemucca to the fairgrounds for the night. There was a huge mule event going on the next weekend, and already the long eared beasts were showing up. I put the horses in the sand arena- Donnie rolled probably 10 times, jumped up, and then took off trotting. We were out of place with our spotted horse and my little Arabian pony compared to these giant mules. The people there were complementary- He did 100 miles? But he's so SMALL! That's what they all say. The fairgrounds at Winnemucca is a great place to stop for the night. We walked to downtown and had a nice vacation dinner at a Mexican place that was actually very good. Poor Judy- some vacation. 29 hours in a trailer, 3 days in ridecamp, and a Mexican dinner in Winnemucca. That's okay- there's next time. On Tuesday morning we drove on home, arriving in the afternoon. The two day trip is the ticket, and will be for future long distance events.

Suzanne Hayes and Sue Summers tied for the win with a ride time a hair short of ten hours, and Sue's horse Mag's Motivator (great name) would get the BC. Sixteen started the 100, 12 finished, and Kathleen did elevate up from the 80 and finished her first 100. Special thanks to Steph and John for putting on the ride. It was a great trail and a well done ride, and would make a great first 100, especially since you can choose to do the 80 and elevate to the 100 if your horse is looking good. If the ride were only a little closer to something, like California, say. The turnout was small, but all rides had excellent finishing percentages. No horse problems that I'm aware of, great trails, incredible scenery, plenty of water on the trail, (it would be kind of hard to have a ride full of horses drink the snake river), excellent vets and ride management- what else is there? Oh yes- the horse. It helps to have a horse like I do. He's sure fun to ride, and I hope to keep doing it for as long as possible. Next stop: Wild West 3 day, then Tevis.

Nick Warhol

Hayward, Ca