Wednesday, August 16, 2023

2023 Midnight Rider - Connie Holloway

August 14 2023
by Connie Holloway

It’s so nice when your hard work pays off, and I’ve been working hard on both of my horses.With DWA Barack going on our fourth year together. (I am going to write a story about him and our attachment issues. But I think we’re fairly well attached to each other now, somewhere this year, I really started to love this horse.) And DWA Papillon is coming along wonderfully.

We had so much fun at the Mount Adams endurance ride. And that’s why I’m in it I realized more for the fun than anything else and I love challenges. Things you have to work hard for. That put you in all kinds of situations and riding horses in the outdoors because all the elements, various terrain, can be super tricky at times and all the wild stuff that jumps out at you etc. So much is out of your control and it’s all fairly exciting, and throw wind and thunderstorms and that’s interesting. But we had none of that. We had stellar weather.

Speaking of stellar I took DWA Papillon out on the night ride. On Saturday both rides were at night. We did the first 12 mile loop in the daylight and the second time at night. Bobbi does this to give riders an opportunity to take there horse out at nite, normally only hundred mile rides you’re out in the dark! I so love this concept. Also, Christoph gave an excellent talk on riding at night. I learned so much more that was really helpful for me and my horse.

I chose to ride by myself with Pappy as usual and Pappy was a bit anxious and energetic. On the first loop leaving camp I decided to get off him and lead him for a bit, because his action was more up-and-down than forward and he was riled up. He could hear the horses coming in his direction through the woods on the road but not quite see them. I had started him last he didn’t know what to think of it all but I knew he’d settle down. I got on him as soon as I got down to the flat road and he took off at like a 20 mph trot. I did not know he could trot out that fast. !!!!!

He’s got a super good mind snd did settle down after the climbs. I’ve learned this horse really wants to race and go and his bred for it but we’re not doing that now, he still has his training wheels on. I should’ve gotten on him earlier in the day, but it was too hot and I was feeling lazy like Barack so it was a bit of a challenge for both of us at the start ! 

The 2nd Loop was the real gem because you’re repeating the first, only now in the dark and following little green twinkling lights, and sometimes you came to intersections and saw some twinkling blue lights and red lights and purple lights. It was like a fiesta in the forest. These little teeny lights. And my friends know how I like Christmas lights so I was really digging that. And was relishing the night under the stars and the meteor showers peak nite.

Halfway through the loop there was party Central. There was mash, hay and water for the horses, and for us coffee and Baileys, hot chocolate and Bailey’s, or straight Bailey’s, whatever you wanted and cookies. There were more sparkly lights here and friendly trail angels. I had Baileys and coffee to wash the cookie down, thank you very much, while I spoon fed mash to Pappy who is scared of the tub. He is very royal.

Endurance is fairly new for him and all the different shaped water tubs and everything is suspect. He hasn’t figured it all out yet, but he starting to. He was super awesome in the dark moving right out and I loved being by myself with him, he relying on me and me relying on him, that’s how the bond really develops. We saw other horses out there a few times, it would surprise him every time but for the most part we really were all alone other than a little passing here and there.

For the non-riders, you don’t use white lights, it blinds people and the horses. Horses see just as good at night, it’s OK to use a red light which I used often on for me, but not my horse. I really liked it when I had no light on. If you’re lucky enough to ride in a moon, you don’t need anything. Imagine riding in the Moonlight that’s magical too. but I’ll take no moon and meteor showers. Thank you universe !

I didn’t want the ride to end. In fact, I didn’t go to bed till 2 AM because the evening was warm, and the stars were putting on a show. So I hung outside my tent with the horses and Alexstoney. I can’t recall having so much fun as I did on this loop.

And at the finish, I was handed a little cup of champagne, it just doesn’t get any better than that. All the fun people celebrating and helping us. I so appreciate it. I was so pleased and giddy with this night experience! Whenever I do a Limited Distance, I always say I’m only doing an LD. But I think that’s pretty lame. I think they all matter what you do with your horses .I’ve ridden only 4 100 milers so I’ve been out at night, but never by myself. It’s something completely different. and I really loved it.!

I also rode Barack and he was such a good boy in the 50 miler on Friday, he had to go out and leave camp three different times which is hard. Sometimes they think they’re done when they go home, but we had three different loops, and he was a good sport about it. He certainly did some relaxing the next day sunbathing in the pen.

Thank you, Bobbi Walker your husband, Mark, the water, people, the party people all the good people you had to help put on that ride. I love how you give people an opportunity to ride at night even people that will never get to do 100 they can go out and ride at night in an LD or 50. Next year I’m going to do the 50. And thank you Regina Rose of course for bringing me. Always fun. We have a good camp and Kristin and Sara were right next door. Merri Melde for the photos.

It was fun to be back in this area I used to do spotted owl work in Glenwood, which isn’t too far off so I went back that way through many other places I knew and love the whole Klickitat Canyon area. Oh, I forgot to mention that Bobbi gave away coupons for huckleberry milkshakes, and OMG they are the best I’ve ever had. I might have to make several detours in the future. Such a great fun area.

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