I was fueled up and on the highway out of town by 8:30 Friday morning. It was 2 easy hours to the Hwy 36 turn off and from there it was a long, windy, 3 hour process. I had just over 3/4 of a tank when I got on the 36 and in no time (or forever? hard to tell) the fuel gauge was lower than I would have liked being as deep in the hills as I was. I was a total tool for not filling my other fuel tank when I started, by the way. Still kicking myself for that.
Redheaded Endurance ready for action!
My faithful Bomber treated me to ice cold a/c and all systems go for the whole long, warm, slow 5 hour drive. Bless it's orange self. Ride camp was easy to find, there were signs and ribbons on the road and the big open field for ride camp with rigs was clearly visible. There were 8 or so rigs already there but the field was quite large and never did fill up. I pulled nose in to the barbed wire near the far end of the field and set up the Arabian Nights tent, hot open field edition:
Desire was set up at the trailer as usual, and I promise you her area never looked this tidy again after this photo. Between her endless eating, pooping, peeing, the odd angsty pace-fest, and a dramatic bucket incident Saturday a.m..well she's a messy mare, what can I say.
Not super stoked on the idea of coming under the canopy onto a tarp..but I had to try, right?
Evening dinner, or second dinner, who knows, she is always eating
5:30 for a 7 am start you say? Ah, but there were showers at camp! I got up and had a wonderful hot shower early Saturday morning; I never feel quite right if I don't start my day with a shower and to do so before a ride was GREAT. I had left Desire's saddle pad, girth, and splint boots out to air/dry after our ride Friday pm and never put them away--well they were sopping damp and cold in the dewy morning Saturday so Desire went in Blaze's green saddle pad, his green splint boots, and the spare mohair girth. Hurrah for extra tack! At least I chose the horses' colors in a fairly consistent color palette so my matchy-matchy sensibilities weren't too horrified by the forest green accents ;-)
So there we were, Saturday morning, and Desire was booted and saddled, all clean and dry in the cold morning. She was behaving fairly calmly for the start of a ride, minimum dancing for booting and tacking which was a mercy. Then as another horse passed by our rig headed for the start she suddenly did a sideways dance, crammed her right hind hoof and boot into her full water bucket, freaked out when it cracked, kicked the thing 20 ft, and danced all around in the dust until I settled her.
TA DA! My clean, dry horse and tack and saddle were now splashed in ice cold water and mud, and the only Renegade boot I've had problems with, that right hind, was now pre-soaked and muddy for the 4 mile climb ahead. Le sigh...
heading off from the start, 10 or so minutes after 7
The morning was chilly, I had my polar fleece on..at the top of the ridge we finally felt the first warm rays of sunlight
Beautiful trees, big gnarly rocks, cool air, a good horse--HAPPINESS!
erkeley Hill Death March) and I will walk every down hill that I can. She is quite a good hill horse and prefers to do a slow, steady dog trot uphill over anything else. I do believe she is far too ADD and directionally challenged to Tail properly, but I may be wrong. Of course our hill "deal" resulted in rather a lot of walking on my part on the ride but I was really happy with how my ankle held up, I didn't roll it at all and it wasn't as sore as I expected after all that footwork.
The vet check was literally on the shoulder of the dirt road we were climbing. They had sponging buckets and sponges out, a water trough, porta-pottys on a trailer, a truck and horse trailer for pulls (there were only 3 total between the LD and 50), hay, carrots, and people water. It did work out, as everyone was very friendly in the tight quarters, but the trot out space was an up and down hill and I can't imagine it's a feasible location for a Vet hold if their ride attendance swells in the future, as I hope it does.
At the hold Desire and 2 other mares engaged in a food swapping munch fest, complete with occasional pinned ears and squealing, but other than that typical behavior I'd say it was quite peaceful for 3 hungry, unacquainted mares. Desire *did* let anyone coming near her current favorite mash know that she would prefer them to Disappear. We vetted through with all As but a slight sore spot on her left side, under the cantle pack. I vowed to do more time on foot and slathered Desitin on the spot before re-saddling.(I know now I should have taken off the damn cantle pack, too!)
After the check we had a pretty significant climb back up a trail we had descended earlier in the day, and then some nice friendly open road to move out on.
Back out on the trail, last climb before a long descent
48ish miles, still watching and listening
Sunday a.m. Desire and Hay Mountain
At least it's never boring!