Ain't nuthin like ridin' a fine horse in a new country - Augustus McCrae – Lonesome Dove

Monday, April 30, 2012

Milwaukee Endurance Ride

Milwaukee Endurance Ride
It's my ride & I'm sticking to it!  (Pretty cool looking GPS stats.)   Stories...  Lots of stories regarding this ride!  Accidents, near accidents, long, hard, rock, boring, windy - the list went on & on.  I decided to do it.  I couldn't pass up what would be my last ride on Khari.  Butch offered to come with, the mare was fit, so we headed over Fri. morning.  Arriving right at noon to sunshine & a nice wind.  First one to register for the 50, first one to vet through.  
Pre-Ride Vet in - Butch, Khari, Dick Root DVM & scribe
 Fun to watch people come in & see camp fill up fast!  At the ride meeting, we were all freezing!  The wind came down off the pass & had a chill feel!  Dr. Root warned us of probable cool temperatures, the deceptive 2.2% return 21-mile grade & the rock.
Connie on Khari, Chris on Pistol, just before the start~
 We woke to light cloud cover & temps in the low 40's, much better than expected!  Even so, I decided to leave with a mid-weight jacket & rump rug for Khari - just not familiar with the weather out there.  Felt Very Lucky indeed that my riding partner from Elbe two years ago - agreed to let me accompany her; after my planned riding partners failed to materialize :-)  I'd heard more stories regarding the need for company on the trail!
We leave in a jolly mood!
Once up & out on the "John Wayne Trail" it quickly became obvious that my time training on the STV was time well spent.  Soon Chris & I were out on our own, outdistancing the slower riders & being passed by the faster ones.  It wasn't more than a few miles when the jackets came off & rump rugs were pulled up!  Everyone had overdressed!  The RM had mentioned rocks in the "cuts" & I soon found out about that.  Through these short blasted "cuts" the rock had fallen from the sides, about 10 to 15 ft. higher than our heads on both sides.  Probably basalt - the rock split easily - forming sharp edges.   We slowed to a walk through these areas.  Finally - the river was in view & the trucks waiting at the 21-mile out-check!
Khari sees "Dad"!  :-)  Coming into the VC at 21 miles
 Butch was waiting & zoomed in to get this shot.  I had to LOL, because as I spotted his welcome figure in the distance - I felt a change in Khari!  Her surprise & happiness when she recognized him was just too funny!   We arrive at 9:28 a.m. for our 30-min. hold.  Pistol ate Khari's slop, Khari ate Pistol's all was good, both eating!  

Out on time, it had taken us longer than we expected to do those miles, ahead was the long 21-mile uphill 2.2% grade back to Ride Camp.  Khari soon started outdistancing Pistol, Chris told me to move on, knowing that my goal was to be done & out of the heat/sun that is my usual enemy.  Khari moved out - our only companion was a Coyote that bounded up a hill ahead of us.  Finally, in the distance we saw two riders!  Wow!  Someone out here besides us!  Khari picked up the pace & we caught up to Kathy & Sarah - riding her first endurance ride on Kathy's great mare Sinnamon.  They were kind enough to allow me to accompany them.  So much nicer to have someone to talk to!  We made it to the check-point & water at 33.2 miles.  The horses began tanking up!  Suddenly we heard a sound!  Looking back the way we'd come was an amazing sight to see.  Pistol was coming up the hill at us from a distance of at least a mile in his Full "Brio" Paso Fino gait!  Chris sitting there like she was resting in a favorite easy chair!  Chris reined Pistol up in a cloud of dust to our loud cheers!  :-)  

The four of us continued on & on & on, the never-ending trail...  In the rocky areas, Chis & Pistol would outdistance us like we were standing still, but once the footing improved, we'd catch up.   Pistol would stay with us for a while, then drop back from the speed.  Eventually - the welcome sight of camp was ahead, we came in to the second vet check at 1:26 p.m.

Sarah, Kathy & I leaving the water tank, not realizing that Chris was coming in behind us!  Too good a sport to hail us to wait!
What a relief to have a 45-min. hold!  Butch stripped Khari's saddle, sponged her down, her head never left her slop & hay!  I laid-down for a very short time, until friends who were doing the 25 & trail ride stopped by to see me.   
Heading out on the last loop~
Sarah & I left right on time, on our own...  Neither of us had done the ride, or were familiar with the last loop.  Chris, just 15-min. behind us, said;  "If you get lost, I'll pick you up on my way by!"  :-)  As were were heading in, at the top of the loop, we saw her directly below us, Pistol moving out with incredible Brio!

Sarah & I started "gabbing", getting to know each other - finding we had friends in common at the track.  With rock, paving, holes in the grass, neither of us wanting to risk a completion on the last miles.  We went under I-90 & returned to the trail that circled camp.
Coming in to camp - the final mile :-)
These two tough mares seem to hate each others guts!  We had several good laughs out on the trail at the hateful expressions they threw at each other!  Pinned ears, bared teeth & snaked necks!  Finally - at 3:37 - we FINISH!  Yippee!
Cinnamon & Sarah, Connie & Khari - we Finish!
Both mares had to do their final trot-out side by side & what a scene that was!  Both received high final scores in "Attitude" but it was obvious to all who witnessed - that a score more in keeping with their true "Attitude" - toward each other anyway - would have been closer to "F"!  :-)

It was a Good time!  I made a new friend, got quality time with old friends & rode Khari to her 21st. completion!   I've decided after much thought & soul searching - to give up 50-mile rides & - as the term is defined as rides of 50-miles or longer...  therefore to give up Endurance~

I've ridden well over twenty competitive years & have had a "been there - done that" feeling in my gut for a while now.  My husband has been so supportive of my personal endeavors all these years,  that it's time for us to do some of the things that we've been putting off.  Butch wants to take the son-in-laws & grandsons fishing in Canada.  Maybe a nice "room" on the ocean once in a while?  A "room"???  With a bed?  With a shower???  What would that be like?  :-)  Horse camping with friends, more time with the grand-kids & more time working on our place - the never-ending projects that we both enjoy doing together.

Farah too, deserves her chance to become a good working horse & find her niche.  She's so fun, so smooth & so eye-catching that we might try that new-fangled "Cowboy Dressage".

It's been a Fine ride!  I've ridden some fine horses, seen some fine country, met some fine people & enjoyed some fine rides.  I'm going to look for the perfect home for Khari.  Our best time was the multi-day at Bryce.  Khari just loves new country & having a real job.  She's ready to move onward & upward with a rider that can take her new places & ride her the many miles that she is capable of going!  I would be thrilled to see her name someday at one of those larger milestones of 3,000 or above.  


  1. Congrats on a completion, and a fun last ride. I can't wait to hear what adventures you get up to next!

    1. Thanks for that! I'll try not to disappoint!

  2. Good job--MRRT is a tougher ride than a lot of folks realize.

    ...and we'd love to have your company at some of the "lesson days" at Fish Creek, too...!

    1. That was the other thing I'd heard - that it was "deceptive" - true!

  3. OK, I wasn't expecting that ending to your ride story, so I'm a little sad :( I'm sure its not a decision made lightly but we'll miss you at ridecamp!

    You and Farah will have many adventures I'm sure, so please keep us updated, if you ever get really bored you can come down to Castle Rock and we can try Farah and Cartman as a team penning pair! LOL.
    I really enjoy reading your blog.

    1. We may still drop-in from time to time... want Farah fit enough for decent 25's! After all, have to keep up with my riding companions :-)
      I'm UP for the team penning! Can you just SEE us! :-)

    2. I bet we'd be on the biggest horses out there:)


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