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

Monday, July 1, 2013

Renegade Rendevzous - Thirteen Years Later!

Ride Camp - Late Fri. afternoon
What a beautiful setting!  Not a lot of riders here yet, but there was a steady stream pulling in.   Brandi arrived shortly after we did & it wasn't long before our camp was set up!  Next?  Vetting in!
Done with the trot-out
This was only Farah's second time with this song & dance routine :-)  She didn't seem to mind & vetted through with a resting rate of 32!  Since she's mostly non-Arab - this was a pleasant surprise!
Dad's flag flying~
We sat out for a while, watching rigs coming in, enjoying the sunshine & being back in one our favorite Ride Camps.  As it cooled off a little, we saddled up - I wanted to familiarize Farah with both the start - creek crossing...  & the finish.  I knew darn well that the creek would be an issue!  It's been an issue with every horse I've ever ridden in this ride.  Why that is?  I have NO idea - but I do know that it's an advantage to introduce it in advance.  Every year horses refuse, things get into a jumble & I didn't want to deal with it.
Nice & calm while waiting for Brandi :-)
 Farah was snorting, bucking & in general being a handful.  Both Brandi & I had to beat their butts to get them across.  Unreal!  Once over - Farah wanted to take-off!   My forward motion training was put to the test - finally she almost went down - being stupid & decided that maybe listening would be the way to go!   We rode out a couple miles, watching the turns, lime lines etc., so that in the heat of the start - at least we'd both have some familiarity with the trail.
We wake to ominous clouds~
Morning - cloudy & cool!  Nice!  It was just that occasional crack of thunder that made me decide to put my rain jacket on the back of the saddle.  After getting drenched last week, I didn't want a repeat performance...
We warm up~
I told Brandi that I wanted to be saddled & warming up about 30-min. early.  I've seen a lot of starts at this ride & know that they can be fast & furious or calm & reasonable.  Best to be ready for either.
6:49 a.m. both mares had a good drink!
While we wait, we get to talk to Funder - a fellow blogger who traveled here to visit the ride.  I can't tell you how much fun it was to meet her in person!  Finally riders started appearing, horses were snorting - the timers were doing their thing & everyone was ready!  Instead of single shot photos, Butch decided to do video.
We'd been back in the trees a ways when the start happened, everyone leaving so nicely - it almost seemed like a controlled start!  Farah was ready - responding well to me & I felt pretty confident that her shenanigans of yesterday were over.  She did let me know with some head-tossing - that she wanted to go - so I let her & we were passing riders.  At the creek, she went right in/across & we were on our way!

No photos from me during the ride - I was busy!  I knew that Jessica Anderson would be taking photos at the next creek crossing, she had a sign up to let riders know.  We'd been moving forward & had passed several riders.   Jessica got a Great photo of us!
Once over the creek, we passed the last two riders & took over first place.  First is a difficult place to be!  I takes most horses a few years to handle the stress of leading a top-ten group of fast moving - conditioned competition!  She was incredible!  Strong!  Going up the steep climbs, I'd lean forward, grab mane & she would leap up with such ease that it almost seemed effortless!  Then - as usual - we came to the same intersection that I usually goof up on... & went the wrong way... At least I've learned over the years Not to keep going & had just turned back when three riders passed below us.    Farah put on the hustle & we quickly caught up.  They offered me the lead - but I had ended up exactly where I wanted to be going into the out-check.  When Dean reads this - he will LOL!  :-)

We came in - third - but hot & high.  From what I was hearing - all the horses were same.  It was getting hotter by the minute & the humidity was incredibly high after a week of rain.  Pulsing in at 80 - I thought - well - let this be a lesson to me!  This mare doesn't have enough Arab to do the amazing recoveries that Khari had made look easy for so many years!
25-mile by GPS
If Butch had been there - I would have stripped tack, but that saddle gets heavy & instead I opened her slop & she started eating everything in site!  All good!  Again Funder came to ask if there was anything she could help me with?  How nice was that!  Yes!  Hold the mare while I visit the potty!  It wasn't too long - but seemed like forever to me - until Farah's HR had come down & we were at 60 & time to vet!  That went GREAT!  Good scores & enough time for Farah to fuel up.  Funder & I had a great time getting to know each other a little & before I knew it - it was time to go!  I mounted up & headed over for the timers.  There was another rider waiting an out time & it was my companion from the morning - without his wife on her amazing gray Arab - who had pulsed down well - she was already back on the trail.  He & I were still in second & third place - away we went!  Our horses went well together, his gelding leading on the uphills & Farah on the down.  Guy was a pleasant companion & the miles went quickly!

At the next water tank, we'd caught up with the first place rider - she was leaving as we came in.  I played with the idea of going after her - Farah was drinking like a champ & had gotten stronger after the VC.    But I knew this was a horse with years of experience, preparing for Tevis - so why bother?  My goal was to at least take a shot at BC!  I could do that just as readily from a few minutes behind - since it all comes down to that final pulse!~

It wasn't very long & camp was ahead!  Guy told me he planned to trot in & untack - exactly my plan too - so we crossed the line to the cheers of our waiting friends :-)
We Finish!
Now...  Now...  Butch was waiting - but his ideas of what to do at a finish sometimes differ from mine - so I was happy that Anna was there to back me up & find a volunteer to take Farah's pulse - since the two that there - were both with Guy's horse.  Anna asked Joyce to come over to check Farah.  This only took a couple minutes, but seemed like forever...  Joyce reported that she was only a beat or two away from being Down - so I asked her please to stay with her & with the next check - Farah was DOWN!  Yippee!  Ahead of Guys' horse & now in second place!
No Stress!   As we wait Joyce's word!
 All that was between us & a very nice finish was that completion exam.  Dick Root, DVM did the honors & Farah had high scores!  So much for my Arab bias!  I knew she'd done well enough that we'd be back for the final CRI & BC exam.

For the next hour, Farah ATE - while Butch cleaned her up & I took a badly needed shower!  The humidity was so high that even with cool clothing - I was soaked.  We headed back for judging, Dick fit the three first place finishers into the line.  I told Butch I wanted Animation at the trot!  That can be a double edged sword - more animation - higher CRI...  But I like to see a horse that can do a final trot-out with some style!  My husband & my horse did a nice job of splitting the difference with a final CRI of 44/48 & all A's as I found out later.

Dinner was fantastic as usual.  Just as we were finishing up - another big thunderstorm rolled in - sending everyone running for cover.  It soon passed & awards began.  When it came time for BC...  four horses had shown.   Farah had been awarded Best Condition!  I've ridden competitively for over twenty-years & had never come close to BC.  Butch had always kindly shared his beautiful BC coolers with me :-)  Now... We have our Very OWN!  Thank you to my husband - who's support & encouragement has kept me going through some tough years.

But finally & most importantly - a hug & Thank YOU to my mare...  She had proven to me that she is my partner - willing to do what it takes, dig deep & keep going when the going gets darn tough!  Tough it was & proud of her I am!

Our final time was 3:19.  Garmin Stats~


  1. So happy for you and your good mare. Congratulations! And isn't Funder great? I loved meeting her, after reading her blog for years.

    1. She is! :-) Wish we'd had more time to drink! :-) I owe her either a beer or Bloody Mary - her choice!

  2. Beautifully written and a huge congratulations Connie! I love to hear these stories so thanks for sharing! I'm so happy for you and your lovely mare... a wonderful partner indeed!

    1. We're both extremely lucky Kathy - you found your gorgeous mare - gave her an excellent home & it's so obvious when she's with you that she adores you & the sentiment is mutual!

  3. Your win brought ters to my eyes! Congrats!!!

  4. I loved reading this! Thank you for sharing, Connie!! I'm so proud of you guys, and happy that I could be a part of putting this ride on this year. :)

    -- David Lewis

    1. David, Gail mentioned you every time she thanked her volunteers! Would have enjoyed another weekend BSing with you! :-) Butch says; "No more Man hugs"! :-)

  5. Awesome write up...... loved reading it---- when I saw you pass us when my riding podna's horse started doing circles...? I knew the jig was UP... but, we were NOT far behind.... loved *sharing* the trail with you!

    1. Your red tornado looked full of himself out there! Congrat's on your finish!

  6. Here from Funder's blog. Congrats!!!! She texted me during the ride about how gorgeous Farah was in person and so I had to come over and take a look. What a beautiful mare! Congrats on your second place finish and thank you for the ride story. :)

    1. Hi Mel! Glad you came by & really appreciate the Congrats! Stop by Anytime! I need readers - feel sometimes like I'm writing to the wind!

  7. If you are writing to the wind, I always hear you! As usual, your story was beautiful. Always makes me feel as though I am there with you. So proud of you & Farah! CONGRATULATIONS!!
    LV, MOM


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