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

Monday, August 5, 2013

Bare Bones - Second Time Around~

Butch trots Farah out for BC (Photo by Jessica Anderson)
I've asked myself a million times what it is that keeps drawing me back to this sport?  The challenge, the trail, the lure of the miles?  It's always a learning experience, no two rides are ever alike & present their own challenges.

Pulling into ride camp after several grueling hours of watching Butch maneuver us safely through lots & lots of traffic, we looked for a place to park.  With a lot of riders expected, many had arrived early to save spots for their team.  Butch was jockeying here/there - to find a spot not already spoken for.  We ended up in the middle of the field within shouting distance of Anne-Marie & Lisa - who welcomed us to the neighborhood!   No longer on a team - we fend for ourselves :-)
Farah enjoys lunch after the ride~
We woke on Sat. to a cool & overcast morning.  There were so few in the 50-mile distance that the actual start was pretty quiet.  More than 50 riders had signed up for the 30-mile Limited Distance.  Everyone was busy getting themselves & their horses ready for the 6:30 a.m. start.  Butch helped me get Farah saddled, I mounted & we started down the field to warm up.  As I asked her to turn back in the direction of we'd come - the rodeo started!  Threats to buck, tossing her head - coming Up & Under that saddle!   Once I had her at the area of the start - the antics stopped, I felt her take a deep breath & she dropped her head.  We were where she wanted to be & she was all business.  What a good memory this mare has.
Starting up front is a interesting position - of course you have a lot of excited horses & riders - behind you...  We swept Into the woods, out at the north end of the field & over to the water puddle that's between camp & the trails.  Just as we came to the edge - Farah hesitated a split second & in the next - a horse had raced around us on the outside, jumped in & was across in two strides - headed up the trail!  Farah was so shocked it took her a second to realize what had happened :-)  She leaped across & headed up the trail bucking, tossing herself around & having a fit!  :-)  Once I got her head up & she actually looked up - she realized that we weren't gaining any ground & quickly galloped to catch up!

Before too long, I could hear a horse coming up behind us.  Within a mile two - we made introductions.  It became obvious that the three horses were all fit & we'd be traveling together on the trail.  Marking ribbons were easy to follow, the footing was good, but dry & hard.  In places loose rock demanded our attention.  Arriving at the first of the water tanks I was surprised when the front runner said he was passing up the water & asked if that "OK"?  No - not really -  but I told him to go ahead.  Most riders always offer water when it comes up.  We did catch up & ride side my side for a while, but the pace was faster than I wanted to do.

I was riding with a heart monitor for the first time & could see that Farah was traveling well within the parameters that I'd read were in the "normal" range.  When we reached the Vet Check, it was wonderful to have Butch there to take the reins & we both worked at cooling her down.  She pulsed two-minutes behind the horse behind us.  Farah takes a little longer than what I was used to with Khari.  I'd forgotten the stomach buffer that I use with Farah's electrolytes, but she was eating well & was drinking fine.  The pace was a little faster than I would have liked, so it was nice to leave the Vet Check on our own.  Farah settled into her pace & we were having our best time of the day.

It wasn't long before we caught up to the second place rider & began seeing bikes & hikers on the trail.  We were polite, but some of these other trail users seemed irritated that we were there at all...  Farah took over her favored lead position.
Bare Bones 30-mi. My 310XT tract
We trotted right up to the finish!  Yippee!  Butch hadn't made it back down from the out-check - so I had tack to strip on my own & hustled with a sponge & water!  Farah surprised us by coming down quickly - but just a heartbeat slower than the gelding - putting us in third place!   As we approached for our completion exam, Dr. Root asked me if we'd completed the entire course?  I showed him the face of my 310 - it had recorded 29+ miles.

Butch got back just as I was heading to our camp to clean Farah up for BC judging.  We both worked the hour grooming her - while she happily consumed her mash & hay.
Farah & Butch
I was very proud of her!  We'd gone faster than we'd trained - but her scores were super. In retrospect - I felt like I'd been watching the heart monitor a little too much.  I'd have ridden smarter by backing off the pace & setting our own.

Farah did it all, did it well & gave me another amazing ride!   Big heartfelt THANK YOU to the amazing man I married!  I wouldn't & couldn't do it without YOU!


  1. Well, congratulations on another great ride on Farah! Maybe-BC must be so discouraging and frustrating - I'm sorry, C, that's really tough!

    You definitely married the best crew in the NW ;)

    1. Thanks, those BC's are elusive :-)
      Don't I know it! :-)

  2. Oh, that's disappointing! I know it's just stuff, but once it's stuff that's been in your hands it's a bit of a bummer to lose it. But better less stuff and more good ponies and people than the other way around -- well done!

    1. Oh it wasn't the "stuff" - it sure wasn't a nice cooler like the one we were awarded at Renegade :-) It was the let-down that stung...

    2. Heh, I meant bummer to lose it [because of the symbolism/BC]. Not that you couldn't go buy your own bucket if you wanted one. :)

  3. Got you! :-) But you are exactly right! Thanks Hannah!

  4. Lookin' good! All that riding is paying off for you guys! Wasn't that just her second ride?
    I'm setting my sights on OR100 and the Jubilee Ranch Ride:)

    1. Her third. The OR 100 should be fun! Jubilee looks beautiful! Good luck at either or both!

  5. Anne-Marie RousseauAugust 7, 2013 at 2:11 PM

    you can be our neighbor anytime :). and thanks for all the great advice!!


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