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

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Bare Bones - Fourth Year!

The drive down~
To get to this ride or anywhere south of us these days - takes real Endurance, tenacity, skill & a huge dose of sheer luck!  Butch took Thursday off so that we could leave before the Sea Fair Festivities were scheduled to begin!  Only 2.5 hours from home - it can take many hours in stalled traffic...  Dependent on the day, time, weather, stupid drivers & what activities are scheduled that put people on the road.  So sad - since we used to really enjoy heading south to rides, to the beach & to visit friends.  But when we're hauling live cargo... i.e. a horse & driving a rig that's big & heavy - it's easier on my nerves to try to avoid all of it we can!
Nika & Rascal
 Leaving about noon, the trip down was really smooth sailing - only a few snarls in the usual places & it took us just under three hours!  We stopped at the Farm Boy for lunch - then drove into camp & set up in what to us - was blistering heat!  The dogs though so too!  :-)  It was quiet, only a few rigs in camp, plus the volunteer staff etc.  What a gorgeous evening we had!  Quiet!  NO GENERATORS!  I love getting into a camp a day or so early - so much more relaxing for us & for Farah too!

Friday, we woke to cloud cover & coolness - very nice!  Everyone out enjoying the morning as more & more rigs pulled in & things started to fill up.  We had fun with friends & a short ride prior to vetting in.
Vetting in the shade!
Farah passed with her usual all A's & that was out of the way!  Heidi did a great job of explaining the trails & provided us with a map at the ride meeting.  There were about 28 riders signed up for the 30-mile Limited Distance & the same on the Fifty.
Ride map
The morning of the ride, we again had some cloud cover.  The Fifties left at 5:30 a.m. just as it was getting light.  We were to leave at the more reasonable hour of 7 a.m.
Lounging Farah
 I decided to try a different tact with Farah - a little lounging first - then right into the saddle & to the starting line.  She's now learned enough to know that there is a starting line & that's where she wants to be!  Once there - it was great that there was some alfalfa to distract her while we waited the last couple minutes!
We're waiting!
Finally the signal came!  "Trail Open" & away we went!  A very nice - controlled start - not the race that LD is constantly maligned for by "Endurance" riders who do the longer distances!

Farah was excited as usual, but we left after several other riders & she was listening - which works for me!  She has a great memory & knew where we were, where we were going & what she was going to do!  Within the first couple miles, we'd passed one of the 50-mile riders, caught up with the two leaders in the 30 & fell into place behind them.  Ben was in front, but when he dismounted to run, Julia took over & we moved in behind her.

Farah took a huge drink at the first set of water tanks - so I knew that the electrolytes that I'd used were working fine.  (Even though she always drinks when we're out!)  We cruised along at a really incredible pace, Julia's little mare was one of those airframe types - light in build & light on her feet with 14-mile trot that got even faster on the downhills!  Farah would let her go - then when she had the opportunity move to her amazing canter & we'd be right back on her.  The times Ben was ahead of us - Farah tried her best to intimidate his gelding Off the trail.  It wasn't until Marco gave a half-hearted kick that she finally listened to me & backed off just a little.  This made it tiring for me - as she had to shorten her usual stride.

I'd accidentally shut-off my Garmin - by the time I'd discovered that - I'd lost at least five-miles & wasn't sure how far to the first "walk-by" out check.  It was set up this year in the same area as the VC.  When we came in - I was ready for a short break & Farah was ready for water!  She was looking for Butch!  Instead - we found our friend David - who kindly offered to hold her while I took that break!  What a guy!  By the time I came back - he had her sponged down & ready to go!

Farah was shocked!  No Dad to care for her & No food!  Why Not???  She was Not happy to have to walk past all the hay & stock piles of slop set up for horses that would be coming in for their hold!  Even so - we left behind our two riding buddies & Farah grabbed a mouthful of hay from someone's pile!  We flew through the next few miles - dodging holes in the trail & a lot of loose rock to return to the VC at 9:40 for our 45-min. hold.  (Butch had decided to stay in camp - rather than come out to crew - since last year he hadn't made it back to camp for our finish.)

As I'd dismounted - Duana & Patty who'd volunteered to crew for their team-mates - (who'd yet to appear) came over to ask if they could help?  Who could say no to that?  Once Farah was down, Patty had found our vet bag & Farah was eating her slop as fast as Patty could mix it up!  She was still looking for "Dad", but decided that food was food & she was hungry!  I was more than happy to get to sit down, drink a V-8 & eat a snack while we waited!  Nothing like good friends!  Thanks guys!

I watched as our two riding companions left ahead of us.  (Both riding Arabs who'd pulsed down a minute head of us.)  (Both also young & agile enough to get off & run the downhills.  :-)  Actually somewhat relieved that from this point on we'd be able to set our own pace!

Once out of the VC, Farah moved into her nice trot & we started making time.  Soon - we about crashed head-on into bike riders who made fast, evasive maneuvers as they jumped into the bushes to let us pass!  Very polite & wished us luck!   Now, I was listening for any sound & soon we again came upon bike riders - in total about six sets during that last ten-miles.  I knew that no other LD riders had come into the VC while we were there - we were in a perfect time window!
A pretty section of trail~
I actually took the time to take a photo & had to take a short break - since someone - who's name starts with a "P", made me drink & drink at the VC :-)  Those last five-miles seemed more like ten, as the day had really warmed up.  In the clear-cuts we had full sun, then in the woods - the bugs attacked!  Finally, I passed a couple friends on the trail ride & could hear the gun shots from the club - so knew we were close!  As we came out of the woods & to where we were to ride around camp - there were new ribbons & I knew that the finish line was to be moved - but to where?  DIMER was kicking in - I was Very Happy to hear Butch hail & we turned down the road!
We're close!
Yes!   Finally we've arrived!

11:45 a.m. - We finish!
It was a thrill to finish!  It's always a tough ride & the heat makes it especially tough on me.  I took more electrolyte's than I thought I'd need - but I needed them all!  Butch was waiting & having a hose & water to wash Farah off was Wonderful!  It cooled her out quickly & her heart rate came right down!  This gave us third place!
Trot out for completion
Farah looked amazing!  Like she hadn't even gone out!  Of course, even knowing that we'd be outweighed by the first place rider - we had to show for BC :-)
The weigh-in!  :-)
I just love having to hold all that tack!  Not!  But I did it!  Farah showed great, she didn't have quite the trot that she'd had for completion - (two pans of mash probably had some effect :-) but was ears forward & moving light & free!
Butch trots Farah out!
I didn't expect to receive the BC award, we were up against some tough horses finishing 13-min. ahead of us, one probably a HW.  But it was very disappointing when I looked at the score sheet (see below) to find that she'd received a four out of a possible ten in the first category "Standing Evaluation", "Lesions"!  Farah is one of the cleanest moving horses ever & has never has so much as a nick or tack gall on her body after a ride...  It would be nice to see correct scores...

Our ride card~
Best Condition Score Tab
We've covered a LOT of miles - so that (4) ruffled my feathers - in case you can't tell :-)  All of her other scores seemed low too... only a 6.5 in movement, soundness & recovery!   She was Completely Sound!  These scores were her lowest Ever!  She sure didn't look like a 6.5 to anyone who saw her!   But hay - that's just me... I didn't get to see how the other two horses looked - so I don't know...
Watching the "neighbors" - after the ride~
 I Do know that my girl looked Fantastic & that's Good Enough for me! 


  1. I am getting caught up on your blog and have been reading the new ones first....so now I know why the scores on lesions and movement. BUT....at that moment, on that day, I would have been ticked off! Well, a combination of being ticked off and that nagging voice wondering what I missed. Were others shocked too? Either way, you and Farah did great!!!! I love reading about your rides. Thank you for taking the time to blog! I love it!

    1. Thanks Karen! Love that you always have such great comments :-) Great minds think alike :-)

    2. Karen, I don't know if any others besides the first three finishers showed for BC, time wise they were pretty far back... But since this post Ive heard that other rides have been wondering what was up with the scoring change...


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