Quote

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

Monday, May 18, 2015

Farah Wins the 55! @ Mt. Adams~


Our camp~
Again, we had to leave on Friday morning - traffic was heavy but moving.  With only one stop for fuel & a break for Farah, we made good time. 
Waiting to Vet
I wish I'd been quick enough to get a photo when Butch was trotting Farah away!  She did Everything but trot!  The Vet asked his scribe if there was a box for AAA?  :-)  Coming back toward us, she at did at least show that she could trot!
 The Big Tree!
Once the vetting was over, I wanted to get Farah out on the trail - heading out the start, to check the turns, most of which we flew by last year when following the front runners.  The wind was blowing pretty fierce, but otherwise it was a stellar afternoon.
Blooming Vanilla Leaf
Farah was higher than a kite!  Spooking at the cut evergreen branches on the trail to the point where I got off, took a piece & brushed it over her head!  We were out about 2-miles when we ran into our friends Marie, Leslie & Julie!  Always good to see those friends we see so seldom.  They left, we continued on - a huge branch came smashing down - another Big spook & we turned back!

Ride meeting, dinner & to bed for us!  4:30 a.m. came too darn early for me!  Our plan was to lounge Farah rather than me trying to ride her for the warm-up.  (That almost had me bucked off last year!)  Butch said she did plenty of bucking on the line, but by the time I was ready to mount up, she stood solid as a rock - eyes on the starting area.

Our first loop was Snow King. Riders were leaving on the open trail almost before we knew it!  Farah was on the make & within the first mile or two things sorted out as they usually do, with about six riders leading & arriving at the first water tank together.  Soon, we were down to four horses, then three.  Dick, Becky & me.  We discovered that our three traveled well together, Farah leading on the flats & hills, Becky's great gelding on the downhills, Dick's mare Ali - anytime she could find a way around the other two!
We arrived back in camp at 7:42
Butch was waiting when we arrived, Farah was the first of the three to pulse down.  Our routine now is for me to help cool her down & get the pulse check - then Butch vets her through & meets me back at our camp.  There Farah can eat & drink without distraction - same for me!  :-)
8:18 - waiting to head out on the 2nd loop!
This mare is so smart - she has the game down now & was anxious to get back out!  Loop #2 Gotchen is my favorite - through the big burn area.  I didn't even put the camera on the saddle, I knew I'd be too tempted...  As Dick said;  we could finally enjoy our horses, the trail & the day, since the first loop craziness was over!
Becky & I coming in at 9:55 & 31 miles
Now for our lunch break.  The day was warming up - I was ready to change shirts & Farah was busy eating everything Butch put in front of her.  (The three horses had pulsed down within a minute or two of each other.)  Dick was camped right next door, I could see Ali out our window - Dick & I headed down for the start of our third loop & met Becky there - leaving together - the Three Amigo's!
Away we go headed for the Ghost Loop!  10:47 a.m.
The three of us were having such a fun time of it - our horses too, by now they'd figured out who was better at what & we never had an argument over who was going to lead :-)  Farah would pull away like a freight train on the flats or hills, but Becky's gelding was a pro at the down-hill & twisty turning trails!  Ali, just went about her business - very professional!

It was this loop we had a huge laugh at my expense!  Farah was cruising along in the lead when around the corner was a water tank, manned by two of the ham radio operators.  She literally dove her face into the tank - with such a sudden stop that I almost went off over her head!  In the next second, Ali ran right into her butt & again I was almost sent flying into the tank!  Dick was laughing so hard he could hardly apologize!  :-)  
Coming in off Ghost Loop 12:10 p.m. 10 miles to go!
Once we came to the common trails at the back of camp, Dick would usually be the first to dismount & walk in,  Becky usually second & me - finally last :-)  Our speed throughout the day was just over 10-mph. these three horses were working as well, even better than we could have hoped.   This loop is deceptively difficult with short very steep climbs.  There were a couple times the horses walked to recover from the effort.  Farah knew right where we were & lead us in for the final VC!  Again, all three pulsed within a minute or two of each other.  The 30-min. hold went quick - but I was looking forward to that final ten-miles!  Dick & I were waiting for Becky - when suddenly...
Leaving for the final loop - Morrison
There she went!  Dick said;  "Well, I guess she's going for it - but I'm not going to sit back!"  He'd told us earlier in the day that his goal was to finish with a sound, happy horse, not go for a win."  Very gentlemanly of him!
12:42 p.m. - Dick & I head out - with the well wishes of the volunteers!
I sure didn't plan to take it easy at this point in the ride!  Dick had caught Becky by the turn onto Morrison loop, but Farah held back.  I knew she was tired, we'd gone way more miles than we'd trained & it was after all - her first ride of the season!  I didn't push her - I knew that if she had what it took - she would soon show me, one way or the other.  It was hard to see our companions disappear from sight - the only sign that anyone had been this way was what was left of their dust...

I shouldn't have worried, because suddenly - Farah's ears went up & she moved right up into her trot, then leaped up a section of rock & into a gallop!  Around a corner & there they were at the water tank!  Farah stuck her nose in - before whirling to lead the way!  We again had that long stretch of road & we FLEW!   All three horses galloping along easily!  (I was so happy to have those pads on her feet!)  She remembered where we were & knew how close we were to finishing!

Becky said her grand-kids were going to be waiting at the finish line - they of course thought of it as a horse race & Becky was hoping to give them a little excitement :-)  I told her that a race in was fine with me, but that I planned to take first.  Our agreement was reached! 
1:25 p.m. Here we come!
We were pretty excited!  It had been a fantastic ride, we were all so thrilled at the way our horses had performed!  So - we threw caution to the wind & galloped in!  Fun!  (Happy that racing in hadn't been mentioned at the ride meeting!) Even so, there's really no place to go - so you have to be pulling up when you cross the line!
We Finish!
We were all laughing when we finished :-)   The laugh was on us - because now we had to wait for those heart rates to go down!  :-)  Not to worry - all three looked Great!  The three of us were all going to show for BC - even though Dick, who probably weights 300 lbs. (NOT!) would have us on weight!
Butch trots Farah for BC
Farah's scores were her best ever all day.  All three horses looked amazing, especially when we realized that they'd finished the ride over an hour faster than last years finish time.  We'd completed in 5 hours 24 min.  I couldn't have asked for finer traveling companions - let alone fellow competitors.  Thank you Dick & Becky!
Farah~
In celebration of my Twentieth year riding Endurance, my horse-of-a-lifetime presented me with a Win~  Our gold girl has more than proven herself!  She can move from trail horse, to parade pony, to cow horse, to arena horse, to endurance horse with ease & has covered over 3,000 miles of trails in two-years.  I just hope I can continue to do her justice!

7 comments:

  1. Great post! I am so happy for you- and also really impressed with how you manage Farah- she is one awesome mare.

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  2. Absolutely OUTSTANDING. What an amazing horse you have! Congrats to you both. I LOVED the finishline photos. Despite the HR, it definitely looks SO FUN and the joy present on riders faces and horses bodies is evident in the photos!

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    1. Thanks Liz! Means a lot that you take the time to comment! It felt like the "old" days of endurance - when everyone was less serious & had more fun! :-)

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  3. Wow, that is one fast race, awesome!!! Farah didn't just win, she had a great rider and trainer. Congratulations on what your training and partnership has accomplished. And an exciting story too!

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    1. Thank you! Appreciate your kind words more than I can say!

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  4. You guys are AMAZING and I was thrilled from start to finish reading this entry. Major congratulations! You both look beautiful.

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  5. Dom, All I can say is how thrilled I am with her. To have a partner that enjoys her "work" & loves to go - is all I can ask for!

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Always Welcome~