Saturday, August 15, 2015

Bare Bones 2015

My new favorite photo, by Cassidy Rae

Celena Pentrack, look who's leading!!!

We started early! 5:30am

Proof, Cartman can follow.... you can see that right??? LOL.

Western Washington can be beautiful too.

I love this view.

Official ride photo, by Cassidy Rae
Bare Bones was a relaxed ride for us.  It is only an hour north so I worked until about 2pm then headed up around 5pm.  It was so hot that I actually considered just getting up at 3am and hauling in morning of.... but I didn't do it. 

Michelle got there a bit earlier and snagged us a spot in the shade. Yeah!  It's funny to complain of heat here in W. Wa. but it really has been quite warm this year.  I think it was around 90 degrees on Friday.

We were set to go out at 5:30am so had to be up early. Good thing I typically get up at 4am anyway! 
We were hoping to keep Cinn. and C. out of a line of traffic as this ride is mostly single track with limited passing areas.  So, we were on and ready right as the trail was opened.  Unfortunatel I managed to push some button on the GPS and locked the key pad.  So, we milled around and let the horses stand while I frantically tried to figure out how to unlock it.

Finally we were off!!! And walking!!!  Both horses were great. No fire breathing dragon today.  They headed out at a comfortable pace and into the forest we went.

I really do enjoy those trails. 

It is not what I consider a really easy ride though.  The horses are constantly working, twisting, turning, stepping over rocks and roots, climbing, descending. You can't always see what is coming around the bend either, and this is bike riding territory. 

This year it has been hot so the bees are very active.  We had been warned to stay on trail.  There really aren't a lot of places to pass anyway.  Most of the riders we encountered were very polite about it and we tried to be as well. Only one lady seemed a slight bit irritated to be behind us and we were fairly close to a road so I just let her wait.  I will absolutely try to let anyone pass, I don't care about placing so it doesn't matter to me.  I am stubborn enough to not be pushed by people though.

We were heading down a long hill when Michelle shouted out she'd been stung.  Ooops.  We took off at a fast trot and got outta there as quickly as possible. 

We made it into the vet check for a trot by, I think towards the back of the pack.  Back out of the trail we had gone about 2-3miles when Cinnamon lost a shoe. Crap.  So, I had brought two Renegades along but we didn't have a good way to carry them and left them at the trailer.  Lesson learned.

Cartman and I continued on while Michelle turned back to the vet check :(

I think this loop was 10 miles or so. 

Cartman was on fire.  He wanted to go.  It's funny that at this ride I found he was absolutely taking care of watching the footing.  Usually I will ride looking out about 15 feet in front of us and will slow him for rocks and collect where needed.  When we hit open trail I ask him to pick back up the speed.

It's been what- three or four years of trail work now- and I can trust him to take care of it.  I found that it is a lot easier on me to have him watching as well.  It's very comfortable to have this understanding.

We got back to the vet check and it was pretty crowded.  Michelle and Cinn. were there waiting for a trailer ride back to camp.  Some nice lady had lent her a boot but by time she got back Cinn was still a little ouchy on the foot so they pulled. 

I kept on task and was out on trail right on time this time!  C was so forward, it felt like we were flying on this loop.  At one point we were cantering for quite a ways on a nice little gravel road when I spotted ribbons leading up and back into the woods.  I pulled him around intending to stop and turn back to the trail.  He had other ideas and just leapt up the tiny hill back onto the trail.  I think he was having fun :)

About 3 miles out I realized that I'd not gotten my water bottles switched out and was out of water.  Ugh.  It was going to be a hot dry ride back, as the sun was now pounding down on everything and the temp was rising rapidly.

As luck would have it I ran into some trail angels filling troughs!  They gave us fly spray and a bottle of water! Whew, volunteers at this ride are awesome.  I got to meet Eileen Reilich as she was one of the water crew- its fun to put names to faces from our PNER facebook page.

We made it back to camp at 12:01, pulsed in at 12:03 and then had to wait in vet line for a while.  It was nice and shady and they had hay so we were all happy.  I was offered another bottle of water and it tasted so good.

Cartman passed his check with all A's.  Dr Randy Lee was vetting and it was nice to see him again.

Michelle and Cinnamon had just gotten back to camp as well, so we let the horses eat for about 2 hours.  I just could not get enough water, I swear I must have drank a gallon of water and electrolyte water.  Finally I felt up to wandering camp to visit a bit. 

We saw Laura Bond and Wiley and they had completed as well. Yeah!

Finally we loaded up and hauled home, it was really nice to be able to turn him back out after all that hard work.  He took off running and threw in a few small happy bucks.... I think he will be ready for a 50 at OR100!

Bandit Springs 2015

Catch up post here:

We headed over to the Ochocos for the 25th Bandit Springs Ride. 
It has not rained for months, yet as we came through Prineville water was running 8 inches deep in the ditches.  It was thunder and lightening, right in the direction we were heading.

We made it to ride camp and there was a brief clearing that gave us a good opportunity to set up camp.  I did make sure and turn the trailer around heading out, just in case the roads became really muddy.  Plus I like to know we are ready to go quickly in case of fire.

Ride meeting was fun, we saw some familiar faces and enjoyed cake!

It rained over night, I woke up hearing it on the trailer roof and was glad we had put rain sheets on the ponies and didn't have to try to do it in the rain, with a headlamp.

The next morning it was pretty clear though and we headed out, around 8am? I can't remember exactly what time it was. 

Cinnamon got a bit excited at the start, we had to go down a road out of camp and we had several groups of horses in sight.  We went ahead and let them trot as soon as the road opened up and we had a clear path. 

Cinn. started going faster and faster, so we put the 1200lb brakes in front of her.  C was really good about it, I worried a bit that he might get amped up as well but he was pretty content.  I could hear a fire-breathing dragon behind us though!

About 1 mile out we had to cross a small ditch.  It was one of those downhill, into some muddy area, and a small stream deals.  I had to encourage Cartman to go and for a few minutes I thought we were stumped as Cinn. refused to cross.  Michelle got off, and used her long reins as a lead to get across and send Cinn through as well. Whew!

The ride was really nice, beautiful country.  Before I could believe it we were at the vet check!  We had to wait a bit longer that scheduled but I didn't mind.  It was quite relaxing and the horses got to eat their fill.

Finally we were back out on the trail.  About 2 miles out though the weather took a real turn for the worst.  It started just dumping on us. Ugh.  I had ditched my sweatshirt at the vet check so was soon wearing a clingy wet t-shirt. Yuck.  I had a rain jacked tied on back but it was really too warm for me to even consider putting it on. Plus, I was already soaking wet.

We trudged on, trotted anywhere it looked promising and walked, and walked, and walked through the slick mud.

The long walking sets just make me tired and sore, so I was really happy when we got back the road outside of camp.  So happy that I just turned right and cantered back in.  Ooops.

We had already unbridled when the pulser asked us which way we had come in.  I knew pretty much as soon as he started to ask what we had done. Crap.  They had been really clear at the ride meeting that this years ride did not come in on the road. 

We had 3 miles? to go.  We were dry at this point but the sky was threatening again.  Oh, the temptation to just stop right there and get out of those soaking boots and tights....

So, we rebridled the horses, I apologized to the horses and we headed back to where I'd gone off trail. 

Those last three miles were brutal.  It absolutely poured on us and water was running down the middle of the trail so hard we had to try to stay on the side on all the hills.  It was becoming rather slick.

Finally we returned to camp.  We both vetted through and got completions!

Michelle's mare Cinnamon- see the family resemblence?

Stocking up on fuel for tomorrows ride

Ride meeting

25 year anniversary cake for Bandit Springs Endurance Ride

Still eating, must be anticipating a long ride.

Michelle and Cinmamon

These TBs know how to take care of themselves!  At the half way vet check

Beautiful trails

Still dry, still smiling.

Ruh roh.

C is not pleased

Into the tree we go

The last half of the ride looked like this

OMG, soaking wet, still smiling!  M. and Cinn. after completion.

Love the ride awards this year :)

Ha ha, C must have heard rumors of a multi-day- still stuffing his face!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy 3rd of July

Cartman, Buddy, and I took a two hour pre-4th of July ride today!

It was already getting hot at 9:30am but there was a nice breeze down by the river and surprisingly there was nobody down there!  Score!

We managed to get 9.22 miles in, but about 3 of them were in deep sand... so I'm counting those double :)  Cartman got really sweaty and even had lather under his breastcollar.

We also got some time in the water, as there were not throngs of people there yet....

It was a great day to ride.

I should back up...

Last weekend Michelle and I planned to do a short ride on Friday night up at our favorite trails.  Unfortunately (but not unexpectedly) the Timber Companies closed their land that day.  It has been so dry here that we've been expecting it.  So we had to settle for a ride at the path.  We rode about 6.5 miles and I practiced making Cartman go behind Cinnamon some.  This is a nice safe place to work on things like that. 

Sunday we had decided to do a long ride as it is two weeks prior to the Bandit Springs Endurance Ride that we plan to attend on July 11.  We picked Fort Stevens due to the hot weather we've been having and set out at 8am.

I almost wore a tank top as it has been in the 90's here for day.  Thankfully I put a t-shirt on over top and had a sweat jacket in the horse trailer as we got RAINED ON heading west to the beach!  I was almost to Cathlamet when I realized I had taken to long route...

Ooops, so we got to go across the Astoria bridge, which they are working on.  So, we got to sit on the Astoria bridge, which was down to one lane.  The wait was brief though and we were finally to Ft. Stevens at almost 10:30am.

Next I missed the turn that lead straight to the horse trailer parking and we got to do a scenic drive thru of the rest of the park... Goodness, so much for getting and early start on the day.  It was, however, still a bit grey and breezy...

We were on trail by 11:15 and headed out for the long walk through the sand dunes.  I was hoping to get C a teensy bit tired before we braved the wide open beach area and Cinnamon has never been there so we thought we'd start off with some trail.

Luckily Michelle had also brought a sweat jacket so we were pretty comfortable temperature wise, and it was not raining.

Some of the trails were extremely overgrown, one I think was called Sleepy Hollow Trail and I was seriously wishing for  a set of brush cutters on that one.  I had limbs, leaves and Scotch Broom seeds all over me and Cartman, in the saddle, in his mane, etc. by the time we got off that trail.

We did get some great stretches of long trot though and Cartman was totally into it!

We hit the turn around area and the mesquitos were out in full force.  C was  swishin' his tail and I even found a few on me (misquitos- how do you spell that????- they usually hate me).

We headed back on the loop trail and at one point came upon a very tall log across the trail.  Cinnamon has not quite figured out the tall log thing and Michelle stepped off to get her over the log.  I pulled Cartman up and waited for them on the narrow trail. 

Michelle decided to adjust her saddle and as we waited Cartman was getting very agitated.  I think it was the bugs because he was swishing his tail and being a brat.  Cinnamon got over the log but before Michelle could remount Cartman started backing up into her. 

He was totally ignoring me and wanting to back up where there was no room.  Michelle was behind us and was forced to let go of Cinn's reins or get backed up over!  Eek, it was not a fun moment.

Cartman finally stopped (we're only talking a few feet here- but there was very little room on this trail) and Michelle was able to get around us and grab Cinnamon- who had stepped on and then into her reins! Thankfully she didn't take off down the trail.

Now Mr Pissy Pants was in back.  He was not happy.  I felt like I was riding a stick of dynamite for the next quarter mile but he held it together.  When we came out of the woods to a clearing I recognized an old dirt road heading back to the south that I had galloped one time with Glenn, Flo, Shannon, and Alex. 

I said hey I think someone needs to do a long lope! We took off down the road and Cartman was jogging about 10-12 miles an hour.  The footing is nice, the gravel is old and there is a grass strip in the middle that is a bit softer.

Cinnamon, being a normal Thoroughbred, decided that it would be more efficient to pick up a canter.  Cartman, born a Thoroughbred- but wanting to be a Standardbred- continued on at the trot.  I could have asked him for lope and he would but his true preferred gait is obviously the trot.

Cinn finally passed us after about a mile.  We were having fun and she was starting to stretch it out a little bit. 

Then I saw it.... the dreaded steel shoe with green pad.  This could only have come from one place.

I yelled at Michelle to pull up and sure enough, Cinnamon was missing her front right shoe.

It was thankfully a clean pull, she didn't even bobble and was quite content to carry on loping down the trail.  But we knew our ride was over for the day.

I turned around and jogged back North towards the center of camp to see if I could find a good spot to come in with the horse trailer and pick up Michelle and Cinnamon.  As luck would have it we were only 1/2 mile from the main road that goes out to the horse trailer parking area. 

I headed back into the woods to catch up to the trail that leads back through the dunes and Michelle waited on the corner where we could get the horse trailer in.

It was about 2.5 miles back to the trailer.  We jogged where possible and finally made it to the trailer after about 45 minutes.  I let Cartman eat beet pulp while I untacked him.  He refused water (big surprise) but did want to pee before getting in the trailer.  I love this horse.

We pulled in and picked Michelle and Cinnamon up and headed immediately (well not quite immediately- we did let Cinn have some beet pulp)  to the Fred Meyer's Starbucks :) then home.  All in all, we didn't get to ride the actual beach but it was a fun outing and we managed an 11 mile training ride.

I have settled on doing an LD at Bandit so we should be in good shape for that anyway!

Now, I'm off to do the Firecracker 5K.... it may be slow one today :)