Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bare Bones

We did it!  First organized ride complete (I know, I know, only 15 miles) but this ride was about learning to camp and see how Cartman was going to do in a group situation.  He passed with flying colors, and with only a few minor bobbles in performance. More on that later.

Friday nite, first experience at camping
After a hectic morning of washing clothes, washing the truck, and washing the horse I was pretty wiped out by the time Todd got home from work.  I'd been so focused on trying to get ready that I didn't eat anything and by 11am was feeling pretty shakey.  Knowing that this would be setting me up for a killer migraine, I decided to hell with my  self-imposed schedule and we went out to lunch.

After we got back Todd helped me load everything up, hitch the trailer and I ran inside for a shower while he went to bed.  Shortly after I was on the road. 

We pulled into camp about 2:30pm and Glen and Flo had saved us a spot next to them.  It was a good plan, because Cartman knows Hotshot and was immediately comforted by seeing friends.   I got the hi-tie ready for him and decided to take him for a little walk and to sign in.  Flo went with me to hold C while I did the paperwork, as I was still a little hesitant to leave him at the trailer at this point.  Did I mention there was some sort of Blackpowder Competition going on at the Gun Club, about 300 feet away, in the woods?  It was extremely LOUD.  Luckily C is pretty much not fazed by gunfire and it didn't seem to bother him at all.

We camped at a Gun Club, on a carpet of clay pidgeon remtains
We got signed in, Cartman was letter A.  We started back to the trailer and ran right into AareneX from Haiku Farm.  I was hoping to see her as I'm intrigued (and impressed) with the training she has done with her mare and wanted to get some clarification on the teaching of the look-away trick.  Better still, she offered to show me how to do it, with Cartman.  Aren't endurance riders awesome?  After a few minutes C was starting to get the idea, and I now know how to keep working with him.  He is SO motivated by treats, and so puppy like, that I think this might be a really good thing for him to learn.   Thanks Aarene!

On the way back we had stopped by the American Trail Gear booth to inquire about a fly mask.  Cartman was enamored of the black plastic horse head that they display bridles on, he would not leave it alone!  I finally had to pull him away, as I was beginning to think we was going to knock over the whole rack.

The vet-in area was right next door and they asked if we were first in line.  Well, sure :)  After some brief trouble- finding a pulse?  The vet finally gave it a try, and C pulsed in at 38.  He stood like a champ for the exam and got all A's.  Yeah!

I was starting to feel pretty comfortable with Cartman in the ridecamp and he spent the next few hours on the hi-tie while I visited with people and set up my sleeping  area in the back of the trailer.  Glen and Flo
grilled some tastey hamburgers up and we all sat around eating and talking for a while.  It was nice to see everyone again, after a summer of missed rides for me.

While walking to the water trough I noticed a couple with a pretty grey mare,  the mare's name, Khari, was printed on the trailer-so I figured this must be Connie, of the Hoge Homestead Blog.  So, I did something completely out of character and went up and introduced myself to- what could have been-complete strangers.  Thankfully I was right, and it was Connie.  What nice people!  We talked horses and it was like I'd know them for years.  I think Khari made her 1000 mile this ride, congratulations!!

Later on, Kristy,  one of the friends I would be riding with the next day, stopped by to get signed up for the trail ride.  She offered to bring me an Americano the next morning!  This ride was really shaping up well so far.

 I climbed into bed about 10pm, and settled in for a night of little sleep.  Sure enough, I was up every two hours or so.  Camp was very quiet, and Cartman was really quiet outside the trailer. Other than dumping his water bucket at 1 and 3am, he was really well behaved.  About 5:30am he discoverd that he could look into the trailer (I'd left one section of the stock trailer windows open- I have some boards  that close up all the open windows and I usually put these up after I get to camp.)  Ever so often I'd see a big nose poke thru the window, and then an eye.

We were up early next morning and watched the 50's head out at 6:30am.  The 30's were set to leave at 7:30am, and just as they where saddling, it started to rain.  And it didn't quit.  By the time Michelle and Kristy pulled in with their horses, and I was saddling- it was pouring.  Literally.

I saddled Cartman under his rainsheet, but by the time I pulled it off, hung it in the trailer, and got back to pull the cooler, it was also soaked.  Ugh.  Shannon  took the cooler for me so I could jump on, but alas, the saddle was already drenched by the time I got over to the mounting block.  We settled in for a wet ride.

We put Cartman in front, Koko right behind him, and then Michelle's new horse Tucker.  We ended up travelling in this order all day, as Tucker was having no part of Cartman between him and Koko.  The trail was pretty much a channel for the water to run down.  In the span of an hour a beautiful wooded trail had turned into a slick little chute.  Gotta love Western Wa.

Despite the wet and the mud we were enjoying the ride.  Its a really pretty area and the trails were well  marked.  About 1/2 hour into the ride we came upon a large group of riders, all riding together.  They graciously pulled over at a road crossing and offered to let us pass.  I was glad, because Cartman has a pretty fast walk and I was not wanting to spend the next three hours having to check him back, or worse having him crowding the horse in front of us.   One rider had contiued on as we did the re-arranging and passing at the road.  Cartman saw that horse in front of us about 50 feet up the trail and this is where the little indiscretion occurred. 

As we started up the slightest incline he half reared, half lunged forward.  Twice.  Yes, that was it.  For a split second I was thinking uh oh.  I have ridden horses that would perform this manuever and then go to hoggin' it.  I was waiting for the bucking to start.  But it didn't happen.  Whew. 

Cartman gave the bridges a little look, but walked right over.  I was really glad that our experience with him slipping and cutting his leg on that little bridge at home did not seem to have left any lingering effects.

The next few hours were spent mostly walking as it was just too slick to do much else.  We encountered some joggers????? I couldn't believe it, out running in the mud and rain on foot- that is hard core stuff there.  Then a few bicylists that were amazingly considerate and even complimented us on our beautiful horses.

It was all in all a great ride.  C did really well in the mud, despite the fact that I've never ever ridden him in the rain or mud!  Luckily its been pretty dry since I started taking Cartman out on the trail this summer.  The last hour or so it stopped actively raining and Cartman was pretty dry by the time we returned to camp (I wish I could say the same about my boots.) 

Cartman vetted in, and got all A's again.  Wooo hoooo!
post ride photo
After the ride Cartman chilled by the trailer and had some alfalfa.  He was not tired at all.  I went over to the Rivas's trailer and warmed up with a nice cup of coffee and some heat, much appreciated too.  Shortly after Glen, Flo, and Heather returned from completing the 30.  Their horses vetted in great and they too hustled off for some dry clothes and some heat.

A few hours later I loaded up C and we headed home.  Only a little over and hour away, it was an easy drive.  I did a little grooming and then turned C out with Dazzby.  He trotted off towards the big field and then took off at a nice canter.  I think he could have gone a little further than the 15 miles!


HHmstead said...

What a great story & Congratulations on your first "pro-ride"! :-) It was a tough one with the rain & mud combination - but so beautiful out there! Your "C" man is just Beautiful! More so in person than even in the photos on your blog!

We Really enjoyed meeting you & felt same as you - like we'd known you forever! This means that we need to make plans to do some riding one of these days!
(I made some changes in my settings - check to see if you can comment now :-)

AareneX said...

Great to meet Cartman,he's a great-looking fellow, and SMART too!

Thanks for letting me bonk him on the nose a few times in the name of education. There are photos of him on my blog today. >g<

Anonymous said...

WOW Karen is all I can say! I stumbled across your blog link and boy do I have a lot of catching up to do! C looks fabulous! It is hard to believe 5 years have gone by since we were both "expectant horse moms".
My heartiest congratulations to you both! Paula and Lucy

oldredhorse said...

Hey CG, your ponies look amazing. This is Becky from up in Tacoma (JM on AOH) Glad to see all are doing well!!

CG said...

Thanks guys! I can't wait until the next ride, and am starting to plan for next year's schedule! Ha ha, we all know how that usually works out :)

Paula and JM- Good to hear from you guys! Hope you and yours are all well.