Sunday, December 30, 2012

Gifts from Friends

The last seven days have been action packed.  Too busy to even think of blogging!

Christmas Eve's Eve  was an enjoyable day.   I had chores done by 9am and made breakfast while listening to a new Andre Rieu CD I picked up at Target- almost as good as my favorites- the Chili Peppers  and Rage Against the Machine- and somewhat more "early morning friendly".

We did a little last minute shopping during the day then later we met up with Roger and Amber for a short visit and Amber gave me an awesome Christmas gift- a little fitting so that I can use my  favorite coffee in my Kuerig! And also some of my favorite coffee- Zojo's, yummm.

We then stopped by for a little visit with Glen and Flo on Christmas Eve's Eve and ended up hanging out in Glen's cozy downstairs "man cave" in front of a warm fire.  Very festive.

They guys had a few drinks and the next thing you know we were  making plans for a Christmas Eve ride!  Flo's been trying to get Todd to ride with us for, oh, at least the last two years and she finally did it!  The Blackberry (?) Whiskey might have helped a little, snicker, snicker!

Christmas Eve was clear and cold.  Gift number two!

Which lead to another awesome Christmas Gift- a Christmas Eve ride with friends and Todd too. Thanks so much to Glen and Flo for bringing an extra horse for Todd to ride! 

I had spent about two hours fitting Dazzby's Renegade boots to Cartman and I was excited at the prospect of being able to take him out on gravel even if we could only do a lot of walking.  Unfortunately as I was helping Todd bridle Auggie and get his stirrups adjusted Cartman decided to step on his own foot and rip the cables out of the front Renegade.  Agh. 

I decided to pull all the boots and I would try to stay on the edge of the sand while everyone else rode the jogging path.

We ended up riding the whole path and Cartman did pretty well barefoot. 
Todd got a new respect for the distance rider's obsession with proper fitting clothes and tack as he ended up with a nice little "saddle sore" from a big seam in his jeans.  Ooops. 

He had a good time though and wanted to "go fast" the whole time:)  Auggie was a real sweetheart and took good care of him.  Todd really liked the running walk!

I was so busy taking pictures and messing with the camera that I didn't notice my phone was gone until we got home. 

So, we spent the better part of Christmas Eve walking and jogging on foot, the same path we'd ridden on horse back earlier.  I paged and paged but sadly the phone was not to be found.  After about four miles my lungs were burning and I gave up looking.

But I'm counting this as another gift.  I got to experience the sand first hand and realized what a "gift" my horse gives me every time he carries me through it. Thanks Cartman!

I was a little sad to lose EVERY PHONE NUMBER I've collected for the last 10 years!  So, if I don't call you, please call me- I'm going to start from scratch (same phone number).

We raced home, I did chores and then we headed over to Erik and Michelle's for Christmas Eve Dinner and a game of Train Dominoes.

Dinner was yummy (New York Roast), so good, I decided to forgo my Primal Diet for two days and I gorged on any and all sweets and grains I wanted. I Finished it off with some delicious Pumpkin Cheesecake that Michelle made. mmmmmmm.

We gave the boys their Christmas Gifts (each a Lego kit) and they seemed to really like them.  Unfortunately Mason already had the kit we picked out for him (a truck trailer and dirt bike set), but he was really appreciative and mature about it- didn't act disappointed at all.  I think that Target will let him exchange for another set and they have a bunch of cool ones!

Michelle made me the most awesome framed picture collage for Christmas.  A  great shot of Cartman and I from our ride up at Kalama Horse Camp in Oct.  The big picture of us, and then two smaller pictures- Mt St Helens behind the lava flow and the beautiful river in the third spot.  I love it.


Ooops, almost forgot to mention our last little Chrismas gift.  A fiasco involving our septic tank.  It ended up being a plugged pipe and not a septic failure.  This was of course discovered after Todd spent the better part of Christmas morning digging up the tank.

The rest of Christmas Day was spent resting, feeding the horses treats, and cooking a big ham dinner. All in all it was a wonderful holiday and a good day to be thankful for all of our friends and family.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Proof I'm actually Riding, and a kitten video :)

Today I had the day off work (use it or lose it before year end).  When I got up it had snowed a tiny bit but the sun was shining.

I ran down to get Cartman and his older brother Taj slipped out the gate on me- I had not had any coffee yet.  So I'm out there chasing Taj around the yard as he'd run all the way up to the house.  I finally caught him by letting him go into one of the stalls.  Yikes.

After the escapee was securely replaced in the field I grtabbed Cartman and we headed back up to the house.

Thanks to his blanket grooming was a pretty easy deal and I was making good time.

I had C saddled and the trailer hooked up just as the sky was turning a little darker grey...

It was getting really chilly and a little breezy. 

I have yet to actually get out winter coat this year- some type of subconscious rebellion against the dreaded rain season.... or my primal diet, I'm not sure exactly why.

But I decided it was time, and I needed my gloves too.

So I spent another 15 minutes looking for the gloves that have been kicking around all summer.   No luck.

I looked everywhere.

I finally decided that I probaly could ride in barn chore gloves.  By now it was sleet/snowing again.  Agh!!!

I threw Cartman's cooler over his saddle and off we went.

Here's proof- you can't actually see the precipitation in the photos but we only made if 45 minutes before I was freezing!!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Back in the Saddle Again!

Whew, the drought is over....  I've been on my horse three times in the last week:)

Last Saturday I took C over to the sand/dredge spoil area where we usually use the jogging path for conditioning.  Since he's now shoe-free, we couldn't actually attempt the gravel path, but we did a lot of walking in the sand.

It was a very nice, easy going first ride in a month. 

Thursday I hauled over to the arena to ride.  I actually put C on the lunge for just a second prior to getting on (yes, I'm a chicken).  He literally jogged two circles in each direction and was SO mellow I bridled and jumped on.

It was a very productive ride, lots of bending, circles, and "arena stuff".  I've been focusing on increasing the work at the canter and it seems to be paying off.  He took both leads easily and was really responsive.

Unfortunately I've discovered a down side to keeping C as naturally as possible (he is turned out 24/7 on eight acres of pasture with Certified Girl and his brother Taj.)

He is a Fuzzy Bunny!!!

Last year C was in the barn each night and I made sure to leave the lights on until 8pm or so,  this year he's on nature's clock and I've never seen him so hairy.   So I have to temper our work out to make sure I can get him dry again before blanketing and turn out.  It was so nasty and blowing rain by the time I got home I decided to keep him up over night and let him stay in the barn.

Today I hauled C back over to the arena.  Shawn was in Castle Rock working some roping horses so I took Cartman over there for his "continuing education".  While Shawn rode Cartman in the arena I got to walk out the last roping horse.  It was amazing to get on the QH, from the ground- with no bouncing or upper body strength required:)  I couldn't get over how wide he felt! 

Later we headed over to the sand trail that borders the property where the arena is.  I asked if this horse would be fine out on the trail and they guys all assured me "Oh yeah, he's totally fine."

We walked about an 1/8th mile down the trail when Shawn took off on Cartman at a jog.  I just dawdled along on the QH until he returned and then rode past us back towards the barn.

As soon as C went by and I turned the QH around I realized that I might be in for some "fun".  Mr QH got very, very antsy.  Suddenly he hopped up in front and gave out a little tiny kick out.  Ooooh, I wasn't really prepared for this action.  I deliberated, I don't know this horse at all..... he's a QH- some of those can buck like broncos!!! They're small and quick..... I am not really 'fit' after having over a month of not riding.....  Should I turn?  Should I turn and circle?  How will I ever get all the way back that 1/8th mile to the barn?   Am I going to get bucked off someone else's well broke roping horse????   There was no way I could dismount, there was too much explosive tension for that. 

I eased up on the reins and gave him a tiny boot with my foot, he walked back down the path.  My stomach was in knots,  I was consciously making myself relax and lengthen my leg.  He was a coiled spring.  I was doing my best to breathe, and not to feed into the horse's anxiety.

FINALLY, I made it back to the common trail and I found Shawn and Cartman.  I told him about the little tiny hop.  He asked if I wanted my horse back and I said "YES!!!!!!"  I jumped off the QH and climbed up on my big boy and gave him the biggest hug I could.  Heee heee, I've gotten spoiled with my mellow TB:)

Shawn rode the other horse a bit, making him go away from C and back and forth.  As usual he had everything straightened right out and there was no hopping or bucking!

I realized how riding one horse all the time can be bad for your riding skill level. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

A Few *Jingles* Needed for Beau Dog

Those of you who read the Chronicles of the Horse Forum will know what this means.

 It is a long standing Coth tradition to jingle one's curb chains in an effort to send well meaning or healing wishes to another horseman or a sick animal.

Tonite we could use a few jingles for Beau Dog.  The vet believes he has gotten into some rat poison, but we won't know for sure until labs come back tomorrow. 

What we do know is that he is coughing up blood and his lungs are full of fluid (blood or infection).

He has been given a large dose of Vitamin K and is on antibiotics.  Until we know if this is working we have to somehow keep a 2 year old Shepherd calm and quiet.  Not an easy task, even when they are under the weather!

Believe it or not we don't have any 24 hour emergency vet care available in the immediate area.  So I got a very mixed message when I spoke with the vet on Saturday morning.  We had dropped Beau off at the clinic before work and she called soon after I got to the lab.  Telling me that I had a VERY sick dog, with a not very good prognosis, yet I needed to pick him up by 3pm.  WTF???  Great. 

It worked out OK though, he had quit wheezing and coughing for the most part and was content to just hang out on a blanket next to my chair all evening.

I spent last night sleeping on the couch with Beau bedded down on a fluffy pallet in the living room.  He is getting chicken breast and lunch meat, as he can't have anything that could scratch his throat or intestines due to the fact his blood won't clot properly.

We don't know how or where or exactly when he was exposed, so this raises its own issues of concern! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

From Idaho... with love.

Today we made a trek down to Battleground to Maul's Hay.  We picked up two tons of 2nd cutting alfalfa and a one ton of Orchard grass hay straight from Idaho.

The orchard was being unloaded as we pulled in and it went straight onto our trailer, the alfalfa had been hauled a few days ago by the same trucker that was there today.  Apparently hay is moving pretty quickly this time of year! 

All was well and good until we got home and realized we have to unload this by hand.   I think my primal diet has really helped me, as I felt pretty strong and was able to pack the bales this time.  Last year my arms were so messed up and I was too weak to even put up local grass hay, so this is a very pleasant surprise. 

Todd had a few "helpers" when I came back out of the house from getting the camera, we were over half way done before I thought I should have taken a picture of the loaded trailer.  It was truly a beautiful sight.

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I haven't ridden in almost three weeks!!! Eeek, where does the time go?  First there was work troubles, then the "cough", then just as I was getting ready to bring Cartman up to the barn Sunday for a ride I noticed he had pulled one of his front shoes.  Sigh.

I knew we were on the edge with the shoes, I have him trimmed or shod every 6 weeks and he was at 8 weeks, his feet are growing like crazy (go figure?) and it's gotten muddy out in the field.  Oh, and he is turned out with his big brother- AKA "partner in crime".  They play a little.... shall we say, rough?

So, onto plan B.  I called the shoer to come out and pull the other three.  Time for some barefootin'.  C has surprisingly tough feet for a guy that goes in full pads for most of the year.  He has already adjusted to the fresh trim that was done Tuesday, but I plan on giving him a few more days- just in case.

So, this was a good time to schedule a little chiropractic treatment.  I may have mentioned in a previous post the slightly odd hitch C has at the walk.  I've never experienced anything like this with other horses.  He is completely sound.  He trots sound.  Seems to have no issues cantering or trotting.  But has an odd walk.  Maybe I'm imagining it?  Anyway, his chiro will be here soon to give him a thorough going over and re-fit my Specialized saddle.

In other news, Todd and I may head over to Madras Saturday to pick up some alfalfa.  Todd hears rumors today of outlandish hay prices headed our way.  The company he works for buys new semi tires frequently.  One tire went up over $150 in the last month.... so, everything is going to increase in price.

I have a phobia of not having good hay, so might try to get a little extra for this winter.

Monday, October 29, 2012

No news is....well, no news!

Seriously, its been a slow week or so, horsewise.

I have been in work/hell, so riding has been taking a backseat.  Last Thursday I finally accepted that I was not going to be able to get off work early enough to get a ride in.  So, I hauled C over to Shawn's Dad's farm so Shawn could ride him for me.  No sense in letting all of our conditioning and training go to waste!

I dropped the boy off before work and picked him up after.   Yes, my horse went to Day Care. Hey, if dogs can do it! 

The sun was starting to fade as I pulled in so I quickly loaded up, and got a little update on C's progress.

Cartman was good but had two significant coughs.  Uh oh.  Shawn rode him lightly but didn't want to get the boy too sweaty. 

Once home I checked C's temp.  It was 100.5 still within acceptable range.  I'm ashamed to say I don't know what Cartman's average temp is.  He has been a remarkably healthy horse, so I've had little reason to check it.  Bad owner.

I had noticed C was a little less "animated" than normal, not picking on his big brother quite so much as he usually does.  But he has been eating very well and has no nasal discharge either.

I decided better safe than sorry and gave C the weekend off.  His temp remained at 100.5 until Sunday when it was 99.5  I don't have enough data points to determine if this may be his normal temp fluctuations, or if indeed he had a slight bit of fever.

So, the plan is to continue checking his temp every few days to get a baseline and we will resume riding on Thursday.  Its kind of nice to have a little "break" anyway:)

On another note, I was thrilled to see Amigo is making a new 100g fill 1200D turnout!  I found one and ordered it on Ebay for $110 and $11 shipping.  Still $30 less than the local Wilco wanted for it:)  These blankets fit the TBs really well and are a reasonable price, compared to the Rambos.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Cartman and I Ride in the Sun:)

Nothing too exciting to blog about these days....lots of working, and preparing for winter going on.  But today C and I were able to spend a few hours down on the jogging trail by the river.  And the sun shone!!!!!

We worked on our arena exercises, just did them on the trail.  Lots of turn on the haunches and fore.  A nice forward working trot with some collection- he's getting better and keeping a nice position even when I go for a loose rein for several strides.  Then a lot of loping on both leads and some transitions.  I have to admit I love having a horse with a real "whoa". 

Last week I hauled Cartman and Dazz out to Skamokawa so that we could see if Dazzby would be able to be used a bit by some of Shawn and Tina's kids riding group.  I've told Shawn about what a kind horse she is and how she will literally try her best to keep underneath you if she feels something going wrong. 

Some of the girls in the group are a little  interesting in learning to ride english, so, what better job for my girl than doing the English Pleasure thing.  Honestly though, despite my best attempts I've not had a lot of luck finding someone to ride my extra horse!  Hard to believe but people aren't lining up for a free well trained horse to play with, go figure??

I was not really prepared for the true extent of the 4H/kids group.  It started out that Shawn and his wife Tina (both teachers) wanted to give some kids the opportunity to learn to ride and learn horsemanship.  So they set up this group on Tuesdays after school.  The school bus drops the kids off at the County fairgrounds and they stay and ride until their parent's can come pick them up.  I believe none of the kids had had any exposure to horses previously.  Shawn provides nice-kid appropriate horses and even a small cow for the kids to learn roping if they are interested.

So here I am riding Cartman and practicing canter circles when around the corner of the arena appears a few girls, carrying their books, backpacks and lunch boxes.  Then another group of girls, then a group of boys that were running towards the arena, then some older girls and more boys!  Holy cow, there must have been 20-25 of them.

The boys started practicing their roping and the girls were everywhere, brushing, saddling, riding, talking (lots of that), and then they'd trade off and start over.  It was some serious desensitizing action for my horse. 

The kids were all surprisingly well behaved, I did not hear one bit of whining or complaining even when they had to trade off their horse to another child.  They didn't all know the traditional arena etiquette but noone got run over and noone ran into anyone else either.  They learned some games on horseback (Shawn demonstrated on Dazzby- I was so proud of her!)

I'd left Cartman tied in a stall off to the side of the arena area and he was occasionally screaming pathetically for his Mama.  I had no idea that the two were so herd bound!
I went to check on him and found a handful of boys at the other end of the stall area.  My first reaction was to wonder what they were getting into.  I didn't really worry too much, but was later surprised to find out they had been doing their homework!  Learning to identify parts of the horse on a chart that Tina handed out to everyone at the beginning of the session.

All in all it was actually quite fun and one little girl about 6-7 years old told me "I like that horse, she is so cute!"  So, I think Dazzby may have a part time job:)

Back to today, C and I had a great ride, then I spent the afternoon cleaning the inside of the truck- still dusty from OR100!  Then cleaned all the wood chips out of the trailer and hosed it all out.  I also cleaned about 20 water buckets with bleach and got them ready for use the stalls,  put up my solar hotwire box for the winter, and dumped the trough over in the paddock that contains our septic drainfield since its off limits for winter use.  Whew,  we are getting closer to being ready for "real" winter.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Last Chance!

To ride on dry ground that is.

We've been enjoying some unbelievable good weather out here this fall, but rumor has it that is going to change this weekend.

Our trails are closed due to fire danger, so Michelle and I headed up to Kalama Horse Camp on Sunday to get one last long fun-ride in.  We've been talking about going to Kalama for several years, I even bought the Cowboy Trail Map of the area.  Finally we got around to it.

We left the house at 8am sharp and drove almost 2 hours up towards Cougar.  The  trees have started to turn, so it was really beautiful out.  We passed the Motor cross track and it was completely full of trucks and trailers, and of course, motorcycles.  I love watching motorcross, but there was no time for that today.

We pulled into camp, suddenly realizing that we were breakin' the law:)  We had both forgotten to bring Weed Free hay.  Ack.  As soon as we were parked and had the horses unloaded we quickly snatched all the hay bags and stowed them in the nose of the trailer.  We piled our gear around them and I threw C's rainsheet over them trying to hide them without being too obvious!  Just another one of the joys of having a stock trailer with no tackroom. 

We saw a small group of riders getting ready to head out and Michelle asked them about the trail.  They suggested we take the Ski Trail #31 and loop around to the Toutle trail #38.  This would give us a nice first ride up here and a promise of nothing too extreme. 

Cartman was really dogging it going away from camp.  Michelle had brought her trusted trail mare Coco for this ride, so C didn't have his little buddy Tucker to be competative with.  We climbed up and up, although the trail was not steep so I think it was a little deceptive how much elevation change there actually was. 

After an hour or so we finally turned a little bit to the South.  C seemed to think this indicated that we were headed back to camp and really picked up the pace.  I love his big walk- you can really cover some ground, yet it is effortless for him.

We stopped to take some pictures (M promises to email me copies next week after her vacation) and made our way across a huge area of lava rocks.  I was really really proud of Cartman- I no longer have to do as much steering in treacherous footing- he actually checks out the options and is chosing the best path.

After another hour or so we crossed over onto the Toutle trail.  This trail follows along the side of a large hill and offered some great views of the lake below.  I think the Cinnamon trail was above us- it must have some really steep sections or switchbacks to climb up so quickly.  We may try that one next time.

Finally we crossed the river and had completely looped back to the trail we went out on.  All in all we rode for 4 hours.  Cartman barely broke a sweat but I think he was actually pretty tired.  It was a lot of climbing and downhill too.  The day was really fun and we got home before dark!  Yeah for still being on Daylight savings time!

Today I hauled Cartman out for one last rain-free ride on the jogging path along the river.  We did a lot of jogging and quite a good bit of canter.  His canter is finally starting to come together a bit and he had a good work out.

Now, on to our winter challenge- learning some Western Dressage!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Goodbye Girl

Sometimes I don't blog because to I have nothing in particular to write about, other times I'm too dang busy even think about it.  Then there are those times that I put off blogging because I have something unpleasant that needs saying.  This is one of those times.

Almost a year ago I started posting about the foot issues with my homebred Pinky.  The trouble started almost 3 years ago now. 

A quick recap:
Early spring 2010- a horrid abscess/soaking fiasco that ended up blowing out the coronet (over an inch wide).

Late spring- repeated abscess in about the same spot that was drained out the sole and would blow up again and come out the coronet.

Summer 2010- A trip to the vet for X-rays of her foot. This vet ended up cutting a golf ball sized hole in the middle of the front of her hoof and cleaning out much damaged tissue.
Months of wrapping the foot ended with Pinky crushing my big toe during one of the re-wrap sessions. 
Note: Don't tie your horse and attempt to do this involved wrap, even if your helper and horse holder is very sick and trying to sleep in the house.

Summer 2011- The foot has almost completely grown out, finally!

Fall 2011- the abscesses start up again.

Oct 2011- I haul Pinky to Gresham to a good lameness vet- at Columbia Equine.
Pink is diagnosed with a hoof Keratoma.   There is a good chance it can be removed and she will be sound.

0ct 26- Pink's foot is operated on, the tumor was larger than expected, and the hoof had to be completely cut from coronet to sole to get the tumor out.

Nov 2011 to Setp 2012- Months of casts, to glue on shoes, to bar shoes.  The crack had set but was stubbornly splitting up towards the coronet.  She kept ripping off the bar shoe and shredding her hoof, so in July I took her back to Columbia (our 5th trip since surgery) and a glue on Sigafoos shoe was put on.

Sept 22- Todd and I flew to Ark. to visit my parents, Pink seemed a little sore before we left, I soaked her foot and made a vet appt. for the Wednesday after our return to have the glue-on reset.

While we were in Ark. my good friend who was horse/dog sitting called to let me know Pink was sore.

We returned home and I went to work Monday.  When I got home Pink was extremely lame (she didn't even want to put weight on her foot)  Todd took her up to the barn while I fed the other horses and I went up and soaked her foot with the warm water and epsom salts in a Davis boot.  I noticed she was actually feverish, so called down to the vet.  He determined that the shoe needed to come off asap, so I made arrangements to leave work for a while Tuesday and make the trip a day early.

When I was leading Pinky from the pasture to the horse trailer she would just let out this huge blow of air every time she had to step on that foot.

She was equally lame coming off the trailer at the clinic.

I had assumed that she had gotten some dirt packed down into the crack in her hoof and that it had formed an abscess at the spot where her hoof was split.

I think the vet thought so too, as he was equally surprised when he cut off that fiberglass cuff/shoe and we saw a huge black tarry abscess on the inside of her hoof.  It had no relation to the original injury.

As he worked trying to clean out the site it quickly became apparent the her hoof was extremely damaged.  Despite having the glue-on the foot was not really growing back and there was still nothing to nail a shoe to.

I guess that wasn't really a quick recap, but I know some day I'll want to remember the chronologial order of things and this will be there for me.

I think the vet and I were thinking the same thing at this point- he suggested we take another X-ray of her hoof as the shape of her foot didn't really look "right".  Surprisingly, the film showed no rotation and adequate sole. 

Nonetheless, it seems that this horse was never going to be sound with a good hoof.  We had discussed putting her down during the original appointment, before I opted to try surgery. and this time I decided it was time.  He agreed.

Pink was fat, shiny, beautiful, and in a lot of pain.  She got a huge dinner of Orchard/alfalfa hay and a fluffy bedded stall and left us on a sunny fall day, Oct 3.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

 Friday morning we were off about 9:20 am for Brothers Oregon.
A picture of my ride picture taken by Brown's Photo- the original is crystal clear and sharp.

The trip went pretty well.  We stopped in Madras for Starbucks and a little break, then headed to Bend to catch Hwy 20 to our destination. 

Unfortunately I managed to miss the turn once and we had to cruise Bend for an extra 20 minutes or so.  Bend has entirely too many stoplights for my taste and I think I'll avoid that one from now on.

We finally got on the right road and pulled into ridecamp about 3pm.

It is desert, for sure!  The camp was pretty flat and pretty dusty.  We found a good spot and started the unpacking process.  When both  horses were settled in with hay and water and our camp was set up (cots in the horse trailer), we headed over to check in and then vet in.

Cartman and Tucker both had low gut sounds, the vet surmised that this was from our rather long trailer ride.  I have never hauled C that far and I don't think Tucker had ever done it either.

Trailers started filling up camp as the afternoon wore on and we visited with a few of our "neighbors".  For dinner we had a great salad topped with some yummy chicken that Michelle grilled on her Traeger grill. 

The ride meeting was at 7pm and it was pretty dark by the time we got back to our trailer.  By about 9pm we were in our sleeping bags, hoping for some uninteruppted slumber.

I was having some issues with my neck (yes, even with the down pillow) I could not get comfortable and tossed and turned a lot.

Michelle's phone alarm went off at 5:30 and we got up to feed and water the horses.  We had our first experience using a Coleman camp stove and after several muddled, caffeine deprived attempts we were able to hook up the Propane bottle and had water boiling in no time.  Whew,  that could have been a real disaster.

The 100's were off at 6am, and then the 50's at 7am.  By 7:30 we were tacking up and getting ready to go too!  I forced myself to eat a banana and a breakfast bar and drink a whole travel mug of coffee,  then downed a V-8 juice for good measure.  I had managed to get a little headache somewhere during the night and really dreaded putting on that helmet.  

Once in the saddle Michelle and I walked the boys down the road towards the start.  At ride meeting they'd said about 20 horses in the LD but I believe they ended up with about 30.  We'd planned to try and get off in the middle of the pack, after the speed demons but before all the people waiting for the back of the pack. 
leaving camp

After they first bunch left we calmly walked out of the starting area towards the trail.   C is just getting better and better at the start of the ride.  He was absolutely on a loose rein and just put on his big walk and cruised.

As soon as we hit the trail we let the boys jog and they picked up a pretty good pace.  The trail was awesome.  It was dirt/sand and after the first 1/2 mile was wide enough that we could ride two abreast.  We'd planned to mix it up leading and following and when we hit the wide trail Tucker put the hammer down and pulled to the lead.  C was just fine following and we spent a couple of miles like this.

About half way through the first loop of 12.5 miles was a pretty good hill.  We passed a couple of horses we'd been leap frogging with but then had to slow as it got rocky and a little steep.  Coming down the hill we jumped off our horses and led them from foot.

This little break seemed to re-energize the boys and when we remounted they were ready to go!

The water on this ride was fabulous.  Just about the time I'd think about water, a trough would appear on the trail ahead.  It was starting to warm up just a little, and since we had been trotting so much Cartman dove right into the troughs. 

Before I could even believe it we could see ridecamp in the distance.  We passed the photographer's and got some pictures.  At 9:58 we pulsed down at the vet check.  The hold for the LD was in camp, but since it was only 30 minutes we had brought over a bag with snacks for the boys and us.  Both horses vetted through well.  We  discovered that Michelle had lost her sponge and I had lost my leadrope!

We were back on the trail just a few minutes over time.  We jogged for several miles and then took a little break to let the horses snack on some dried out grass and carrot bites.

The ride manager had been out all day on the trail in her ATV, she stopped to chat with us for a few minutes on our little break and promised to look for the sponge and lead rope during the day.  We really appreciated it, but didn't hold out much hope- especially for the tan (trail colored) sponge.

The day was starting to warm up and the boys were dogging it a little during this part of the ride.  We finally came over a ridge and could see Ridecamp way off in the distance.  This seemed to thrill Cartman.  We were riding along a fence line and I could tell C had one eye on the trail but kept looking over the fence towards camp, I think he was looking for a break in the fence.  At one section of trail we were able to break into a canter for a bit.  I hadn't let C do this during a ride before and it was a blast! 
ridecamp in the distance, the dust spot is a horse and rider heading in.

We turned uphill at this point and away from camp.  This was not a real popular idea with the boys, they really started dragging butt.

Finally we reached the water trough that was on the common trail back to camp.  Both horses had been drinking really well and tanked up here.  A few horses had pulled in behind us and as one passed us and took off at a jog the boys decided "It's On!"  Cartman took off in a big trot and Tucker tried to pull the reins out of Michelle's hands.  They were completely rejuvinated and ready to get home.

I pulled C back a little and let the two horses who had passed go on.  It was really too dusty for tailing the other horses.  C behaved well and eased up for a bit.  When they were a good distance ahead I let him roll again and he hit a gear I had not seen before.  Much like his mother Dazzby he can really rock the big trot.  Tucker broke into a lope to keep up but I didn't let C go on too long at that pace.  I know its pretty hard on his joints and he was at the end of 25 miles and I didn't want an injury just for a fun few minutes.

We made it back to camp and were 20th and 21st to complete.  Both horses got over all vet scores of "A".  We were really pleased with our results and I think taking the extra carrots out on the trail for snacks is helping the horses gut sounds.

We spent the afternoon eating, drinking, sponging horses (Cartman rolled immediately after his sponge bath- agh!), and mudding legs.  We also did some more visiting and met a few really nice people.
post-roll dirty horse

dirt, on mud

One lady we met is into Ride and Tie and I think Michelle is considering giving that a try. 

We chatted with a guy from California who had come up for the Appaloosa Championship race.  He came in 9th in the 50 on his cute Appy mare and I believe they won the Championship too!  It was neat because neither Michelle or I new much about the breed (other than the spot thing) and this guy even breeds Appaloosas.  It seems there is an effort to breed Appaloosas that go back to the foundation of the breed.  He also told us that at one point the US Govt had even put a bounty on Appaloosa horses in an effort to get rid of the Indian ponies. 

Its neat to talk to people about their chosen breed of horses, there are so many that I know nothing about.
C and I shared some watermelon

Our immediate neighbors were a nice couple from Oregon that placed 3rd and 5th in the 50 on an Arab/Standarbred (I think) cross and a huge  lovelyAnglo Arab gelding.  I'm surprised to not see more Anglo's competing in this sport.  Perhaps I just don't know them all!

All in all we had a great time at this ride, I loved the scenery and the trail.  We packed up camp Sunday morning after awards (the RM found both my lead rope and M's sponge!) and headed home.