|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.
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.