|pony got a pro shot in-camp on Friday! by Boots n Bloomers|
|Hi-tie, haybags, shade. Luxury!|
- ride with Olivia & Nilla, get LD completions for both of us
- consider riding mid-pack, or at least not feel obligated to turtle, should the speed and attitude of the mule & pony allow for such
- acquire a baseline for 2point-tober since I needed one by Monday and wasn't planning to ride between Thursday and Monday other than during the 25. Eep.
- have a nice, sane, sound horse at the end
- finally have a second positive experience at Quicksilver: two years of rough rides here left me ready for something different
|Luxury Distance, tacking up with a bit of light|
|I have a lot of mule tail photos. This is how we spent 90% of the ride.|
|Lots of wide open spaces.|
|Big Trot. photo by Boots N Bloomers, used with purchase|
|the offending small-gravel road that her hoof disliked, heading into the check|
Cleared to go, I quickly inhaled a sandwich, switched out my Camelbak bladder (thank you, Olivia's husband, for taking it to the check for me at the last minute!), gave the pony half a bag of grain, and gifted the leftover grain to another horse still at the check. We were off. Now just to get the four of us safely home, sound, for our completions. Plenty of time, should be easy going.
|That Damn Hill from last year was not bad this year with a friend.|
Then we came upon two riders, horseless, and one rider (in the 50, going the opposite direction) walking her horse and on the phone with camp explaining that the riders had come off and the horses were loose, but everyone appeared generally OK. I gave my full spare waterbottle to the riders and reassured them my Camelbak was plenty for me, we told them we had not yet seen their horses, but we promised to keep looking. No sense going off trail with no idea where they had gone, so we stayed on our trail, left them, and headed on. Suddenly we had things to worry about. Another 50 came by and said something about seeing the horses, but didn't specify where. We got our hopes up but still nothing. And then, around a turn, the LD rider ahead of us with three horses: his one and the formerly-missing two. I dismounted, handed my horse to Olivia (sorry Olivia!), grabbed the two horses and turned around to hike back up. It's one thing to lead just one loose horse with yours.. but to lead two plus a third seemed unreasonable. I figured Olivia hadn't ditched me yet and would probably tolerate me throwing the pony at her for a few minutes.
Hiking back, it dawned on me that I should call camp and let them know the horses had been found. Management had given out a paper with phone numbers, so I dutifully put that.. in my horse's saddlebags. Which was no longer next to me, since I was leading not-my-horses. Oops. Lesson learned: that paper needs to be on my person, or I need to save the numbers in my phone! I called my boyfriend who was volunteering at camp. Evidently he was busy volunteering at camp - the nerve! - and didn't hear his phone go off. I found the number for the out-check manager and called her instead, figuring she could get the information to the right place. Horses made it back to their humans. I was working on the theory that if we could get them the horses they could make it home. In hindsight, perhaps I should have stayed to make sure they could get on, too... but instead, I jogged back up trail, retrieved my pony, hopped back on, and moseyed my way into the finish, complete with calling boyfriend-at-camp again and reiterating to him that the horses were found and please let management know. Again: smarter answer would have been to pull the paper with phone numbers out. I evidently do not claim to be smart 20 miles into a ride with full sun.
|Cows left. Water trough center. Pony ears say RUN HOME.|
Except for when we hit the water trough shortly before the finish: then there was no moseying present. We've done this ride four times now and Confetti knew exactly where we were. Suddenly I had a full-of-energy horse who would like to go running now please. I parked her back behind Nilla's butt for the last half-mile into camp. Oh, pony.
As I'd expected, Confetti vetted through fine at the end, no lameness present. Hindsight says I should have cleaned her feet prior to vetting her through at the out-check and then there would have been less stress there! We didn't quite manage to turtle, but our horse-handling adventures took us from a solid mid-pack to near-turtle. Oh well. I'm happy with the thought that we could have been solidly midpack.
Overall: pretty pleased. I had plenty of horse, she pulsed down well at the checks, and she was respectably polite if not as good as I'd hoped. If we do this ride next year and things don't change dramatically, I expect we'll do the 50 instead - it's a hard ride for my migraines, but I might as well let her run through more of the first loop and find her brain in the second 25 miles.