Saturday, February 13, 2010

We did it!

Just got home from the NEDA President's Day ride. Dixie and Diego plowed on through 20 miles like (very slow) champions. They pulsed down immediately (shouldn't be a surprise based on our pace, but it means we didn't exhaust them). We conquered rocks, lake-sized puddles, dead dogs, live dogs, chickens, pigs, kids, llamas, and a cow. They even drank water!

Here's the Garmin - 20.29 in 4:51, which is 4.2 mph. A bit slower than I'd hoped, but not bad at all for the longest ride either horse has ever done! The weather was lovely - it had to be near 60, sunny, and calm winds.

We deliberately started off slowly. Neither horse was really paying much attention to the silly humans, but we kept at it and eventually got a bit of attention. Right when we were ready to move out, a huge group of quarter horses overtook us, so we headed off to either side of the road and let them pass. Seriously, it was like 8 people, mostly on big ole halter-bred QHs. A buckskin did something - I think she tried to kick another horse? - and the rider booted her, so the buckskin bucked her off and kicked her in the hip when she was down. Owwwww. :( The rider got back on and we let that group get a bit ahead of us. After a while, we passed them - they were only doing 10 miles, so we didn't see them again.

Dead dog - We were just starting up a hill when I noticed a very freshly dead dog's head and spine. ~C called it as a pit bull, and I think she was right. We asked the RM about it when we finished, and he said it got killed overnight, probably by coyotes. (I think, alternatively, it was shot for trespassing and coyotes ate it once it was dead - but there's no way to know.) The horses, in a stunning display of obliviousness, did not notice it and in fact almost stepped on it.

There were about 50 live dogs, ranging from totally loose to behind secure fences. Both the horses did pretty well. I had to spin and glare down a Chihuahua, of all things, before the owner came to the door and hollered it back to the house. We rode down one street we dubbed the Street of Horrors - first we noticed the chickens in the road. The horses were deeply uncertain about chickens. We coaxed and booted them toward the chickens and noticed the pen full of goats. Then the dogs across the street came barrelling out and barked like the hounds of hell - they weren't fenced, just "invisible fenced" with shock collars. Eeek. Then, as we finally tentatively minced on past the chickens, we all noticed the cow in the corral. It mooed and put a little spring in the horses' steps.

Dixie ate like a pig - I gave her a bit of salted grain and some hay first thing in the morning, while I braided her mane. Then she ate while we registered and I tacked her up, then she ate again while we grabbed a bite to eat after the first loop, then as soon as we hit camp again she ate some more. She did not drink til about mile 15, when she washed her mouth out in a puddle. Then at mile 17, there was a stock tank for us and she had a pretty good drink, and when we hit camp she drank quite a bit. She dropped two little horse-poos every single mile, and she peed 7 times. You know you're a horse person when you brag in your blog about the quantity and frequency of pee and poop.

I'm very glad I got her a blanket - I think she would've gotten cold tied to the trailer while we were eating. My thighs are rubbed from my jeans, so I think tights are next on the list. Her bridle really annoyed her on the second loop, and I think I could've controlled her with a rope halter - I plan on getting one and trying it out. Braiding that thick mane really worked to keep her cool. I am so tired I can't think of much more to say, so hopefully ~C will fill in the blanks.

Here's my girl, post ride :)
Dixie after 20 miles

Oh! C got to see one of Dixie's Almost-Famous Enormous Spooks. She kicked sand on a bit of white plastic and it made a NOISE and she leapt sideways and back like 5 feet. I'm so glad she's mostly quit doing that.


  1. Woo-Hoo! Congratulations on a successful, if not uneventful, ride. A significant milestone for you both.
    You have both earned a well-deserved rest. (Is that redundant?)

  2. WOW! I just went back to look at the Garmin thingy, and im-biggened the google map to try to figure out where you were, and spotted Lake Tahoe, and realized how close you are to Truckee, and remembered back to when I worked at a Girl Scout camp outside of Sierraville, and how, after camp, we RODE the camp horses back to the ranch near SOUTH Lake Tahoe, and how we rode with drunken businessmen who the rancher was hosting, with a full bar packed by a mule, and how we rode through Granite Chief and how awesome it was, and realized how close to where you are I had been, and to the route of the Tevis, and....
    WOW! What a memory trip! Thanks! I'm better now.

  3. That's amazing - congratulations! She look great in the photo - and that's a nice blanket - what type is it?

  4. We are definitely taking a break! I will go visit tomorrow and make sure her legs are tight, then maybe a short ride Tuesday.

    You rode from Sierraville to South Lake Tahoe!?! WOW! And a bar mule? What a fantastic experience; glad I reminded you of it!

    I can't wait to ride the CA Sierras someday soon. I might go packing into Granite Chief, and there's always pre-riding Tevis even if I never do the whole trail.

  5. Kate, thank you! The blanket is this one from Schneider. I like the velcro bellyband and don't mind the closed front. It's sized true - I measured her as a 76, and that's a 76 blanket.

  6. Woohoo! That's awesome Funder! What a good story too. Now I wanna do endurance too, can I come next time!

  7. >whining< How come I always see stuff like dead dogs and never see stuff like a bar mule?!!!???

    Congrats on your long ride, Funder! It sounds like you all did exactly right.

    And yes, tights. You'll want those.

  8. Yay! How fun! Sounds like an awesome ride.

    Tights or nylons beneath the jeans will help prevent saddle rubs.

  9. The interesting thing about the "bar mule" was that he was the only pack animal that came along--Our camping gear was all toted by truck and met us at the over-nights.

  10. I don't think I'd tote something as important yet fragile as the liquor on a mule. What if it got mad at you and ran into a tree and broke open all the whiskey?! Much better to pack the sleeping bags on the mule and truck in the bar.

    Andrea - you should totally try endurance when you get bored with eventing! You too, Jenn!


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