Sunday, March 21, 2010

Rides of March

First, a big thank you to everybody who Made This Possible. (I know, I sound like I won an Oscar!) First, to ~C, who convinced me I could do this, then let me borrow her trailer when she couldn't go as well. A big thank you to my bemused husband, who has no idea why I'd want to do this, but loves me enough to let me go do it without protest. And of course to all of yall, especially the distance riders, who so patiently held my virtual hand through my little panic attacks. :D

I feel like I should say thank you to my poor horse, too. She is really hard to get along with in some ways, but she is a fantastic partner. Obviously she's integral to this whole story.

AareneX asked how I could've gotten home so fast. Amazingly, ridecamp was only 16 miles from my house. I think that's about as close as a ride could possibly be, and that's one of the reasons I wanted to do RoM. Support my local rides indeed! Still, it took me about 100 miles of driving to GET there - down into Reno to pick up the trailer, back north to pick up Dixie, south then west then north again to the ride.

Hey, look! Lots of other people are similarly deranged and have come to the middle of nowhere to ride their horses way too far.
Ride camp

I think the country out here is just beautiful, but I understand it's not to everyone's taste. When you look at these pictures, either you see vast expanses of sky and mountains and rolling hills of sagebrush, or you see some sort of dead moonscape of grey stuff without any people to keep you company. Just remember that I'm showing you pictures because I think it's beautiful out here. :)


The rest of the day was pretty uneventful. I got Dixie settled in, checked in, went to the ride meeting, ate some cold dinner, and got snuggled up in my sleeping bag in the back seat of the truck. Dixie ate a bucket of LMF Gold and two fat flakes of hay overnight - I was very pleased that she tanked up so well.

Sunrise was kind of pretty!

It was also very very cold. I refilled Dixie's hay bag and grain bucket and climbed back in the truck. I had two whole hours to get her tacked up and braid her mane, so no need to freeze my fingers in the twilight, right? It got a bit lighter and warmer, I got out of the truck and grabbed the brush and elastics, and... the 50s left. Dixie lost her mind - horses! Horses leaving camp! Running away! We should run away too - untie me, human, we need to flee! She was pacing at the end of her rope, pawing holes in the ground, completely unable to stand still. So much for braiding. It was almost so much for getting her tacked up - she was that nuts.

I finally got her tacked up and mounted. We walked some very sedate and polite circles near the gate, and I felt pretty good about my horsemanship skills. The gate opened for the 30s, the front runners cantered out, and the mid pack riders started trotting out. We moved out at the back of the mid-pack people, and as soon as Dixie hit the trail, she completely lost her mind.

The Number One Thing No One Told Me:
The horse you condition is not the horse you ride at the event.

She wanted to bolt, and we had a huge fight about it and settled for racking flats and downhills and cantering up hills. She kept up that pace for three miles - past two ride photographers (smile like you're having fun!), down some ridiculously steep hills, over a dry creek bed (she jumped it), past numerous stiles for the foxhunters (she spooked at every. single. one.). Finally, on a long steep climb up a hill, she ran out of juice and let me drive again.

We got to the first water trough, and I knew she wouldn't drink, but I stopped her anyway. A single rider, then three riders, caught up with us, and we tagged along with them for most of the rest of the loop. One person was doing her first ride, and I think two of the other three were on green horses.

We went zooming off through some absolutely glorious scenery. Up the side of a hill, on some very twisty singletrack carved into the side of the hill. The view at the top showed the valley with houses and horses and even green fields, then down the other side. It was too steep to go fast down parts, but where it wasn't so steep we trotted (or racked). At the bottom of the hill, we had to wait a few minutes while the Red Rock Hounds stable moved their horses from one pasture to another, then we trotted (racked) through their pastures. Their land is at the bottom of a valley, with natural springs (or snowmelt?) irrigating things - the pastures were pretty mucky. Dixie had mud splashed up to her belly.

When we got out of the pastures and headed up Dead Horse Canyon (complete with real skeleton), Dixie was pretty tired. I slowed her down enough for the others to get out of sight, then kept her walking up the trail out of the canyon. The saddle had slipped back a bit, so I got off and fixed that then walked with her. I got back on, briefly, then we came over a little hill and I could see ridecamp, so I got back off and walked her in.



  1. The photos are lovely--thanks for sharing! The desert is beautiful.

    And yes, the horse at home is NOT the horse at the ride. They calm down (some) after a year or two of competition. Sigh.

  2. Cool-cool-cool!
    I am so loving this...racking with you on your first(just the first) endurance ride!!!Dixie is so darned cute! HAHA! Ya...when horses start to leave, mine would too-in her mind!
    I also cracked up with your what you ride while training is not the horse that you ride during the event...a yea. Mine will fly over rocks that stop her to a painful walk, to keep up!
    Going for round two.....
    I also think the desert is great looking!

  3. Wait! before you do your ride, consider this: The horse you condition is not the horse you ride at the event!
    ; )
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  4. Or this one "The horse you load is not the horse that unloads at the ride..."



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