Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Now that's more like it

Rode the wild child again tonight and she was much better behaved. We did the exact same route as Monday. She was a little pissy and jumpy for the first two miles then settled right in and worked hard for me. Here's the Garmin info.

Lap 1 was getting out of the subdivision, 2 was slogging up the hill away from home and leaping around, 3 was hauling ass once she realized we were really going to do this thing, 4 was a mistake, 5 was coming back into the subdivision.

Dixie did a cowhorse stop for no apparent reason once and she gave the hairy eyeball to many terrifying white pieces of trash, but she really was a good horse. She has a lovely daisy-cutter pace going down hills, and our "fast" speed sort of rotated between trot, rack, canter, and something in between. I'm really pleased at how the mountains on the Garmin are turning into plateaus. We're not surging between trot and walk, we're steadily moving along. (Well, except for the scary balky hill.)

I told her she was acceptable and I'd keep her for the time being. ;)

Primal update, aka "things I've thought of that are good to eat." We eat a lot of larb, from this recipe, and a lot of tiger cry, based off of this. I am also living perilously but gloriously and making mayo and Caesar dressing from my friend's eggs. It's been two weeks and I haven't poisoned myself yet! I take a big Caesar salad to work about 3 times a week, and I bring egg salad at least once. Egg salad is hella good, yall.

Also Costco sells frozen bison burgers that my husband swears are just stellar. I haven't tried them yet, but he kept himself alive on them while I was off at Tevis.

I will go update the Tevis posts with some strategic pictures. I haven't forgotten you, Lytha!

Tevis 3

The crews spread out up the gravel road leading into camp. Half of them jumped their riders, stripped tack, and started sponging before the riders even hit the in timer. Seems counterproductive to me, but nobody went overtime so I guess it didn't matter.



I videoed most of the arrivals, then wandered down and got some pics of the vetting, then wandered back toward the truck and discovered Kirt and Chad gluing a rear boot on Farley. I took a bazillion pics of that.

Mel's crew spot

Eventually I found Tara, who I was supposed to meet to swap breastcollars with, then met back up with C. We roared back down the mountain, and on the way down I noticed the dead areas from the '08 fires. They didn't cancel Tevis cause of the smoke, they cancelled it because flames were licking at the so-called road leading to camp.


Anyway, we headed down to Foresthill. I was starving, and someone was selling hamburgers, so I had one. FH is down at 3000 feet or so, and it's actually kind of humid, and it was unbelievably hot. Between the carbs from the bread and the disgusting wet heat I felt really gross really fast. I kicked back in a camp chair with my hat over my face and just endured for an hour or so til I felt better.

(Disclosure: it was like 90 degrees and 30% humidity. I am a wuss and living in the desert mountains has spoiled me.)

Eventually I recovered and started wandering around again. Riders started rolling in - of course Heraldic and Greyson looked amazing - and I watched some vetting and some departures.

Mainly I started to notice how many spectators and volunteers there were. I talked to a lot of people, and maybe half of the s and v were even horse people! The rest of them were just there to watch and help because it's Tevis and it's amazing. That totally blew my mind.

Random spectators:
Rachel Shackleford

Crockett Dumas had a lady in a very pretty sundress and sneakers trot out his horse. Melissa Margot (sp?) made it in on Cabo and of course had someone else do her trotout. (If you don't read ridecamp - she has a shattered femur and rode with a huge brace. She trained Cabo to lie down if she needed to dismount on trail. And Cabo is, I believe, one of two gaited horses to complete this year.)


Melissa Ribley looked like she was hurting. She caught a tree branch with her face very early on and came in to RF with a gash on her cheek - got her horse vetted before she let someone suture her cheek, then rode on. She got pulled after FH, which must've sucked so bad!


C really wanted to stay at FH til cutoff at 8:30, but she very graciously hauled me to Auburn at 8 so I could get to Kinkos before it closed. We looked pretty normal at camp but I'm sure we looked like vagrants at Kinkos. C set up camp in the corner, plugged in her laptop, and finished uploading pics. I got on a computer, printed the counteroffer, signed it, and faxed it.

Then we headed over to In n Out and got burgers. (My husband will cry when he reads this and realizes how much delicious junk food I actually ate.) Then on to the fairgrounds in time to watch JC's amazing horses come in.

Those two horses blew through 100 miles of rough country in 17 hours and were still fresh and forward at the finish. Absolutely amazing animals! I got a little teary when they did their victory lap. :)

"Hey, trotted 100 miles, now I'm chillin in a stadium, what's up?"

When we heard that 3d place was an hour behind, we decided to head home. We didn't want to camp in the truck again, and the thought of taking a shower at home was irresistible! We were pretty tired by the time we hit Reno, but we made it home safe.

See? A very surreal, very cool weekend.

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Tevis 2

I don't trust this program not to eat my enormous post, so I'll split it up.

After 89, we hopped back in the Durango and headed to get coffee. The 7-11 had a bear proof trash can out front, so I took a tourist picture of it. I took a couple of "Hey Ma lookie here!" shots - they're all in the iPhone album.


Then we went back to I-80 and zoomed down to Auburn, then got on a tiny road and zoomed back east. The road got smaller and the views got more stunning, and after an hour or so we were on a Theoretical Road carved into a mountain, headed up to Robinson Flat. There may have been some dude named Robinson at one point but it sure as hell wasn't flat!

Not flat, but pretty like WOAH.

Here's one for EG:

We got swank press parking by some huge logs. Yes, they were the biggest logs I've ever seen. Yes, I got pictures of me standing by them, looking really dorky in really comfortable clothes. Hey Ma!


On the way up to RF, when I had a half a bar of cell signal, the realtor called and asked if we could meet him at 1? LOL, of course. I yelled to call G, then lost the call. Managed to get out a few texts telling G that if he'd sign to accept the counteroffer, then put it in our Dropbox, I could sign and fax it back that night in Auburn.

We had an hour or so to wait in RF. I wandered around and boggled at everything. That's also the point where I realized how HARD it is to crew Tevis. I think most rides the crew has to work really hard to not punch the rider for being a bitch, but at Tevis you have to drive literally hundreds of miles, drag gear miles in carts, clean up, AND not punch the bitchy rider.

Awesome hay bag

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Tevis is almost indescribable. I've followed it for years - read all the ride/crew stories, watched the videos, etc. But the actual camps - the sheer scale of this ride - was just amazing.

We drove up Friday to Robie Park, which is totally isolated and stunningly beautiful. Checked out all the vendors and got a free syringe of (local!) elytes. Found most of our blog friends - I still don't know where Mel hid her camp - and settled in to watch the vetting.

Here's Merri:

And Zach:

And some guys from some horse racing HDTV channel - I really want to find out who they were and watch the show!

Here's C, somebody I didn't know, and Karen Chaton:

Karen's Bo is a metrosexual. He is confident in his masculinity.

Jonni at Trot On Hank was adamant that I not take a picture of her, but she graciously allowed me to photograph Hank's water scoop! (Anybody else, if you don't want your picture online for some reason, let me know and I'll take it down.)

Susan Garlinghouse leased a horse to do Tevis and it didn't vet in - how sad for her. :(

I met Kirt and Chad from Renegade and had a long, awesome conversation with Kirt. I thought he had a great observation about high/low in front feet. I've noticed that almost all horses have it to a degree - usually it's very slight. And the high heel foot usually rests under the horse, while the low heel foot is slightly extended. He hypothesizes it's because so many of our horses don't graze for their food - a horse can stand like it "prefers" to eat hay, then keep standing that way all day while it hangs out. Horses that are grazing naturally alternate which foot is slightly extended. Makes sense.

He is all in favor of conditioning barefoot. Reminded me that an occasional bobble on rocks (not continuous limping!) is the horse's way of protecting itself from a bruise. (Here's the primal tie-in: if you're running barefoot or in those VFF's, you'll bobble on sharp rocks too.) That made me feel better about training bare on our rockier trails.

Now this is how you go horse camping in a van. It's got a winch! And a pop up top and sturdy mud tires and it may be the only van I've ever seen that I really wanted.

This is a grey paint that made me think of Endurance Granny and Phebes:

We left before the RM and went to Truckee and feasted on Mexican. Then we camped for the night in a little park a couple miles from the highway 89 crossing. We slept pretty good in the back of the SUV, and 5:30 came soon enough.

We got down to the highway crossing about 10 minutes before the riders started to come through. The morning was barely chilly. Just dim enough that I couldn't get still photos without flash, so I ended up shooting video clips of almost all the riders as they came up the embankment by the road. The horses all looked great and were still fresh.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

No more malaise! Verboten!

Please, someone, remind me to RIDE THE DAMN HORSE the next time I get all bummed about "having goals" or whatever ridiculous nonsense overcame me. Dixie is a not a horse to let sit, and she had about three weeks too long off.

I just had a ridiculously bouncy spooky hot ride on a ridiculously fit beast. At this rate, she is so doing the 50 at Comstock in early October. That idiot spooked every twenty feet at something, anything, for three miles, then when we finally turned for home she cantered or racked the three miles back without stopping. And she wasn't remotely tired. The horse needs riding.


Inspections on the probable house start next week. Still gonna talk about Tevis, I promise.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Horsekeeping questions part 1

So the Probable House is on a slight hill and it's completely sand. Deep sand. Dixie has great tendons, but I worry that 24/7 deep sand would be stressful for her - and what about future horses?

I had a great time talking to Kurt Lander, the Renegade founder. He is a fellow Hoof Nerd to a huge degree and he was perfectly happy to talk with me forever at Robie Park. He suggested the ideal desert footing would be a layer of big gravel, a layer of smaller gravel, and a couple inches of pea gravel or sand on top. Does that sound good to yall?

(Remember: it'll take ten years of compost to even think about grass. It's just going to be a huge dry lot.)

Has anybody run hotwire in arid conditions before? Do I need to do that two-wire system? I think the ground's just too dry to properly ground one-wire hotwire.

What's your ideal horse feeding area? Dixie eats just a handful of pellets and mostly hay - I want it on or near the ground, and it'd be nice to be able to drop a couple of flakes a distance apart, rather than just a whole pile of hay in one spot.

Do any of yall compost your poop? What's the laziest possible way to compost a lot of manure? I really don't want to have to turn my piles once a week. That's fine for kitchen scraps quantities, but... horses are BIG.

Tevis post next, I promise!

Time dilation

It's gonna take a week for me to post everything that's happened since Friday.

First: I threw up almost all of the pix I took on my Flickr. I've got shots of Merri, Mel, Karen Chaton, Zach, Trot on Hank, and Jonni's arm. Also lots of the racers and random characters. I still need to post my iPhone pics and try to process the videos. I videoed a lot of arrivals and vet checks.

Second, we're probably getting House #2. I don't want to jinx it so I won't talk TOO much about it yet, but we're planning on closing August 31.

Third, but not least, that is definitely a Ride among rides. Totally amazing. What a surreal weekend.

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Friday, July 23, 2010

Au revoir

Off to Tevis. Not really au revoir, either - I should have internet most of the time I'm out there.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Let her eat cake

So yesterday I was societally obligated to eat a piece of cake. (I am not actually a wuss, I turn down sweets at least 2x a week at the office, but this time was different.) It was good cake - from Nothing Bundt Cake, local buddies.

Oh my god, it was unbelievably sweet. Almost too sweet to eat. I felt all weird and jittery while the sugar high lasted, then it crashed and I got SOOOO tired. Cake is really not worth it.

I mean, sure, I'll have birthday cake and special occasion cake, but I just can't see regularly eating sweets again.

House: we will know by Saturday afternoon. I hope the S responds by today - tomorrow I'm going to Tevis with C. Yippie! I won't be out of touch, but it would be nice to know beforehand.

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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Get right back on that horse!

We are making an offer on another property. We'll see how it goes!

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One down

Well, the house is going to someone else - there were a lot of other offers. Back to square one.

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Personality tests

I've been watching this meme spread for a couple weeks, and I guess it's time to take part. This time, the quiz says my horse is a DECA - Macho Man.

"If you have a serious job to do, this is the horse for it. You will have to get out of the way and allow them some freedom in how they do it. Sit down, shut up and hold on! It is initially hard to get them to accept that you do know what you are talking about, so training in the beginning can be challenging. Use psychology and variety and start them into their career at a very early age."

Sounds perfect for endurance, yeah? The problem is that I don't really think these things are accurate for self-administering humans, much less for what we're projecting onto our horses. I usually think stuff like this is self-fulfilling. "oh, I took a quiz that said she's dominant so I have to be more dominant and not let her push me around" leads to fighting with the horse which leads to thinking she's contesting my authority which reinforces the original decision.

Over on Aarene's blog, Evensong commented:
"Having studied psychology and being familiar with M-B and similar "inventories", I see such questionnaires as simply "jumping off points" for discussion. They are merely snapshots of one moment in time, from one person's perspective. I tend to take the "results" with a grain of salt."

That's a really good way of looking at it. (I'm so lucky to have such smart blog friends!)

Some of the quiz questions are things I haven't witnessed in months or years. For instance, Dixie eats alone now. She's too bitchy for me to take the chance of her hurting someone else's horse at feeding time. Still, every time I've fed her with others, she eats first and she eats from the haypile of her choice.

But other things, I'm just guessing. One of the questions (IIRC) was "does your horse like to go new places?" That's a question I feel we can only guess about. I really think almost all horses only want to go to new SAFE places with GRASS or other horses.

If we're lucky, our horses feel safe with us, so they're comfortable going where we ask. Or maybe the horse doesn't feel threatened and is curious about the new place. But the answer to the question is ALWAYS dependent upon circumstances.

Back to my horse: I have never understood that critter. I don't know if I ever will. I do feel like I get more moments of insight when I put aside my preconceptions about what she'll do and just observe.

I hope this stupid program doesn't eat this post like it ate the last one :(

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Pictures of prospective house

We're going to make an offer on this place. Can't get back in to take interior pictures, so you'll have to trust me on the fugly paint job and kind of weird layout, but the property + outbuildings is just dreamy. Needs a lot of work to be horse-ready, but I love where I board now so I don't have that sense of urgency.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

NHR Question

Would you rather have a side-by-side fridge or a single-door fridge? With freezer on top or bottom? I really don't have a preference, but I should develop an opinion. What would you like and why?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

This one's ~C's fault, twice

Here is my horse, accoutered in her fancy new enduro breastcollar.

I wouldn't have bought it if I hadn't gone to Washooo to hang out with C, and then she goaded me into posting this. ;)

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So I've been eating this primal diet for 3 or 4 weeks now. I lost 10 lbs almost immediately and now I'm very slowly losing a bit more. That's ok, though, because I'm actually NOT counting the days til I can cheat. This really works for me.

I will direct you to Tamara's blog, because she is the person who inspired me to try it. She'll send you to Mark's Daily Apple, because that seems to be the epicenter of primal eating - but I didn't read his site til I'd read hers for a while, so say hi to her.

The way I think of it is "no grains, no sugar." It's similar to a low-carb diet, but for me, the application seems way different. If you read low-carb sites, they are usually obsessed with making low-carb versions of typical American food. It's an eternal quest for chicken-fried steak and mashed potatoes and gravy, with whatever weird substitutes to make it low carb. Primal is like "there's so much good food to eat, even without bread."

So what do I eat? Eggs and bacon for breakfast. A huge salad with plenty of homemade dressing for lunch. Nuts or a piece of fruit for snacks. A normal dinner, without grains or potatoes.

I am not very hardcore about this. (About anything but riding, really.) If I want a sweet, I'll have a tiny piece of 75% dark chocolate or some fruit. If I want a drink, I'll have a finger of bourbon on the rocks. Quality over quantity.

Anyway, I find it to be a very sustainable way of eating. If I want pizza or sushi badly enough, I'll go get it, but I'm just not craving anything.

I was eating like this - effectively low carb - when I rode Moonshine. Aside from being up all night and super tired, I felt better at Moonshine than I did at Rides of March, when I ate "normally."

I am getting back into the gym, too. I have been debating whether to post this kind of stuff here or over on the dormant fitness blog. Votes? All horse stuff here (sorry Kacy ;) ) or horse and human fitness here?

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blogging 201

Terry requested a post about some blogging tricks, so here we go!

Number one - become familiar with the Edit Html tab. When you're typing in it, it looks like this.

The stuff in the brackets is the actual HTML code, and it does the cool stuff like italics and links and inline images and videos.

I'd like to show you the embroidery I'm working on. I recently took a picture of it and uploaded it to Flickr. They just changed the look and feel of Flickr, so this will be topical for a while! :)

I went to the photo page and clicked "share this."

Then I clicked "grab the html." Remember, you're in the HTML tag, so you want to grab the HTML.

Just follow the instructions - copy and paste the code over into your Edit Html blogger tab. It'll look like this:

But when you click the Preview button, you will see actual pictures instead of html code.


It's a little confusing at first. You don't have to READ the stuff in between the <> and the brackets, and if you accidentally type something in there you can "break" your pictures so they don't work. If you keep flipping back and forth between edit html and preview, you can usually straighten it out.

It's a little confusing at first. Remember that there's always two sets of brackets - links have a <a href blahblah1233> part and a </a> part. You don't have to READ the stuff in between the <a blahblah> and the </a> brackets, and if you accidentally type something in there you can "break" your pictures so they don't work. If you keep flipping back and forth between edit html and preview, you can usually straighten it out. Stay out of the code in the brackets, though, and you'll be fine! And remember, you can flip back over to the Compose tab as soon as you've pasted the HTML in.

If yall like this, I'll do another couple posts like it to follow up.


Trying out a blogging app from my phone. Why yes, work is really boring sometimes!

test italics

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Saturday, July 10, 2010


So I haven't posted in a while - not because I want to quit blogging, but just because I don't feel like I have a goal or anything to talk about. My horse is in killer shape and we don't have a ride to attend til October. Going out and working on canter sets or heat training or hills seems really pointless.

My trailer is still for sale, but that's no big deal. I refuse to mark it down a couple hundred dollars - I'd rather keep the damn thing til it finally sells at $1100. And my trailer fund is getting sidetracked to be a down payment fund. The market is amazingly soft and our lease ends soon, so we're looking in to buying a house. In the long run, it'll be more awesome to have a house with my horse (and her goat) in the backyard.

It's still pretty melancholy though.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Care and feeding of the rider

So most of what I forgot to bring was stuff for the human. I didn't bring any kind of light, so I did everything by the light of the moon, one glowstick, and my cell phone. It was good enough. I didn't bring my camping stuff. I have no idea what I was thinking. I guess I just didn't want to bother my husband to borrow his truck and make him drop me off then come pick me back up...

I did bring some food, and I did snack all along the trail. I've been doing the primal eating thing - no sugar and no grain, basically - and I stuck to it pretty well. I ate nuts and fruit roll ups, and I drank water and unsweetened electrolyte drink. Fruit roll ups are only marginally primal, but I didn't have any terrible moments of low-blood-sugar-despair. I was going to bring some beef jerky, but... I forgot that too. I did bring a bottle of whiskey in case I needed a shot of courage to climb back on that beast for another loop, but I was fine!

I brought clean clothes, too. Dry socks at a vet check does more for my morale than anything else.

I don't know if this is weird, but I really enjoyed the times where I was in a pocket of aloneness. Dixie's easier to ride, of course, when she's focused on following another horse, but she's more fun to ride when I'm really riding her. I love the peaceful nonstop miles of communicating with her - keep on going, not too fast, watch out for that chalk mark, easy for the rocks.