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.


  1. that feeling of being all alone on the earth with only your horse during an endurance ride is what makes endurance BLISS. especially in country like yours (and like Home on the Range in central washington) where you can see miles all around you and still, no other riders. sometimes it was frightening for me (cuz i'm from treed-in land).

    i wanted to mention the worst thing i ever put in my saddlebags to eat during a ride: travel pudding. you know those carry-able pudding packets that you can suck on like an otter pop? chocolate flavor. well, i was slurping them up fast, totally enjoying them, and then i was not so happy - nor were my buddies cuz they had to stop for me to make several bushes breaks that were most unpleasant. must have been the heat or something that turned my yummy saddle pudding into poison.

    the second worst thing to eat before a ride: aarene's team gave me one of their famous bran muffins and it was so much like eating cardboard when you start to eat the paper muffin form you don't even realize it. that was eons ago and i'm sure the pirate team does not serve paper breakfasts....

    one day i took off on a 75 (but did not finish) in the dark, and i had powdered jelly donuts in my rain jacket pocket. boy was that ridiculous. after rapid trotting out of camp i had very little that made it to my mouth. mmm jelly donuts...

    don't ask me what works, i just know a few things that don't.


  2. I need to catch up forgive me...
    If I were to be out there for hours and hours..and maybe someday I will, aside from the 4-5 hour rides I do now...but endurance you are competing in.... I would have a light that fits on the breast collar. Cashel Co. makes them. Headlamp(s), Jerky, dried fruits, a nut mix,drinks= just like you did...
    Sounds like your times alone with Dixie mare...heavenly.!!!

  3. For Farley's first 2-3 seasons I fought to find that pocket of "aloneness" you described, because I really really liked it. It's only been this season that I'm starting to enjoy riding with other people at rides (mostly because I've stopped stressing about it.....).

    It was really importatn for me to go out on the last looop of my february 100 by myself so I could just revel in the aloneness and magicall-ness of it all!

  4. I think the collective wisdom of endurance riders is all negative - "Whatever you do, don't put jelly donuts in your pockets!" I love all the "seemed like a good idea at the time" horror stories. ;)

    Kacey - You realize that I was only riding for 4.5 hours, don't you? You can definitely handle endurance, and your horse is at least halfway legged up for it. You might not want to try it - but don't sell yourself short, you totally could!

  5. I'll post more food details on my blog later this week, but I do remember those cardboard muffins (Sue's idea of good food, not mine!). These days, I'm a peanut butter sandwich and string cheese eater. Real food, no candy = happiness. Last weekend I also packed a tin of smoked clams (special treat for me) but didn't have time to eat them at the vetcheck because the vet line was soooo long.

    Getting into a "pocket" alone with the horse is the. best. thing. ever.


Feel free to comment!