Monday, June 6, 2011

2011 NASTR 50, Part 1 - the fun bits!

On Friday I packed up the dog and pony show and headed to Dayton for the NASTR 50. The weather was supposed to be gorgeous - high of 70 and partly sunny on Saturday. I brought a selection of clothes ranging from a tank top to long underwear, just in case.


We had a pretty good night camping, actually. I got Dixie's boots on the night before - front Renegades, rear Easyboots, because her rear Renegades had a bad cable. She ate quite well and drank pretty well. Cersei and I slept great in the truck tent and woke up at 4 when the 75s woke up.


The weather seemed promising, and I wanted ride pics in a particular cool tee-shirt I'd brought, so that's what I wore. I fed Cersei breakfast, made sure her water bowl was full and in a hard-to-knock-over place, and headed out for the 6 am start.


I rode with John on Thunder and Meredith on Info. Thunder is a bad-tempered but experienced grey Arab gelding and Info is an adorable even-tempered newbie mustang. It was his first 50!

(Meredith on Info)

Dixie did everything right. She is such a good horse now! She didn't drink til about 23 miles (horrifying!) but once she started, she drank like a champ. She grabbed bits of tasty grass all day, and she ate great at the checks. She has an amazingly good attitude - even when Thunder pinned his ears and threatened to kick all day, she kept her ears up cheerfully or rotated back "listening" to me.


Bless her heart, she's clearly still completely lost at all times, but she trusts me to keep heading out into the wilderness over and over again. She doesn't like it when other horses pass her, but she doesn't freak out about it either. She crossed water pretty calmly, and when she was thirsty she drank out of the creek! She still doesn't pace right with "normal" horses, but she listened to me all day - and I was right. She walks faster and trots slower than other horses, but it all evens out in the end.

(abandoned gold mine)

We spent a lot of time riding on the edges of hillside trails. I was never nervous that we'd go over, so I stayed balanced and she stayed balanced and it was all good.


Once I was stopped behind a sagebrush to pee and she was bored with it and she dragged me over sideways walking away from me. That's pretty much the only time all day that I threatened to take her to the auction, though.


There was some really "technical" trail (i.e. twisty rocky shit uphill through overhanging tree branches) on the way up to the check. Dixie flew uphill perfectly, and I ducked perfectly - most of the people I was with got nailed in the face at least once, but I got lucky. My poor bare arms look like I've been mauled by angry kittens - I'm covered in tiny scratches - but at least I didn't get a bloody nose.

(look at all those A's!)

I had a really rough day. I never get cramps - except for Saturday. Awful cramps. It felt like my uterus was going to fall out. Plus it was a very hilly ride, so it was all uphill or downhill - lots of bonus muscle groups were used. I could barely walk Sunday. Today it just hurts a lot to walk.


I hopped off about a half mile from the second vet check - and fell down. I slid off Dixie and my knees gave out completely and I slammed down onto the gravel road. She just stopped and sighed and waited for me to haul myself back to my feet.


I never put on sunglasses. I had them in my bag, but the overcast never broke long enough for me to pull them out. (This makes it even more amazing that I didn't get hit in the face with a branch - you'll put your eye out, kid.) It also never got above 60, the sun never came out, and it started to drizzle in the last few miles. Perhaps next time I'll bring more clothes, no matter what month it is!

We did the whole ride in 10:44 (including holds.) Actual moving time was about 9:10, so we averaged just under 5 mph. My GPS insists it was 7300+ feet of ascent, but I never know whether to believe it or not. (My muscles think it was definitely 14,000+ feet of elevation change, FWIW!) I am so proud of my horse. I'm just awestruck at what a sensible, calm, brave, strong partner she is.


I reserve the right to loudly threaten to haul her to auction whenever she sidesteps after I get a toe in the stirrup, though.


  1. Sounds like a great ride - well, other than the cramps, and getting dragged by a horse when you're trying to pee. LOL

  2. Aww, good Dixie! Isn't it a pleasure to ride a sane beastie? :) Bahahaha about the potty stop, though. Been there! And cramps while riding? Not. Fun.

  3. I'm just catching up on your blog now. I got all excited reading this!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond


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