Sunday, February 26, 2012

Lies, damn lies, and weather forecasts: 25 at Red Rocks

Yesterday, C and I touched base and agreed to meet at Red Rocks (Rides of March ridecamp) at 10 am today. When I woke up it was a very inauspicious 11 degrees out, but by the time I hitched the trailer it was a balmy 27.

Yesterday, the weather forecast had promised "Partly sunny, with a high near 45. East wind between 5 and 10 mph." I convinced myself that "partly sunny" == "mostly sunny," and that 45 is just a bit cooler than 50. This morning, they'd hedged it down to a high of 42. I am not real sure it ever got above freezing, I saw the sun maybe twice, and the wind was bitter! 27* at 10 am at Red Rocks. 30* at 5 pm. Brrrr!

C and I were so unhappy about being there that we didn't even say hi, we just set to work on our horses and didn't say a word til we were headed out to the trail. But once we got moving and talking, the day just flew by. We didn't push the horses too hard; the trail was plenty long and hard on its own.

25 miles in 6:30 total time, 5:49 moving. 4000 feet of elevation gain - we climbed a big mountain! It's Nevada in February, so there was nothing much for the horses to snack on, which I think was their biggest problem in the last half of the ride. There was plenty of water, and as usual, Dixie drank great once she finally started to drink.

Here are some pictures! According to the very small sign, this is a wildlife habitat area. Under the big horizontal thing I could see two concrete pipes, mostly buried but sticking out of the ground. The pipes had openings at the top/end, and the openings were filled with rocks.

What the hell kind of wildlife a) needs that habitat and b) cannot find it in the tens of square miles of uninhabited rocky hills?

Gratuitous Dixie shot.

We rode across the valley and up to the top of that there mountain.

Immense cottonwood. It was easily 6' across at the base. I got distracted and forgot to take more pictures.

Res ispa loquitur.

Merri! Do you see what we saw? There's a HUGE NEST, made of sticks, in that boulder. Looks fairly old, but I think the golden eagles raised at least one batch of babies there.

We climbed the north side of the mountain, and the trail was pretty snowy. Just patches at first, but the drifts were over a foot deep near the peak.

In this cloudy blurry camera-phone photograph, you can (not) see many major landmarks! Peavine ("my" mountain) is in the center-back, Mt. Rose is the tallest peak in the back line, and Slide Mountain is the one with visible ski slopes toward the left. The trailers are behind the dark juniper hills on the right in the middle. My house is behind some hills, off camera to the left.

Anyway, horse stuff: we went slow, but the horses didn't have any problems. I am quite sure that if there'd been a vet check in the middle of the ride, they'd have chowed down and perked right up. As it was, they were pretty hungry and a little tired when we made it back to the trailers - they both dove right into their hay, but neither one had that "tired eye."

Baby needs new shoes! Dixie's starting to wear out the toes of her front Renegades. The holes are pretty teeny right now, so I think they've got at least another 100 miles in them, but I might get replacements at convention.

If she handles the NEDA Washoe ride at least this well, I think I will bump up to the 50 at ROM. I mean, we just did an LD, with no vet check/food break, without the high-energy hoopla of all those other horses, and we pretty much made time.


  1. Awesome, just awesome. I'm pretty sure Fiddle would have found some food there, though--did they TRY eating any of that scrub? Can't go eating like a city girl if yousa gonna ride in de desert!

  2. When she got pretty hungry, on the last half of the loop, she ate a tiny bit of dead cheatgrass, but that stuff is unacceptable under normal circumstances. The new stuff is just starting to green up!

  3. Love the street sign...But what the Heck! is it doing out there in the middle of nowhere?!?

  4. Oh, there was a little neighborhood. We rode down Dixie Lane, past maybe 5 houses, then veered back off into the middle of nowhere. :)

  5. Hi, I'm delighted to find a well-seasoned renegades user!
    ROughly how long have they lasted you? Because the whole barefoot/hoof booting thing is relatively new over here, many horse people are very dismissive of the boots in particular, saying they won't last any length of time, so I'd love to have some numbers to come back with.
    Also, have you had any issues with the boots twisting on the horses' feet? We had major issues at the start, but they seem to be settling much better (probably about 15 miles on them) but still turn "five minutes" or so and then stay there.
    Our horses are still transitioning to barefoot, so I know their feet are not ideal yet, I'm hoping the boots will settle even better as their feet change.

    1. Mmm, the front ones (which are the older ones) lasted at least 500 miles over REALLY ROUGH terrain. I bought them almost two years ago, and I pretty much only use them for rocky training rides or competitions. I have heard of people getting much longer boot life, but I'm very happy with how long they lasted over our decomposed granite sand and sharp rocks.

      They're really expensive up front, but they pay for themselves in no time at all compared to getting new steel shoes put on.

      My rear boots used to twist. In my case, I needed to use cutbacks on the rears. I'd check the trim for evenness, and I'd check the horse's way of going - does the horse twist her foot as she lifts off or sets down?

    2. Thanks for that, it's encouraging. I totally agree they will pay for themselves in time! For the immediate future we'll be working on mixed ground with a lot of stony & rocky stretches, but when we get going (we are planning a 500km across France) we should be on gentler terrain so we might try to go bootless at that stage.

      Both horses are not straight movers. My guy dishes and my friend's mare is pigeon toed. The amount of twist we're seeing at the moment is live-with-able, but there's a video on the renegade site at the moment talking about custom made shims which we're interested in. We'll see how we go as we build up our trail rides over the next few weeks

    3. I have a pair that I've used for ~600 miles. The tread is getting worn enough that I probably would do a relatively easy 50 in them, but probably not a 100. When I'm in full time competition (endurance) I usually use them for 6 months in competition, another 6 months on the conditioning trail, and then they go into my bag of backups with enough life in them that I have no problem pulling them out to do 50 miles in them if I have to. They've been really really really great for me. No complaints at all. The boots can really take some abuse.

      In the practice of full disclosure - I'm a dealer. however my story hasn't changed before or after being a dealer, you can take a look at some of my older blog posts.

  6. Beautiful scenery out there!

  7. 11 freakin' degrees?????????? You guys are CRAZY.

    I'm going to do an LD on my next conditioning ride (with a 1/2 hour lunch break) and depending on how that goes......and if I can do it another 2-3 times in the next couple months with no problems.......I MIGHT enter the 50 and plan to only ride half of it at my next ride (which is in May) - or do the entire thing if she stays perky and bright and doesn't seem tired.

    We'll see. The whole prospect of doing a ride on her is still giving me borderline anxiety attacks - although I'm less worried about her and more worried about why I can't seem to stay balanced and centered in the saddle. Although - it was a SINGLE ride I had problems with so I should really stop stressing.

  8. Nice street sign! Good thing they put it there just for Ms. Dixie. :)

    Looks like a lovely ride, even if you look mostly frozen. Brrrr!

  9. guys are tough. I fear that my days of riding in weather like that are behind me. Glad to hear you did well.

  10. Ooo bbbrrrrr, we balmy northern CA folks are gonna freeezzzee at Rides of March! Mmm tent camping in the snow, can't wait! Aggghh

  11. Little jealous here.
    1. cuz yor tough
    2. it's so pretty

  12. I love the island in the pacific northwest where I live, but must confess those wide open desert spaces are callin' my name. Just looking at the photos and imagining myself riding along (even though I've not been on a horse in - um - 45 years) is incredibly relaxing. :)

  13. I'm so glad I went yesterday - I woke up this morning to an inch of snow and more coming down! I will compete in the snow, but I am just not hardcore enough to train in the snow. Glad yall like the scenery - I just love it.

  14. Love the street sign!
    You guys rock.

  15. Oh my gosh, yes, that is such a stunning area!

    Love the picture, you guys make a nice pair.

    Oh, and is that bridle blue or purple?

  16. FABULOUS discovery, the eagle nest. you know there is probably another one they will be on this year, in the same territory.
    However i'm glad YOU saw it on this day, not me. You know I love the cold, but NOT the wind! you girls have more cojones than me!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  17. Looks remarkably like New Mexico... and now I miss out west. Why must it take so much time and money to travel with horses... I'd be out there in a heartbeat to go riding with you out there. And I understand miserable weather... our winter has been so mild and wet though I fear this summer will be unrideable... hot, muggy, and buggy. Ride some for me then!

  18. That's lovely countryside. Isn't it curious how your arid desert impresses me and you like the look of my green hills. But such bleak weather. You look well wrapped up against the cold.

  19. Looks really wonderful. That was a god ride, and by the sounds of it, a well ridden one at that. Loved the shots.

  20. ALRIGHT~! You lucky stiff :-) "Stiff" with cold I'm sure! At least at the start! Love the route photo & photos of the ride! Your time was darn good - what was your placement? Those mountains look incredible!

  21. P.S. Khari wore holes in the front of her Renegades too.


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