So last weekend, Dixie and I went to a local ride, Ride Bear, to do an LD with a brand-new endurance pair! M has an adorable opinionated Haflinger named Fetti, and last weekend was their debut ride. Dixie'd had several weeks totally off, with nothing to do but eat tons of hay, hay pellets, and beet pulp. She was looking much less like a greyhound, and I was hoping she would be feeling good.
Dixie was SO excited to see the trailer! She loaded great, hauled quietly (ridecamp, in Gilroy, was maybe an hour away), came off the trailer and had a quick look around, then started eating.
Camp, before it filled up.
Majestic. Fastidious. Immaculate.
In the morning, Dixie had a tiny meltdown when the 50s left, but not too bad. There were maybe 15 LD riders, so we just let the first 4-6 leave then we headed out. Our ride strategy, such as it was, was to make the mares walk for the first couple miles. The only real hills of the LD were in the first couple miles, and we didn't want them to get frothy and go insane at the start. We hopscotched for a bit with Julie Suhr (on a very green chestnut) and her friend, but eventually we got in front and stayed that way. A guy on a cute spindly little Arab passed us and towed us along for a mile or so, then we fetched up on Pete and Leslie and rode the rest of the day with them.
Pete and Leslie are gaited riders. Pete was working on his homebred SSH/Arab gelding's first AERC completion, and he'd wheedled his wife into keeping him company on their good TWH mare Ladyhawke. Sadly, Ladyhawke took an instant dislike to my precious angel Dixie, so Leslie and I had to stay pretty far apart, but other than that, everybody got along great and seemed to pace well.
We had one away vet check. Everybody pulsed down right away and vetted through with no problems. Some awesome volunteers offered us food and held horses while we headed to the porta potty. If my horse develops superpowers, it's from this mutant carrot I fed her at the vet check:
M and I were a few minutes late leaving the check and we had to put the pedal down to catch our friends, but the mares were in great shape and we just plowed along for a couple miles and caught up to P & L.
We saw a whole family of mule deer. They were super cute :) but I don't think I'll ever get used to these spookily tame California animals. Are there really so few hunters? I mean we rode down a trail less than 50' from three adults and two bambis and they didn't even bother to wander away. You can see a deer silhouetted under the tree:
And just a couple miles from the finish, I saw a boar! My very first pig sighting ever. I've seen deer in every state I've ever lived in, but this is my first boar sighting. I was very glad that he was across the ravine looking for acorns - boar can be pretty scary.
Dixie and I were in at 12:05 and pulsed down at 12:07. She had a great CRI (56/48) and generally spent all day trying to pull my arms out of their sockets. I was, as always, incredibly proud of her!
After we vetted out and visited with our friends, I took Dixie to the hose (a hose! LUXURY!) and washed her off, then let her roll a couple times. I packed the trailer, talked some more, and realized I was totally completely done at 2 pm. There wasn't any food for hours and hours yet, and it was 90+ degrees, and my house was just a couple hours away. So we totally skipped the dinner and awards ceremony and headed home.