Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Ride Between the Rivers 2014

Time to settle in with a cup of coffee if it's morning or a cold beer or your drink of choice if it's evening! This is gonna be a long epic tale with twists and turns along the way!

Spoiler for those who don't want to read the epic in it's entirety: 4 horses, 4 riders, 2 pulls, 2 completions.

Now, to find out which horses and riders pulled and which completed, you'll just have to read the tale. ;-)

: : : : :

I worked until 3p on Thursday. I departed work to fulfill some errands before Nicole and Carlos (Saiph and Charles) were set to arrive.

Hurrah for another blogger visit!

You may assume that they'd merely be crewing for me this trip as they did for Fort Valley last October. But *Plot Twist* they wouldn't be!

I kept it quiet on social media, but Griffin would be riding in his very first LD at RBTR this year with Nicole aboard to guide him! I had really wanted to ride Griffin through his first event, but when making that work became infeasible, I knew I could trust Nicole to guide him through! After all, she had just successfully completed the OD 50 on her TB cross! And Griffin lives on and has been ridden and trained on terrain nearly identical to what the race would be; I knew he could handle it for a first event.

You may now be wondering why it was infeasible for me to ride Griffin at RBTR. Well, *Further Plot Twist*, I would be riding my friend Jen's gelding Prince while sponsoring her daughter K on Vinny so I could ride with Mike on his First 50 on Q!

Yep, not even a year of dating me and the guy is already out there riding endurance with me! It helps that he's been riding since before he could walk and my mare adores him. ;-)


So, I ran my errands, yelled and beat the dog for destroying yet another valuable item while in his crate when I arrived home, and then set to packing for the weekend. Nicole and Carlos arrived, ignored the dog's existence per my request, departed to fulfill some errands of their own, and then we reconvened and headed to the barn to meet Mike, load the horses and go to camp.

The goal was to get to camp early enough to get a nice spot across from the vet check/crewing area so we could crew from the car and Carlos and his bum knee wouldn't have to move far.

Unfortunately, we discovered upon arriving at camp that there were no spots left near this location! Well, there were. There were 6 or 7 actually, but folks who-shall-not-be-named had blocked them ALL OFF to save them for others who would be arriving on Friday. -_- Nevermind that if you attempted this stunt at a ride these folks manage you'd be eaten alive for trying it!!

Fortunately, we found another place near the start/finish line that would suffice for our needs. It was near the only tree in the entire field which wasn't ideal if lightning would occur, but otherwise, it was fine.

We made quick work setting up the corral and settling the horses before heading to dinner with my riding club who put on this event.

Dinner was potluck fashion with the addition of grilled chicken provided by the club. Cooking was scrumptious as always with this crew. Nicole and Carlos were quickly enveloped into the group and it's conversations.

When Jen showed up (she's the ride manager for this ride), I volunteered Nicole and I to help her with assembling the ride packets for registration the following day. It was a little tedious, but a fun task when paired with beer and good company!

After dinner and packet prep, Nicole, Carlos, Mike and I all headed to set up tents and hit the hay.

: : : : :

We woke slowly on Friday, no major plans to fulfill. We wandered over to breakfast with the club folks again; various breakfast skillet dishes cooked over the grill that were then able to be mixed and combined to create your own breakfast burrito. Delish.

After breakfast, Mike headed out to do some last minute trail clearing with the men while Nicole and I tacked up Q and Griffin so I could show her where some key things were near the beginning and end of the loops.

Despite not being ridden in nearly 2 weeks, both horses were behaved. We tooled around for about 3 miles worth of riding as I showed Nicole around the beginnings of one of the loops and showed her how she'd enter and exit camp for each part of the ride.

While temperatures on Friday and for Saturday were not predicted to be very hot (mid to upper 70s during the day with 50s at night) the humidity was still a tricky factor! In fact, both horses were quite sweaty after their short, easy jaunt!

Back at camp, I untacked Q while Nicole tooled around with Griffin for a few minutes in the field.

After our ride, we all hung out for a short time before deciding to run into town (30 minutes away) to pick up some more food, get some Venezuelan take out, and run a couple errands by my and Mike's apartments to get some forgotten things. While we were out and I had cell service, I called Dom and Mike to see where they were on their journey to RBTR from NJ.

Oh, didn't mention they'd be coming either? Yeah, *Even Further Plot Twist*, Dom and Mike came to RBTR for the weekend, too! Dom would be riding Dr. Bob's gelding Magic Man in the LD!


Dom and Mike reported that they hoped to arrive around 5p. Excellent.

We returned to camp around 3p from our escapades in town, vetted the horses in, and then headed out on another short ride with K and Mike - I would ride Prince, my mount for the 50, in this ride.

Jen had told me from the get-go with Prince that she preferred him to be ridden in his own tack because he has had back issues in the past. This meant riding in a Boz saddle which has a much larger pommel than I am accustomed to. The last time I rode in one of her Boz saddles I was incredibly sore from interfering with the pommel when I posted. Ugh. Since that time, I had witnessed Jen and K riding in their Boz saddles and observed how their posting technique differed from mine. They rise straight up with a bit more vertical than I usually get. I tend to post with a slightly forward direction through my hips, not rising as far out of the saddle. I knew that to not be sore from the Boz pommel I would have to reteach my body to rise directly up; it would be a feat, but I knew I had to try!

Since my two had already done a few miles warm up that morning when Nicole and I went out, Mike and Nicole only went out with K and I for about 3 of the 6 miles we rode. We headed out on the yellow loop, crossing the river about a mile from camp and then heading out the trail and up a hill for a time. Long enough for an Easy Boot glove to blow off Q's right hind. I wasn't too surprised when this happened, however, because we hadn't vet wrapped her hinds which is what usually needs to occur for those hind gloves to stay on. Mike just took her other hind off and continued on his way.

After Nicole and Mike turned Griffin and Q for camp, K and I continued for another three or so miles. I got to see some sections of new trail they'd created (we lost a whole loop to logging operations this year and had to create an entirely new loop!). K and I crossed the river a second time, galloped down the railroad grade, and then intersected back onto the gravel road that would lead us to camp.

Prince was difficult on this training ride. He'd slam on the brakes before puddles, dodge randomly around puddles, spook at silly things, and other such shenanigans. Between that and dealing with riding a new saddle, I was pretty overwhelmed and increasingly concerned for what ride day would be like.

K and I finished our ride with minimal issue though, and arrived back in camp with plenty of time to make it to dinner and the ride meeting.

I strolled over to where the club members were milling about prepping dinner and other things for Saturday. I sipped a few beers and chatted, looking up and across ride camp to see Dom and Mike descending the hilly driveway into camp a little before 6p. I snagged a 4-wheeler and booked across camp to meet them at our little camp as they were getting out of the car. Mike was immediately tied up in some business with some of the ride volunteers, and I whisked Dom away to meet Dr. Bob and get her hooked up to meet her horse for the weekend. (BTW, driving a 4-wheeler with a beer in hand isn't exactly the easiest of tasks! (Closed facility; I wasn't out on roads with cars driving intoxicated, folks.))

With my delivery of Dom to Dr. Bob, I quickly whisked Dr. Kohut's wife up to the top of the hill above ride camp so she could get pictures before I headed back over to where dinner was being prepared. I had a few minutes more time to mill around chatting and sipping on beer before the ride meeting and dinner began.

Despite the new loop and changes to this year's ride that I should have listened to, Dom and I babbled all through the meeting with her Mike elbowing us and shushing us the whole time. Whoops. ;-)

Dinner at RBTR the night before the ride is traditionally a whole hog roast. We put the pig on around 4a and it comes off the cooker around 5:30p. As riders and others mill through the line to get food, they can request any cut of meat from the hog (I always request cheek or jaw meat as it absolutely melts in your mouth). It's quite the dinner and usually receives rave reviews!

My Mike helped serve dinner, so Nicole, Carlos, Dom, her Mike and I were all on our own through dinner - but that wasn't a problem because we had plenty of catching up to do (though that was briefly interrupted as we stuffed ourselves full of hog, mashed potatoes, salad, rolls, and corn on the cob).

We all wandered back to camp slowly, grazed the horses, chatted a bit, and then headed to bed. Tomorrow would be a big day for all of us.

: : : : :

I awoke ahead of my alarm by twenty minutes thanks to my protesting bladder. I sat up and rolled out of the tent to tend to that, and then promptly tossed the horses some hay to munch on as they'd consumed theirs during the night.

I then slipped back into the tent to awaken Mike and get dressed for the day. Mike was a little reluctant to wake (don't blame him), but got up without protest. Kenai on the other hand gave me the stink eye and refused to get up from where he was situated in the tent.

I left Mike to his own morning routine and walked over to the registration booth to snag some sugar and creamer for the coffee and tea we planned to make on our camp stove.

Prince and Vinny in their Boz saddles
As I returned to our little camp, I noticed that Nicole and Carlos were stirring as there were lights on in their tent.

Mike geared up the stove to heat water for warm morning drinks, and I mosied around readying random things for the ride. As I puttered around, Nicole walked over and offered to prep mashes for the horses which I eagerly accepted and thanked her for - it was my next step. She prepped those and then set about her morning routine, leaving the mashes to soak.

After Mike and I had prepped our tea and coffee, he asked if it was time to get Q out and prepped. I glanced at my watch to see it was around 5:30a. I gave him the affirmative, telling him to get her tacked up all the way except for the bridle and girth tightening.

And then, after that, the morning is kind of a blur leading up to the start. I know I put on my riding boots for the day (my Dublin Pinnacles), and I put my pommel bag onto the Boz saddle, and I made sure I used the portajohn a few times before heading out on trail, and before I knew it, K, and Mike and I were mounted up for the start.

Q standing stoically; Kenai begging Carlos for things
We milled around a bit with the rest of the horses, awaiting the 6:30a opening of the trail.

The timer called the trail open and the front runners blasted off.

We'd planned to go out after the first big burst, but a grey horse spooked by the banners near the perimeter of the start delayed us a bit. The horse was absolutely refusing to go forward and exhibiting all sorts of behavior in his refusal. Crowhopping, bucking, rearing. None of it was overly extreme, and his rider handled it well, but all the same - we didn't want our horses anywhere near! After a few moments though, the horse did move forward far enough for the rest of us to move safely around and we were off!

We trotted off through the field, leading the second wave of riders. K and I were leading on Vinny and Prince until we got to the beginning of the short narrow section out of the basecamp field. The entry to this section contains a small compressor station (a shack basically) for a metal gas pipeline that runs across the ground. The pipe is about 4 inches in diameter and lays along the ground, half submerged by soil and vegetation. Due to the pipe's proximity to the compressor, the pipe clicks. Vinny and Prince are far more alarmed by noise monsters than any horse I've ever been around, so they both balked violently and refused to go over the pipe and onward down the trail.

About 10 riders bunched up behind us quickly, and one lady called out if we needed a lead. I immediately moved Prince off the trail calling, "Yes, come on!" to the offer. The lady on her huge draft Arab X plowed on through and crossed the sticky place without further issue.

The group of us all continued down the narrow section in single file. As soon as we emerged onto the gravel road, we all spread out. K let Vinny move out down the road and I put Prince behind him, Mike on Q behind us. We quickly passed everyone in the group within seconds of being on the road. The only horse who passed us was the formerly-crazy one from the starting line who had been acting up. Mike joked with his rider about the horse's "Michael Jackson dance moves" as she passed and we all had a good chuckle.

About a mile out of camp, we crossed the river for the first time. The crossing went without issue, and we carried on on ATV trail for awhile after, Prince and I in the lead. Our first number checker was just after the crossing, and we all called numbers to her as we trotted past.

The trails were muddy with large puddles throughout for awhile after this. As it is a highly used ATV area, most of these puddles can be deep due to the muddin' that goes on; so, we weaved around them as we went.

Because I'm a local, have ridden this ride 4 times, and have an intimate understanding of the soils and how slick they can be based upon appearance, I and my little group were able to move pretty quickly through this section, losing the group that we'd left camp with and passing others as we moved out. Prince's antics during the training ride were long forgotten - he is a race-day horse who knows his job and was all business.

I looked behind frequently to check Q's boots. They stayed on well until the first uphill canter/gallop. All of the water/mud coupled with speed up an incline tossed the same right rear boot off from the day before. I instructed Mike to just remove that boot (hanging on by its gaiter) and we'd continue on until we crossed the river a second time.

And so we powered on.

We passed a couple more folks as we wound our way up and down some small hills preceding the river crossing. We were bunched up into a group of 6 or 7 by the crossing, but since the crossing was so long and a number checker preceded it, (we weaved diagonally across the river to meet up with the trail) we were all able to unbunch easily.

On the other side, I had Mike give me a Renegade, and I replaced that on Q's foot where the EasyBoot glove had been. This would be the only boot adjustment for the rest of the day. Vipers on the front, a renegade on her right rear and glove on her left rear would serve us well from then on out despite cantering up hills and through mud and water. (The other rear renegade was always with us, and I'd planned to swap out the glove for it if I had to, but we never needed it!)

After the river crossing, we were on an old railroad grade for a few miles along the river. It had both sandy stretches and packed dirt areas dotted with puddles. K and Vinny led most of this section, moving out at a hand gallop. The RR grade section ended with the third number checker who guided us up the hill on the gravel road.

The horses cantered and trotted the whole way up the road passing several folks as we went. On and on and on. They were inexhaustible.

K and Mike's conversational bickering was also quite inexhaustible - and hilarious. Mike would ask her (she's 12) if she'd heard of Snoop Dogg or Seasame Street or other pop culture references. To his surprise, she'd heard of very few of these. He'd give her grief for not knowing and she'd give him grief for "being old". Bicker, bicker, bicker. Back and forth forever. So much fun.

The road terminated atop the mountain where we wound our way through the woods along the ridgeline, over two heavily rocky areas, past the fourth number checker, down Rattlesnake hill back to the gravel road, down the road and to the third - now fifth - number checkers who would guide us to go straight instead of back down the RR grade, down the road by the river, back across the river, back down the trail home that we'd followed out, past the second - now sixth - number checker, and down the road for one more mile before reaching basecamp for the first vet check. Prince led for 80% of the 1 hour and 54 minute loop; we maintained a 7.4 mph average pace.

The boys oinking
We cantered and hand galloped down the road back into camp which concerned me a bit re: pulsing down. K and her mom usually ride in hot because their horses are "always down". I always slow for the last quarter-mile or so because I like my horse to be down or nearly-down when I reach camp.

Mike and I dismounted and walked the last 200 yards or so to the timer to try to make up for the fast pace up until that point. Despite our efforts, all three horses were still hovering around 70; pulse criteria was 64.

With the help of Carlos and Dom's Mike, we got all three down within a few minutes.

All of the horses vetted through well - though Prince was royally rude to the vet, which Jen told me later is just how he is on the ground despite all of her efforts to make him otherwise.

We were able to relax through the 45 minute hold, stuffing our faces as the horses stuffed theirs. All three horses ate at least a pan of mash each, probably two. Three little piggies, I swear.

We tacked up at the tail end of our hold and headed out on loop two; the horses were all quite sluggish (and probably felt like bloated ticks after all they consumed!), but Mike urged Q into the lead and we cantered up the hill out of camp.

This next loop would go a bit slower. It had less up and down than the first loop, just as much mud, and only two river crossings.

Picking our way through the river crossing
We yo-yoed with one duo of riders, leap-frogged with others, and passed some more. Prince led for 50%- 60% of this loop, Q and Vinny taking turns the rest of the time.

In the last 3 miles of the second loop I noticed Prince starting to trip more than he had been. None of the trips were very serious, just tiny little stutters in his step, but they were definitely different from his way of going up until that point. I verbalized concern about it to K to see if it piqued her interest/concern, but she figured he was probably just tired.

We did a medium to slow trot from the last river crossing to the field to basecamp. As we reached the field area, we saw Nicole on Griffin. I waved from a distance as we approached and called, "I'm so sorry to have to go past you like this! I was dreading it with all of this two-way traffic!!" She grinned all the same. Griffin whinnied in protest and started refusing forward motion. She urged him onward, but he still hollered and screamed and did all he could to refuse forward motion.

Once off the road we walked the remaining quarter to third of a mile into the timers. I found myself looking over my shoulder the whole way wondering if Griffin and Nicole would be sprinting back toward us; he was being SUCH a pill!

Despite our slow pace into camp, the horses were once again hanging around 70 after being untacked and sponged once! It didn't take long though for us to get them down and vetted.

They all passed the vet check, but Prince was being exceptionally docile. None of his dancing, neighing, head slinging behavior like during the first hold. Jen was concerned, and rightly so. The vet noted that he was tender around his girth on his right side; I noted that I had been the one to tack him up instead of Jen or K so maybe I'd done something slightly different, but no his girth wasn't too tight, it was still loose enough that it could have been tightened when I took it off back at camp. I also told her the percentages he'd led during the first and second loop, pointed out that we'd gone slower on this loop, and shared about his tripping behavior the last few miles noting that while it wasn't serious, it wasn't normal either.

As I led Prince back to camp from the vet, I started being over critical of his gait. I called Jen to me as I walked and she came over. "Is he off in his left front?" I queried. He seemed to be hesitating? "No," she replied. But he wasn't walking very straight behind.

And then, back at camp post-vet through, Prince was not interested in eating at all. Alarm bells went off for all of us.

Jen got her HR monitor out and kept checking his pulse which was hovering in the high 60s, low 70s. She was concerned until she checked Vinny's - also in that range. She noted that she hadn't really watched their pulses while they were eating before, so maybe that was it (three of us were now hand picking grass and forcing it on Prince who was half-heartedly consuming it).

Jen went to get Dr. Bob to come check Prince while I and others continued to hand feed him. Bob arrived and they decided that he was definitely hurting somewhere. We quickly re-hashed everything already discussed, and Bob found a lot of tightness in Prince's groin area of his right rear. A cramp.

Jen made the decision to rider option pull him from the rest of the ride, worried about making something worse before the 100 she has scheduled with Prince in September. She apologized to me and hugged me, but I reassured her that I totally understood and totally supported her decision. I wanted him to be okay, too. I felt horrible that he'd developed this while I was riding him.

Jen asked Mike if he would formally continue to sponsor K for the remainder of the ride - he accepted.

And just like that, Mike was sponsoring a junior for the last loop of his first 50! He promised to teach K all about Sesame Street during that last loop much to her dismay. In fact, they had quite the verbal banter before leaving camp about what the conversation on that last loop was going to be like. K's parents, Carlos, Dom's Mike, and I all laughed.

As Mike and K were prepping Q and Vinny for departure on the last loop, Nicole and Griffin reappeared in camp.

Carlos had seen them come in and was already walking with Nicole, jabbering away in quick Spanish; Nicole had tears in her eyes. I was immediately alarmed and looked her all up and down for signs of mud or blood or other visual of a fall. Nothing. Clean. I then did the same to Griffin. Nothing. Clean.

"Are you okay? What happened?" I queried. "He was just refusing too much and spinning and screaming and it was getting dangerous. I just couldn't do it any more," she replied. I hugged her and made her verbally confirm that she wasn't hurt and that Griffin wasn't hurt. No and no. She wanted to pull. Absolutely, I assured her then that it was totally okay! Rider option pull, yep, she could totally do that, "Just go vet him through one more time so they know he's okay and that it's your decision not something about the horse being hurt or sick." She nodded her acquiescence and Carlos helped her untack and head over to the vet while I turned my attention back to Prince briefly, then to Mike and K and Q and Vinny.
Mike and K headed out on the last loop

Jen's hubby held Prince while K and Mike headed out on their final loop, trotting out of camp without issue amidst cheers from many of the club members and other locals who were volunteering near the timer tent.

With Mike and K headed out for the final loop, and Prince taken care of, I returned my attention to Nicole and Griffin who were returning from the vet through.

She talked awhile more with me, sharing her experiences with Griffin on the trail for both the failed second loop and the very successful first loop. It seemed that Baby Grey just needs a buddy at this point in his career. He's physically capable of handling LD distances (they completed around 20 miles probably before pulling), but he's not there mentally yet if he has to be alone - especially not with two-way traffic! He kept up easily with Dom on 16hh Magic Man (a NSH) for the first loop, but when Griffin didn't pulse as quickly at the hold and therefore couldn't leave with Magic Man, troubles started. They'd argued all the way out of camp, leaving in a sideways fashion, and then continued their argument all the way down the trail until Nicole said enough and headed back, worried she wouldn't have even made the time cut off had she continued. Griffin's wild efforts to argue are evidence enough at his level of fitness. From my experience, tired horses don't argue like that!

Nicole noted that another plus to coming back in early were Griffin's CRI scores and his gut sounds - which weren't as stellar as they had been the first check. The vet recommended letting him eat - which we did. Once he'd stuffed his face with mash, however, we turned him back into the corral where he proceeded to scream for awhile and then settled into napping and rolling.

No, he never rolled into the corral. Yes, I did unplug it just in case. I couldn't prevent tangling necessarily, but I could prevent zapping and tangling together!

His nap reminded me of a toddler who throws a fit until exhausted, then has to sleep it all off.

With Griffin and Prince away and settled (somewhat), Nicole, Carlos, Dom's Mike and I all sat around and chatted to pass the time before Dom and Mike and K would all appear into camp. It sucked to have to pull, but knowing the horses were both okay, I wasn't too upset about the whole situation. It was pretty great to just sit and drink a beer!

When the time got close, we moved our chairs out from under the canopy tent and over to the start/finish line to watch for Dom.

As she and Magic Man rode in, we cheered and made quite the spectacle of ourselves because why not?

Dom dismounted a ways out from the timer to walk Magic in so he'd be even more cool before vetting through.

As they reached the timer booth we all fell in beside them and accompanied her to Dr. Bob's crewing area to assist with untacking and sponging and cooling.

They made one attempt to vet through, but Magic wasn't down enough, so back they came for more of a team effort in cooling. Dom whispered sweet nothings to Magic trying to coax him to calm down as every time someone touched him he got a bit excited. I even heard her mention at one point that if they made top 10 she'd let him sleep in her tent. ;-)

Fortunately, after a few minutes, Magic was able to get through the second vet check with flying colors! Hurrah! Completion for Dom and Magic!

I wandered back over to our chairs while Dom and Mike finished up with Magic, Carlos and Nicole not far behind me.

We all sat chatting near the finish, Dom and Mike joined us with time, and Carlos even took a nap after awhile.

Mike and K came in around 3:25 - spending nearly an HOUR longer out on this loop than we had when we rode it in the morning.

Mike, Dom, Carlos, Nicole, Jen, her hubby, my Mike, K and I all immediately started tending to Vinny and Q. Untacking. Sponging. Scraping. Icing - Dom even iced Q's nipples, which Q didn't care a lick about, haha. Dom shared that her lack of caring meant it likely felt very good. We event threw water at Q's underparts a few times to cool her, Dom's Mike cautioning, "About to be rude,"before he'd douse Q. Dom, you really do have The Best Crew.

Vinny dropped a bit faster than Q-bee, though my HR monitor was being a little bitch about reading Q's pulse. (It had been like this all day - I'd get two readings, but whenever I would go back for a third attempt when I was 99% certain she was probably down but wanted to double-check, I couldn't get a reading!) Despite that, we decided to just walk her over to vet through.

Dom and Mike, Nicole and Carlos, and some of my other friends who were volunteering stood out of the vet area watching intently as I walked with Mike to vet Q through. 52/56 CRI with Bs for skin tenting and gut sounds and As for everything else! She passed! YAY Q! YAY MIKE!

I think the cooler weather threw her off a bit with drinking;
all of her other rides this year have been so much hotter!
Overall, I'm very pleased with her scores; she bounced back well
from her second vet check that was by far the worst.
The final vetting; photo by Judy Reynolds

The final vetting; photo by Judy Reynolds

Mike kissing Q upon word of successful completion; photo by Judy Reynolds

We took Q back to our little crew/camp area to eat as much mash as she wanted before turning her out into the corral with a very relieved-to-have-his-mare-back Griffin. (Q immediately gave Griffin her Evil Snake Mare face to put him in his place. lol)

With horses settled and happy, the humans all set off to the swimming hole to cool off for a time because Ride Between the RIVERS also means that oh, hey, ride camp is SURROUNDED ON THREE SIDES by a river with one bomber swimming hole.

The water was cold and brisk, but refreshing - just the thing we needed prior to dinner!

Post river, we all sat about under the canopy talking and drinking. The rain settled in for a time, but ceased by dinner (spaghetti with homemade sauce and meatballs + salad) and completion awards (beer mugs filled to the brim with beer + additional prizes for turtles, top 10, and BC that included handmade iron crafts from the farriers, electrolytes, horse treats, and gift cards from Mountain Khakis).

With warning of a big storm headed in, our little group headed back to camp to check horses before settling back under the canopy to chat and drink awhile through the storm. There was a bonfire and live bluegrass music, but we chose being dry over that.Additionally, we were all pretty whooped after a long day, and ended up heading to our respective tents by 10p!

: : : : :

The morning dawned noisily and rainy. The location of our tents and camp at this ride was right at along an exit junction for trailers departing camp. I did my best to ignore all the ruckus and sleep through it - succeeding until 7:45a.

Mike and I awoke to find the other 4 already awake and breaking down pieces of camp. A light drizzle associated all the goings-on, spurring us to depart faster than planned.

We decided to pack up camp as quickly as possible and head to Bob Evans in town for breakfast after dropping my horses off at the barn. The thought of warm food spurred us onward through the cool, rainy morning and breaking of camp.

As per the usual with our ride camp in the rain, a couple folks leaving who didn't have 4WD on their rigs did get bogged down and stuck for a time. Our volunteers moved in to swiftly get folks un-stuck, but a line to leave still formed.

Fortunately, as we were putting the horses on the trailer, the line cleared up and we were free to leave without delay!

We dropped the horses at the barn, unloaded the trailer lighting-quick, treated Q's legs quickly with chlorohex. shampoo spray, and bolted for breakfast (HUNGER. EAT. NEED FOOD.) where we all indulged into an over-large breakfast. NOMZ.

The 6 of us hugged our goodbyes after breakfast with words to meet up again sooner than later (yes, please!). It was hard to bid adieu to some of my most favorite people ever, but the promise of seeing them again soon made it easier. <3

: : : : :

I chatted briefly with Jen today and she shared that Prince is doing well.

"Not lame at all. The only thing he has is some friction burn around the girth area and up in his "armpit". I think the combination of sand, dirt, and all that water just worked its way into the girth and caused the trouble. I should have put body glide on him, but I didn't think to do it because I usually don't have to use any with him. I think he probably started getting uncomfortable around the girth which caused him to move differently and led to the minor cramp. Nothing you could have done about that so don't feel the least bit bad. I am learning more about him all the time, so I definitely won't make that mistake at the 100 next month. "

When I visited my two last night, Griffin was his usual spunky self, and Q's minor swelling along the tendons was completely gone. The rubs and minor cuts on Q's legs look better, too, though Mike treated them as if for scratches last night all the same (chlorohex. shampoo/soak followed by miconazole creme).

All are well and healthy, it would seem! Even the humans have little residual soreness - the Boz didn't kill me like I feared it would! It seems I can - with a little effort - adjust my riding style to accommodate a larger pommel on a saddle, which is thrilling because it means there are more options of saddles open to try in the future.

Another great ride weekend!

And now, ride photo dump!

Nicole prepping G-man

Kenai Begging

Kenai still begging, Carlos rewarding the begging, Q being stoic

Q oinking away through some mash at the first hold

These two, I swear. lol

Mike being a dork and petting her nose

Yes, he's wearing a whitewater helmet

K and Vinny

Onward to the final loop!

Life is SO hard

The hardest


You just did 30 miles! HOW DO YOU FEEL?!

All smiles

Dr. Bob holding his horse for Dr. Kohut to check pulse

Magic's team of humans

Knocked out on my boots

Asleep. And snoring.

Mike and K coming into the finish; K waiting to see if he wanted to tie or not

Team Q, assemble!

N on G
Photo by Judy Reynolds

Mike on Q headed to last loop
Photo by Judy Reynolds

Dom on Magic and N on G at the start
Photo by Judy Reynolds

Griffin is so grown up
Photo by Judy Reynolds

Little Q-bee awaiting the start
Photo by Judy Reynolds

Photo by Judy Reynolds

When Q randomly took off through the river
Photo by Becky Pearman

Griffin drinking and wishing he could roll at the river crossing
Nicole probably thinking, "Don't roll don't roll don't roll...."
Photo by Becky Pearman

The start; a mustang is in the yellow
Photo by Diana Ross

Dom, Magic, Nicole, and Griffin at the start
Photo by Diana Ross

Dr.  Bob vetting a horse sporting his MK Granite Creek shirt
Photo by Diana Ross
Everyone needs a skirt that says this!
Photo by Diana Ross

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