For the first time, my young fellow did a 50 miler. Being just five years old, I knew I was pushing it with Ox. But, we went slowly..... and I do mean VERY slowly..... and he did great. This was a really good ride for his first time 50. Not technically difficult with lots of flat land and sandy footing. In fact - we left the hoof boots back in the truck. There was no need for them to get used. Ox did the whole ride barefoot, and he wasn't alone. There were other people at the ride who were hoofin' it free as the breeze as well. What a fabulous place for a barefoot horse!
Unfortunately with sand, there also comes some perils as well. Some folks were having lameness issues from trying to go too fast in the deep sandy stuff. Lots of lameness pulls at the checks. Ox and I were 30 miles into the second loop when he started getting a bit stiff in the hind end. I could feel him slump a little bit every two or three miles at the trot, so we slowed down to a walk and kept that pace for the rest of the ride. It was the slowest I've ever traveled at an endurance ride, but we were going to finish it in good shape. Come hell or high water, we were going to finish! And this is why.....
Earlier in the year one of the vets, (not sure which one it was) pulled us at Prineville. And nobody said a peep about it. I would've appreciated being clued in by someone who thought we were "off" somewhere. But there wasn't the slightest indication that anything was wrong. As far as I could tell, we were doing good - Ox felt great, and I was happy with how the ride went. But, there must've been something going on that I didn't see. Because when the results came in two months later, (yes, unbelievabley it took the management two months to get their paperwork in....) I seen that we had been pulled. Argh!!!!
So, at this ride I definitely wanted to finish in good shape, and asked every vet if we were fit to continue or if something looked wrong. All of them said we were good to go, so I'm considering us to have a completion at this one.
Nice soft sandy tracks. Loved it!!!!!
Vet check on the second loop.
Ox beugarded the hay pile at the check. People would come over and get a flake or two and take it to their horses by the crew bags and chairs. I had been sitting in the saddle for a long time, so I stood for 45 minutes and let him eat wherever he wanted to. He seems to enjoy it when he's in charge of the hay pile...
R.G. "Dick" Root and the amazing Rocky. I love Dick's big horse, and cheer for him every time I see him at a ride. Dick is a veterinarian and knows how to get the most out of his great big fellow. Rocky is huge, and Dick is around my height and generally has to use a stock tank or a step stool just to get on the big boy. But once they get going - look out! Rocky hums along at a big thundering roll. It's hard to believe that this huge drafty fellow is a major competitor against arabs. Go Rocky go!
On the third loop, the trail took us through these cool old cattle corrals. There was a stock tank on the far side of it, and Ox and I stopped to admire the pens. It looked like they had been there for several years and had seen lots of cattle use. Very cool.
There was also this lone bull out on the range. I swear that the cowboy in me came out in full force when I seen this guy grazing out there alone. It was just a perfect moment. I could've stayed out there admiring him and the sagebrush scenery forever.