Two weeks prior to this ride I hadn't felt 100% percent health-wise. I was constantly dog tired, even after waking up from a good nights sleep. And dizzy a lot. Not a great outlook for a grueling weekend endurance ride. I had a doctors appointment on the 28th (tomorrow), but I thought that I could get through this ride on the weekend before the appointment without too much problems.
But unfortunately, on Saturday morning (the 25th) when I woke up in the trailer - I felt terrible. I almost fell down the stairs into the saddle rack. My husband, being the voice of reason that he is, knew that I wasn't going to ride that day, so he said we were going to the nearest urgent care facility in Yakima to get me checked. I was totally bummed out, to say the very least. (In fact, I cried a little when my friends weren't looking). It was very depressing for me to not be able to go and ride. I later found out after some blood testing and poking and prodding around, that my thyroids are a mess and there are some other health issues going on as well. This was supposed to be Tommy's first endurance experience, and I felt like I had dropped the ball a little bit. But - looking back on the total experience, it was probably for the best how things went. And everything turned out great as it was.
Both of the previous endurance rides that I had planned on attending this year were cancelled due to the equine herpes EHV1 outbreak. I was going to take Nettie and Tommy to Klickitat Trek before it was cancelled. The reason that Nettie was tagging along was for a new french rider Julie Villeneuve to pilot on her very first endurance ride. So, at Renegade Julie got her chance to try the sport out.
On Friday night everyone saddled up for a leisurely evening trail ride before the ride meeting. Wendy and Allie went out on a schooling ride ahead of the rest of us to work on keeping Allie calm without the group. Cathy on Galen and Julie on Nettie were the trusty trail leaders for the young half brothers Tommy and Danny, who Monica and I were piloting. Tommy had never rode in a group pack before, so it was really a good thing for him to experience. I had planned on taking him on some big group trail rides this year, but for one reason or another - it just didn't happen. He was pretty relaxed by the time we got back to ride camp from our little outing. (Although being in ride camp itself was a shockingly new experience for a young green horse too....)
He learned how to camp out at night, how to tolerate a good thorough groping at the vet check, crossed his first little wooden bridge on the Friday night ride, and found out that tents and strange dogs are freaky looking - yet do not wish to make a meal out of him after all...
Craig took this photo of us after the Friday night ride. Julie on Nettie and me on Tommy.
Nice and relaxed after the trail ride.
A photo of the half-brothers Danny (Magdan) and Tommy (Asil Tumay) in the Camp Leddy corrals. Both geldings are by Astrakhan. They look pretty similar in a lot of ways.
Monica with Danny's hoof boot. It was nice to get to talk with Monica quite a bit on Saturday as we were waiting for Cathy and Julie to come in from their ride.
Alex Rivas (in the red shirt) doing a great job as an in-check "pulser" for the riders.
Monica made a new friend. As we were waiting in the shade by the vet check, there would be campers dogs that would come over to our chairs and beg to be petted. This comical dog's name was Bailey, and she loved every minute of the belly scratching that Monica gave to her....
50 milers pulsing down and vetting in. It was actually a good experience for me to see what goes on at camp when Craig is waiting for me to come in. I've never had to crew for anybody before, nor have I ever had to wait around in camp. It was interesting to hear the stories and excitement of what was happening out on the trail - who made it and who didn't, who was missing a horse, and who got lost and had to back-track. Monica and I both felt like a nervous parents waiting for Cathy and Julie's safe arrival into the check. We would get up from our chairs and peer down the road everytime we heard the smallest noise....
And the two triumphant riders return!
I was very proud of Nettie for taking care of Julie. They only had one little incident at a mud bog that ended happily, so that was a relief. I asked Julie what she thought of the ride, and she said that she liked it a lot. Wahoo! That's what we want to hear. Another endurance rider is hooked..... =:)
The pulser looking Nettie over. He made an annoying comment about her being barefoot on the ride, but I've always been fiercely proud of all of my horses ability to handle rocky ground well. Last year when Octopelle did this ride, he had to go barefoot in the hinds for 25 of the 30 miles due to boot problems. Most people would've given up and headed back to camp, but we were able to keep going and complete the ride with flying colors. There is a reason that I leave my horses feet a bit long. I've heard of a few Tekes and crosses that have the reputation of being rather "weenie-footed" when it comes to going barefoot, so I've worked my butt off to toughen-up all of our's feet. Their hooves might be kind-of small, but they're very hard. Living in eastern Oregon has it's benefits sometimes. It's a good dry environment for growing strong iron-clad feet. Right now Tommy can trail ride barefooted down a gravel road without taking a mis-step. I still have some "molding" and shaping to do with his trimming, but he's coming along nicely.
Nettie has never needed hoof protection when I've ridden her at the endurance rides. The one and only time that I did put hoof boots on her - she came up lame. Go figure. I learned the hard way: "if it's not broken, don't try fixing it". Those ol' wild mustang bands have long hooves on the range for a reason.
Julie and Nettie vetted through with flying colors from Dr. Dick Root. I have a HUGE respect for Dick. Not only is he my favorite vet at the rides, he is also my favorite endurance rider/competitor. Remember "Rocky" the big drafter from the older blog posts? That's Dick's horse. Someday, if I ever get a good enough horse to keep up, I'd like to tag along with Dick on a 75. It would be good to talk with him.
Overall, Renegade this year was a good experience. Tommy got to go to his first endurance ride and get some exposure to new stuff, and Julie got to experience her first endurance ride as well. It was a good time for the most part.