Sunday, April 21, 2013

Grizzly Mountain

Craig and I went to the Grizzly Mountain ride over the weekend.  We've recently purchased a new truck, so my husband was just DYING to give it a road test!  That was naturally the perfect excuse to pick a good distance ride to go to.... =:)
You can barely see the town of Madras in the distance.
I rode Nettie on Saturday and Tommy on Sunday.  We did the 50 miler on Saturday, but were pulled at mile 41 due to a slight gimp in Nettie's left hind leg.  We probably could've walked the last 9 miles to finish the ride, but I didn't feel like pushing it with her, so we called it good.  There are always plenty of other rides to go to in the future.  It was a fun weekend and I didn't let the pesky gimp dampen my spirits.  I also got some great words of wisdom from the in-time keeper lady at the gate.  She assured me that if a rider does any kind of long distance riding at all, they're bound to run into some problems in each ride season.  She was a very sweet lady, and it was nice to talk to her for awhile and hear from a veteran of the sport.  She's tallied points and kept track of hundreds of riders in the northwest for many years.

But, I did feel bad for a couple of our camp neighbors who had some troubles.  One lady that parked next to us drove all the way from Salem and arrived very late in the dark on Friday night - only to find out that she couldn't even start the next morning due to an abcess in her horses hoof.  (I felt bad for her, as I've been in a similar situation in the past - and it's a really crappy feeling to drive all that way and not even be able to start a ride.)  And there were some other riders that drove 18 hours from Canada, only to have a very bad day.  Their experiences included: getting dumped on the trail and having to walk back to camp, fence equipment getting mangled up from horses tearing through it, and a pony that had it's hind legs banged up pretty badly.  You never know what to expect at endurance rides..... so I felt priviledged to at least enjoy going for a ride on both days.
The Grizzly Mountain ride has some beautiful rock scenery.

I'm assuming that it was the wind made these little hollowed out caves in this rock.
The nights on the high desert are very cold for camping.  Craig and I woke up several times on both nights with a layer of frost on the ceiling of our horse trailer.  We have a mattress in the nose of the gooseneck where we sleep, and it got down into the 20's at night time.  Very chilly for camping. 
Up close and personal with LOTS of cows. 
I affectionately nicknamed this ride as "the many gates ride".  The trail went through several cattle pastures, and there were at least a dozen primitive gates to open and close.  It was a slowing obstacle for the seriously faster competitors - but I really liked riding through the cow herds.  Being a more non-chelant slower rider, both Nettie and Tommy had to shoo a couple of fat older cows out of the trail for us to be able to pass. Some of the calves were very curious and would follow us for 10 or 15 feet down the trail. 

As a side note:  This is definitely not a ride for a horse that is afraid of cattle, because they were almost everywhere.  Sometimes even surrounding you in very close proximity on the trail.  Both of my horses love cows, but I know that some riders have horses that are scared to death of them.  I've been with people on other rides that have horses that will bolt and take off from seeing cows.  Not the greatest situation for the "bovine afflicted" equine...  
The mountain ranges were gorgeous!
Tommy and I had a great trail ride on Sunday.  I was debating on doing a 30 miler with him, but decided to just let him enjoy the sunshine and do a simple trail ride.  He deserves some time off from the show arena and I didn't want to stress him out with a fast LD.  It was a great break for him to just relax and enjoy the scenery at his own pace. 

There wasn't a single drop of rain on the trail both days.  =:)

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