Saturday, December 22, 2012

First conditioning ride for 2013!

Yes, I'm finally !!!! back in the saddle.  Monica and I went out for the first trail ride I've done since this past June? July?, anyway, it's been much too long!  We made it a short one, as my ankle is still gaining strength and I sure don't want to overdo it and set myself back. 

We went to the Redmond Watershed, where the great footing and tree coverage made up for a little bit of rain.  I really bundled up, as I knew we wouldn't be going very fast. 

Both Danny and Galen seemed very happy - lots of happy little snorts and snorfs, and I must say, both Monica and I did our share of big, happy sighs.  We ended with big trail riding grins.

Here was a short break for a photo op.  Monica took some slightly better photos that are on Facebook.

Our 'Solstice Ride' even had a little bit of sun (in between the raindrops!).

It was short, but sweet.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Busy Month

It's been about a month since I've posted anything and of course it's been a busy one!  Thanksgiving has come and gone and now we're in the stretch to Christmas.  The house still smells like turkey, but the Christmas decorations are down from the garage attic and I've started Christmas shopping. 

Out in the barn, it's been busy as well.  We have two new horses here (only one of which will be staying), Dune and Tulah, both from Kelsey Kempfert in Wyoming.  They are both Durkkhal offspring and Tulah will be staying here on a broodmare lease, while Dune is waiting for his international health papers to head up to Cindy Swenson's Bold Vantage farm in British Columbia.

                                                 Dune chatting with the boys next door.
                                                      Tulah wanting to join the girls. 

And, if that isn't enough, Merdan (Paddy) left for Colorado Thanksgiving day.  He's off to Jas Shearer-McMahon's Magic Valley Ranch to be her future stallion and endurance horse.  Of course, there are a few years between now and then, as he's only 8 months old.

So, I've been moving horses around to see who gets along with who - Sparky is now out with Scooter and Reggie, being a 'big boy'.  His dam, Astra, went home last week.  Sparky was fine with this, although Astra was not very happy.  I'm sure being away from him will make it easier on her.
                                          Sparky getting to know his big half brother Reggie

I'm still recovering from my ankle surgery, although I've been in the saddle a few times.  Mainly, I've been trying to catch up.  I have noticed that my overall fitness sure has gone down, amazingly enough.  So, the next few months will be catching up, getting fit again, getting Galen fit again and planning who to breed to whom this next year, which is always a very fun thing to do!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Bragging rights

I have to do a little bit of bragging about how well several of my 'kids' are doing.  No, not the human kind, although they are doing pretty well themselves.  There are two Khan offspring that I bred that are competing in the Pacific Northwest and doing a great job.  The first is Asil Tumay (or Tommy), who is a 2006 Astrachan x Anastasia gelding, owned and shown by Shannon Mayfield.  Shannon has had Tommy now for over a year and this year he did 1 endurance ride (Home on the Range) and several horse shows.
Galen and Cathy, Shannon and Tommy and Monica and Danny at Home on the Range in March 2012

Just recently, Shannon took him to the Eddie McMurdo Memorial show in Walla Walla, WA a few weekends back and has this to say
"I was really proud of him.  We competed against all other breeds, and he did really well with the competition.  There were some fantastic national quality show horses there, and we ended up winning the novice horse class!  Totally thrilled.  =:)"

Earlier in the summer, he went to the Pink Ribbon Classic and here are a few photos:

They have been racking up the ribbons, cups and other assorted award items.  It will be great to see what they do next year.
And then there is Mazaly, a 5 year old Astrachan x Mirija (7/8 Teke 1/8 Hanoverian) mare, owned and ridden by Catrina Mettam of Centerville, WA.  Mazaly has done 3 shows/events this year and has really blossomed.  Catrina brought her up to the ATAA Conference this past weekend and she and Maisie (Mazaly) jumped our outside jump course with Monica and Magdan. I just got a new computer and still haven't found all my old files, but will upload some photos as soon as I do.  Maisie is a full sister to Mahri and Andre, both of whom are still here at CGAT and ready for their forever homes.

The two horses on the bottom are Mazaly and her owner/rider Catrina Mettam and Magdan and his rider Monica Bretherton.  Both horses were bred here at CGAT and both are Astrachan offspring.
Thanks to Betsy Wandler for taking these photos!

Of course, I have to mention Danny (Magdan) who did 5 LD endurance rides with Monica this year and has also been jumping.  Danny and Monica have been really doing well and we're thinking we'll do some shows over the winter.
Monica and Danny at the Mt. Adams LD ride 2012

Monica and Danny jumping September 2012
It will be great fun to see how everyone does next year.  I'm planning on getting Mahri started this winter and getting Andre to the next level.  Goshen will continue his training too, so I should have lots more big grins to report.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Upbeat, not Beaten

It's been a very busy month or so here at Cascade Gold.  I had ankle surgery on August 21st, where they found a big tear and several adhesions.  Happily, they fixed them up and said I should end up back around 100% on that leg.  That will be amazing, as I've struggled (ignored) this problem for years.  This year though, it came home to roost.

Last year's "medical adventure" put me on 'stall rest' for about 7 months (breast cancer surgery and radiation), so I started 2012's conditioning behind the curve.  We did our conditioning, moving up from walking in the arena to trotting/cantering 3 or so hours on the trails.  In past years, that has been enough to get me and Galen ready to go for our first LD of the season.  Ahh....the glories of age!

We went to our first LD, Home on the Range, at the end of March.  We went at a conservative pace, as we had Danny there for his first ride and I wasn't sure that I was really in top shape.  This turned out to be not so good for me, as when we came into the first vet check and I got off, I thought I'd somehow broken my ankle.  I suspect that is when I did the big tear they found during surgery.  Now, a SMART person would have Rider Optioned right then, but I'm an endurance rider (or right now, an LD rider), so I took a bunch of advil, found someone to trot Galen through the vet (thank you Monica) and continued on.  By the end of the ride, I wasn't a happy camper, but we finished and more advil and a bunch of beer made it bearable. 

We kept conditioning and I decided on a new strategy for our next rides - go faster to spend less time in the saddle!  Galen has the years of conditioning, so he's all for this.  So, I went out fast and Monica and Danny went at a reasonable pace.  This strategy worked fairly well, as we got 11th at Mt. Adams (would have been around 8 or 9, but I couldn't get off to walk him in and it took a few minutes to pulse down), 3rd at Grizzly and 10th at Klickitat.  All good right?

Well, Klickitat had a few routing issues and we ended up doing around 37 miles.  I think 25 would have been ok, but that last 10 miles I had to have Galen walk most of it, as my leg was screaming.  No doubt it was saying something like "You idiot, listen to me!'. In fact, I know it was.  We came in and I was so sure I was way down in placings that I didn't even ask where I was, although we came in 10th.  Galen was NOT happy about that boring walking in and let me know it.  I had big blisters on my hands that night.  Both of us were a bit disgruntled at the final vet check.  Once again, I was a grade 3 or 4 lame and I had to ask someone (thank you John!) to trot Galen out.  But, good drugs and more beer and I was soon feeling fine.

But, it finally did sink in that my leg wasn't getting better, so off to surgery I went.  We had tried some injections (nope, didn't help much) and I had tons of tests, where nothing showed up.  But, as my leg man said "We'll see what we find when we open you up".  And they did find something - a big longitudinal tear on the tendon and a bunch of adhesions.  All that was fixed and now it's just the boring aftermath - no weight bearing, physical theraphy and lots of time with my leg in the air.  But, he tells me that if I do my physical theraphy, I should be back to 100% sooner or later.  I'm really looking forward to that, because I plan that next year will see us moving back up to 50s and doing lots of rides (the original plan THIS year).

It did make me think though, as we get older, we can't skate by on the 'sort of' conditioning we used to.  Or, maybe that is just me...I do tend to think that 6-8 hours of farm work a day along with conditioning SHOULD be enough to get everything working right.  But, what works at 40 obviously doesn't work quite as well at 50.  Sadder (and sorer), but wiser!

So, if there is a moral to be found here, what would it be?  Don't expect what worked 10 years ago to work now?  Take better care of yourself as you get older?  Or maybe, don't be so dang stubborn and ignore obvious issues.  I have plenty of time to think about it.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Photo Shoot

 Anastasia - Asal x Pelenli, 21 year old retired broodmare, still enjoying life!

 Annie and Paddy- Paddy thinks of her as 'Aunt Annie'

 Astra and her foal Sparky, by Salam (still no real name!)

 Miras, aka Scooter, showing off his moves

Scooter showing his grown up looks.  He's turning into such a handsome boy!

 Merdan, or Paddy, 4 1/2 months old, foal coat all shed out

Another one of Merdan

Two weekends ago, our favorite photographer, Karen Wegenhenkel, came out to do a photo shoot.  I was a bit skeptical, as the weather was overcast, so I figured the light wouldn't be great.  It might not have been perfect, but as usual, Karen dealt with it and got some awesome photos.  I suppose that if you wait for perfect weather in the Pacific NW, you might never get anything done!  I've been posting some of these photos on the Sale Horse Blog and am doling them out on Facebook, but here are a few more.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Open Barn Party- August 11

Cascade Gold is having an Open Barn Event on August 11th, from 1 pm to 5 pm.  Come and meet us and our horses.  We'll have some soft drinks and nibbles for refreshments.  This is a very informal event - if you've been wondering what an Akhal-Teke looks like or want to see some very cute foals, come and visit!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

New Foal!

We had our second (and last) foal of the season on July 3rd.  Astra (also known as Addie), had a very large, lovely palomino colt with tons of chrome.  I'd been checking on her every hour or so and when I checked at 4 am she was thoughtful and at 5:30 he was up and nursing.  It's amazing how those legs fit inside her, but it sure explains why she had been so miserable the last week.  His back is up to my waist and when he puts his neck down, it reaches to his knees.  His legs are almost as long as Mom's so I expect that he will be around 16 hands.  It's so fun to see them figuring out those long, long legs and when they start skittering across the arena or pasture, it's hard not to laugh.  He seems to be very calm and bold and Addie is being an excellent mother.

July 3rd was quite cold, so he got the 'hot wheels' blanket and a heat lamp, but today (July 5th) it looks as if summer has arrived.  The sun woke everyone (including horses) up around 6 am and there isn't a cloud in the sky.  I suspect that Addie and Sparky (his barn name in honor of the 4th of July) will get to go out into the pasture today.  Paddy will be very happy that there is another little boy to play with (not quite yet, but soon).

Sparky 2 days old

Monica has been taking some great photos of him and I'm sure there will be many more.  There are more on my Cascade Gold Facebook page too.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Klickitat Endurance Ride, June 2, 2012

This past weekend, Monica and I went down to Glenwood, WA for the Klickitat Endurance ride. This is one of my favorite rides (so far- who knows, in the future some ride I haven't done yet might become my favorite!), with great trails, some fun water crossings, lovely views, great volunteers and a reasonable drive. 

We arrived on Friday afternoon after picking up our friend Susan and her little mare Capri.  We found a spot way on the edge of camp, which turned out to be great- it was very quiet, except for the sheep across the road.  We vetted in, got supper ready, and went to the ride meeting.  Marilyn, the ride manager, did mention at the meeting that the distances weren't set in stone....

We had a late start the next morning, by design.  Ride management had straggered the distances by several hours each so the out vet check wouldn't be so congested.  I was just fine with that.  It did seem strange though, waiting until 9:30 am to start (all three of us were doing the LD).  We all had our ride strategies, with me waiting to see how my ankle felt to dictate my pace, Monica planning to enjoy the day and the scenery and coming in midpack or below and Susan just wanting to make sure her mare was ok.  My friend Shannon was there with her half-Teke gelding Octopelle, and she started a bit before me.  I really wanted that walk out on a long rein, so we went back to the camp a time or two.  I've been going pretty fast to save my ankle and Galen thought that should be the gameplan that day also.  But, we did end up walking out calmly and soon found a friend to ride with for a while.  We went at a pretty controlled pace until about mile 7 or so and then I realized that I had to speed things up or I wouldn't finish with the way my ankle was feeling.  Galen was ALL for that and we zoomed off.  There were a few water crossings before the out vet check, but none were all that exciting.   We got into the out vet check at around 12:15, vetted through and some lovely volunteers held Galen while I used the restroom and got a sandwich.  Also, a wonderful young lady trotted him out for me, for at that point the vet mentioned that I was 'pretty lame'.  I would say I was at least a grade 3 by then.  Good thing they don't vet the riders.

We went out of our hold expecting a 6 to 8 mile ride back to camp (the first loop was supposed to be 17-19 miles, so I figured 25-17 = 8).  We headed out with me thinking longing of the drugs I hadn't remembered to take that morning.  We were pretty much by ourselves at this point - we got passed by some 50s, but I don't think I saw any other 25s.  So, I figured I was middle of the pack or lower.  We came back to the largest water crossing and now it looked a bit more daunting than it had earlier in the day.  Quite a few horses had been through it and had made both banks steeper and slippery and I later heard that the irrigation water was turned up.  What had been an exciting but fine crossing was perhaps a bit more than that now.  But, Galen hopped right in and beat against the current to make it to the one spot to get up the bank.  He lunged up the bank and I think that his hoofboots must have slipped, for when we reached the top (thank goodness), he fell and I rolled off.  It was a very easy fall as he was so near the ground at the time.  We both popped up and he walked off, down the trail.  I followed him, whistling and laughing, as he'd turn around every 20 or 30 feet and look at me, letting me know that he knew I was there and that I was pretty dang slow.  We went on like that for about a half mile, with him continually stopping and looking at me.  He followed the trail and never got out of sight, but I did wonder if I'd be doing the whole rest of the loop on foot.  We came up to a turn in the trail and he went off the wrong way.  He stopped about 20 feet in; maybe he didn't recognize the ribbon colors anymore or maybe he got fed up with my slowness, but he turned around and came back and got me.  I swear I could hear him thinking quite loudly "she is SO slow".  So, I headed back to the correct trail and was laughing for a good half mile.  We then met a gentleman on a quad who was coming to look at the water crossing.  I told him our experience and we continued on.  I was expecting a 6 to 8 mile loop, so when the time came that I figured we'd be back and camp and it was nowhere near, I checked the ribbons and continued.  I did meet up with some 50s (who passed me) who said they had heard the loop was closer to 13 miles.  That was good to know, as now I wasn't worried that I'd somehow got off trail.  Unfortunately, my ankle was not being very helpful and we ended up walking quite a bit of this loop, much to Galen's disgust.  We got back to camp around 3:30 and vetted through, with John Parkey being kind enough to trot Galen out.  I didn't ask what place we'd come in, as I figured with all the walking I had to be way down in the pack.  I took Galen back to camp, took care of him and then went back to the vet check to wait for Susan, Monica and Shannon.

Susan came in first and she'd had a good day on Capri, so she vetted through.  Monica's husband Bill had shown up by then and Shannon's husband Craig was there too.  We hung out and waited for Monica and Shannon.  People trickled in and we cheered them all, but by 6:30 we were rather wondering where our two were.  We'd heard they cleared the out vet check and finally some 50s came in and told us that they were right behind them.  They got in and we found that Shannon had had some hoof boot troubles, so ended up with Octopelle being barefoot for most of the second loop.  Monica stayed with them, as she figured she'd need help getting Danny through the water crossings.  It all worked out in the end with both horses passing their vet check with flying colors.  We got everyone bedded down after rehashing our ride stories.  We did hear (although not officially) that the LD ride was 37 miles, not 25, so we sure got our money's worth!

We went to the awards meeting and I was surprised to find that I had top-tenned!  Marilyn had some really neat awards for top-ten - nifty glass chalices with lids that screwed on (don't want to spill ANY of that ride camp libation) and little tags that said "Klickitat".  I love mine and had to use it right away.

The next morning Susan and Capri went out again and Monica and I stayed in camp and relaxed.  I now now why people like multiday rides.  It was so nice to socialize and chat while waiting for Susan.  We had quite a few people ask us about our horses and Tekes in general and Monica said that as she rode into camp she heard 'That is Danny', from a few people.  (Danny has been the star of her blog, Seattle PI Horsebytes) I almost felt like I could have ridden again, but until I get my ankle fixed, I'm not going to try that.  Susan came in after a lovely ride, she got Capri all squared away, we went to the awards meeting and then we had a party.  Usually, we leave Sunday morning after riding Saturday and we're so tired Saturday night that all we want to do is go to bed.  Well, having the whole day to recover made Monica and I into party animals.  Susan has the energy of 2 people, so she didn't need that extra day, but we ended up meeting some new friends and reconnecting with some old ones.  It was great!  We got up early Monday (it had been raining during the night and was still raining in the morning) so we packed up and headed out.  What a great weekend!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Mt. Adams Endurance Ride, May 19 2012

Monica and I went down to the Mt. Adams endurance ride this past weekend.  This is a great ride – about 6 hours away, nice camping, just about perfect trails and views to kill for.  We got there Friday night, got settled in and vetted and went for a short ride.  My ankles were not happy, so we didn’t go far.  We did some visiting around camp and then turned in for our early start the next day.  We met Lisa Preston, who was there with her young Teke-Arab filly for her first LD ride.  There was one other Teke cross there with Mona Thacker.  Her Shiraz has been competing for quite a few years and has been racking up the miles.

Saturday morning dawned and we got ready.  The weather was perfect – 60ish and sunny.  Our plan was that I’d start behind the leaders and go fast, to save my ankles, and Monica and Danny would meander out later.  As this is only his 3rd ride, she’s being very conservative (and rightly so).  So, we waited until the majority of the 75 (yes, 75 riders in the 25 mile ride) went out.  We walked out of camp after a bit of excitement – someone’s horse decided to warm itself up just as we were walking to the start line.  They caught it after a few minutes and then we walked out on a loose rein.  As soon as we got to the woods (there was about a half mile of pavement to walk on) we started our trot and passed and passed and passed people.  Galen LOVES to pass other horses.  We finished our first loop of 13 miles in around 1 ½ hours and vetted through just fine.  We only had a short hold, so we went back to the camper and got resupplied and a bite to eat. 

We headed out on our second loop and met Monica and Danny coming in as we went out.  The horses felt that we should stand around and talk about it, but a small amount of ‘persuasion’ and Galen and I were off.  This next loop was 12 miles and we ended up leap-frogging with the same group of people most of the way.  We completed this loop in about the same as the first – my total ride time was around 3 hours and 40 minutes (not sure of the exact time) and my only real mistake was not getting off and walking him in the last half mile.  I was worried about my ankle – getting off and not being able to walk would have been a pain.  So, it took him a few minutes to pulse down to the ride pulse of 60 and we ended up in 11th place.  If I’d have walked in (and he was pulsed down), we would have been 8th.  To explain, on the LD ride, ride time stops when you cross the finish and are at a pulse of 60.  The 50s and above ride times stopped when they crossed the finish.  But, he vetted through just fine and we were done in plenty of time to go back and chat with friends and wait for Monica and Danny to come in. 

Monica had had a lovely ride and Danny was complemented on his ‘metronome’ trot on the trail.  He’s really blossoming this year. 

More and more people are recognizing the Tekes at rides – lots of “how do you pronounce that” and we handed out several breed info booklets.  I bet we see more and more at the rides in upcoming years!  I know that people riding behind us are often amazed at how smooth and spook free our horses are.  Love it!

All in all, a lovely weekend.
Cathy and Galen on the first loop.  Mt. Hood (I think) in the background.

                                                  Monica and Danny on the first loop.
                                          Cathy and Galen on the second loop.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Getting ready for Mt. Adams!

This week we're getting ready for the Mt. Adams ride.  Once again, Monica and I will be doing the LD and Wendy will be doing the 50.  I will be going as fast as possible, hoping that my ankle doesn't give out before I finish.  Happily, Galen is good with that plan. 

Mt. Adams is absolutely lovely and I can hardly wait.  All this week we're stocking the camper and trailer, mounting our corral hangers on the trailer (so we don't have to 'macrame' them on) and then we'll head out Friday morning. 

Monica and I got in a good ride at the Watershed last week - her phone fritzed out, so we don't know exactly how far we went, but we were going at a pretty good clip for most of it.  Galen got into his lovely, long trot that I just sort of almost sit and kept it up.  I could hear "Good boys" from behind me, as Danny got into his lovely trail trot too.  We both had big 'trail riding' grins when we were done.  Neither horse did much sweating at all, although there was a bit of a breeze that probably helped with that.  The horses are ready...we'll see about me.

After Mt. Adams, we'll go to Klickitat and then possibly Renegade, if Addy foals at the right time.  She is due on July 2nd, so could pop anytime from the middle of June on.  We'll just have to wait and see.

I've been working some of the young horses.  Mahri is carrying a saddle and has worn a bridle twice now.  No big deal.  Monica has sat on Goshen and taken a few steps.  No big deal.  Andre is coming along, getting stronger and fitter every day.  I'm trying to get a little time in with Khan, Ari and Slari too, although they tend to be gotten to last.  I even lunged Salam a little today.  He really enjoys the work and fussing.

Well, my lunch break is done, so I'm heading out to the barn to enjoy this gorgeous weather.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Grizzly Endurance ride, Madras, OR

We spent the weekend in sunny Madras (pronounced MAD Rass, we were told!) Oregon wearing big trail riding grins.  We (we being Monica, Wendy and I) drove down in the pouring rain on Friday.  It was such a relief to get over the pass and see sunshine!  And dry footing!  Ahhhh....

We pulled into camp around 3:30 or 4 or so (we left around 7 am), found our brand new portable Hold Your Horses corrals and set up camp.  We're starting to look very upscale with those corrals!  We got all settled in, took our evening ride and had supper (lovely steak dinner, thanks to Wendy)  Somehow, we missed the ride meeting, but the trail was very well marked, so it wasn't a problem.

After a fitful night's sleep, we got up, saw Wendy off on her first 50 of the year and then Monica and I saddled up and got ready for our 32 mile LD.  We had a slightly different strategy this time, as I figured that less time in the saddle for me would be easier on my ankles.  So, Galen and I headed out reasonably near the front of the pack and Monica held back.  We (Galen and I) went out on a loose rein and after about a half mile of walking, he asked to trot and I said 'Sure'.  So, we got into his gorgeous, long trail trot and passed and passed people.  We were zooming along with no one in front until a very nice lady and her mare caught up to us.  Liz and Twiggy were great ride partners - we rode the rest of the ride together.  Both horses were well matched and Twiggy pulled us up hills (not Galen's favorite thing) and we slowed her down going down hill (Galen loves downhills...go figure)  Liz and I chatted through most of the ride, which made time fly by.  She was local, so gave me the guided tour of the mountain ranges.  My camera was full, which is a shame, as the scenery was stunning.  The country was green and little wild flowers were all over.  It was a lovely, lovely ride!

We came into the first vet check and a very nice volunteer trotted Galen out for me.  My ankle was ok, but I staggered a bit getting off and was spotted, so they asked if I needed help.  What nice people!  I didn't get their names, but I really appreciated the help.  We went back to camp for our hold and Galen and Twiggy spent a lot of that time calling back and forth.  They had become fast friends on the trail.

We went out for our second loop (the first was 22 miles, the second 10) with Liz and Twiggy and this one flew by.  I'll have to look at the vet cards to see how fast we were going, but we were not lollygagging at all!  Our total ride time was 4 hours and 48 minutes, so we did a bit over 6 mph average.  I think we went a bit faster the first loop, but I'll have to find my card to make sure.  We came in around 1:30, pulsed through and were told we were either 4th and 5th or 5th and 6th (I don't remember if Liz was before or after me and I was 5th).  So, I decided to stand for BC, as it's great experience.  Also, as I'm bigger than a lot of those tiny, skinny riders, I do have a shot at it (rider weight is calculated in the score).  We ended up coming in 3rd out of 5 in the BC.  We got all 9s (out of 10) on our scores, except his Recovery score wasn't that great.  I'll have to work on that - I'm sure there are techniques (besides just plain conditioning) to help with that.  He was tired, but not terribly. 

I'm glad I did the LD - my fitness level is still nowhere near where it was a year ago.  But, it's getting better and I think as the season progresses, my fitness will go up.

Monica and Danny came in later, 15 minutes overtime.  She was fine with that, as Danny did great the whole ride, was praised by other riders for his 'metronome trot' and joined and left groups like a trooper.  Monica was very careful with him, as this is his first season and his base fitness is still getting there.  He looked great at the finish and while they didn't get a completion, they got all A's on his vet card and the vet told her that she had done a great job with him.  So, it was a great experience for both of them.

Wendy came in about an hour later, tired but grinning.  I trotted Allie out for her and then we went back to the camper.  We got all the horses cleaned up, fed, wrapped and blanketed and then went to the awards ceremony.  After that, a yummy dinner, a glass of wine and well deserved sleep. 

Our drive home went much quicker, as the weather was dry and sunny the entire way.  We strapped our new corrals to the sides of the trailer, which worked out just great, and made it home around 2:30 or so. 

I'm sore today, but not all that bad.  Walking is no problem, just going down stairs!  My daughter told me I should stretch...seems like I did plenty of that on Saturday, but maybe I'll try a little gentle stretching today.

Now we have to unload everything and start getting ready for the next ride, which will be Mt. Adams.

I do have some photos, just need to figure out how to download them, so I'll put them up when I get that done.

Monday, April 2, 2012

First Ride of the Season

Cathy on Galen, Shannon on Tommy and Monica on Danny. Thanks to Craig Mayfield for the photo op!
Today is a resting day after our fun weekend. We just finished our first Endurance ride of the season, Home on the Range.
The original plan was that I would take Galen, Monica would take Danny (his first endurance ride ever!) and do the 25 and Wendy would take Allie and do the 50. Cindy Balogh was coming as camp chef and crew. Wendy ended up cancelling, as she's aiming at Tevis and has to be very careful about her vacation days. So, it ended up me, Monica and Cindy and our two boys.
We drove over to Washtucna on Friday, after hearing dire weather reports and even rumors of ride cancellation. We perserved though and made it over the pass (not too bad) and to the Ridecamp on private land in S. Eastern Washington. Our first small adventure was as we came into camp. There was a line of rigs ahead of us, seemingly waiting for something. We soon found out what. It had been raining there (the landowners thanked us Western Washingtonians for bringing said rain) and the mud had made passage under our own power not happening. So, out came the enormous tractor (I had tractor envy) and the driver dragged each rig through the mud to higher (and drier) ground. It was an interesting experience - sort of an amusement park ride.
We then found a good spot, said hello to a few friends and set up camp. We did miss Wendy at this point, as she usually sets up the portable corrals. But, we muddled through and had everything set up in time for a nice ride to check out the trail. We rode what would be the last bit of our second loop and were a bit dismayed by the soft, muddy footing. Happily, the night was clear and a bit windy, so the mud dried up a bit by the next day.
Then, we socialized some; our friend Shannon Mayfield was there with her Teke gelding Asil Tumay (by Astrachan out of Anastasia) and we met up with Susan Bhatt and her Arab mare Capri, who had boarded at my barn for a few months when she moved here from Florida. Of course, there were plenty other people we said hi to also! We then went to the Ride Meeting and then off to bed.
Of course, people (and horses) started stirring around 5 am or so, so we were up fairly early. Our ride start was at 8 am (50s went out at 7 am) so we had plenty of time. I went off to the Port-a-Potty and came out and saw Cindy walking around with a leadrope. Whatever for? I wondered. Well, our horses had decided to do a little warm up of their own and broke out of our tape paddocks. They led us (and a bunch of other people) on a merry chase for a good ten minutes. Then, when both they and us were properly warmed up, they allowed (OK, GALEN allowed) us to catch them. Besides the humiliation factor (everyone dreads the 'your horse is loose' shout) we now have to figure out a better containment system. I later watched Danny leaning on the electric tape, trusting his winter blanket for insulation. Darn it! That is one thing I didn't think we'd need to change.
Anyway, we caught our bad boys (and they didn't seem sorry at all) and tacked up. Shannon, Monica and I had a strategy - our plan was to leave last from camp to avoid race brain. Unfortunately, other people had the same idea and instead of getting into a race- of sorts- to see who could be last, we just went. Danny was a bit up, which was to be expected, as he's never done this before. Tommy was a little high too, but neither were terrible, just young. Galen, of course, thought that we should start catching people and passing. I did a lot of half-halts that first 15 miles! All three did very well, pacing well together, playing leap frog without a problem. The biggest issue we had was...hoof boots. We started the ride with 12 assorted hoof boots on 3 horses - we had Easyboot Epics, Easyboot Gloves, Easyboot originals and two Renegades. During that first 8-10 miles (or maybe less) we had 10 boot malfunctions. I lost one back original Easyboot and poor Monica and Shannon lost all of theirs. We didn't notice 2 of Monica's come off, so those are out there somewhere, but the rest were noticed, so Monica and Shannon got LOTS of experience getting off and on. We ended the first loop with 3 boots left on Galen. I'm sure a lot of the problem was the sucking footing. I didn't hear if other people had the same problems, but I sure wouldn't be surprised.
We finished our first 15 mile loop in around 2 1/2 hours, so even with the getting on and off and the necessary walks, we made good time. We came back into camp for our vet check and vetted through with good scores. Danny was all A's; in fact, his scores were better after the first loop than his check in. Galen's were ok - he had some Bs for gut sounds, which isn't all that abnormal. He's too busy thinking about the horses ahead to eat on the trail!
My only problem was that as I got off to walk into camp, my left ankle let me know that it was not happy. I sort of staggered in and Monica (thankfully) trotted Galen out for the vet.
We had our hold and appreciated Cindy being there to feed us, feed our horses and help us get ready for the next loop. Shannon decided she'd go alone, as Tommy was a bit wound up with his two buddies. So, we stripped off several layers of clothing and headed out for our second loop. This was a much more boring start, with both boys asking politely if we were out of our minds. Weren't we done? Didn't we come back to camp? But, we got out of camp and rode for a bit with some new friends. I got to put a name to at least one person. This loop was through a lot of deep footing, with grass covering up holes. Often we couldn't tell if a lump was a cow pat or a badger hole, so we trotted when we could and walked the rest. We were able to really appreciate how lovely the terrain was and we were grateful we'd put sunscreen on. We finished this 10 mile loop in around 2 hours, so while we trotted we must have been moving, because we walked a lot. I was able to trot Galen out, although the vet might have preferred someone else doing it, as I staggered so badly we ended up two vet lanes over. Glad they don't vet the human as I'm pretty sure I was grade 3 lame. Danny did his trot out like a pro and Tommy and Shannon were right behind us. I think we ended up coming in 25th, 26th and 27th out of 40, which was perfect. We had planned for a reasonably slow pace, the boys came in looking great and no minds were blown. I did realize though that my fitness still isn't where it was a year 'medical adventure' has taken a toll. So, more riding for me, darn.
We got the boys tucked in with huge pans of beet pulp and knee deep hay and went for our stew feed and then the awards ceremony. We put them in the trailer (two box stalls) for the night, as I didn't want to wake up every two minutes thinking I heard hoof prints. Also, it was quite wet out and there was talk of wind and more rain. I don't think they minded a bit. In fact, the next morning when we unloaded them to get ready for the journey home, they were a bit miffed. You'd think Western Washington horses wouldn't mind a little wind and rain. But, we took down camp and then waited in line (worse than Seattle rush hour traffic) for rigs to get dragged out through the mud. We were lucky in that enough went out that we could finally go around the worst of it. I put the truck into 4 low and we powered through. We had an uneventful ride home and were pretty much unpacked by 3 pm or so.
Monica has taken a bunch of photos and Shannon took a few that she gave me permission to use here. I really need to get a camera!
All in all, a great way to start our ride season.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The wait is over!

Aya had her foal at 3:30 in the morning early Saturday. She had a little wax when I checked her at 9 am and started having regular contractions around 2 or 3. Monica and I settled in and watched her pace the arena, stop and swish her tail, stomp her feet and bite her belly. Around 10 pm, I went in to get some sleep and Monica woke me up about 3:20 with the news "her water just broke".

It was a textbook delivery (the best kind), and as the baby was coming out, I could see it was buckskin. Maybe this time I'd get my buckskin filly! Then, the foal was all the way out and I could tell she was a he. Lovely little buckskin ...colt. He has two hind stockings and one little triangle on the front leg. Lots of get up and go, very friendly.

I have a dog blanket on him, as it's quite windy and chilly and he doesn't have much body fat. He's wearing my son's dog's blanket, which has flames shooting down the sides. I was calling him "Speed Racer" today, as he zoomed around the arena with mom.

I think we have a name for him. My friend Cindy found the word "Merdan", which means courageous. It works as I wanted a M name in honor of his sire, Metman. It seems to fit him too. He marches right up and says hello. Of course, that is much too formal for a barn name. We've been calling him Paddy, as he was born on St. Patrick's day.

There are some photos on Monica's blog and on Facebook under the Cascade Gold page. Monica's blog is

Sooner or later I'll get a decent camera, but not today.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Waiting for baby

Although it's a bit early in the year, we are expecting a foal anyday now. Aishet, (barn name Aya) is on loan from Freedom Run Farms of MI and came bred to the lovely stallion Metman. Aya looked like she was all ready to go last week and then the weather got nasty. Either the foal or Aya decided it was just too cold, wet, snowy, windy, slushy and sleety out to come out and play, so we've been playing a waiting game. I keep thinking that the next nice day will see a new little face, but I checked Aya earlier today and I think, just perhaps, the kid doesn't want to wait much longer, sleet or no sleet. Of course, we'll see!

I have the foaling stall all set up with nice, deep straw, shavings and a heat lamp. I have my foaling kit ready. I've been checking her every 2 hours for the last week now, although happily, I can see her from my bedroom window so I don't have to go outside every two hours all night long. But, interrupted sleep does take it's toll. Just ask my family.

So, very soon, we'll have another little one running around. Of course, I'm hoping for my buckskin filly, but we'll take whatever comes!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Clipping time

Today I cleaned my clipper blades (long overdue), oiled the clippers and took them out to the barn. Galen has been working fairly hard and it's been warm enough that he's sweating quite a bit. I figured that a very small clip job on the bottom of his neck might help him with cooling out a bit faster. He's got a pretty good winter coat for a Teke, even though he does wear a rainsheet in the winter and sometimes a blanket if it's really nasty out.

I did forget that he's never seen clippers before - I don't worry about nose or ear whiskers and one of the great things about endurance is that no one expects you to have a 'show-ready' horse, polished and clipped. So, we spent some time just getting used to those noisy things. He was very good, all in all, although I wish I had a photo of how far back he was leaning, without moving his feet. I just went slowly, kept telling him what a good boy he was, gave him treats when he relaxed, and we got that neck shaved a bit without much trouble. So, tomorrow we'll see if that helps with the cooling, as we're hauling out to the Redmond Watershed, for a nice, long ride, as long as the weather cooperates.

Monica commented that it 'took pounds off him'. Hmmm, maybe that is an option for humans also..

Thursday, February 16, 2012


Monica and I have been doing some conditioning to get ready for our first endurance ride of the year, which is on March 31st. This will be Danny's (Madgan) first ride, although he did spend the night at a ride last year. We'll be doing the 25 mile limited distance ride and expect to finish towards the back of the pack - no racing for us! Danny is getting the lion's share of the work these days, as he is coming six and really blossoming. Andre is the distant second, although he's showing improvement with every ride. The other youngsters would like to be on the roster, but there is only so much time during the day. Scooter (Miras) and Reggie (Sazanda) get their 5 minutes a day of grooming and ground manners, which is really all they need right now. Mahri would LOVE to get even 5 minutes - she and Slari get a few minutes and a good scratch every now and again. Once our competition year starts, we'll cut back on our conditioning rides, so we can work more with the younger horses. Goshen is getting some arena time with Monica - he's lunging with the saddle and bridle on, has been long-lined and is generally learning how things go. We'll probably back him sometime this summer and let him get the idea that people sit on him.

Aya (Aishet) is due to foal within the next few weeks, so we'll have a new baby to play with also.

They are all keeping us busy, but that is ok - it's a lot of fun.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Probably not, but it sure has felt like it the last few days. We've had sunshine, which is always appreciated, and temps up into the 50's. I even saw a fly today! Of course, we're taking advantage of the nice weather and RIDING. Monica and I went out Friday to Lord Hill and then on Sunday, we took Monica's husband Bill along on their TB Willie up to the Pilchuck Tree Farm. As it was Superbowl Sunday, we thought the parking area would be empty. Wrong. It seems that everyone else had the same idea as us, or was getting a quick ride in before the game. But, we squeezed the rig in, saddled up and headed out. Surprisingly, we didn't see many other riders on the trail, which shows how many miles of trails there are up there. We went out from the parking lot a different way than usual and ended up going down a very steep bank into a semi-impressive river. Galen and Danny both did it with minimum fuss, but poor Willie just wasn't sure that the footing was a good idea. Bill ended up leading him across the river and was an excellent sport about wet feet. We did get to gallop up a big hill and let Willie set the pace (as an ex-racehorse he thought he should be first). Galen really, REALLY thought that he could beat that silly TB and I had to work to keep him from taking off and doing just that. We're going to head out again tomorrow, probably back to Lord Hill, as I have committements in the afternoon. I really do need to take my camera with me and quite depending on Monica to take all the photos.