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.

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