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!