Friday, May 23, 2014
For newcomers to my blog, here it is in a nutshell: breast cancer surgery in 2011 led to not much conditioning for the 2012 ride season. 4 rides (teeth gritting, pill popping after tearing a tendon in the first ride of the season) in 2012 with each ride being more and more painful on my ankle with the torn tendon. I did top ten most of them though...figured faster was better. At the last ride of the year that I did, where I had to walk my (very disgusted) horse the last 10 miles because my ankle hurt so badly, I decided to try surgery (and we still top tenned). Surgery in August-September of 2012, VERY slow recovery. I'm afraid I expected to have 6 weeks of PT and recovery and then be back to full power. Ha. Silly me. I didn't compete at all in 2013 because I could only ride about an hour before the pain was pretty bad. So, I volunteered.
I have been upping my 'game' over the winter and had gotten up to almost a 3 hour ride without too much whining, so I decided that Mt. Adams was it! My comeback ride! Except, unless you are totally flying, you can't even do an LD in 3 hours...
So, I adjusted my attitude and decided that if I could mentor a newbie or two, I could justify (to myself, no one else cared) doing a, gasp, Trail Ride. I'm afraid I've always been a little 'above' the trail ride, thinking there was no reason to do anything less than an LD. I kept repeating (in a bit of a whiney voice) "But I've done 50s!". I'm pretty sure there was a bunch of self-pity there. Well, the old gray mare just ain't what she used to be. So, I firmly tamped that down and hauled to Mt. Adams with my friend Monica. She decided to come on the trail ride too, mostly to make sure I was ok.
We drove down and got talking so much we missed the first bridge over the Columbia and had to go over the one between Hood River and White Salmon. I HATE this bridge. I'm not much for heights anyway and have actually smashed my truck side mirror on an oncoming truck's mirror on this bridge a few years back, so I have reason. I did make it over the bridge and no one actually honked at me...going 15 miles an hour is probably not the way to make friends. I also halted in the middle of the bridge when a big truck came at us. I think I did breathe somewhere along it...but I won't guarantee it. One lady in an oncoming car did point vigorously at me to move over to the edge of the bridge - I think I was pretty close to the center line.
Anyway, we made it to the lovely camp with plenty of time to spare, vetted in, etc and met up with our friend Keiko, who was doing her first endurance ride ever with her mare Cady. We went for a nice few mile ride on Friday and both Galen and Danny were great. Cady was a bit jazzed, but settled by the end.
Next morning, the very civilized start time of 9 am. Hmmm, this is definitely in the Trail Ride's favor. We got Keiko and Cady and left after pretty much everyone was gone. Cady and Keiko were a bit nervous, so we went back and forth a bit and then Keiko got off and walked for a while until a big hill convinced her to remount. We sandwiched them between Galen (in front) and Danny behind, which seemed to help Cady. We walked along, singing silly songs and getting relationship updates. After a bit, we asked if we could trot 20 steps and then walk. We did this for a while until it was boring and then started trotting the easier parts (no ducking low branches, no downhills, etc). By now, Keiko was starting to enjoy herself, as she and Cady had both relaxed. We made it clear that we wouldn't do anything more (ok, maybe just a touch more) than she was comfortable with, which I think really helped her. We had the whole day to enjoy the beautiful Ghost loop and if it took the whole day, so be it.
(I do have a ride photo, but for some reason, my computer refuses to load it, so you just need to imagine the lovely scenery and Galen's orange butt)
We did spend a little time going back to find a boot, but we found it quickly. We finished around 12:30 or so, but that was fine. This was a 13 mile loop, and my ankle still felt pretty good. This was the longest mileage AND time I have done since June of 2012. I have been working on changing the way I ride - much more sitting trot; thank goodness for the Teke glide, much more muscle instead of letting my ankles absorb so much. It's very different from how I've ridden before, but Galen seems ok with it, so I'll call it good.
I ended with thinking that I could probably do more mileage, but I was kind of glad I didn't have to. Once the horses were taken care of, I cracked a beer, took some more Advil and socialized. Hmmm, another plus in the Trail Ride's favor...more time for beer. Anyway, we are planning on heading to Klickitat, where I might ride a 2 day LD. It could be a new thing - the weenie version of the 2 day 100. If that goes well, maybe I'll be up to an LD before the end of the ride season.
Thursday, May 15, 2014
Jas and I travelled together, which was quite nice, especially when we were the only English speakers around. We started our first day on a bus…we thought we were heading to a horse exhibition, but we weren’t quite sure. There was also a bus heading off to look at gaslines or something. We got on the correct one though and were dropped at Exhibition Palace. We had no idea what to do or where to go, so we winged it. I’m pretty sure we got exhibitor’s badges and we wandered all over the hall while vendors were setting up. There were lovely paintings, tack, exercise equipment, beautiful rugs and many other things.
We started meeting some of the other attendees; it was great to finally meet many people that I had only talked to on the internet. There were also quite a few non-Teke folks along, some were artisans, some were related to connected people, some were giving speeches. It was great fun to network like crazy.
I had to take a photo of the Miras, as I bred a colt that I named Miras. (from my Chaihana dictionary, it means "inheritance"). There was also a building called 'Arzuw' and I have a gelding named that (wishes and dreams). I thought I had taken a photo of that too...but I can't find it.
Saturday was out to the Akhalteke Equestrian Complex, where we were to
We were then served another lovely meal and taken back to the hotel. One evening (not sure which one now) we went to the Russian Bazaar along with several other attendees. We ended up going twice and it was a feast for the senses – lovely smells and beautiful displays. I got to do a little bit of haggling, so I felt I’d had the whole ‘experience’.
Libations in the stands. No food (except for what we brought in our purses), but wine, cognac and vodka. This is Naomi and Michelle.
There were 7 races and the horses looked to be in good flesh and reasonably well trained. There were a few close finishes and then the top three jockeys in each race got presented cars.
We saw this little girl several times. She was part of the dancing with the trick riders (I'd assume she is a trick rider's child) and she was so cute that I had to take some photos of her. The women danced while the men did their trick riding around them. I'm sure there was significance to the dancing, but we didn't have a clue, except to know that it was very lovely.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
I won't write up the entire trip right now, as I'm still playing catch up with all the stuff piled on my desk and barn work. My family (mainly Callie and Zach) did a great job in my absence, but there is still plenty for me to do.
I took many photos, and will get to those sooner or later.
What I came away from the week with:
1. The Turkmen people seem to be extremely nice and VERY patient.
2. Bring your own toilet paper.
3. Wear comfortable shoes.
4. Their horse management is way behind ours, but they are working on it.
5. Being on a paid for trip is lots of fun, mostly. They do expect some photo ops though. (I was on their national TV at least once and probably more). But, I looked good, so it was just fine.
6. Bargaining in the bazaar was lots of fun.
7. They drive like maniacs. I had to sit in the back of the bus after making the mistake of sitting in the front seat, only once. I almost mashed my foot through the floor helping the driver brake. I also assume that my gasps weren't doing any good as nothing changed.
There was plenty more, that I will write about soon. Now I need to get back to my other duties!