I am titling this story “A RIDE OF FIRSTS”
This is the last year for The Glass Rides. Many of you will remember back in the day when Betty hosted two rides a year, one in the spring and one in the fall…and one was a CTR, the other was Endurance. Well, after 26 years of hosting the rides, she is taking some time off while their property is having the old trees culled.
STEEL’S FIRST: Steel’s new rider *AND* she will not be going out with me and Miss Daizy, she will be riding with LeeAnne and Jack. (Oh yes, another “date” between Jack and Steel. People are going to start to talk!!!) Linda reached out to me when I found out that Dom would not be able to make the Glass Rides, I asked Steel how she felt about Linda being her co-pilot and she was A-O-K about it.
I chuckle to myself this morning as I start to put this ride story together because, just like No Frills, I am watching the weather apprehensively. Looks like rain on Friday, to camp in, then rain on Saturday and Sunday, to ride in. Let’s hope that the weather cooperates and we have glorious weather for May 16 and 17 at Huntingdon, PA. I do have to make a small documentation for future readers (like in 2020) … After a brutal winter of cold temps, we leaped from winter to summer after a brief three week spring. Temperatures the week before and week of Mother’s Day were in the upper 80’s, hitting 90 one day. Please notice I am not complaining about the rain for this ride as the temperatures are predicted to be in the mid to upper 80’s. I’m not at all thrilled to be at a two day ride in the rain (for three days) but it’s much better than to poor riders at the Jersey 100 CTR last weekend who competed in 90+ degree weather so soon in the season.
GROOMING FIRST: Thursday before the ride I got body slammed (six times) by a 200 pound dog while trying to get her shaved down for the summer. She was WAY matted and shaving was our only option. Of course, all that body slamming threw my back into a fit so Friday while I’m trying to get everything packed up and get on the road, my back is singing the “I HATE YOU” song. I am praying that the Tramadol prescription I got from my doctor gets me through two day of hard riding. I love the Glass Rides because the trail is either up or down, never flat and never ever boring. I have never worked on a dog that beat me up so badly, I must be losing my touch.
TRAVELING FIRST: I’d rather not give people ETA’s on when I’ll get to a ride because – well – you never know with Dodie-Time. I had three people waiting on me so I gave them an ETA of 4:00 pm. Remarkably, my morning went exactly as planned and I was on the road exactly when I wanted to be and I arrived in base camp exactly at 4:02 pm.
It’s a miracle.
Of course, (and this is not a first, but it is worth a mention) Poe made the entire 3 hour ride without incident until we hit the dirt roads coming into base camp. At that point, her tummy got upset from all the bouncing around and she puked in her seat just as I pulled into the base camp.
Cindy greeted me as I pulled into camp and showed me where she was parked. I pulled behind her and Sallie along the tree line, thinking to park there. Before unloading anyone, I wanted to check in and get that out of the way. I also had to get Poe’s vomit out of the truck cab before I got sick and did my own vomiting.
SHOE FIRST: I walked down to check in and I had on flip flops. Why? Because last year at this ride, the ground was covered in these brambly thorny catch-your-ankle-and-trip-you vines and I wasn’t sure what to expect as I walked across the grounds. Count them – not one, not two, but seven people that I passed were like “WHOA! You have on shoes? Is it gonna snow?” Last year I came home with three embedded thorns in my foot that I didn’t know were there until Marc saw my feet up on the footstool and asked me if I wanted him to pull them out.
I have to post this little picture here because at the same time I was arriving at camp (oh yes, the time stamp on Facebook proves it) Destiny posted this meme on my daughter Naoma’s FB wall and said, “I thought of your momma when I saw this so I’m sharing.” How appropriate! And to think that people ALWAYS think of me and my bare feets!
PARKING FIRST: Since I always get to camp late (by other rider’s standards) I never get a good parking spot. While I was checking in, Cheryl and LeeAnne came over to the pavilion, greeted me and pointed “LOOK” and there was a very large parking area right behind the check in, right next to the vet in, and it was all for me!
I went back to my rig and told Cindy I was abandoning her to go park be Cheryl and LeeAnne. It was next to the tree line and in the shade (which I knew we’d need tomorrow and Sunday) and it was FLAT so I wouldn’t roll out of my bed and bonk my head in the night. I drove down, backed in and promptly got started setting up camp.
CAMPING FIRST: Usually I arrive in camp with my two horses and do not I see Dom until the next morning as she rolls in late at night after doing a full day’s work then driving xxx hours to get to the ride. So, it is me and my invisible crew setting up camp for the two horses. As I pulled the horses off the trailer, Linda magically appears at my side and says, “What can I do for you?”
Normally it takes me a bit over an hour to set up camp then I have to get the horses checked in so I usually don’t get to sit down and relax for about an hour and a half. With Linda helping me, I had the camp set up, horses checked in and sat in a chair with a Cidre Ale in 45 minutes flat.
WHEEEE – thank you Linda!!!
FUSSING FIRST: When I found that the prickly brambly vines were not an issue this year, I promptly ditched the flip flops. When I went up to check in the horses, I was (indeed) barefooted. Of course I was, I am the original barefooter (before it was a fad, before it was cool, before it was scientifically proven to be better for your feet, legs and lower back) I have always been barefooted. In fact, I go places like auctions, farmers markets, etc and people will come up to me and ask if I am Dodie Sable. (snicker) because they recognize me by my bare feet and long braid.
With that said, I was coming back from vetting in and Helen saw me walking out of the ring with my horse and no shoes and promptly gave me the “what for” because there are children around and I need to set an example by wearing proper foot attire. She has “mentioned” this to me before at other rides, but today she was a bit on the “testy side” about it and I did not appreciate being fussed at. Betty was there, too, and she also gave me a “what for”.
Really? Show me the rule in the ECTRA book that says I must wear shoes and I will comply. And everyone knows me, stuff like their fussing usually just rolls off my back but Helen and Betty both had an edge in their voice, I was tired and just wanted to chillax, so it didn’t sit right with me. I “think” I was polite in my response to them, but I don’t know. Linda, who was right behind me with Steel in tow, asked me what that was all about. I waved it off with a smile, saying it was an on-going conversation between me and Helen.
One day, I *AM* going to compete a ride in my barefeet, just to get a reaction.
he he he he
About five people all showed up in my camp so we chatted a bit then went down for dinner. Food was a pot luck and there was so much food it was remarkable. Poe was the hit of the show as we sat on the stairs by the food line and everyone stopped to pet her while they waited for their turn at the grub. Poe was eating it up. A couple times people passed her without stopping to pet her and she looked like, “Hey!” which cracked me up.
Mmmmm – food. And of course, LeeAnne stole my dog. (That is not a first, that happens all the time!)
Ride meeting was going to be later around 8:00 pm so we went back to my camp and chatted some more. It was so nice to see Cheryl and catch up. I haven’t been up to ride with her since January. My schedule has been slammed with groomings and in my couple of minutes of free time I’ve been managing very little go away time to be able to truck up to her place and ride. Then she had shoeing issues so she couldn’t truck down to my place and ride. We were all enjoying a bit of alcohol before the ride meeting so there was a ton of laughter coming from my camp!!! Especially after we hear LeeAnne’s story about getting a flat tire on the trailer, calling USRyder to come fix it, waiting two hours only to have the guy show up and he didn’t know he was changing a tire on a horse trailer with a horse in it. TOO FUNNY! Kinda reminded me of my Shut Up and Play Cards story (read the first book, the story is in there!)
After the ride meeting, Linda helped me with everything from getting more water to setting up the hold stuff to throwing out hay for the horses. How nice to have a second set of hands. We were going to ride a little bit in the evening so she could try out Steel. Apparently, EVERYONE had been telling her that Steel was a sweetie and easy to ride and a no worries horses so by the time everything was done and we could go out, Linda decided to rely on the “word in camp” about Steel and just go for it in the morning.
FIRST FOR STEEL: Love it. Steel has her own reputation! And she outshines Miss Daizy in this category!
Kevin came over with Czar and visited with us for awhile. Czar kept sticking his head under the canopy to get involved in the conversation. Then he’d walk away and Kevin would have to move his chair. I commented that the chair needed wheels then it could just roll along with Czar’s travels. Kevin did NOT think that would be a good idea….I laughed, because I thought it would be! LeeAnne had her own version of a wake up call, it involves a flashlight, an evil grin and a sudden appearance at the window of your sleeping area.
Everyone left and Cheryl and I sat there laughing and giggling and suddenly it got quiet in camp.
BEDTIME FIRST: Oops, I looked at my phone and it was 10:10 pm. Usually by 9:00 pm I am ready to turn in so I can toss and turn for seven hours before getting up at 4:00 am. Thank you Cheryl and Kevin and LeeAnne for such wonderful conversations.
Ride was going to start at 8:00 am so Buck said he’d give a 6:00 am wake up call. Linda asked me what time I’d be up so she could help me and when I told her I am usually awake about 4:30 or 5:00 every day anyway, and I didn’t expect her to get up that early, she was like .. Ooo Kaay … chuckle
And I was awake at 4:45 am. YAWN. I fed the horses and as they had drank their buckets dry overnight, I refilled them. Thank goodness Linda and I brought water back the night before. It is really humid when I get up and it’s like breathing under water. By the time I finished ten minutes of chores I was drenched in sweat and sticky.
Poe and I had some playtime while I waited for the coffee to be serves at the food pavilion. Betty said she’d have it there around 5:30 am. While we had some playtime, a nice doberman came over to visit with us and join in our playtime. I thought it was Renee’s dog, but I was not sure because I had seen several Dobermans at the ride the day before and it was still darkish so I couldn’t see the collar really clearly. It was all good, the doberman and Poe had a good workout playing.
Promptly at 5:31 am, Poe and I took a walk to fill my coffee mug. I get down there and the only people there are Betty and Helen *BUT* true to her word, the coffee is ready to go. I can smell it and it smells nice and strong – just the way I like it.
FUSSING AGAIN – ANOTHER FIRST: I’m filling my mug and Poe is sitting at my feet. She is an off-lead dog and she is very very well behaved. I brought her leash with me in case there were people milling about but we were all alone so I didn’t hook her up to it. So, she’s sitting there patiently waiting for me to add sugar and stir my coffee when Helen says (and not too nicely, either) “Why isn’t that leash on your dog?”
I was caught off guard … and good morning to you, too! I stammered a reply, “Oh, well, should I put it on?”
A very tert “YES!” was her response, then Betty chimed in, “It’s in your ride packet, dogs on leashes at all times.”
I became tense, (because I don’t usually get fussed at) which immediately put Poe on alert, so when I reached down to put her leash on, she scooted away from me and hid under the nearest picnic table looking at me like, “What did I do? I didn’t do it!”
I was going to sit there and eat a donut and wait for some people to come down for breakfast so I could visit, but now I’m just wanting to get as far away from this nonsense as possible. Had there been other people down here I would have died from embarrassment. Fortunately I was saved from that harrowing death as only one person had come down while I was there fixing my coffee.
How to start your day at the Glass Rides.
As Poe and I are walking back up to our camp, several people pass us going down for breakfast and we made about six stops to “visit a bit” before getting back. That perked me up again and so I was back in my happy Dodie mode by the time Cheryl got up.
I want to insert a little Poe story here. She is just four months old at this ride. It is her second camping trip. She was a doll at The No Frills Ride last month, and at a mere three months old, she learned the camping routine. She learned it so well, that at the Glass Rides, she didn’t make one mistake. Not one. She was off lead the entire weekend (HA!) and never left the camp area, not once. Even when people came over with their own dogs, she would meet and greet then lay back down in her spot under my chair. When she had to potty she walked over behind the corrals (which she learned at No Frills, NEVER TO ENTER THE CORRALS), did her business, then came back to the chair and laid down. Everyone that visited my camp could not believe how calm and chillaxed she was about being there. Especially being a young puppy. Poe was bred by a Service Dog breeder and that breeder’s bloodline choices shine in Poe. She is calm, she is very very smart, and she is the best dog in the universe. I love her to pieces. When I left the camp, if I wanted her to stay there I told “Wait Here” and she stayed under the canopy. If I wanted to to come with me, I said “Come On Let’s Go” and she got up and followed me where ever I went. Four months old. What a very precious girl she is.
A POE FIRST: One more little thing that was very endearing, as I was packing up camp, she would watch me. When the canopy disappeared, it was her cue to come and find me. Which she did on several occasions as I disappeared behind the truck or the trailer. Funny thing was, when she found me, she acted all proud of herself like, “Look, I found you so you’re not lost any more.” At one point I was in the trailer and since the corral panels were down, she knew she could go in. I had my back to the opening and felt a cold nose on the back of my knee. I turned to look and upon making eye contact with her, she immediately went into her Happy Dance of “I found you!”. It was so cute!!!! I guess we have learned a new game now. Find The Lady!
Back to the ride story. (Thank you for allowing my small Poe story!)
So, Linda and LeeAnne are out on trail around 8:15. Cheryl, Cindy and I are out on trailer around 8:45. (Our official out time was 8:48) I had asked Betty to separate Steel and Miss Daizy starts by half an hour so Steel would ride with Jack and not worry about Miss Daizy. Betty did a good job! Half an hour on the nose. Thank you Betty, this will help Steel keep focused on her job and not on her usual “Where is Miss Daizy” separation anxiety attacks.
About 7:20 Linda asks me about tacking up Steel. I tell her my normal routine for them is tack up 15 minutes, get on and walk around before going out on trail. Especially because although not overly warm, it is humid as hell. As I am talking about this I am watching black clouds heading towards us.
What the heck? The weather channel said no rain until the afternoon. THEY LIED! Within 10 minutes of saying “hold off a bit” to Linda, the sky opened up and it rained. We huddled under my canopy and watched everyone making a mad dash to get their saddles covered.
It didn’t rain long, maybe 20 minutes, but when that sun came back out the air was like soup. We got Steel dressed and ready to go and out they went at 8:13 am. Cheryl and I had half an hour so we took our time dressing up Crash and Miss Daizy.
argh – I can’t breathe.
Cindy came down and she looks sharp in her new saddle and outfit. She had on a tank top and about one mile into the ride I wished I had put on a tank top instead of a tee shirt. I was drenched in sweat and my shirt was soaked through before we hit five miles.
We get on our horses and Bailey and Crash are standing so quietly, waiting, while Miss Daizy does circles around everyone. She is calm but refuses to stand still or even eat some grass. She knows. She’s ready. She’s gonna eat up that trail.
Love this mare.
TIME: Let ‘er rip! I had told Cindy about Crash’s fast starts and not to crowd him because that would put him out of control. Miss Daizy decided she HAD to be second (or else) and she cut off Bailey at his every attempt to move forward. Sorry Cindy, Miss Daizy is very rude, I know.
The first two miles is an out and back on a dirt road. Do not ask me what the scenery was like because in the first mile, we were blasting through a little single track to get on the dirt road, and the leaves were wet from the rain, and Miss Daizy is trying to keep up with Crash. She slipped in the leaves and went down on her front knees, which twisted my already complaining back and set it on fire.
SADDLE DIFFICULTY FIRST: And my saddle was loose, which is probably what precipitated the twist in my back when she went down. I can’t get a balance while ripping through this little single track because the saddle goes left, then the saddle goes right …
At the time we left the single track and entered onto the dirt road I asked Cheryl and Cindy to stop. I hop off and adjust the girth. TWO HOLES … how the heck did I miss that when I tacked up? I never ever have a loose saddle on Miss Daizy going out. First the dog, now the saddle … I am losing it!
That first five miles flew by as Crash “crashed” down the trail at his 90 mph. Miss Daizy was in her “Happy Arab Road Trot” and because my back was screaming in agony, I couldn’t relax and get into her rhythm. I was pounding her back something terrible and I felt really badly about it because (once again) I am riding her in this treeless saddle which is not good for her … or me.
I HAVE GOT TO FIND A SADDLE FOR HER AND SOON!!!!!!! She got a terrible rub at No Frills and some white hairs popped up on her right side where I ride crooked after that ride. I have been searching and searching and I have some money set aside, but I still do not have a saddle that fits her.
We come up a long hill and (finally) Crash decides that he can do 8 mph instead of 90 mph. We stop for a little grass break (and breathing break) and all of a sudden, my back let loose and I was finally out of pain. In this photo is when it let go and I swear to you that Miss Daizy knew it because immediately after my back released, she dropped her head and started to eat grass.
All three horses are blowing. It is hot and very very humid. We stayed here about five minutes and let them catch their breath. This area is a nice view of the valley and mountains. It is breath taking to see!
And they’re off. From this point until three miles before the hold, there is little to no water. We are having serious lack of rain in our state and although Texas is building an Ark as they’ve had over 18 inches of rain this past two weeks, we are doing rain dances praying to every god we know about to get some rain. Where there is usually little creek flows in the hollers, it’s just muddy with no water access. It’s bad because Miss Daizy is looking for water about mile eight and there just isn’t any.
We crossed the trail where it “X” – we had went across this section earlier in the ride and I see Sallie going down as we’re coming across. She’s with a group of horses behind us, she’s riding tail in the group so I slow long enough to greet her and Ivan and wish them a good ride. I tell her that water is at a minimum so suck up anything they find out there! She’s smiling and happy and we give each other “air hugs” as we pass.
FIRST WET TEE SHIRT CONTEST: My shirt is stuck to me from sweat, and since I don’t wear a bra when I ride because they chafe and give me rashes, I am looking down at my chest and see I am creating my own little “wet tee shirt contest”. My girls are shining through the wet yellow material and – Oh Well.
We come into the hospitality water stop which is three miles out from the hold. Thank God! Miss Daizy drinks a half a tub of water all by herself. She sucked it down. WOW! I watched the water level dropping and wondered how we would slosh ourselves through the last three miles. I got off and sponged her and the water was wonderfully cold. Of course, sponging her meant sponging myself as well because she won’t hold still for sponging, so the wet tee shirt contest got very very interesting at this point.
We stayed here for a good 10 minutes and I didn’t care. We were rolling along at a very good clip so we had plenty of time.
Off we go for the last three miles into base camp. The sun was out in full force and the humidity levels were outrageous. I was hitting my water bottles with the NUUN tablet in them and by the time we reached hold at 11:04 am, both bottles were empty. I then drank another full bottle of ice cold water that Justin gave me AND I drank an iced tea and I ate a yogurt and I ate a ham and cheese sandwich and I ate two oreo cookies.
GO ME! I am determined not to dehydrate like I did at No Frills.
Now for a sad part in the story. Cheryl told me in the last three miles that she felt Crash was struggling. Now, I have been riding with Cheryl for years and she does tend to worry a bit more than I do about things, so I told her he was probably fine, just hot. Little did I know that he WAS hot. In fact, he was so hot that although his pulse was down to parameter, he was inverted – this means that his breathing is faster than his pulse. Not a good sign. They did a temperature check on him and he was at 103.3. Immediate disqualification. Crash will not be finishing the ride today.
So while I was making ready to go back out on trail, Crash was resting and Cheryl was doing everything she could to get him cool. Not easy to do when he was standing in the full sun. Poor Crash. (UPDATE: Crash was fine and Cheryl packed up and left while I was out on the second loop. She updated me when she got home that all was right in Crash’s world!)
THE HOLD FIRST: I have never (not ever) seen so many horses inverted in my life. Every horse in the hold was panting, and panting hard! The thermometers were getting a work out. This is even worse that the one Green Lane ride in 2004 where the temps were in the upper 90’s with 80% humidity. Anyone who was at that ride will remember that over half the horses were pulled or over time and the ride was a heat nightmare. Miss Daizy pulsed in at 56/24 … not bad. She had been panting up a storm so I was relieved to see her breathing was at 24. I had heard that on the first loop three horses were pulled off trail and in the hold seven horses were disqualified or rider option pulled. I am amazed at the hard breathing I am seeing on every horse in the hold. Even Miss Daizy is at 24, which is about double her normal range for a first hold.
This trail is brutal, even in good cool weather like last year (where we were freezing at the start) because there is no flat anywhere except the first two miles of service road. It is either up or down and this isn’t long slow pulls, they are short steep pulls. The horses have to work hard at this ride to stay on time. I love this trail because it is so challenging.
I had passed Cindy in the hold area as she was walking Bailey out of her vet check. I knew Crash was being pulled and I told her Crash was pulled we were going out again without Cheryl. Cindy is parked up the hill from us so I was thinking Cindy would come down for me when it was time to go out. Imagine my surprise as I was getting ready to tack up Miss Daizy and I looked up to see Cindy leaving on trail.
I’ve been abandoned.
Well okay, the name of this game is “Ride Your Own Ride” and I knew Cindy wasn’t very happy on the first loop with the pace we were setting. I got this.
MISS DAIZY FIRST. To date, I have not ridden her alone. She’s always had a buddy. This should be interesting to see if she is still the go-go horse when she’s alone. Actually, let’s see if she will even go out on trail alone.
(For those of you that do not know Miss Daizy … here’s another short story) I became Miss Daizy’s new riding partner after her breeder/owner decided enough was enough. Miss Daizy would go out for a mile by herself, then stop and refuse to go any more. This because a habit with her and the frustration level for Renee was too much. After I got Miss Daizy, I did find that a 5 mile trek by ourselves could take as long as three hours as she would go a mile, then stop and refuse. I’d light a cigarette, drink some water, and wait her out. We always finished the ride but never well. I got so I would dread taking her out alone. After the first season of competing, she did get better at riding alone on trail and by the end of last year I could go do a 10 mile loop with her alone and pretty much finish it without stopping. We weren’t fast, when she’s alone she does this little slow trot like, “This is boring” and 10 miles can take us two hours.
Okay, I set my mind to being happy on the second loop, even though I’m riding alone, and I also set my mind to letting Miss Daizy figure it out on her own. I am out on trail at 11:44, which means I have 2 hours and 11 minutes to finish this loop and still be at the maximum time of 5 hours and 10 minutes. I’m thinking if she is going to do this loop at her slow 5 mph jog, we are going to be in trouble for time. I’m half hoping that we can catch up to Cindy who is only about 10 minutes in front of us.
I have to make mention here in the story of some things I heard from MANY people that were pulled at this first hold. And there were many! People in the hold area would do a HR monitor check on their horse and then call for on official one. They would have a digital reading of high 40’s to low 50’s and when the volunteers came over, their horses were in the 60’s. Many people – like 14 people told me this. ALSO, on three horses that were pulled due to temperature being over 103 (instant disqualification by ECTRA rules) they were back to back to back and they didn’t feel their horses were that hot and when they went back to their camp and checked temperature for themselves, their horses were not high at all. They started wondering if the people madly running around with thermometers were remembering to shake them back down after they finished with the horse. Because a horse’s temperature will not drop from 103 to 100 in the 30 seconds it takes to walk back to your camp area.
This got me to thinking while I was riding alone. And yes, riding alone gives a person lots of time to think about things. Why doesn’t ECTRA use digital Heart Monitors and digital thermometers? It is much more accurate that a person trying to count for 15 seconds while the horse is moving around or other horses are making commotion. And a digital thermometer would automatically reset itself each time so there could be no “accidental bad readings”.
Just a thought
Okay, hold time is over, Miss Daizy is saddled up and I have been abandoned by both my riding partners so I’m going it alone. And they’re off.
Miss Daizy is like … “WHAT????” and she’s turning to look back at base camp as I’m trying to turn her to go out on the trail. Finally I yelled at her to “Stop it already and get your ass in gear.”
Her ears went up, her eyes went big and she went down the driveway. (I’m told by two people that saw us leaving that when I yelled at her, they heard me all over the camp – grin – and Miss Daizy immediately threw her tail over her back and beat-feet to get going. They were highly amused!
It’s not a first, but I don’t often yell at her so she was quite surprised!
Trotting trotting trotting, jogging jogging, jogging – 5 mph.
We come up on two horses on that little single track where she fell and twisted my back. The horse behind has RED RIBBON in the tail. (means kicker, for those of you that don’t know)
Miss Daizy perks up seeing horses in front of her, and she’s a crowder so I’m spending all my time trying to keep a two horse distance between us and the red ribbon. Fortunately for me, they pull off the side of the trail and let me pass. I’m thinking that Miss Daizy will get out front then slow down to keep them in view.
Actually, passing them perked her up a bit like she thought she was winning or something.
I can hardly breathe. The air is so thick with humidity and the heat rising off Miss Daizy is cloying. I keep telling myself drink drink drink. I had reloaded my saddle pack at the hold with two bottles of half and half water/gaterade and three miles into the trail I was already hitting them hard. About the time I took a second pull from my water bottle it occurred to me that I had no watch for time.
NOT A FIRST because I never wear a watch and tend to make speed decisions based on my own internal clock (and asking my riding partner what time it is as a double check) but here I am on trail, alone and about the time I realized I was going to run out of water before the loop was over, I also realized that I had no way to tell the actual time. I knew when I left the base camp that I had 2 hours and 11 minutes to finish within the maximum time frame. If Miss Daizy keeps working at her “I donna wanna go by myself” 5 mph trot, we’re gonna be screwed on time, for sure.
Once we got off the road and into the woods, Miss Daizy perked up and we were moving along at a good 8 mph. Wow. Couple times she even broke into a nice rolling canter and moved along nicely. Funny thing, these trails criss cross, and run switchbacks side to side so occasionally I would catch glimpses of Cindy in her bright orange through the trees. I kept thinking I would catch her, but I never did. Turns out later that I came in two minutes behind her. LOL – that means that Miss Daizy made up eight of those ten minutes.
What a good horsie.
So we’re trotting along and I’m listening to my bells and I’m actually enjoying myself quite a bit and we’re coming up on that “X” crossing … and who is coming down the trail but …
Seriously? We have to stop meeting like this. She is alone, I am alone, so we stop and chit chat for a minute or two. We comment on how bizarre it is that we saw each other on trail at exactly the same place on both loops. Miss Daizy is very happy to see another horse. We haven’t seen any horses since we passed that group going out. I am happy to see Sallie and Ivan are doing well. They were very very hot at the half way hold.
So we cross the trail and Miss Daizy is like. “Wait, can’t I follow Ivan?” I tell her no, not unless she wants to do an extra five miles on this loop.
After leaving Sallie, Miss Daizy is doing her 5 mph jog again. She’s not happy leaving the only horse in the world on this trail. She is certain that she is going to die without another horse to lead. She keeps looking over her should in the direction that Ivan went.
Pretty soon we come up on the back side of the three mile water stop and I see buckets on this side of the barrier.
We have not had any water at all for six miles. All the muddy creek crossings have been sucked dry and there are no puddles. I know because we did actually stop at a couple of them and walk up and down looking for a little water to suck up. Judging by the large amount of hoof prints up and down this creeklets, other riders had the same idea. I hope they had better luck than us in finding some water.
Miss Daizy literally RUNS to those buckets and starts drinking and drinking. She sucked the first bucket (which was about halfway) to the bottom then quickly dunked her head into the second bucket and was drinking and drinking. I got off and waited for her to finish then started sponging her.
For the FIRST TIME since I’ve been riding her, she didn’t dance around complaining about being sponged. Seriously, she stood still as a rock and didn’t move. That never happens. She hates to be sponged. She hates it so much that I can usually only get two sponges on her at creek crossings because she runs out of the water so I will stop torturing her with the water.
I didn’t want to hang here because I knew it was two miles down and back up to get to the other side of the barrier and into the three mile water stop. I was heating up myself just standing there so I knew it was bad for Miss Daizy. I had emptied both of my water bottles already and I knew I could get a refill when we got over to the other side.
Oh man, now Miss Daizy doesn’t want to leave the buckets. She knows on the other side of that barrier is goodies. I ask a volunteer if I could have a couple carrots for Miss Daizy and she climbed over the barrier to give her some.
THANK YOU VOLUNTEER! You made Miss Daizy’s day!
And they’re off.
Down the hill we go and that water really perked up Miss Daizy. She’s doing her 12 mph downhill trot. (Remember her new nickname, Downhill Daizy?) We are beating feet, down and down and we make the turn to head back up the hill and she’s like …
Oh no .. not this.
She stops halfway up the long hill and says …
She puts her head to the ground and she’s panting hard. I can feel her sides beating on my legs and I decide we can just stand there as long as she needs. I am not going to kill my horse just to make time. As a matter of fact, I have no idea what the time is anyway, so who cares.
She’s panting and panting and the heat coming off her is making me nauseous. I ask her to walk, because at least walking will stop that heat coming right up at me. Remarkably, she agrees with me that she can walk. We walk that long hill to the top, cross out onto the field and she can see the water stop so she perks up and trots up to it.
And she drinks and drinks. I beg a refill on my water bottles and promptly drink one straight down.
Ahhhhhh and it’s cold …
I decide to see if I can dunk my sponge without getting off. Will she stand or won’t she, that is the question.
Nope, not happening. I guess the last sponging was a fluke. Or maybe she was asleep.
As soon as I dunk that sponge and go to squeeze it on her she’s like, “I’m out of here.”
And she RACED away from the water hold. We cantered for the next mile and a half with little effort. She was in heaven because LOOKEE THERE another horse.
Wait … stop … slow down Miss Daizy … see the RED RIBBON. Yep, we came up on yet another horse with a red ribbon. I asked her to back off and she did.
Whoa. A FIRST.
And she held that two horse distance without me asking her again. She didn’t crowd that red ribbon mare nor did she try to pass her and she was on a loose rein, trotting about 8 mph.
WHOA. YET ANOTHER FIRST.
I wanted to walk in the last mile but Miss Daizy had other thoughts on that. The red ribbon mare pulled over and we passed. Miss Daizy was hollering like crazy because that last mile is around base camp and I could hear Steel screaming. Then Miss Daizy screamed. Then Steel screamed. And it was a screaming fest.
So we came into hold (and I looked for the timer’s clock with great trepedation. I felt that we had made it in time, it felt like we were out there roughly two hours, but I have no watch so I don’t know for sure.) WOW! Finished with 2 minutes to spare. Yep, I made the maximum time by two minutes, riding alone the second loop, with no watch to keep me in line with time.
I get my final day slip and go down to the trailer so the two screaming mimi’s would shut the *&^%^$ up.
I put Miss Daizy under the trees with her slurry, sponged her off a bit and checked her HR. She was at 52. Okay. We’re golden.
I let Poe out of her crate. Cheryl locked Poe up when she broke camp and left so Poe wouldn’t get a fine for being off leash.
Linda came over and asked if she should bring Steel up with Miss Daizy.
I MADE A MISTAKE (DEFINITELY NOT A FIRST, i MAKE MISTAKES ALL THE TIME) when I said “No. Miss Daizy won’t care.”
Well, Steel set to screaming as we left to go get our final PR which set off Miss Daizy and while they’re trying to get her PR, she’s jumping on my head, half knocked me out, and body slammed the poor volunteer trying to take her pulse and it was 70.
I go to the vet, explain the situation, he checks her and she’s at 66 … back to get Linda and Steel, then go back to the PR for her pulse and it’s 64.
Then I go back to the vet and it’s 56. We do our safety check trot out and she’s golden to continue for the next day.
YAY! I am a bit worried about her back, and I had asked Betty when I came in for the first hold if it was too late to change to the 25 for the day – at which point Betty (who is probably hot, tired, and worried with all these horses coming in inverted) was a bit terse with me and said, “Yes, Dodie. You would have had to tell me BEFORE you started the day.”
Well, I was pretty sure, being an RM and ECTRA Rep, that I couldn’t change, but gosh, Betty – it never hurts to ask!
Alright. I decide that I am going to ride her in the Abetta saddle the next day to try and save her back. As Linda and I get back to the camp and we put them away, she tells me that she had already pulled Steel from riding the second day.
OH NO … why? Did she do something wrong? Was she not a good girl for you? Linda did say she had a most remarkable ride on Steel and she is a grand horse to take down trail. She said she even peed in the hold (A FIRST FOR STEEL! We cannot get Steel to pee while she’s working so WHA HOO!) She just felt that Steel was working too hard and she didn’t want to put her out on the trail the next day, in conditons that were reportedly going to be worse than today. I wasn’t riding Steel so I couldn’t make that call. Steel’s final PR were most remarkable given the conditons, and Steel probably could have been fine for Sunday’s ride, but I had to to bow to Linda’s judgement. However, this puts me into my own judgement call. I cannot go out on trail and leave Steel in the corral. There will be a disaster because Steel has the worse case of separation anxiety of any horse I have ever met.
Linda asked me if there was anything she could do and I said, “Nope, just let me set these guys up, wash myself in a bucket, put on some cooler clothes and sit for a bit.” I must have been a bit terse because she promptly vanished. I’m sorry Linda! I didn’t mean to run you off. I was distracted in my head thinking on what I could do to save Steel from a certain disaster.
I was parked next to Corrine, who lives across the street from Paula (where I keep my horses). I knew she had an empty stall in her trailer because the third horse that was supposed to come along was not happy to be in the trailer, so they left her home. I ask Corrine if she can take Steel home. She quickly agrees.
OKAY, we’re saved.
So I’m sitting there chillaxing with Poe and Corrine is getting worried about Tiffany and her mare. They came in with a minute to spare and her mare is not pulsing down. Corrine comes over and says, “We’re not going home tonight, I don’t want to haul a horse that might be having trouble.”
I ask LeeAnne if she is going home tonight and she says, Nope, staying here tonight and going home in the morning.”
Okay. No trailer ride for Steel to go home. I go find Betty and and ask if she knows someone that might want to ride tomorrow. Betty is definitely being stressed today and she gives me a quick, “No!”
Okay. I decide that this must be my cue to go home.
When the stars align, you must follow them. I’m already not happy about beating up on Miss Daizy’s back in the treeless saddle and if Steel has no rider for tomorrow and no trailer ride home, then I am being told to go. Just go!
MY FIRST RIDER OPTION: I get it. I listen to all those signs and I go up and pull Miss Daizy from her two day ride. Everyone up there is like “WHY???? She was fine!!!!” I say I am not happy with the weather, I am not happy with my saddle and I have a second horse that will not be happy to be left behind tomorrow.
Salllie was at the vet when I went up and she asked me to trot out Ivan for her.
However, Ivan was like, “You’re not the boss of me.” and he wouldn’t do the circles. Dean hopped through the fence and encouraged Ivan to let me be the boss of him so I did help Sallie get her final vetting done.
Then Sallie was like “Why are you pulling???” I told her about the problem I was having with saddles and even though I loved my new Orthoflex, the panels were too long for Miss Daizy. She marched right down to my trailer, pulled that saddle apart and showed me how to cut the panels shorter so I could use it on MIss Daizy!
I AM SO EXCITED! My FIRST saddle modification. I made good mental notes and I will have my handy dandy husband use his magic dremel to to the modifications. I will test that out next weekend and see if that works for Miss Daizy.
THANK YOU THANK YOU SALLIE!
So I start packing camp. Linda sees me and comes over (I guess she wasn’t THAT scared.) I tell her I decided that to pull Miss Daizy. Linda gets all sad and I tell her not to worry. I’m not like that, and it’s all good. And I mean it but Linda is still very sad and she feel like she ruined my weekend.
NOT AT ALL!
LINDA! I had a most remarkable weekend. I had many firsts and I visited with tons of people I haven’t seen since last year and I had a great time on trail and Steel and Miss Daizy performed most excellently given the weather and trail conditions. I am not sad at all. I am most happy!
Linda helped me pack up. God, I love having a second set of hands! It makes it so easy.
Adrienne pulled in where Cheryl and Crash had been parked and her new rig is awesome! Miss Daizy greeted Zayna like they had just seen each other yesterday, not last year. So cute. Adrienne started setting up as I was breaking down. I tell her that I’m leaving and she’s like, “WHY????? We were going to ride together tomorrow because no-one but Miss Daizy likes Zayna.” It breaks my heart to be disappointing so many people. I tell her the stars aligned story and she’s like, “WHY????”
While we’re packing it starts to drizzle. I’m trying to get stuff into the trailer and back of the truck as quickly as possible so that it doesn’t get wet. I broke camp in a record 30 minutes.
ANOTHER FIRST!!!!! Whoo Hoo, thank you Linda!
I load them up and head out. I was stopped twice on my way out, people asking me “WHY??? Miss Daizy was looking so good!!!” So (of course) I had to explain how the stars lined up and sent me packing.
Now, it’s the next day as I write this story, I look at the weather for the ride Sunday. At 8:45 am, riders are out on trail in rain. And the rain is expected to go all day long. The people who actually finished the ride said they were rained on all day. Good for keeping the horses cool on that trail but bad for making a rider miserable. (Especially me!)
You see! The stars lined up and told me to get the &*%^*&%$% out of there. I am SO HAPPY not to be riding on Sunday in this weather,. It’s a bit cooler than Saturday, but with the storms and rain and humidity, I would have been miserable and would not have had a good ride.
I get on the road and settle into my three hour drive with some good tunes. Corrine is behind me. They decided to go ahead and haul home tonight because Tiffany’s mare recovered and she was eating and drinking and peeing so they felt it was safe to travel her.
See? Even though Steel could have went home with them, the stars aligned.
I’m so glad they were behind me. I got out onto route 522 and we’re open to 4 lanes so I’m moving right along then
sigh – Yep, you guessed it, A FIRST. Well, in theory, it’s all LeeAnne’s fault. My trailer was trying to keep up with her trailer.
I have the world’s best husband. Why do I bring this up now? Because he insists I check my spare tire each and every time I get into the truck to drive it, and I do. He also set my truck up with every conceivable tool I might need for an emergency and it’s all packed within easy access so I don’t have to unpack anything to get at these items I might need. That’s why!
I get out the trailer helper and set it in front of the good tire, ready to roll up on. I get out the cross bar and proceed to take off the spare tire. While I’m doing that here comes Corinne. They pull in behind me and her dear sweet husband makes my day as he takes over the tire changing.
He did comment that it was lucky I had all those tools because he didn’t have anything in his trailer to help me.
Uh oh … Corinne comments that now it will be their turn to get a blow out. I said, well then, let me drive home behind YOU just in case. She took a picture of us changing the tire to send to LeeAnne. I asked her for that picture so at some point it will get posted here.
15 minutes spare is on and we’re on the road again. I decide I have to pee out some of that five gallons of water I put in my body, so at the 322 split, I ran into town to hit a bathroom while Corinne’s rig passed me by and traveled on down the road.
Good, now I’ll be far enough behind them that if they DO blow a tire, I will be able to stop and lend my tools.
And I’m back on the road and arrive home without further ado. Poe didn’t puke, the horses didn’t collapse, and I had everything unpacked and put away by 9:00 pm.
I still have an hour before my bath time.
It was a good two days. And the very bestest news of all is … I did not dehydrate myself, I felt good after the ride and I feel great the day after. My back is bothering me, but I blame that on the 200 pound dog that body slammed me on Thursday.