Oh, this is a little breather for me. Still recuperating (mentally) from Iron Mountain. I’m sadly offering Miss Daizy for sale to a featherweight or lightweight endurance rider. No, I will not sell her to you if you’re just gonna let her sit around the pasture, or pleasure ride her. I can do that myself. She like endurance, she’s good at endurance and she needs to keep doing endurance.
Fortunately for me, Cate (the ride manager of Chesapeake) took pity on Steel and is allowing us to come down the morning of the ride to vet in instead of coming on Friday and stalling overnight. Why? Because Steel absolutely cannot be in a stall overnight (and Cate knows this all too well).
Steel can only ride Pass/Fail, mileage only, as she has to wear leg protection. I am riding her at this CTR for two reasons.
- Cindy is doing Moxie’s first competitive ride and Moxie would appreciate having a steady-eddie horse to keep her company all day.
- I intend to do Mustang and want to do the 75 on Steel again, so I need to ride Steel at least once before then to make sure all my gear is set perfectly and she’s comfortable with me.
And so, the adventure begins!
I get up at 3:00 am and head up to the barn. Thank goodness for a very full and very bright moon, I was able to choose the correct gray horse to capture. Believe it or not, I did not have to play “catch me if you can” with Steel. She came right to me in the pasture. Anara was pretty sure she wanted to go with me, too, and was rather a pain in the butt while I was trying to get Steel through the gate. Not sure why Anara thinks she should be going to a CTR ride.
I am loaded an on the road by 4:00 am. YAY! Cate wanted me on the grounds by 6:30 am to get vetted and start by 7:30 am. It’s two hours to drive there so I will actually be early.
I love driving in the early morning hours because I usually have the road to myself. There seemed to be an extraordinary amount of truckers on the turnpike headed south. They were passing me in the construction zone, tight cattle chutes, and that got to be a bit hairy.
Finally, almost to my destination and I look at the printed directions from the ride secretary.
I-95 south to exit 109B to 279 east , third stop light turn right on 213 south, seven miles to stop light and turn right on 273 south and then 1/4 mile and turn right into Fairhills Horse Recreation.
Sounds simple, yes?
Except that the exit number should have read 109A to 279 south
And to confuse matters worse, on the 109B exit was a brown recreational sign directing you off to go to Fairhills.
No, I wasn’t running my GPS because I figured the directions were pretty simple and I didn’t need it. After losing 15 minutes driving in the wrong direction, towing a trailer and trying to make U-Turns, I turned on the GPS and got headed in the correct direction.
Lost 15 minutes doing all that nonsense.
Arrived at the ride at 6:18 am. Found Cate and got signed in. My ride start time is 7:34 am … holy crap, need to get a move on!
Brushed Steel and ran over to get vetted in. Rumors about me were flying at this ride. Dr. Nick wanted to know what was wrong that I was selling all my horses.
Uhm, no … only selling Miss Daizy and Anara. Looking to replace Miss Daizy with a sturdier mount. Not selling Steel – EVER – and still raising a filly to do endurance and might rehome her dam, Praire, but I have not spoken to anyone about her at this time.
Cindy met me at the vetting and her rig was parked right by the vetting area so she grabbed Steel and told me to move my rig up next to hers. I run down, jump into Ruth and fire her up, drive through a mass of horses and people to where Cindy is parked and get situated.
Time? 7:10 am
I throw some mash at Steel and she peed (YAY!) because Steel never pees.
I throw on her tack and now I’m ready.
I feel like the adrenaline is running full out.
And it’s muggy so I’m really sweating.
And were off. The first loop went a bit off kilter in the beginning. Steel is *NOT* the leader, ever, so asking her to take lead right away was kinda interesting. She was hesitant. Moxie took lead and was jumping sideways at everything that looked slightly out of place. Finally, after about two miles, Steel got the hint that she was supposed to be the leader today and she moved out front and put on her 7 mph trot.
And the miles blew by. Steel led Moxie thru the scary tunnels and Moxie did great! Cindy and I were yick-yacking about everything and before I knew it, we were back into the hold.
CTR = 20 minute hold.
Not enough time to do anything except rush around.
Threw some mash at Steel.
To the P/R people. Oh, I’m glad I didn’t have the P/R lady dressed in blue, she was bossing around the rider she was checking and she was not being very nice about it. My P/R person was very kind (grin). Steel pulsed down to 44 at 10 minutes and trot out was perfect so I take her back to finish her mash.
Oops, time to go out again. I shove some elytes down Steel’s throat and mount up.
Oops, forgot my helmet. Cindy hopped off and got it off the chair for me.
Oops, I just realized didn’t even have time to smoke, let’s light one quick and get a couple drags before we go out.
Second loop was very fun! Much better than the first loop. We spent a lot of time on single track trail (which Steel loves) and we were cruising along nicely. Every time we crossed water, I asked Steel if she wanted some and she refused. She was, however, totally into snacking. In the open fields, we stopped for a minute or two and let them snack before we took off again.
Moxie got all pissy at one point in the ride. Was throwing her tail around and was bucking. I thought maybe a fly … until Cindy got stung by a bumble bee. Then we thought Moxie got stung and that’s why she was throwing her ass around. She did have a huge welt on her butt, that I observed at one point when Moxie took the lead.
And poor Cindy, that bumble bee left a stinging burn on her thigh that lasted almost the whole loop.
Finally, almost finished with this loop, Steel stopped and peed.
YAY! She never pees.
And then she was ready to drink, and drink she did. At every water from there to the finish.
We finished 5 hours 12 minutes. Split the time perfectly.
Steel and Moxie worked really well together on trail.
CTR = 20 minutes to pulse down and get checked.
Steel is riding Pass/Fail only so at the end of the ride, she was pulsed then checked out right away and completed. This is the “performance division”. She is not eligible for any judging or awards or points with ECTRA, she receives mileage only. As she has to wear protective interference boots on her legs to prevent injury, this is the only division she can be entered into at a CTR. I actually like this division because I don’t have to wait around for hours to get Hands-On, At the end of the ride, we’re finished and can go on home.
My pulse taker is that rude lady dressed in blue. And true to her nature, she got all up in my face. Oh, I wanted to slap her. Cate, if you read this, don’t ever have this woman do pulses. I heard from several people at the ride that had her as their P/R person that she treated everyone rudely.
Steel’s final score, 40/12. And this is how she looked after her 30 mile ride. Fresh and lovely as usual, and can’t tell she just worked for five hours. Love this mare, even if she is a little boring. Her back and legs checked A-OK. There was one rub mark on her wither from the saddle, but it wasn’t sore and she was slightly girthy on the right side (later saw that she had a rub from the girth) *THEN* Dr. Nick said she was slightly, and inconsistently, off on the left hind duing her trot out, but she did complete.
I didn’t notice any thing off while riding on trail. Once, she took a weird step through the some rocky area and almost fell flat on her face, but other than that she was trotting along nicely.
When we got back to the trailer, I asked Cindy to trot her out for me. She looked perfectly square and sound all around.
One thing I did learn from this ride. The Barefoot no longer fits her and me. I have to get her out in the podium and see if that works for her because I am not going to be able to do 75 miles in the Barefoot like I did last year. She has really filled in in her shoulders and the Barefoot rubbed her.
AND! That freaking saddle was making my knee hurt by the end of the 30 miles.
Being as I was finished, I took a chance that Cate could give me my completion award and I could get on the road home. Unfortunately, I caught Cate at a bad moment and she pretty much snapped at me over my request. I was taken aback but I get it. Don’t bother the ride manager.
Oh my. My bad. I told her to just give my stuff to Cindy and I’m out of here.
YAY YAY YAY YAY. So proud of how Cindy brought her along. From a horse with only two rides under her saddle, to an official CTR horse.
And so ends the Chesapeake Fall 2016 ride story.