Lick Ridge Challenge 2013

Lick Ridge Challenge 2013 in Huntingdon, PA – May 19th

Cheryl and I drove out to the ride together and had a slumber party in the Suburban!  I have the most fun driving around with Cheryl.  The three hour drive from her house flew by in minutes.  She took some cool photos on the drive out.

road_tripWe arrived almost on the minute to when we wanted to.  Seeing as how I was driving, I do not know how that happened.  I even commented that maybe we should go on a tour before arriving in camp because no-one would believe it was me if I was on time.  We had tons of daylight to get vetted in, set up camp and visit with people I haven’t seen in years (Like Sallie … WOW Sallie, it was SO GOOD to see you and hug you.)

Now, Miss Daizy has never been on an overnight camping trip before so I was a little anxious all night.  I kept waking up and looking out the door to make sure she was still in her pen.  She rested just fine and even laid down for a while.  She continues to amaze me with her calm demeanor and acceptance of everything that I throw at her.  I was a wee bit tired when we finally got up at 5:00 am because I did not sleep for more than an hour at a shot.

I was a wee bit surprised when I opened the door and got out at how warm and muggy it was.  The weather was calling for 70, overcast and possible sprinkle or two.  There was no dew on the grass, that’s how warm it was when we got up.  I ran around in my “naked-it’s too hot” clothes while getting ready to go out.

Next camping ride, I know better that Miss Daizy will be just fine and I’ll sleep like a baby.

campingWe voted the night before to start at 7:00 am.  YEA!!!!!  I am all about riding as early as possible.  And being horse and rider #5, we were in the first group to go out.  That means an early finish, time to rest and pack camp so we can get on the road quickly after the ride.  That made my day.  The morning ride meeting went very quick and we started the ride right on time.  Here we are posing after the ride meeting with my new shirt that says “Riding Miss Daizy”.  I was pretty sure it wouldn’t look so clean after the ride was over (chuckle)

daizy_start_2013Okay, Buck sends us out right on time.  Crash lead the ride 98% of the time.  Here he is at the start!


The first three miles almost killed me.  My back would not let loose and relax so I was in torturous pain.  Along with the inability to drop my heels and relax in the saddle, Crash Leroy was working that trail like his life depending on it so Miss Daizy was extending her trot or cantering to stay behind him.  OWIE!!!!!  Later, Cheryl told me that she would hear me breathing like a freight train behind her…I was TRYING to use my martial art training of Ki focused breathing to ignore my back pain … apparently all I was really doing was scaring the wild life.  I know, because seconds before this below photo was taken, something ran out of the woods beside us making an awful racket and Miss Daizy did a sideways leap and about face and left me hanging on her neck.  I saw the ride photographer and I wasn’t even sure that I had my feet back into the stirrups when he was shooting photos.  The below photo is taken SECONDS after my “almost dumping”.  Good thing about all that rodeo fun was that it snapped my back loose and from this point forward in the ride, my back was feeling just fine!!!

daizy_official_ride_2013The trails were most awesome.  We are in the heart of the foothills of the Allegheny Mountain Range and the mountains made me home sick for West Virginia.  I cannot wait to win the lotto and move back to that state, deep into the hills.  I had heard some people that rode the day before complaining about the hill work.  I actually thought the trail was wonderful.  Up and down and in and out and around.  Nothing boring and we were in a constant state of change.

daizy_mtn_2013Unfortunately, Miss Daizy and I have no real hill conditioning work under our saddle at this point in our relationship together so the steep inclines and declines were very hard on her loins and very hard on my upper thigh muscles.  By the last 5 miles of the ride, she was telling me to stop posting and just stand in the stirrups off her loins and my thigh muscles were screaming at me to GET OFF THE *&%^^&% HORSE ALREADY!

Now, for those of you following Miss Daizy on Facebook, you know all about her leg boo boo which prevented up from attending Cheshire in April.  The wound is ugly but has a good scab on it and stopped weeping about two weeks ago.  I was fearful that the ride would knock the scab off and start her bleeding, but we finished the ride scab intact.  Even Dr. Nick was impressed by the “no change” to her wound.  She stayed 100% sound on it and didn’t develop any windpuffing in any of her legs.  I was very pleased with her ability to negotiate the terrain safely.

We had a lot of fun chasing squirrels … they kept running out on the trail in front of us, with their tails up over their backs, sprinting along in front of us or making a mad dash to get between the horse’s legs.  It was rather comical.  At one point, a deer came out onto the trail in front of us (very close) and moved along the trail for a bit before cutting off trail into the ravine.  We came out on the other side of the ravine and the deer was back on trail.  My comment was to remember to tell ride management that the deer cut trail and should be disqualified.  Cheryl was able to get photos of the deer but apparently they were too blurry to use in the story.

So, we’re coming into the finish and Miss Daizy still has a lot of gas in her tank.  If her loins were not sore, I’m sure we could have done a 50 mile ride that day.  She was absolutely remarkable.  Coming into the finish, she was still trotting along loose and happy with her tail in the air.  I was having some technical difficulty as the right stirrup support had broke about 3 miles before this picture and I was having to balance my foot a little awkwardly to keep the stirrup pad from falling off.

daizy_finishline_2013We completed our second ride together with a score of 95.5.  We finished 3rd in our division and 9th overall.  She also got “Top Trail Horse”.  This was very exciting to me because I really didn’t expect to finish so well considering that Miss Daizy has very little conditioning since her leg accident, she had that awful boo-boo AND there was far more hill work than anticipated.  I was afraid to cause more damage to the boo-boo so I kept our rides to 5 or 6 miles only twice a week.  AND, Miss Daizy has no experience at all with mountain terrain.  The below picture is her waiting for the HANDS ON portion of the CTR.  I knew her loins were stiffening up so I kept walking and walking before we went up to have her checked out.