Eagle Ranch Spring Fling I & II
EAGLE RANCH SPRING FLING I & II
March 31st and April 1st 2012
After an estimated departure time of 10:00 a.m. Thursday, we finally pulled out of the gate at Ox Creek Farm at 1:17 p.m. After a much needed uneventful trip, we made decent time and arrived at Eagle Ranch at 9:00 p.m. This being my first time to Eagle Ranch and arriving in the dark, it was very pleasant and reassuring to have the ranch owner, Jerry, waiting for our arrival to point us to our designated spot. Horses got walked, fed, watered and, after walking what seemed like a mile up the hill out of camp, there was no cell service to be had for AT&T customers, so it was off to bed for me.
Friday, 11:00 a.m.: It is a cloudy, overcast day… however, quite humid. There is a chance for a shower or thunderstorm today, but the forecast for Saturday and Sunday looks great, albeit hot – 84 Sat. and 87 Sun. So far, I have accomplished to re-park my rig in the “correct manner” … well, first, I drank coffee… walked the horses, picked their stalls, electrolyted the horses, ate breakfast, cut paper for poultice wraps, and went into town to make phone calls and check email. Now what? Wait to register and take the horses out for a warm-up. It’s hard not to have a phone to entertain myself in down time…
Oh, camp amenities are AWESOME – electrical hookups with covered stalls right next to each campsite, water, great looking pavilion, and a really nice bathroom/shower facility.
My original “plan” was to ride Deals Midas Moon, aka “California”, Saturday in the 25 so I would have plenty of rest time to do the 50 on Kenlyn Pristine Sunday. However, plans always change. California is being nervous, trembling (only when we were walking around camp – he has stopped this now and seems relaxed) and looks like he has lost 100 pounds from the time we left home yesterday. Hmmm… he’s never outwardly seemed so nervous. And, I just know Pristine will pout all day Saturday without her bud and be that much more in a deficit for doing 50 Sunday. So…. Pristine Saturday and, if the trails are not too terribly difficult and he is feeling okay, California on Sunday.
Friday, 4:45 p.m.: Vetted in, all A’s. All is good. She made an absolute fool of me (no surprise), acting like this is her first time… pure fire in her eyes. Camp is filling up fast and it warmed up fast as well. Let the fun begin!
Saturday, 4:30 a.m.: Wake-up time… that means, time to start coffee and lay back down while it brews. Why do I do this? Oh yea, because after coffee it’s all good again.
What an awesome day! The trails are tough with a lot of hill and rock, but there are also some great “moving-out” areas. Plenty of water and plenty of grass to eat. The morning was quite humid with the sweat started quite quickly on the horses’ necks. Kenlyn Pristine felt GREAT – moving right along up the hills, moving around rocks as light as a feather. My thought… “omg, slow down, girl, you’re going to get muscle tight if you keep this up.” We don’t get this kind of training at home.
First loop: 17 miles, 2 hours, P&R’d right away and vetted through with all A’s except skin and gut, which were B’s. After a 45-minute hold, the next loop was 16 miles (8 miles, trot by (in saddle) and then 8 miles again). That loop was fast, one hour each 8 miles. Again, P&R’d right away and vetted through with all A’s (skin came up to A-…. YAY) but gut was now a C+… time to eat. It was really hot too, mid 80’s and humid. We had a nice breeze when in the open but in the trees was quite stagnant. Another 45-minute hold, and onto the last loop, 17 miles. This loop was tough… much more rock and hill with less running room. It was hot too… and less water. But, we still managed to make it in 2 hours and 20 minutes, a little slow down but not bad. My horse is feeling the heat and is stopping to eat constantly.
We finished in 6th place, all of us fairly close together; I think just a 30-minute span – I will see when the final results are posted. Kenlyn Pristine came in off her final loop and presented right away to P&R. Before I could pull the saddle, the P&R checked her to “see” and he says, “oh yea, she’s well below 60!” I love this horse. She then vetted through with a CRI of 64/60 and, well, some B’s now but mostly A’s including muscle. I couldn’t believe she kept an A in muscle all day with those hills… a really, really nice surprise.
She continued to look great that evening as she began to “walk me” through camp again, definitely back to her usual self! It’s California’s turn tomorrow. Yippee.
Sunday, April 1st: It was nice to get an extra hour of sleep, but I still had a hard time getting out of bed. I had planned to go out after everyone left on the 25 to keep his focus and hopefully start out with control. He trembled the entire time I saddled and got him ready… poor nervous guy. We left 30 minutes late. I didn’t mean to leave THAT late, but, I wanted to take my time. First loop was 17 miles and once we started on trail, he settled right in and we had a really great ride. We started to catch up to riders and pass, and then he started to really pull. It seemed that we were going a lot slower than the morning before, but he actually did the first loop in 2 hours, 10 minutes. Wow; I was very surprised. He vetted through ok, not great, but ok. He had a few B’s and he started to tremble again… so nervous. There were a lot of veterinary students and he still gets nervous with too many people around him. It will come with time. The last loop was a nice easy 8 miles. We took a little extra time in our hold time and we took it easy on trail and spent time grazing, taking nearly 1 ½ hours to complete that loop. And it was HOT… but we had more of a breeze than Saturday. He finished strong, pulsing down faster and vetting through with all A’s except for gut, again surprising me in the muscle area.
Monday 8:00 a.m.: Homeward bound…
What an awesome trip!! I got to meet and ride with some new people and saw others that I have not seen in a long time. Beautiful trails and great campground; I just loved it!! I will definitely put this one back on my schedule for next year! I wish I had pics or video to show, but somehow missed that thought in all the fun… I will do better to remember next trip!