July 27th, 28th & 29th
Sangre Scenic Pioneer has been in my radar for months in advance, but it was literally the day prior to leaving before I knew I would be able to load up the horses and head north. The important logistics of 1) horse care for the ones at the farm; and 2) proper eagle eyes for the kiddos left at home. I was able to secure horse care one week prior to my estimated departure date, and kiddos (my two human boys, that is) were in proper care two days prior… Yahoo, I really get to go!! Oh, one more thing, for some reason, the gooseneck on my trailer has shifted lower and is colliding with the bed of my truck, so I need to get that raised, find an overnight horse motel to split the trip up into two days, and of course, pack, pack, pack! No problemo! Haha… when I went to hook up the trailer, the jack would raise up but would not retract down. Uhoh. This isn’t good. This trailer-fixing endeavor started Friday – I am planning to depart first thing Monday. To make a long story shorter, it finally got fixed Monday evening right at 5:00 p.m. My own wired frequencies were all over the place on where to place my energy; am I going; am I not going… do I load the trailer; do I wait so I don’t have to unload it should everything not work out. Decisions, right?!
Somehow, it all got put together, and I was on the road with the horses in tow at 12:09 p.m. Monday. First stop, a horse motel just short of Amarillo, TX. I really didn’t like the idea of traveling in 102-degree heat with the horses, but… at least we’re on our way and it was just over 5 hours for the first leg of travel. At 6:25 p.m., horses are settled and I am headed to the trailer to shower, eat and go to bed when I notice one of my rear tires looks a little low. I take a closer look – really? The inside tire was completely flat (dually). Well, no one is open at 6:25 in the evening right? There goes my early 6 a.m. departure… US Rider… need I say more? Well, they couldn’t do anything that night because I needed to actually purchase a tire (my spare is as old as the truck and I don’t have the key to the lock anyway), so someone was on their way first thing in the morning. The positive: At least I noticed it, right?
Wednesday, 10:30 a.m., I am FINALLY loaded and leaving for Westcliffe, Colorado. The horses are pouting; they did eat their supper, but refuse to eat breakfast and have hardly drank anything – not good. We have approximately 6 ½ to 7 hours ahead of us.
Oh, Colorado, so, so beautiful!! As soon as we hit Raton Pass, the temperature dropped to 81 degrees and continued to drop, all the way down to 53 degrees as we went through a thunderstorm (of course, this thunderstorm was right when I was in the middle of no where, looking for my turn – you know, the kind of road that you cannot possibly turn a rig around if you miss your turn)… the rain cleared and here we are – Music Meadows Ranch. Pictures do not do the view justice, BUT the pictures speak for themselves here… spectacular.
After a long while trying to fit my rig through the narrow gate to camp up on a hill, the ride manager decided to put me below next to the vet check. I maneuvered that trailer forward and backward all over the place including several different directions. Oh well, no camping neighbors, but I’m right next to the vet check – I wonder how many people I am going to piss off? Not the best way to make new friends in CO for the girl from TX.
The horses still did not drink all day in the trailer outside of a sip if you can call it that while in Raton. As soon as I got them set up in camp though, they sucked the water down and dove into their food. Silly horses. Bedtime came early for me – around 8-ish and did I sleep… ahhh. No need for air conditioning, just the breeze through the windows.
Thursday, July 26th: What a beautiful morning – sweatshirt and jeans! It’s the little things. The horses are real wired today; Pristine pushing and herding California around in her usual mare way. They didn’t care for any breakfast and were cold this morning – I will blanket tonight. I took them both out for a short ride. Pristine pranced – apparently forgot what walk means (she doesn’t prance) and California pranced as well… I guess I don’t blame them; it is hard not to thoroughly love this cooler weather! Some more people have shown up and I am waiting for the pre-vet procedures to begin…
Friday, July 27th, 7:00 a.m.: It is nice to start a ride after the sun is fully up… and it’s quite cool – 55 degrees! Awesome! Pristine is prancing about in her warm-up, but overall listening quite well. The loop orders are: 15 miles, pulse down and trot by, another 15 miles; one hour hold; 15 miles; one hour hold; and then 10 miles for a total of 55 miles. Nice to have the one-hour holds!
On the first loop, I was in the front (not on purpose mind you) with two other riders. We came up on the first cattle gate and after others discussing who would open it, I offered to do it. One of the riders with us offered to hold my horse for me and I thought that would be a good idea to give me both hands with the cattle ranch type gates… I also had that little voice that I’m supposed to listen to telling me, I don’t think that’s a good idea. I didn’t listen. The top wire caught on the second wire and when I pulled to attach the handle, it made a loud pop and Pristine pulled back as the rider’s horse pulled in the opposite direction… away Pristine went – away into the horizon. Really, did that seriously just happen?! What a way to start off this weekend. At this point, some other riders had come through the gate; three riders went after Pristine while three others walked with me for a while, which was very, very nice of them. I think the rider that she got away from felt bad, but I fully know and hope I relayed to him that it was not his fault at all. Having never been in this area or done this trail before, I’m looking at the beautiful mountains, wondering where and how far she would go – will I find her today? Will she get hurt? Did I just drive all the way to Colorado to loose my horse on the first day? This is the first time I have ever lost a horse on trail before (at a ride that is). Approximately 20 minutes later, one of the riders in front of me had caught Pristine – thank heavens, we are actually going to get to continue!!
The rest of the day went quite smoothly. We started to catch back up and pass other riders. She was very forward, yet calm and she opened gates the rest of the day without so much as a bat of the eye. She came in 3rdplace and first Lightweight with a ride time just under 7 hours. Yay! She took care of herself all day, eating and drinking well and looks great to go again tomorrow and I am hoping she will not be the prancing fire-breathing dragon in the morning!
I have to mention here what awesome management and ranch host there is here at Music Meadows Ranch – they have home-made dinners and deserts for us every night as well as a sandwich/salad bar every afternoon with cold cuts, cheese and fresh cut veggies… absolutely fantastic and such a treat!!
Saturday, June 28th, 7:00 a.m.: I discovered a little girth problem this morning – Pristine had a little swelling under her armpit areas – no actual rub, but there is some swelling. Should I ride? Should I wait and go Sunday? Crap. After talking to the vet as well as a fellow rider, I decided to lather her up with Desitin and go for it. She started off forward but calm; she felt as if this were her first day without all the extra antics! Yay! This is going to be a great day!
The loop order today is 15 miles, pulse down and trot by, 10 miles; one hour hold; 15 miles; one hour hold, and then 10 miles for a total of 50 miles. Toward the end of our first 15 miles, just inside the last gate, I noticed the saddle was loose, but I left it alone because I purposely didn’t want it real tight due to her girth soreness. Besides, I ride all the time with a loose girth and obviously it had not made a difference so far this morning. When I went to mount, the saddle slipped – really slipped – again, that inner voice saying uhhh, maybe you should do some adjustment here – did I listen? Of course not… I slung myself up there anyway, slamming myself into the saddle (a treeless). Apparently, that didn’t go over well with Pristine. Even though I managed to straighten the saddle as she is taking off at a dead run, I couldn’t stay with the bucking she decided to throw at me… REALLY?! So now I am now walking into camp while Pristine is once again showing me her rear side, going into camp without me. Pristine to me: “Don’t underestimate the things that I will do.” Me to Pristine: “WTF !@#&%”
This one took me a while to get up from. I hit on my back towards the right side. Mind you, I don’t come off often, but when I do, it tends to be really bad… and Pristine always seems to really hurt me. After I walked into camp, retrieved my horse, pulsed down and trotted by, we headed back out to where she dumped me to repeat the section we didn’t do together, and then we headed out on the remaining 10 miles before our hour hold. Pristine feels no worse for the wear, but I on the other hand am hurting quite badly – it hurts to breath, trotting doesn’t feel so great, and the gates are now getting to be really taxing. This little incident put us a solid hour behind where we were, which was at the rear anyway. After our hour hold, I decided to call it a day as I was having a really hard time just taking her saddle off and then back on. I had a really hard time with this decision as “quit” and “can’t” are just not in my vocabulary, but I couldn’t fathom the idea of 25 more miles on this bitch of a pony I have this weekend… and the gates… ugh.
I slept the rest of the afternoon, fed the horses, and went back to bed for the rest of the night. Every little move is a chore and hurts; breathing, coughing, laughing, blowing my nose… packing is going to be difficult. I am quite emotional over the episodes of this weekend. I am embarrassed and disappointed. Embarrassed for such ridiculous antics from my mare and disappointed because all I wanted to do was enjoy the weather and scenery and three days of riding. I didn’t care to race, just wanted to enjoy. I will now crawl back to hot Texas with my tail between my legs and “think” about what to tweak in my training program. Poor California… no riding for him again thanks to his PPPP partner. <sigh>
Next Destination: Kanopolis Canyon over Labor Day weekend… maybe