Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cooley Ranch - Day 2

Before I had even left to go to the ride, I was waffling on the idea of riding two 50's back-to-back. Considering Diego had only done ONE 50 to date, at Rides of March, in 11-something hours, and knowing that Cooley Ranch was considered to be one of the harder rides in the region, I was somewhat doubtful as to our ability to actually complete 100 miles that weekend. When I had first arrived at the ride, the Vet Secretary had me down as doing two LD's, but I knew I for sure wanted to ride at least ONE 50. I would rather have completed only one 50, and not gone at all the second day, than to have done two LD rides. So I had them change my Saturday entry to the 50, and we left my Sunday entry as the 30 for now with the mention that I could/might change it at the end of the day Saturday. However, at the end of the day Saturday, Diego was obviously tired so I elected to just ride the 30 on Sunday. I had been toying with the idea off and on Saturday, that I would maybe try to ride the LD alone. While Diego was happy to keep up with the group, I wanted to see how he would pace on a ride entirely on his own. We've truly only ridden by ourselves a handful of times. Most of our conditioning rides are done with company of some sort or another. And while Diego is happy to lead, be in the middle, or follow behind, I wanted to see how and what he would do without having a buddy along to help encourage and/or tow him with any sort of pacing. Plus I figured I'd be pretty safe to try my experiment on a Day 2, when he was a little less enthusiastic all around. =)

Sunday morning saw a much calmer Diego. =) Getting tacked up was no issue and I only had to walk him around a bit to just get him moving and ensure that he looked good and wasn't any worse for the wear and was indeed ready to go again. Diego was relaxed but forward, I was able to mount up and ride out of camp a couple of minutes after the actual start. The start was the same as yesterday for the first 3 miles, up the hill, down the hill, steep up hill, gradual small down, another big up, etc. The cloud cover was pretty thick and it as actually misting on us. I had a moment of hoping I wasn't going to need a rain jacket, but continued on undaunted. Initially I was riding off and on with a couple other horses, passing and/or being passed, but I kept Diego to a walk on the up hills while they were trotting some of them so we started to spread out. At the top of the hill, we went right instead of straight/left to get to the vet check in a shorter course than the day before. As I crested the hill, I got off to continue down on foot. I was walking past a clump of trees and could hear a bunch of rustling and "Whoa! Whoa! Stand!" from the other side. I peered through and could see a guy on foot, trying to get his saddle adjusted while his horse danced around and generally made things difficult. I asked if he was okay, he responded that he was. I stood there for a while, thinking that moving off would probably just upset his horse more, then got impatient with his faffing and continued on down the hill with Dig. We had only gone another minute or two when from behind I heard more loud crashing and shouts of "Whoa! Whoa!" and I turned around just in time to see the same guy, mounted now, come crashing around a turn, his horse trying to run away with him, as the guys slid to the side, pulling his saddle with him, and hitting the ground. Thankfully he kept hold of the reins so I didn't have to try to deal with catching a loose horse. He got up and said he was okay, walked down the hill on foot to where I was and I held his horse for him while he got his saddle readjusted, cinched SUPER tight, and then remounted. He was going to wait for me to get on, but I told him I was planning on just walking till near the bottom and he continued on - thank goodness.

I walked on for just a bit longer until things started to level out. I got mounted back up and rode past some tractors and other logging equipment, including a large stack of cut redwood trunks, a machine that cut them into boards, and the resulting piles of boards and sawdust. Diego didn't bat and eye and went right through the middle of all of it. In just a short bit, we went past a volunteer who was manning the gate into the sheep pasture. After having seen Dig's reaction to the sheep at the vet check yesterday, I was keeping my eyes peeled for the little buggers. =) We were happily trotting along when we crested a hill and the sheep were laid out like a fuzzy gauntlet on either side of the trail in a flat open grassy area. Dig stopped and took stock of the situation. I hopped off and started to lead him through. Once he realized that the sheep were scared of the big bad horse, and were in fact moving AWAY from HIM, he didn't care anymore and I remounted and rode the rest of the way through the flock. In just a few hundred yards, we arrived at the gate out of the pasture and at the vet check for a quick trot by (no check at this point ~ 5 or 6 miles).

We got the okay clear to go from the vet's and headed over to the water troughs. Dig then didn't want to leave just yet, thinking it unfair that we were AT the vet check and no goodies had yet been dispensed. =) I managed to convince him that indeed, he needed to carry on down the trail, and rode him across the wooden bridge and out the trail we had come in on yesterday. Rene shot a new favorite photo of mine here. Speaking of trotting along, I was DAMN PROUD of how Dig was doing!!!! He had been on task and just motoring down the trail all morning. Happily walking along when asked and trotting where ever the trail allowed. We had some common out-and-back on this section, so it was a bit harder to encourage him along UP the hill while being passed by all the 50's coming DOWN and back to the check, including his 3 new BFF's from yesterday. But I only had to use my crop a couple of times and he did keep going for me. This next loop was very enjoyable, up a big climb out of the vet check and then through some rolling hills and past a small pond on the property. The pond setting was SO BEAUTIFUL, cattails all along the bank, still as glass, with a large grassy area, all dotted with large oak trees. There was an aluminum row boat overturned near the bank, and all I could think was that if I had a book and some hobbles how enjoyable it would be to just spend the rest of the day floating in that setting, listening to Dig crop the grass. Sheer bliss. There was one sketchy creek crossing that I had to dismount for, since Diego decided to show off his jumping prowess and I could tell it was going to happen, and a couple of others that were nice and deep where I let the pone splash to his heart's content and thoroughly soak both himself and most of my legs. It's nice to have a "self-sponging" horse on occasion. ;) We hit the downhill off this loop, taking us lollipop like back along the same trail to the vetcheck, and the grin splitting my face as that boy tucked his butt and jogged down the hill should have won me some bugs in my teeth! =D He is a DOWNHILL HORSE! It was just like Donna Snyder-Smith talks about, like jogging on a trampoline, legs pumping up and down, collapsing into the hip, while my rear stayed nestled in the saddle and we just CRUISED down these hills with seemingly NO EFFORT - I couldn't see Dig but I think he was smiling as much as I was. =)

When we reached the top of the steeper longer hill into the vetcheck, he stopped and turned to look at me, "Um remember Mom, you got off here yesterday, twice." So I obliged him and dismounted and we continued on in. It was warmer and a bit more humid today. I scooped water on him at the troughs and then continued over to the P&R area. He was close but still a bit high, hanging around 64 when criteria was 60. I told the lady it seems to take him about 5 minutes, and sure enough, at exactly 5 minutes from our in time he pulsed down to 60. We went over to our little crewing area and GUESS WHO ATE HIS LUNCH?!? Yup, lesson learned from yesterday and Dig put his head down and ate and ate for our entire one-hour hold, only taking a break to go be vetted. Vetted through with all A's on the card too! Everyone in ear-shot had to listen to me gush on about how fabulous he was doing and how proud of him I was and yadda yadda. =) I did manage to shut up long enough to eat most of a sandwich. At this point, we were around 12 miles or so into the 30 and my out-time after the hour long hold was 10:30-ish something as I recall (7 am start).

We left out and followed the same trail as loop 2 from yesterday, down the road, across the river, and then parallel to the river on a fairly flat road up to a house with a trough and hose, another mile or so past the house, and yesterday's trail turned left while we continued on straight. I *think* this was new/different trail from past years as management has been working hard to make Day 2 a bit easier, or at least not HARDER than Day 1 as in the past. The loop 2 that the 50's were doing today (not the LD) was still challenging, but was all new trail and quite beautiful from what I heard. While this portion seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye the day before, I realized how far it actually was today. Riding by ourselves was a bit of a challenge as it gives you so much more time to be exactly in the moment and focused on every small thing. I think I multi-task pretty well and enjoy watching the scenery, monitoring the footing, while also chatting with my fellow riders - which helps the time pass more quickly. Instead I had to just chatter on at Diego or in my head to myself - totally doable but it did make things seem to take longer. Dig just chugged right along though, strong steady forward trot, probably in the 8-9 mph range. We had another tricky crossing on this road, a short sharp ditch into some rocks (no water) and then an equally steep opposite bank. Again, I could tell he was going to hop it so I got off so he could clear the 3+ ft gap in a single bound - from a stand still. Eek! Eventually, we reached the lollipop portion of this loop and turned left into the creek bed, following the river, crossing multiple times, going along through the deep sandy/gravely footing for about a mile or so before starting up the one (and only) big climb on this portion of the loop. Dig just put his head down and started marching. At a walk but up and up and up we went. We were passed by one girl and her horse, who were trotting/jogging off and on and while Dig thought about keeping up, I encouraged him to just keep walking so we did, until finally reaching a glorious old weathered and half falling down barn at the summit of the hill. This ranch must have been beautiful and very interesting back when it was in full-scale running herds of livestock.

At the top, we had another of those hills that you look at and wonder exactly how you are going to get down. So I slithered down. I honestly considered just squatting and trying to slide down half on my butt. It was steep. Like a dysfunctional slinky Dig and I managed our downward descent. I would slither ahead and then stop to catch my footing, he would just keep trodding along behind me, sliding himself every now and again. Eventually it wasn't as steep and I was able to walk more normally. Down, down, down we went until we reached a creek crossing at the bottom. Since I was already off, I grabbed my scoop and poured the water on while Dig drank deeply. Two riders caught up to us at this point, a heavier-set older lady who rode up exclaiming, "I've about had enough of these F*@$%! hills!" I found out after the ride, that was Ruthie Waltenspiel - the original Ride Manager/Founder. =) We chatted for a few minutes while the horses drank and grazed and when leaving, the encouraged me to go ahead, since I had the faster horse. I expressed my doubt at this, but in fact Dig proved them wrong, hitting the road and just happily settling into his brisk trot again - and away we went. I was starting to get a bit concerned about time. It was noon and we had to finish the ride, and be pulsed down by 2:15. I knew we were going to have to hustle it in and keep going in order to make it on time. In short order we were at the end of the loop and back on the out-and-back portion of the road. Dig did SO GOOD with having to pass and be passed by the 50-milers going the opposite direction. We actually had quite a bit of common trail where this occurred, and he just got better about it as the day went on. Cruised the 3 miles or so back to the house, off to jump the ditch again, got hosed down well and cooled off at the trough (I even hosed myself a bit), and then back on to trot trot trot down the road toward the river.

Finally reached the large river crossing. At this point, it was 1 pm and I had an hour and fifteen minutes to go the last 4 miles, but these miles included the huge 2+ mile climb along the paved road to the vet check. We set off, trotting where we could, following the paved road away from the vet check and toward camp right after crossing the river. Dig objected a bit to the left hand turn, knowing food and goodies were at the check to the right (someone is finally developing a sense of direction), but continued on when told to do so. We walked off and on, and I was so grateful to have on boots so I could just trot down the asphalt road when needed/wanted rather than having to deal with the narrow shoulder in some spots. We went through a small grouping of houses and then started the climb. At this point, I was cussing LD's and how you have to ride a faster overall pace to finish a LD on time as opposed to a 50 because the hold time deducts more of your overall riding time. We were already over 6 hours total elapsed time, so I was glad for the 30 having an additional 1:15 for those additional 5 miles. And so we walked, and walked, and walked, and climbed that monster hill. Dig was hungry and would head toward the side of the trail for grass - I would steer him to the larger clumps of long grass, where he could grab a big mouthful and then eat it like a child slurping spaghetti, chewing the stalks down as we went. Shortly before reaching the 1/2 way mark, we were passed by the first place 50 mile horse, just trot, trot, trotting up the hill. I was impressed. Wow! There was a water trough near then, he drank and moved on right before we go there. Dig drank happily for quite a bit. The next 2 horses in the 50 nearly reached the trough as we were leaving. They knew they couldn't catch the guy in front of them (Robert Weldin?) and were more concerned with the lady coming behind, who had a strong downhill horse and they thought might push that final mile down hill to try to over take them. So they also were trot, trot, trotting up the hill. Dig and I were suitably impressed, but neither of us felt much compulsion to JOIN them in that endeavour. ;)

I'm watching the time this whole climb... wishing I had paid attention yesterday to how long it took us. I know I have a mile of down hill into camp from the very top. I'm wanting to reach the finish line no later than 2 pm, to give me a full 15 minutes to pulse down if needed. So in the sun we continue our march up, and up, and up the hill. Finally, there's the dirt turn off from the road! It's 1:35, another 5 minutes of climbing maybe to reach the actual summit. Up, up, up - you can do it Dig! I'm so proud of you! We finally crest the top and I let him walk a bit to catch his breath. Then I ask, "Can you trot?" and he says, "Sure! It's downhill!" and off we go, down off the mountain. I got a little teary-eyed - so overwhelmed by what we had accomplished this weekend. We trotted down the hill and walked into camp around 1:45 or so. I took him over to the water trough and scooped him, and sure enough, in just about 5 minutes he was pulsed down and we had our official finish time (I think it was 1:49 - so total ride time would be 5:49). We went back to the trailer and pulled tack and Diego happily dove into his food and ate and ate. They told me at the finish that I only had a 1/2 hour to vet out (??? It's been so long since I rode a LD I had no idea) so I let him rest and eat for about 20 minutes before heading over to get our official completion. He did it!!!! 80 miles in two days on a tough, tough course. So impressed with my horse! I honestly cannot say if I am more proud of our mid-pack finish in the 50 on Day 1, or the fact that he went out there and conquered the Day 2 30 totally solo and a bit tired, riding our own ride, in such a relaxed and impressive manner.

I'm still blissed out and in awe of what we did. =)

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cooley Ranch - Day 1

Wow!!! Where to even begin?  I mentioned my initial drama with even getting to this ride. A huge THANK YOU to Easycare for the ride entry, I found out only TWO people had entered to win, so odds were very good!  ;)  I'm SO SO Glad I got the chance to attend this ride! It was a wonderfully run and beautiful event and if it wasn't such a damn long drive I would for sure be back every year.

I ended up not leaving Reno until nearly noon on Friday, and then, due to not consulting an actual MAP or PEOPLE and relying on computer directions, took the route through Napa and up the 128 to get to the ride.  We encoutered quite a bit of traffic in Napa, and the 128 was a windy road, but it was a very scenic and beautiful drive through the vineyards (My son - T: "All they have is GRAPES!! It's like grapes forever!"), arriving in ridecamp around 6:30 pm or so. Diego doesn't eat, drink, or pee in the trailer =( Got him out and gave him a few minutes to look around and then kind of grazed our way up to the vetting area (vetting was to end around 7). Got checked in and filled out my paperwork, Diego peed a small lake in front of the vet secretaries trailer, and vetted through with Lindsay Graham. She had me trot twice, "he has a little sashay in his butt", and gave him a B+ in gut sounds. Went back to camp and got Diego installed with his food, water, and a mash, just in time to hurry over for the ride meeting and to get my map for the next day. My dad and step mom arrived during the ride meeting, walked over to where I could see them and wave, then went back to get their camp set up. RM had made a few minor changes to "Ruthie's Classic" but most of the trail was the same. Chatted with a few people at the table about what the trails were like, and then went back to get the people portion of camp set up before it got dark. I had elected to bring the truck tent and air bed instead of the camper, since the camper is so big that would have easily been another 1+ tanks of gas and just more of a hassle to drive. T decided to just sleep in the back seat of the truck in the cab - which worked out well for both of us since he's a talker, mover, kicker in his sleep. As it ended up, Diego must be too because I hardly slept at all that first night. There was "something" out there in the dark because several horses, including Dig, kept doing that loud trumpet snort. I kept waiting to feel him set back and pull or something, but he never did. I got up with him at one point, and he just kept staring in the blackness over toward the vetting area/main camp. Some people the next day mentioned they think it was a mountain lion or other cat due to sounds people heard.

Saturday morning got up and got saddled. I rode in the borrowed Freeform Classic with a borrowed (from someone else) smaller seat. Dig was UP in the morning. He dumped the saddle off once before I could get it girthed on and was in general being a pain in the ass. Thankfully I had put his Easyboot Gloves on Friday before we left Reno, and injected some Goober Glue to create pads in the bottoms of the boots. All I had to do was tighten up the straps and we were good to go. I walked him around in camp for about 10 minutes before the actual start, and at about 5 minutes after started off on foot in that direction. Cynthia (RM) had warned that "this is the most difficult start of any ride I've ever done", so I wasn't exactly thrilled to be hiking my butt up the hill with a pony flotation device in tow. At least he has enough manners to not pull me, although he does push with his shoulder. I stepped off the trail in a couple of spots to run him around at the end of my reins, and then continued walking up on foot.

Somehow, magically, he has this little good behavior reminder that seems to click in right at about 1 mile. So after hiking to the TOP of the first hill, we hit that mark, he sighed, shook, put his head down, and I knew I would be okay to get on. I pulled off the trail and had just gotten mounted and on my way when a group of three ladies came by. I tucked in behind them and followed them down the top of the hill, across the paved road from camp, and up into the next set of hills. They were setting a nice pace, trotting some but walking anything overly steep (which was quite a bit at this point). We started chatting a bit, I asked if it was okay if I stayed with them for a while, explained I was from Reno, didn't really know anyone, hadn't done the ride before, Diego likes buddies, yadda yadda and they were totally fine with me riding with them as the little caboose for the group. The first 3-4 miles are a blur of steep climbs followed by short rolling descents. Eventually, we came to a long down hill where everyone got off and we continued down on foot. Very steep, loose scree footing found us all, human and equine alike, slip sliding our way down into the river valley at the bottom. There we remounted and followed a winding trail through the lower portions, crossing the rivers and adjoining creeks off and on, with smaller more rolling terrain (this ride has very little actual FLAT). We came to a large crossing where the photographer was shooting, I got some lovely shots. A couple of miles later, and we arrived at the first vet check which was at around 9 miles.

It seems to generally take Diego about 5 minutes to reach criteria (60 bpm) after arrival and we headed over to the crew spot my dad and Robin had secured for me. We had a 30 minute hold at this point. Diego ate his mash and nibbled some alfalfa, but didn't truly hoover the food down. He ate pretty well for about 5, maybe 10 minutes, then noticed some sheep in the adjoining pasture and became very focused on them. I took him over to be vetted, where we cleared with all A's from Jamie Kerr. Dig was ready to get on with it at this point and spent the rest of the hold looking around or staring at the sheep, only nibbling a few bits when we'd hand feed him. The group of 3 had pulsed down a couple of minutes faster than I had, so left the vet check just as I was getting ready to walk over to the out timers. There were several other people gathered around the out timers, it looked like a group of four or so. I mentioned to one lady, "Oh, I have the same out time as you, can I ride a bit with you guys?" and she said, "No, you don't want to do that." Ummmm... okay. So when it was my time I left and trotted down the road solo and they hung back to wait for a friend or something who was a minute or two behind. Dig knew there were horses ahead and had his little after burners going, power trotting along the road parallel to the river from the vet check. He neighed a few times, but never broke stride or fussed too much, just blasted along. We passed one lady, who we had yo-yo'd with a bit in the first few miles and I knew wanted/needed to ride by herself and her horse was upset when others were too close or nearby. Crossed the river again and powered up the opposite bank and along the rolling road for what seemed like a very, very brief amount of time, until catching the group of three at the next water stop. We rode that bit of trail from the river to the house where the water stop was again the next day, and I was AMAZED at how far it actually was. It was probably at least 3+ miles, and at the time I would have sworn it was hardly anything - I was so blissed out on my horse powering along the trail all by himself so strong and focused.

So we were reunited with our buddies. As I came trotting up, they exclaimed "There's Reno!" and thus I was dubbed for the entire weekend. =) We hadn't bothered to exchange names until this point, so I guess as they were leaving the check, one had asked "Where's Reno?" and it stuck. =) All had ridden the ride before and were planning on going again the next day, and Dig seemed very happy and comfortable with the steady pace they were setting. Plus they didn't mind me tagging along at all, which was appreciated. The second loop (as was true both days) was the most difficult loop. We had several long climbs that resulted with us riding along the ridge tops. You could see for miles, even see the steam plumes for the geysers in surrounding towns (guessing Geyserville). The weather could not have been better. It was definitely humid for us desert rats (Dig & I) but at low 80's and often a breeze, I'll certainly take it. I guess it was around 100 degrees for the ride last year in June. EVERYONE was gushing about how lucky we were with the weather.

This next loop was about 18 miles and I'll just say it was steep and hard. Diego's and my opinion of what was considered a trottable hill was certainly altered. Although we did walk anything that was overly steep, whoever was setting the pace in the front, would often trot the first portion of the hills until the grade increased. Sometimes I would trot behind as well, other times we would start walking sooner and then trot a bit more of the downhill on the opposing side to catch up, or as it just worked out, would catch up very shortly anyways. Diego had settled in well to his job and was very focused and doing great. My only issue was that one of the sheepskin covers on the stirrup leathers kept sliding down, and the top portion would rub my left thigh until I yanked it back up. We got off on foot a couple more times on this loop and at one point I slipped a bit and kind of did the splits, with my left leg extended in front of me while my right leg folded under me as I put my hand down. I think I stretched or pulled something a bit as this is the only place where I'm really sore.

We got in off the 18 mile loop and Diego was HOT. I had scooped out of one of the creeks on the loop (this would be a good ride for a sponge and a sponge-trained horse), and thankfully the vet check had a ton of water, buckets, even hoses. I scooped and scooped about 8 gallons of water on him and at right about 5 minutes, he pulsed down to 60 and we got our in time. Once again the other 3 were a couple of minutes ahead of me, but I was so pleased with how well Diego was doing. We went back over to our crew spot, and he wasn't interested in eating. =( I don't think he was overly stressed, his expression looked good and he wasn't panting, but he just was too busy looking around and gazing off at stuff. I finally got him to take a couple of carrots, then a couple of handfulls of hay, but holding them up against his lips. I told T his job was to keep him eating as I ran over to grab some lunch for myself. RM provided sandwiches, chips, cookies and fruit both days at the away check. I grabbed another handful of carrots from the volunteers, and went back over to Dig. He was nibbling, but wasn't really eating with gusto like I wanted him to. We kept plying him with food stuffs, even a bit of red licorice, and while I was frustrated he wasn't eating that well, just due to how he looked and the vibe he was giving off, I wasn't really concerned about him in general. We went over and vetted around 40 minutes into the 60 minute hold, and he received a mixture of A's and B's. Gut sounds were a B as I recall. I saddled back up, Diego with an expression of SHOCK that I had the NERVE to put the saddle back on him (!!!) and kept an eye on when the others were getting ready to leave.

We had a 20 mile loop back to camp at this point. It worked out that the other 3 vetted a bit late, so we were all able to leave together from the check. This last loop went south and did a big sweeping loop through the hills, climbing to the top of the ridgeline and back down several times, before taking us along the edge of a newly planted vinyard and then dumping us on a fairly exposed and somewhat flat dirt road. You could look down onto a lake (Lake Sonoma?) and it looked so cool and inviting, they were saying how it's pure torture to ride along up there when it's 100+ and the sun in beating down. We eventually came into some of the ranch houses where there was a trough with a hose and all the horses got sprayed and cooled off before leaving. Diego did very well with his drinking at the ride. He's very business like. When he's going to drink, he just gets in there and gulps it down. He doesn't fiddle fart around with it, just chugs until he's done, then he's done and ready to go. He does skip water if he's had a big drink recently. But he did well on this so I don't feel like I need to worry about him too much in this regard.

After leaving the houses we continued along the road for a bit until there was a cattle guard, where we crossed a field and then came out onto the paved road that lead toward ride camp (it's on a private ranch so traffic is very very light). OMG what a climb this road is!!!! Pure torture, just up and up and up and up. A real strong grade that goes on for what's probably about 2 miles or so. Thankfully there's a trough about 1/2 way up, where all the horses drank heartily. Dig had finally realized he was hungry (duh) about 8 miles ago so was grabbing huge mouthfulls of the tall grass clumps and eating as he went along. When we neared the end of the paved bit, the group trotted off and Diego just kept walking. He neighed once or twice, but that was it, still on a loose rein just going along. We turned off from the road and climbed the last of the hill on the dirt trail. The other 3 had gone on ahead at this point, so Dig and I trotted that last mile down off the hill and into camp and the finish all by ourselves (beaming) and crossed the finish line at 3:17 pm for a ride time of 7:47. We ended up finishing 28 out of 50 finishers, with 52 starters. That was the lowest pull rate in the history of the ride, I'm sure the mild weather was a huge factor.

Took Diego back to the trailer, where he decided his hay bag and slurpie mash were the best thing he'd seen all day (um, lesson learned?). Pulled tack and checked the boots, the first time I had touched them all day. With all the water crossings and the dirt, I was scared to mess with the velcro overmuch and have it quit sticking. He had one teeny rub on the lateral heel bulb of his left rear, and that was it. I put a bit of Desitin on it and the backs of his pasterns for good measure and left the gaiters fastened loosely. Nearish the one-hour mark, I took him over to vet out. He did well with all his scores except gut sounds, which Jamie gave a C. I told him I wasn't surprised and why, and explained how well he was eating now. Both Jamie and I weren't too concerned due to the circumstances. I cleaned up a bit, fiddled with some stuff, ate a small snack, visited with people, had an excellent dinner, got a super cute completion T-shirt, packed to go for Day 2 (riding the 30-mile LD), and went to bed around 9:30 or so. It was a much quieter night all around and I was grateful for the extra hour to sleep as we had a 7 am start time on Sunday.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mad Dash to Cooley Ranch

So Monday, in the midst of my quarter-end close haze at work, I get a nice little email to inform me that I won a two-day entry to Cooley Ranch from the contest that Easycare was sponsoring. Yay! Except I had a few obstacles in the way:

  • It's quarter-end close at work. We're all supposed to be under a "black-out" period in regards to taking time off until after our press release (7/21).
  • I just sold my saddle. It's literally boxed up to go to Florida in my truck right now, shipping out today. My new saddle (Freeform DKR) has not arrived yet and won't by Friday.
  • It's my son's "birthday weekend" (his birthday is the coming week).
  • I cut a chunk out of my thumb and have been unable trim hooves, which are now two weeks overdue.
Hhhmm..... So after a bit of talking with my husband, and some scrambling around, the following has resulted:

  • It's quarter-end close at work - Time off was approved this morning pending on me getting my reporting and reconciliations finished by Thursday (doable).
  • I just sold my saddle - I have no less than 3 different saddles that friends have offered up for me to use instead. A too big Freeform Classic (works great for Dig, but not so great for me), the long-term borrowed Bob Marshall, a Bandos, and even a Barefoot. =) I also am going to be able to borrow a smaller seat for the Freeform from another friend, which has resulted in my dad and step-mom deciding to come crew for me!!  Extra Bonus!!!  LOVE all my good friends that come to the rescue!
  • It's my son's "birthday weekend" - He's decided to come camping with me at the ride, since I now have family to watch him while I'm out riding.
  • I cut a chunk out of my thumb and have been unable trim hooves - As of yesterday I have been able to downgrade from full finger wrap to band-aid. I should be able to put a GLOVE (duh!!!) on and do a light trim and clean up his mustang roll. That'll be good enough having learned my lesson about taking too much too soon last time.
So I'm GOING to Cooley Ranch!!! =) Going to just tent it as I don't feel like driving all that way with the camper. The weather should be nice.
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