Williams/Devil Dog

Here’s the deal: I’ve been trying for a week to write up this ride story, and it just isn’t going to happen. The short story is, we had an off weekend, a very off weekend that resulting in pulling at the first VC, 13 (or so…) miles into the ride.

Things that contributed:

– Friday morning, I fell out of the back of the trailer. I stepped down into a hole, my foot landed on a rock, and I sprained/bruised my foot and ankle. A week later, I’m still hobbling. Ironically enough, I could still ride, although ceaseless walking started to create something of a gnawing pain in my foot. Trotting was good, though. I could still trot, and post.

– The bugs at the ride were horrid. Nasty litte spawn-of-Satan no-see-ums that greatly enjoyed feasting on my pony, whose threshold tolerance for bugs is notoriously low. She was miserable, and it really threw her off, to the point where she wasn’t eating very enthusiastically, and wasn’t drinking at all Froday night. Very worrisome.

– The one and only time I’ve ever had a problem with my Renegades. About 3 miles into the ride, the cables broke on the side of the boot. A very odd, normally protected place, so I can’t figure out what happened. And as these were my first pair of 00 boots, I didn’t have any backups. I had a backup 0 I was carrying with me, but Mimi was jumping around so badly due to the bugs, that neither Dad nor myself could safely wrestle her into submission long enough to put the boot on.

We decided to keep going, walk the rough stuff and trot the smooth. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much smooth to trot, and we kept getting further and further behind on time. The 50 miler was to be a repeat loop…a 25 mile loop with an out vetcheck halfway, come back into camp for another vetcheck, then lather-rinse-repeat for the second loop. Well, the more we saw of the loop, the less impressed we were about the idea of repeating it.

The final straw was the several miles of “Dustbowl” trail…an old logging road covered in ~8″ of fine, silty dust that hid large rocks or soft depressions in the ground. Mimi almost going to her knees 5 times in 5 minutes had me throwing my hands up and proclaiming that I was done. She wasn’t focused, the bugs were making her miserable, and her tripping and lack of focus was starting to scare me at that point.

So we straggled into the vet check and pulled. Gah, that was depressing.

Only slightly more cheer-making was when a good portion of the 50s pulled halfway, opting for LD completion credit, rather than heading out for round two of that trail. The majority of people didn’t want to subejct their horses – or themselves – to that again.

I understand that quite a few people got lost and off trail after the vet check. Is it a good thing when people tell you, “be glad you pulled when you did”? Or when you’re told that this ride made the notoriously-difficult Man vs. Horse 50 look easy? Well, in that case, we should be all set for the fall then. Urgh.

So on one hand, I’m very bummed, and still very pissed at myself for how I handled the weekend. I wasn’t in the best frame of mind, and I really let it get to me, unfortunately. Maybe if I had been 100%, and Mimi had been 100%, we might have been fine. Maybe I pull too easy from rides. All I know is, I’m already working at a disadvantage when it comes to the horse I have available to me for distance. Mimi isn’t the best candidate, physically, but her mental toughness has already overcome a host of issues. But even tough little go-ponies have off days. Unfortunately, last weekend was one of them. :( But I keep working with her, because I can’t afford another horse, and I refuse to give her up. Heck, with the exception of my best friend, I’ve had Mimi for longer than I’ve known my friends. After 12 years, we’re family.

The weather was lovely, though…a nice break from the 110*+ oven. Low to mid 80s during the day, high 40s at night…lovely!

And it was wonderful seeing endurance friends again…there’s always new goodies to be had from Michael and Julia Elias with Horses Dacor (love the new sponge, guys, thanks!)…meeting Patty Danley’s new mare Shelley and starting the ride with them…she’s a lovely mare, Patty…you’ve got yourself another good one!

All in all, even though the ride pretty much sucked, it felt good to get away for a few days. Even if I did spend half of them in tears. Apologies to anyone that might have seen me acting somewhat out-of-character. My horse wasn’t at the top of her game, but apparently I wasn’t either. :

Now it’s back to the oven…did a short ride this morning, and the ponies were happy to get out!

Thanks for reading! Comments are always welcome!

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