blast from the past: Wickenburg 2006

Kaity-n-Sonny, me-n-Mimi

I’ve talked numerous times on this blog about one of my best friends, Kaity, and how we’ve know each other and ridden together since our early teen years…show ring, then NATRC, then endurance.

Now you get one of those stories of a time when we rode together…
(Regrettably, I don’t have more photos from this ride. Well, technically I do…a whole stack of them my dad took…but they’re actual printed photos that I would have to first locate in the depths of my photo storage, and then scan. Sorry. Maybe someday.)

The ride: Land of the Sun 25, January 2006, Wickenburg, AZ

Kaity actually drove out almost a week ahead of the ride so we could have a chance to hang out, ride the ponies a bit for fun, and prep for the ride without stress. (I was still at ASU then, so had that pesky thing called “classes” to attend for some of the time she was here.)

As I’ve mentioned before, any time Kaity and I get together, we have a complete blast. Lots of laughter, maniacal plotting, and some creative feeding of interesting ideas back and forth. (Ask me about the plot we hatched to ride our two ponies in Tevis and pull at Robinson Flat, just so we could get Cougar Rock pics. At the time, both ponies could reliably complete 35 miles…so it seemed like a logical plan. ;))

Eight years later, all of the details are a little fuzzy…but I remember this was one of my early-on rides with Mimi being barefoot, and I went with the only option really available to me: foaming on old-style Easyboots. Now, I can’t speak for the current protocol of Gloves and Adhere…but I can say this for back then: What a pain in the ass!!! Using the old-style foam was a seriously messy endeavor, involving little mixing cups and stirring sticks, trying to get just the right amount of each part of the two-part foam, adding it to the boots, having it foam up all over the place…and don’t even get me started on trying to get them off. And voice of experience: if you didn’t get the components of the foam measured evenly and sufficiently mixed, they didn’t hold.

So the awesome (not) fun of foaming on boots was part of pre-ride prep…as was trying to give the cranky, cold-water-hating pony a bath…in January. We took both of our trailers, since Kaity was planning to head directly back to CA after the ride versus back-tracking back to my place. Base camp was at the Wickenburg Rodeo Grounds/Constellation Horse Park…great place to have a ride. Lots of parking space, and arenas to turn them out in afterwards.

Again with the “fuzzy on the details” part…of pretty much everything from Friday afternoon until Saturday morning. Fortunately, I still have my vet card (!) so I can tell you that Mimi vetted in with all As and a pulse of 32. It was cold overnight…maybe not by northern Minnesota standards, but by Arizona-and-southern-California desert rat standards, it was cold. To this day, Kaity still talks about how it took until the vet check for her toes to thaw. :)

Mimi and Sonny were both experienced distance ponies — NATRC and LD rides, although this was only Mimi’s second LD — so we had a nice, sane ride start…see the top photo for evidence of their business-like marching out at the start.

The trails at Wickenburg are, simply put, fun. It’s a perfect mix of dirt roads, single-track, and washes, flat areas, and ups and downs.

happeeeeee pony

The 25s had our vet check at about 13 miles, and we came in at 9:48 after an 8AM start. It took us about 5 minutes to pulse down, after someone decided to be an obnoxious idiot walking into the check. So we pulsed in at 9:53, with a 10:53 out-time.

13 miles and she’s dragging me into the check.

We had an hour hold, and my dad, who had come along for the weekend to help crew for us, grabbed a great spot and had a buffet set out for the ponies. This was a major frills ride, with all kinds of food set out for both horse and rider.

(I miss this ride!!!)

My right knee was whining at me (13 miles of holding back a strong pony, I wonder why?), so I wrapped it, found a conveniently-placed parking lot perimeter marker to use as a mounting block, and we were waiting at the out-timer for our go-ahead.
It was 12 miles back to camp for the finish and out-check. Scenery photos actually used from the 2008 and 2010 years I did this ride…I didn’t have a camera I rode with in 2006. But the course ran over the same trails, for the most part, most of the years it was held.)
cool bits of single-track

AWESOME volunteers at this ride

sand wash…kind of deep in parts, enough to necessitate
“cautious trotting” as the speed of choice

The second part of the trail was really awesome, with lots of single-track interspersed with chunks of sand wash. At one point, we were leap-frogging with one ride who would pass us, then slow down, and we would pass, then they would tail-gate us rather obnoxiously. This carried on for a couple of miles until we hit a section of tight twists up a hillside through some shrubbery. Us being on very agile, athletic ponies hit this section at a fast trot and hung on…a few moments later, we heard crashing brush and “Oh, $#!# as the larger, less-agile horse missed a turn…that rider got the message and backed off and gave us our space for the rest of the ride.

The last several miles of the ride went by pretty fast, and we hopped off and half-walked the last 1/2-mile or so in to the finish. We let the ponies drink and pulsed in…ride time of 3:45, plus the hour hold…so that would have us in right around 12:45. We were 34th (Kaity) and 35th (me) out of 80 starters. Yes, 80!!! (And 71 in the 50.)
We vetted out right away (one B on gut sounds, the rest As), then went back to the trailers to untack, let them eat, and while Kaity took Sonny down to the arena to roll, I started in on the battle of the boot removal. I’d foamed those boots on so well I actually had to dismantle them by removing the outside screws to try to break the foam seal. It took a while, and some colorful language I probably should have known, to get them off…but they eventually came off.
Ride awards were actually held at the Wickenburg Community Center down the street, so we hopped a ride down there for a delicious dinner and great awards — sweatshirts!!!
Wickenburg is far enough of a drive from the barn that we stayed over Saturday night, then packed up camp in the morning, said my goodbyes to Kaity, and headed back home.
Definitely a fun ride…and apparently Wickenburg will be making a reappearance on the 2015 SW ride calendar, so hopefully I will get a chance to be there and once again ride one of my favorite rides!

2 thoughts on “blast from the past: Wickenburg 2006

  1. I enjoyed very much this Ashley! What a fun ride! I started reading through the available links on your new Ride Stories page also. :) Really looking forward to hearing about more of your past adventures with your girl!

  2. Thank you!! I'm actually surprised how much of the rides I really do remember…and almost all of them have an associated ride photo, so there will eventually be *something* up for hopefully all of them.

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