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.
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.
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.
|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.