I am so far behind on blogging. Irony is when I’m not riding, I have lots of time to write…but very little content. Right now, and the last several months, I’ve been riding a lot and have lots of content…but less time to sit down and write (and more of my writing time is being taken up with work projects and AZERC club projects). The reality is, a quick post on social media is a lot faster…although it tends to lack the space, word count, and audience attention span to spin out a really good story.
I do miss the days of the height of equine (especially endurance) blogging…I sort of feel like “last woman standing” when it comes to actively (semi-actively?) blogging…but that goes along with how I tend to feel some days with endurance. I’ve been in this sport since 2004, and I’m still a “newbie” compared to some…but I look around and marvel at how many people I’ve seen come and go in this sport just in the last 18 years. I guess longevity doesn’t apply just to the horses…
Anyway…I still have 2 ride stories I need to catch up on (Bumble Bee in April and Cinders Trot in May), but in the meantime, I figured on doing a catch-all photo spam round-up of the last couple months, and some of the more interesting things we’ve been up to. I have no idea how it’s already halfway through the year. There’s some days it’s all I can do to get through without feeling like my head is completely spun.
Fortunately, riding has been a good stabilizer and sanity-keeper, and I’ve had the chance to do some exploring on some new trails and new places.
Log Corral is a really fun ride that is an excellent workout — an 18-mile ride round trip, it’s an out-and-back that starts at a trailhead off the Beeline Hwy and goes to Bartlett Lake and back. The first half is climbing up, then descending down to the lake…and then reverse that on the way back.
I was thrilled with how Libby handled this ride…it was her first time out there on that trail, all three of our riding companions are Tevis-bound and she comfortably held her own with them on pacing and recoveries, and best of all, she loved going into the lake! I didn’t let her go in too far…I didn’t want to wade after her and get soggy, since there was still a 9-mile ride back to the trailer (although my saddle would have fared okay). But I was pleased that she seemed to be such a happy little seahorse, since there’s another lake in the NW part of the Valley that is a popular destination for people to take horses to go swim, so I might finally get a chance to go swim with my horse one of these days.
Also known as “Hewitt Station,” is a portion of the Arizona Trail that runs through the Superstition Mountains; this particular section is north of Picketpost Mountain. It’s a trail ride versus an endurance conditioning ride, but I do love my ponies to be versatile and adaptable, and to be able to rock-n-roll through a fast endurance pace one day, and then mosey through technical trail the next. There’s the remnants of some old stone houses tucked away if you know where to look for them, we were fortunate enough to find one of the seasonal creeks still flowing a bit, and Liberty met train tracks for the first time (the now-defunct Arizona-Magma line that ran cattle and copper down to one of the main rail lines in the Valley).
An invite to spend a weekend up north with friends at their cabin and property netted a bit more drama than I planned for…of the vehicular variety. My alternator in my truck went out in mid-drive (literally, as I’m cruising down the road, my power cuts out and I’m dead in the water…), but fortunately there was a well-placed pull-out, and although I was in a cell phone dead zone, the pull-out happened to have a young father and his son camping out there. They were amazingly kind and helpful, and drove me (and the dog) into town, where I was able to procure a new battery and contact Susie & Brad to let them know what was going on. Brad promptly drove down in their truck, met me at my pull-off spot, swapped the battery over and determined the alternator was out. My trailer got hitched to his truck, I drove my truck into town, dropped it off at a mechanic that was open (and had time, and had the part, and could turn it around that same day), then headed up to the cabin where all of us were still able to get a lovely afternoon ride. I was able to retrieve the now-repaired truck later that afternoon, and still salvage a lovely evening, enjoy an overnight in fresh, cool mountain air, and still get in another ride the next morning. It was the kind of weekend that made me grateful for good friends, and reminded that the kindness of strangers really does still exist. And both the dog and the horse handled all the upheaval with absolute aplomb and sensibility.
Other Miscellanea and Arizona Life
We’ve been working on our Tevis heat conditioning…albeit a year ahead of time for us. (Well, I’m sure it’ll be beneficial for me for crewing this year.) Right now, my goal is to give Libby a little bit of downtime and R&R — keep her stretched out and lightly worked (doing more arena stuff at the moment), but a chance to have a break after the hard season we put in from Oct-May. And arena stuff means working on things like gate-opening skills, which Liberty is rapidly figuring out.
We’re also in monsoon season, and have started getting some rain…including the skies opening up on us in the middle of riding. Hoping more of that continues and we get a good monsoon season through the summer.