Prescott prep

Three days + three different horses = a ton of stuff.

At least, that’s the way it seems as I find myself adding to my ride packing checklist instead of crossing things off. And of course all three horses don’t go in the exact same tack-saddle pad-boot set-up…that would be way too easy.

Thus far, I’ve managed to:
– Clean tack
– Clean boots (still need to sort boots and figure out which ones I need to bring)
– Wash saddle pads (and forget they’re still sitting in the washer wait until the weather cleared to stick them outside to dry)
– Make a grocery list

Still to do:
– Just about everything

Really excited about doing three days…the 30 on Saturday, 55 Sunday, and 50 on Monday.

The weather is wrecking havoc on my plans right now…freak wind/rain storm came in yesterday and dropped the temps by almost 20*…and now I don’t know what it’ll do over the weekend, whether I believe the predicted highs in the low-to-mid 70s, or if it’s going to stay cold and potentially dump certain four-letter words of precipitation on us. This should make packing interesting.

Right now, three different weather sites are saying 70+, which is pretty much perfect.

Trying to decide if I have enough motivation to go wrangle the sewing machine and stitch together a fleece blanket, or if I just raid my current stack of fleeces to toss in the crew bag. (The latter is sounding like the more appealing option at the moment.)

Winter, or Something Like It

Weekend Forecast

Updated: Jan 11, 2013, 3:10pm MST

TonightJan 11

Clear

52°FObserved High2:05 pm
26°F
Clear
CHANCE OF PRECIP:
0%

 

WIND:
WSW at 6 mph

SatJan 12

Partly Cloudy

50°
24°
Partly Cloudy
CHANCE OF RAIN:
0%

 

WIND:
SSW at 6 mph

SunJan 13

Sunny

48°
25°
Sunny
CHANCE OF RAIN:
0%

 

WIND:
N at 4 mph

Would you look at that. Something resembling winter, here in Arizona.

(Gotta love it: We heard all about how 2012 was a record year for heat, nationwide…but somehow, that turned into winter storms apparently being “so bad” that they are deserving of their own names. I’m starting to think the media isn’t happy unless there is drama occurring…and if none if forthcoming, they take something ordinary and spin it into drama.)
I know everyone currently buried under a couple feet of snow (or rain and slop) are probably brandishing snow shovels at me as I write this…but to a native desert rat, anything below 60* is practically arctic. 
It’s all in what you’re used to…conversely, this means I can stand around in the full sun in the middle of the day at Tevis and not completely wilt.
Yes, I’m more of a summer girl. I take better care of myself in the heat: You have no choice but to drink, and take electrolytes, and try not to be too stupid in the heat of the day. In the winter, I do a rotten job of taking care of myself. I know I don’t hydrate well enough. Funny enough, my pony has the same problem. (We liked warmer weather rides better than cold, winter-time rides.)
Oh well. I did finally break down and get some winter riding tights, anticipating needed them for some upcoming ride plans. Never thought I’d end up needing them for around here!
Yes, I said upcoming ride plans.
I’m going to a ride next weekend!!! As in, to ride. Not just show up to volunteer, not just for work…but I get to ride again! More details forthcoming…probably after the ride…but I’ll be riding a friend’s experienced endurance horse as a “babysitter” for the greenie she’s currently training who will be doing his first ride.
It’s the Fire Mountain ride in Ridgecrest, CA. I’m quite excited about it also being my first out-of-state endurance ride. I did quite a bit of out-of-state travel for NATRC rides, but not for any endurance. (Tevis doesn’t count, since it’s crewing, for one…and two, it’s TEVIS. Nothing else is anything like Tevis.) It’ll be curious to see differences in regions, as well as a different kind of desert.
Apparently this ride can be notorious for bad weather…I’ve been stalking the 10-day forecast with bated breath. As of right now, they’re calling for highs in the mid-60s and lows in the mid-30s for the Fri-Sat-Sun I’ll be there. Perfect! And more importantly: 0% chance of rain! (I’ve decided I can actually handle snow better than I can cold rain. But my preference is neither.)
This’ll be my weekend to dig out all of my ride stuff…put my saddle back into “ride shape” (including excavating the contents of my saddle packs…ugh)…find all of my cold-n-wet-weather clothing I have (just in case)…shopping for favorite ride snacks. I also have to finish sewing “stay put” straps onto my saddle pad that likes to migrate. (When it doubt, always order saddle pads with billet straps or some kind of attachment strings…)
Just…don’t tell my pony my plans. She considers me riding any other horse other than her some form of cheating and she gets quite pissy. If she learns I’m doing an actual ride…well, there’ll be no living with her. (At least until I bribe her with a peppermint. Then all is forgiven.)

So This Is Retirement

Yesterday was spent getting Beamer ready for the McDowell Halloween Ride this weekend.  I have a routine I follow when getting ready for a ride, and after a couple times, the ponies very quickly figure out what’s happening.

Mimi figured it out yesterday, and I got quite afew miffed looks from her, especially after Beamer got his bath, and I had yet to come retrieve the pony for her turn.

“Mom, you forget about me,” she seemed to say.

A nice pile of bermuda hay with a small handful of Beamer’s beet pulp sloppy seemed to smooth things over. 

She’s actually been taking her time off very well.  She’s still off on that abscess foot.  She’s about 98% sound at a walk, but as soon as she trots, she’s still gimpy.  But I’m not surprised.  I can see a large chunk of purple burising on the side of her hoof from the path the abscess took.  I’ve brusied enough major support structures of my own body to know this might take a while to grow out.

But it’s also amazing how unphased I am about the whole thing.  Knowing that she’s retired and not going to do any more competitions really takes the pressure off.  Of course, I want her to heal fast — I miss riding my little Go Pony (Beamer feels so different), but it’s a lot easier to sit back and say, “She just needs time and she’ll heal on her own” when there’s not a looming competition season and pressure to be ready.

Everything in its time and all that, I suppose.

Rain Check!

I think I really  understand and appreciate the term “rain check” now.  Having grown up and lived here in the desert all my life, I’ve never fully appreciated the full extent of a true, multiday storm system.  Sure, I know all about flash floods, and not driving your vehicle through more than a couple inches of running water.  That’s pretty par for the course in Arizona monsoon season, although someone always has to test it.  (“No, no, my insert vehicle of choice here can handle it, it’ll be fine.”)

At the San Tans, the trails drain so quickly that, unless it’s pouring rain at the very moment, it’s nearly impossible to get “rained out” from riding.  And even on the few occasions we do, it’s due to the aforementioned flash flooding of the washes, and not the actual trail conditions.

So to have Wickenburg cancelled for this weekend due to weather wasn’t something I was really expecting.  Granted, it would be cold and wet, especially Friday, but the trails shouldn’t have been a problem.  And they weren’t.  It was the roads. 

Arizona infrastructure is coping very badly with the current weather conditions, so much that major highways have actually been temporarily shut down.  I didn’t really grasp that notion until I pulled down AZCentral’s Road Closures page and realized that there’s almost no way to get into Wickenburg.  Good reason to cancel, if a) half your riders can’t get out of their house and b) the other half can’t get to the ride.

The ride has been rescheduled for February 6th.  Here’s hoping for lots of sunshine, for us and our surrounding states.

I think I’ve gotten off lightly from this storm — the worst we’ve had at my house was that Dad had to pump some excess water out of the fishpond to keep it from overflowing.  That, and there’s a corner of the roof over the dressing room on the trailer that’s been leaky, and it dribbled in one corner of the trailer.  Fortunately, I anticpated this, and there wasn’t much actually in the corner to get wet.

More rain is predicted for this afternoon, but right now, it’s blue skies above.  The wind is picking up again, so those grey clouds on the horizon could move in…eventually.  It’s a good day to curl up with a good book or movie, a steaming cup of your hot beverage of choice, and a cookie.  Sounds like a good idea to me…

Wickenburg Prep

I’m watching the weather forecast for the coming week like a hawk.  The major Pacific storm system that is supposed to sweep California before venturing over here has me concerned. as rain is predicted all week.  (However, just talking to a friend in San Diego…he says he’s not gotten a drop of rain all day, so we’ll just have to see.)

I’m not content to just “let things be,” and am moving ahead with ride prep as though we are going to get buckets of water dumped on us.  The hope in being prepared this way is, of course, that over-preparedness will result in not needing any of it.  *crosses fingers*  Fortunately, the worst of the rain is predicted for Tuesday-Thursday, and down to a 20% chance on Saturday.

I’m currently sitting at my desk, sniping and tying fringe on a piece of fleece to make myself another in-trailer blanket.  My blankets keep getting sacrificed to Mimi, so I finally ordered her a second Trail-Rite Cooling Blanket.  Now I have a whole pile of horsehair-covered fleece blankets to pull out of the trailer and launder, then I can use them for myself once again.  Hopefully her blanket arrives before Friday.  (Just got an email, it’ll be here Thursday.)

I also ordered a new GPS from Amazon.  After much indecision and waffling, I finally ended up getting the Garmin eTrex Venture HC.  I like the fact that it has color, and the high-sensitivity receiver.  As much as I really liked the more expansive, expensive models, this has everything I need it for…basic mapping, and I’m really after mileage and speed calculations.

This’ll be my third Garmin eTrex, and I really like them.  My first one was one of the first generation eTrex  (Venture, I think…it was the one with the teal-colored casing) and it worked really well…until I slammed it in the Suburban door.  Word to the wise: don’t ever balance your GPS in between the vehicle frame and the open door, then leave it there to acquire satellites, only to forget about it and close the door.

My second one was the eTrex Legend (blue casing…still an early generation, before the color or high-sensitivity receivers were an option).  I really liked it, until it inexplicably stopped working.  I can turn it on, it’ll work for about five minutes, the nthe screen goes blank save for a vertical line of pixels running down the middle or off to the side.

I’ve been without a GPS now for the past year and a half, and I’m eager to ride with one again, especially at rides.  It’s made me get very good at pacing and timing, to have to rely on watching the clock and knowing trail distance, and it helps to know Mimi’s average speed for any given gait, but I’ll be happy to have my technology back.  I rode with a friend’s GPS at McDowell in November, as she wanted a map of the trails, and that made me realize how much I missed having one.  It should be here Wednesday.

New splint boots are ordered, and should be here today.  I’m waffling on using them…they’re the same model as the ones I’ve been using, but my old ones are 13 years old.  Will the quality still be the same on the new ones, or might there be potential for rubs from an ill-placed seam?  The rain for the week, combined with Dad’s work and my heading back to school, is curtailing the amount of riding I’ll be able to do to test them, so I’m down to pre-riding Friday.  I’ll try them then, and if all goes fine, use them for the ride, but toss the old boots in the crew box.

My new helmet also got here last week, a Tipperary Sportage Plus I bought from a friend who bought it, wore it once, didn’t like the fit, and has kept it around since, so it’s still brand new.  I love it, and even though I haven’t had a chance to ride in it, I sat around on my computer with it on my head for an hour, and it felt great.

I’ve got my Goretex rain gear, as well as the two non-Goretex “waterproof” rain jackets.  Both ponies have two rump rugs…a fleece, and a canvas-topped fleece each.  Each pony has four (!) wicking-type sheets…Beamer has two fleeces, and two wool coolers, and Mimi has two fleeces (plus an extra if absolutely necessary) and a wool cooler.  They both have waterproof sheets (his moreso than hers) and Goretex blankets.

My right foot is still sore from yesterday’s race, so I’m taking a very aggressive icing/Motrin treatment to try to get it in check before Friday.  I can see some bruising in the sore area, but no heat or swelling, so I’m guessing it’s probably some kind of concussion-related pressure bruising. 

I’m kind of wishing I had ice boots for Mimi that I could steal and use, as I only have one good icepack, and two marginal ones, for myself.  Ice boots were on my “to buy” list, and I even thought about getting them for Wickenburg, but the chilly forecast and wet weather means I probably won’t need to do much leg icing.  I thought about getting them for the 75, but I know we’ll be finishing after dark, which, in February, is still pretty chilly, and I don’t know if that’ll chill them too much or not. 

I took a quick trip down to the barn this afternoon, between rain showers, and did a bit of work on the trailer.  Ponies got to go out in the big pasture and run while I did that, which made them very happy.  Overfed and underridden…that’s them.  They’re definitely ready for 50 miles.