It is a very warm day today considering the start of this heat wave attacking the west coast. I am grateful I decided to pull Annabel from the LD today. Here are the details from our ride:
I arrived at base camp at around 1 or 2 in the afternoon on Friday. I thought I was nuts for trying to leave my barn by 10 and arrive at noon but the base camp area was already getting packed full of trailers. My ride partner and mentor, Andrea, surprisingly was there before me even though she drove all the way from Arizona (they left at around 3am so her mare, Lily wouldn’t have to be in a hot trailer). Later that night at the Ride meeting we feasted on Mexican food that was included as a part of my entry. Annabel was a hot head though because of Lily. Even though they were facing each other. She was obsessed and would not eat or drink and just stare and whinny at Lily who was about 50′ away. If Lily got out of her sight she would spin in circles and start bucking.
I have to say. I look forward to my camping so much. I love escaping from society and technology to enjoy the smaller things in life.
I woke up early Saturday morning (freezing) and made coffee with my newly acquired French Press, it wasn’t as good as I hoped but it feels like a luxury when you don’t have much. I’ll keep working on it. The ride management was awesome enough to provide a little breakfast for us of quiche and donuts so I didn’t have to do any cooking.
I laughed a little in the morning as I started tacking her up after the amount of things that I had to attach to my saddle. I strapped two different Easy Boots to my saddle for the fear of her back right shoe coming off (it comes off frequently) and added the sponge and pommel bag. I told her she looked like a pack mule.
The first 15 miles of the ride were a breeze! The addition of Andrea’s fleece cover to my saddle eliminated the chafing problem I was having and my stirrups finally felt just right at the length. Annabel charged up all the hills without a problem and set a good pace for the rest of the group.
At the 15 mile vet check I was literally bombarded with these adorable kids with trays of waters and gatorades, donuts and fruit, and carrots. Within 5 minutes, I had about 6 kids ask me if they could get me anything. I was so amazed as I’ve learned the vet checks are stressful. Not only that, but Annabel lost her front right shoe surprisingly and my saddle came a bit loose and the saddle pad slipped off and fell back so I had to dismount and walk the final mile. She pulsed down right away too and I immediately went to the farrier who was on-site to look for options for her front right. We ended up using one of the Easy Boots with some duct tape. I eventually chugged Gatorade like no tomorrow once I got Annabel taken care of and scorched down grapes with my dirty, dusty fingers. I had lost one of my Gatorades on the trail and considering I had 1 small bottle (like the kid size) left and 10 miles to go I chugged my Gatorade like a fraternity guy.
The next 3 miles were stressful after the vet check. It was a loop on a single track and I was about 8th in line. The dust that was kicked up from the other horses not only plowed me in the face, but I couldn’t see the track and was afraid Annabel would trip over a large rock. It was like riding on a cloud, but a really dusty, dirty, hot cloud. Annabel also likes to be the leader, and so her ears were pinned back the whole 3 miles and she was desperately trying to keep up with all the horses and fighting me the whole time. I only held her back so I could try to see what was on the single track we were all stuck on so we wouldn’t trip.
After a quick water break, we finally were able to spread out a bit and climbed up and down some very rocky terrain. Annabel was annoyed about the Tennessee Walking Mare who was part of our group had taken the lead. She continued to fight me and try to keep up with her running walk. One I finally requested I take the lead Annabel was happy again and climbed up and down hills at a great pace on a loose rein. Somewhere within the final 5 miles we had a 5 minute hold and water break for the horses. I managed to capture the one and only photo of the ride as I did not charge my Go Pro. Fortunately, it was a pretty scenic view and the photograph does no justice at all.
The last 5 miles we okay, it was downhill mostly at a walk. I finally hopped off within the last mile and a half and did my John Wayne walk until I could feel again. I don’t know how 50 milers do it, my knees and ankles had started aching that second half of the ride. I’m only 26, I’m too young to have joint pain but athletics will do that to you. I also must mention that within the rocky terrain Annabel started losing her back right shoe, I heard it clanking louder and louder within the last 5 miles.
The final vet check was interesting. Annabel would not pulse down which was unusual. I started stripping her of her tack and sponging, then scraping her over and over repeatedly. She had a really hard time cooling down. It took about 20 minutes for her to finally pulse down. She got C’s for her gut sounds because she wouldn’t eat and was obsessed of where Lily was at. She was also a little bit off on her right side from using that Easy Boot (she’s never used one before). We completed, but big girl was not in the best condition. I immediately made the decision to pull her from the Sunday LD. She was also really dehydrated when I put her back at the trailer. Her urine was reddish/brown so I immediately gave her a full tube of electrolytes and gave her a wet mash and got her fresh water. I was surprised that she was dehydrated because she drank really well on the trail.
I later realized how much the heat had an effect on that ride during the BBQ dinner (which was amazing) and ride meeting. There was a high of 94 degrees and the humidity was between 25-35%. My ride started out with 40-42 people and ended with 30-34 people (don’t quite remember the numbers). Andrea ended up getting 12th place, and I would have gotten somewhere around there if Annabel pulsed down right away since we came in together. We got somewhere in the high teens or early 20’s.
During the dinner, Andrea and our other rider Sandy decided to all scratch from tomorrow since I had made the decision earlier. They both decided it was too hot and that they’d rather beat the heat and head back to Arizona. I was planning on camping one more night but Andrea said she’d be leaving about 1am. With Annabel’s obsessiveness with Lily, we would wake the entire camp up with her frantic whinnying so I quickly hustled to clean my camp up. She was a bitch to deal with getting into the trailer. She’s always a bitch to get in the trailer but it was worse because she didn’t want to leave her gal pal. I actually got her in and as I was tying her she started to back out and we had to do the whole process again. She became frantic in the trailer as we were leaving. I wish I could get her back to Arizona so she can recover in pasture and get shod by our regular farrier but there is a heat wave in Arizona this week. I figured it would be best to have her in a box stall, then to go out to pasture where it’s literally 120 degrees.
Pretty sunset to end the day. I managed to take this as I was loading everything.
Above are some details from the ride. The timing is incorrect. We left at approximately 7:20am and pulsed down at the finish at 1:11pm. We had a 30 minute vet check at mile 15, and a 5 minute hold at around mile 22. This also made our average speed incorrect as my Endomondo would shout out we were somewhere between 6-8mph on trot miles, and 12-15mph on walking with terrain miles. Although, Annabel can be fast I don’t think we went 490 mph either lol.
Today, Annabel and I are recovering. Oh funny story…my summer boarding barn closes it’s gates at 9:00pm. I called the barn manager and informed her I would be hustling home and would need the gate to stay open until 11:00pm. I swear I arrived at the barn at like 10:57pm, but by the time I unloaded and unhitched, they shut the gates. So I had to sleep in my camper for one more night. Oh well, I slept like a rock. I got to my house around 7:30 am, and apparently my nephew had a get together with his friends and I walked in to about 20 wine glasses on the counter and people sleeping all over the house and in my bed. I went into my mom’s room and crashed for a few hours with my kitties while I waited for everyone to leave.
I took Annabel’s stable wraps off around noon, and I couldn’t believe how hot and humid it was at the barn. I rinsed her off for about 10 minutes until the water came off of her body at a cooler temperature. I’m going back in a few minutes to give her a PM turnout (I go to my boarding barn 2x a day so she gets an am and pm turnout. I feel so bad that she’s stuck in a box stall, in Arizona she has an indoor/outdoor stall and gets lots of time in a pasture with Lily. Annabel is getting this week off and potentially more time off if I can’t get new shoes on her.
Next ride is Grand Canyon Pioneer XP in September!