Weekend Update + Las Cinenagas

I first want to start out this weekend update by informing you how Las Cienegas went. I was really excited that this was a convenient ride for us to attend to. It took place in Sonoita, AZ (the same organizer who puts on the Old Pueblo Pioneer in March) and was a quick three hour drive.

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I was planning on riding with my friend Andrea and her friend-who is now my friend, Britteny. The ride started off great as we rode through cattle country but about 8 miles into the ride we were trotting along a dirt path when both Annabel and I observed at the same time that there was a cattle guard. We both slammed on the brakes to avoid it causing Andrea to run into us and Britteny to run into Andrea in which her gelding ended up crushing Andrea’s ankle. She ended up with a fracture. The cattle guard came out of nowhere and none of us saw it. There were a couple of reasons why it caught us off guard. One being that the ribbons were hanging on a tree to the left of the cattle guard which is what caught our eye. For the previous miles of the ride if there was a cattle guard the ribbons would have been tied to the gate we needed to go through. There was also a large tree branch of the cattle guard, and it was hidden in some really tall grass much like the photo I posted above. I have the whole thing on video and will eventually post it. We stayed together and walked as much as Andrea needed to. She occasionally attempted to trot without stirrups but it still put Britteny and I behind at the control check. I had to lead Britteny for the rest of the ride without Andrea who remained at the control check. The afternoon was surprisingly hot for an October day and even though I started walking and hopped off as I approached the final vet check Annabel was really hot. I have no crew and they did not have any kind of water bucket/sponge combination back at camp. I threw off my saddle to the ground as soon as I got back and started sponging her off back at my trailer. The vets were concerned about Annabel not cooling down as well. After about twenty minutes of attempting to get her pulse down one of the veterinarians finally lead me to a hose that was supposed to be used for horse drinking water and started aggressively hosing off Annabel. I was grateful that someone was finally able to help me. Annabel and I ended up getting over-time and did not complete. This was the first time we did not complete a ride. I was not the only one though. There were 25 starters in the LD only 18 completed; the rest of the horses struggled to cool down as well. I wouldn’t have changed the way I rode though. I knew we were pushing our luck with the time after walking a lot in the first half but it was either do a quick trot the last five miles and risk her not pulsing down or going slower and still not completing. The veterinarians were also noting that she seemed a bit off in her left front and left hind along with some muscle soreness in her left hindquarter. I asked what it could be from and they said anything from a calcium deficiency, to overexerting uphill.

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I am putting Annabel on Total Blood Fluids Muscle which is designed for replenishing the nutrients lost in extreme exercise. We are also working on maintaining a speed of 5.0-6.5 mph. I tend to let her trot at a lot faster of a pace on long, flat roads. Her trot can reach up to 12mph so I want to work on having her not overexert herself. I did a short 5 mile ride today at Estrella and checked my Endomondo every time I hit another mile to see what our pace was (and to drink water). We finished with with a pace of 5.3mph which is suitable considering the amount of walking I actually have to do because of the terrain there. Over the past year, I’m learning to enjoy endurance mile by mile. Next year, I plan on doing all LD’s again, but want to mentally start preparing myself for 50’s. I don’t know if Annabel can be successful in 50’s because she is a bigger girl (16hh), but it is a goal of mine to eventually do.

The ride at Sonoita was still a great way to hit the trails and I always love camping with Annabel. It was a ride that had it’s teachable moments.

On Monday, I was heart broken though to find out a friend of mine, an older lady I have ridden with a couple of times lost her beloved mare. I don’t think I’ve ever met ANYONE who loves their horse as much as this woman did. Her mare developed some type of toxin in her intestine months ago that had been eating away at her. She had no idea and her mare never showed any kinds of signs. She attempted the 100 on Saturday but pulled as she finally started showing signs of what she came down with. I did not expect the mare to not pull through. I thought she would have gotten better with treatment but was shocked to go on Facebook and find out she had passed away. My heart broke for Carol. I remember what that heartbreak feels like when I lost my gelding to colon cancer. Take time to give your horse an extra hug or kiss today, you just never know.

 

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Friday Favorites

Favorite Purchase
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I found these sheets at Target, so now I have to redo the whole color scheme on my bed in the camper.

Favorite Manicure

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Favorite Drink

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Black Cherry Hurricane from Claim Jumper

Favorite Hike

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A shot from my 4 mile hike yesterday  morning at Estrella Mountain Regional Park.

Hello Fresh

One of the biggest problems people face when dieting or changing their lifestyle is sticking to it. Too often, we pick out a diet that forces us to eliminate a lot of the things we love. When we have to give up what we love, it doesn’t last too long. Other than being on a vegetarian diet for 3.5 years, Hello Fresh has been the longest “Lifestyle Diet” that I’ve ever stuck to.

One of the many joys in life is good food. I’ve always loved cooking but it can be hard to be motivated after coming home from work, having to look for a recipe, and then go out and buy the ingredients. Not only that, but it can be expensive. I feel like every time I make something out of a recipe I spend $50-100! I also feel like when I go to the grocery store to buy ingredients, I can’t find one of the ingredients!

I’ve debated on trying a meal delivery program for a while. My mom did Blue Apron, but complained that it was a lot of work. I did some research and discovered Hello Fresh.

What is Hello Fresh? Hello Fresh is a meal delivery program with multiple options. I currently do the Classic Box with a “Fit Preference” which sends me meals under 650 calories. I typically get two meals with meat and one vegetarian meal (Meatless Mondays!).  I pay $69 a week which breaks down to about $11.50 per meal. That’s close to the price of getting take out from Chipotle. It seems like a lot but I if I were to go out and buy all these ingredients it would cost me significantly more. Why hassle the hunt at the grocery store after a long day of work? Every Wednesday (you can customize the date), I receive my meals on my door step and my ingredients manage to stay cold in the Arizona heat. When my parents are in town, we upgrade to the Family Box and we receive 3 meals but for 4 people. My dad is also picky about fish, so we selected the “No Seafood” preference.

What I really love about Hello Fresh is how simple the recipes are. They do take about 30 minutes to make, but they are fairly easy for a millenial to do. My confidence in cooking has really spiked. Because the meals are so simple, it makes things easy for me to remember them on the whim. I can recall how to season many meats, make my own salad dressings, and how long to cook things for without looking up. At my ride in Utah it got too dark for me to grill some pork, so I had some confidence in being able to cook pork and vegetables on the grill inside my camper. It also doesn’t require too many pots, pans, and cooking tools. After I make a meal, I just rinse all my cookware and put it in the dishwasher. It’s about 5-10 minutes to clean up.

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Being able to do Hello Fresh consistently has given me confidence in my cooking and has transferred to life on the road.

It’s very easy to have “dieting” or a healthy lifestyle get boring after a while, but I have been doing Hello Fresh for three months now and have not gotten a repeated recipe. Every week I get to try new, healthy recipes. When I am by myself, I typically make one meal for dinner, and put the remaining in some Tupperware to take to work the next day. It gives me something to look forward to on my lunch break.

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Some for now, some for later. Honey Mustard Salmon with Roasted Asparagus and Israeli Couscous Pilaf.

The ingredients they send are really good quality and taste amazing. I am also pleasantly surprised by a lot of the recipes. I have been blown away by some vegetarian options on my Meatless Mondays that I didn’t think I would love. There are also some interesting combinations that I would never think to put together.  It’s no surprise since Jaime Oliver comes up with these simple recipes!

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One of my favorite recipes was this Chicken and Nectarine Panzanella with Fresh Mint, Zucchini, and Mozzarella.

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A new favorite on Taco Tuesday! I have recreated these Smoky Chicken Tacos with Lime Crema several times already. I know the recipe by heart now!

Even though I am a busy millennial, I have still found it easy to put 30 minutes aside at night to cook a healthy meal three times a week. I love food, there’s no doubt about that. I also love cooking. I find chopping vegetables with a glass of wine and some mellow music therapeutic at the end of the day. As an advocate for the health of children and families, I can easily recommend Hello Fresh as a healthy and great way to bring the family together at the end of the day. I also think that Hello Fresh is a great way to learn simple cooking skills and expand my knowledge on cooking as a busy millennial.

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Virgin Outlaw

It was only a few days before the 8-9 hour excursion up north to the Bryce Canyon area that I stood in the kitchen responding to some text messages. My mentor was battling some personal/family problems and felt she couldn’t be away from home for that weekend. I respectfully understood, but this meant my friend Katherine and I would have to do it alone.The thought was exciting, but caused a little anxiety at the same time. I have not traveled that far of a distance with my truck, camper, and trailer without the help of my ex-boyfriend. However, I also felt ready to do this. I was already excited for the ride and had begun the early stages of packing and preparing. I already took work off that Friday and had a sub planned to cover for me. Katherine and I finally decided to go for it.

On Friday morning we decided to meet in Flagstaff as it was a great meet up spot. I decided to let the horses drink and stretch their legs at Little Elden and Katherine was able to leave her truck there. Three hours down, six to go! Katherine and I chatted nonstop the entire way there. I think we were both excited to be able to talk horses with each other. As we started approaching Bryce Canyon, there was a lot of “oooooooooooooh!” moments as we saw fall foliage and lots of red rock. We also were excited on the drive into Bryce Canyon as we drove the truck, trailer, and camper through two rock arches. Once we arrived and got the horses settled we sat through a chilly ride meeting and were received to have a 9:15 start time as the mornings were freezing. It actually snowed a bit the night before we got there.

My goal for this ride was to have fun and not get lost, and I definitely hit that goal. I can’t help but be naturally competitive but the rides aren’t fun when I’m trying to keep up with my mentor’s pace as my body is still getting used to long hours in the stirrups. I was taking the “Trot when you can, walk when you can’t” slogan a little too literal. I’m realizing that I can complete an LD even if I allow myself to take walk breaks. I also would like to try to finish without being in a lot of pain. I was having some serious weak ankle issues at Grand Canyon and a much more pleasant ride with Shock Doctor Compression Ankle Braces on this ride.

This was the easiest LD I’ve ever done and fortunately the trails were kind to us to where we didn’t get lost. The trails were off-roading trails so they were wide and fairly flat. We trotted most of the first 12 miles and were surprised when we approached the vet check that we were already there. The XP rides are so kind to their riders at Vet Checks. We had a 1 hour hold, and enjoyed hot dogs, chips, lemonade, and brownies while our horses enjoyed grazing with the beautiful background.

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The second half of the ride we were starting to get a little sore and tired so we took it easy the second half. I already calculated how much time we had to finish and knew we would be able to complete. We did a lot of walking and got to absorb the scenery. We even saw a herd of antelope that we probably would have trotted right past. We ended up finishing even though we accidentally did an extra 2 miles at the end. Annabel completed, but the vet said she was stepping really short on her back left which I thought was unusual. I didn’t see it, but the vet advised me not to do Man Against Horse this weekend because of the difficult terrain. I decided to stick the the vet’s advice and hold off for a few weekends to do Las Cienegas in Sonoita as I knew from Old Pueblo that it’s a fairly easy LD.

This entire trip ended up being a favorite of mine. I feel so liberated that Katherine and I were able to safely do that long drive, being able to operate the camper without the help of a man, grilling steaks for the first time, and being able to ride without a mentor at our own pace for the fun of it without getting lost!

Next Adventure: Las Cienegas in Sonoita, AZ