Thursday, September 17, 2009

Ride The Edge NATRC, day 1

Ride out at 6:30AM. The sunrise was trying to break through A light fog that had settled around camp.

After we timed out, we had our first obstacle for the vet, which was a muddy area in the trail to cross, that had some limbs scattered around. Hanks kind of obstacle. These make sense to him, and he walked right on through. Another ½ mile or so down the trail, the horsemanship judge had a ditch and bank to deal with. Hank decided that he found a better method of getting up the bank than stepping nice, and leaped up it. He is so strong on the hind quarters, this is his usual method. He gets the job done well, but not as pretty as a horse who steps slowly up and over.

The morning was a bit cool, so I pushed to try to get some time made early, as I was not sure it would stay cool all day, and we had a long day ahead of us. The sun was starting to shine down between the trees.

We found a pocket to ride alone, and cruised on down the trail. Much of this area is on the Cumberland Plateau, and the trail often went along the edge, giving us some lovely views. Here the tops of the mountains are peeking above the fog in the valley

We had our first P&R, and I was hoping Hanks issue with losing pulse points was behind him. While not really hot, I pulled his saddle, and he stood there and fell asleep, and did not lose any points. We had another vet obstacle, which we were to back between a couple trees. Remember my schooling him on this very thing on Friday? I knew this vet would ask for this sort of back through. Well, Hank being Mr. Opinionated, decided that he was still mad from yesterday. I stayed very calm, showed him the trees, and turned to back, but he decided to back between two bushes instead, and would not line up on the trees. Getting in a fight was not going to do me any good, so we had a “Did Not Complete”. That cost us some points. Not sure why he has blocked to this, unless he is just not trusting me to not get him hurt by running into a tree or something. We practice at home some, and he does it. Oh well. We later had a side pass that was a bit tricky. A log that slowly got closer to a bank, so that the horse had only about 12” between the log and the bank to put their feet, and they had their head up over the 2’ bank. Remember my mentioning Hank likes to just jump up banks? Well, he decided that it would be a much better idea to do just that, when we got to the area that was so tight for his feet. As I have said before, I never know how he will process something. Arabs often are thinking a few steps ahead of their rider, and that is something that I actually like, is they will take care of themselves. But once and awhile, I wish Hank would turn his brain off, or at least slow it down. Lol We had our other P&R, and again, no points lost! Whew. Somehow I ended up way ahead of time, and when I got to the 2 mile point, I found that I had some time to kill, along with many of the other riders.

As we waited, we heard some jingle noise, and saw a wagon pulled by a pair of mules come up the trail. Most of the horses did not care, and Hank was very curious, and had to go get a closer look.

It was time to head in to camp, and we rode in pretty much in a group. Some of the riders were in a cheery, singing mood, and shared a song or two with us as we ended our 36+ mile ride.

(video to follow)

After returning to camp, the vet did his one metabolic check for the day after we had been in awhile. Hank was fine, with no points lost. Tomorrow we have 18 miles to ride, but a good climb that some have told me about.

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