Friday, July 31, 2009

Ready to Ride!

Woke to fog siting in our valley, and watched as it slowly moved out,
giving way for some interesting sunrise moments, and then views out
across the mountains to the next mountain rang. After it warmed up
some, I took Hank for a short ride. The area is really lovely. I have
been taking pictures, which will have to wait until I get home, and have
a better internet connection to download them. I fussed with my saddle,
checked my saddle packs, got my water bottles etc. all situated, and
then had a few hours where I was actually bored! I cleaned the camper,
and worked on the furnace. It would not light this AM, so I looked in to
it, and found a mudabber next. Got that taken care of, and now it will
light. Might need it again in the AM to take the chill off the camper.

Today was bright blue sky one min. and then a storm headed our way, only
to go some place else. Then right as briefing was starting, we see
another storm headed our way, with bright bright lightning, only to
skirt to the south of us. We have some wind tonight. Hank has his
awesome blanket on that he won at The Air Force Academy ride. It is warm
and waterproof. Thelma is in the horse trailer, curled up in hay and
shavings, just as happy as can be.

Tomorrow Open will ride around 27 miles. We will have 3 P&R stops, and
lunch in camp, that management cooks for us! Burgers with all the
fixins. Tonight we had a potluck, and a bring your own meat to grill,
and they had cooks there doing the grilling for us. My steak was
perfect! Tomorrow night they feed us dinner, and lunch again Sunday, and
salad bar Sunday afternoon. They do take care of us, that is for sure.
All part of the entry fee.

When I went to check in Hank with the judges, we were first to go. I
trotted out to the grassy area, sent him off to do his first lunging
circle, and half way around he slams on the brakes, and stops, shoving
his head down. There was a huge Prairie Dog hole. I calmly gathered him
up, moved him, and redid that circle, then reversed, and finished up. At
least we knew he was paying attention to things!

Now, it is time for bed. We ride out at 7AM. Hoping we won't have fog
again, as we would never see the ribbons on the trail to guide our way.
I'm ready to go share some trail with my favorite Arab. Even if he was
naughty tonight and reached in to the tackroom while I cleaned poop,
grabbed his breakfast bucket, and spilled it all over the place. Bad
Hank. Bad

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Arrived at CO ridecamp

Hank, Thelma and I arrived at our camp for the weekend a few hours ago.
I found a spot on the hill to park, and managed to get enough internet
service to send emails, so hopefully I can post to the blog that way
this weekend.

We are on a private ranch. Sort of a slight valley, with mountains all
around. The storm clouds have been passing by, and once and awhile I can
hear thunder. But so far, none of the storms have headed towards us. The
weather is such a nice change from the heat at home, with it being in
the upper 60's right now.

I am going to really watch things this weekend, and hope I don't get
altitude sickness again like I did at the last CO ride. Have been
drinking lots of water, and know the signs. Still not sure why I got it
again after not having issues for over 20 years. And also hope Hank has
better pulse readings this weekend. He too, is drinking lots f water! He
seems to prefer the CO water to the 100 gallons I hauled from home. Go
figure!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I've seen this road before

In the morning some time, I will load up Hank, Thelma, and head yet again, towards Amarillo. I am starting to memorize what small town follows the next along this road. Then after Amarillo we head northward across the corner of New Mexico, and on in to Colorado. I have a lay over arranged about 400 miles into this adventure. I will skip the kind of spooky fairgrounds we stayed at last time along this route, and instead, found a horse hotel, with a large corral for Hank. Then Thursday we will have a short day of 200 to 250 miles into camp.

This ride is near Westcliffe CO, and is on a private ranch. The ride has had maximum entries for weeks. My class, Open Heavyweight has about 15 entries! We will sure have our work cut out for us wit that many nice horses in the class. Hoping that Hanks higher pulse at the last CO ride was just getting to the higher altitude too early in the week. This ride I think is around the same altitude as the Colorado Springs ride. But I know I am going to watch for signs of altitude sickness with *me*, while I take note on his recoveries all weekend.

My hubby commented on how fit Hank looks. I have been trying to bring his weight back up some, as it drops from all the travels. He is sure not carrying much extra. Looks ready to hit the endurance trail.

This Saturday is the Tevis 100 mile ride out in CA. I would love to go back and give it another go. Hank got us our buckle on his first attempt in 2005. Then in 2006 he had a colic at around 60 miles. Never had any cases of colic before that. 2007 I went out and volunteered at the ride. The trail is one that calls me to come ride it again. Many never want to see it after riding it once, but I love the trail. I was looking up at the 1/2 moon tonight, thinking how it was developing into the full moon that will shine down from the sky during the ride, when so many riders are still out there trotting along through the darkness. Am thinking that maybe next year, I will head that way again. But this year, we are concentrating on the NATRC rides, and see where this journey takes us.

I doubt I will have internet at this ride, but if my aircard does work, I will of course post some.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The midwest mechanics tour

I have a Garmin NUVI navigation GPS for the truck. This trip, I found out just how handy she is to have along. I knew I could punch the fuel button, and she would tell me where the closest gas stations were, and the food button pointed me towards eatery locations. And, you can type in a name, like McDonalds as an example, and she will tell you where the closest ones are. Hit GO! and she directs you there. But her knowledge really saved me this trip.

I had a low tire on the trailer, so I typed in TIRE, and she directed me to all the business locations with the word TIRE in them. One on the next exit, pulled off, and got that nail out of the trailer tire. When the Power Steering pump went out on the way to the ride, she found me that wonderful Ford dealer just 10-15 miles off the freeway. Complete with the phone number, so I could call ahead. Like a electronic Yellow Pages!

As I arrived at the ride, my clutch was giving me some trouble as I pulled in to camp. I managed to get backed into a camping spot, and just did not dwell on it during the ride. Sunday afternoon, I decided to figure things out. After the ride, I packed up camp, loaded Hank, and figured if the truck would get going out of camp, and on to the country roads, then I could head on home, and drive when it was cooler. But, truck had other ideas, and I could not shift, and managed only to re-park, about 150' from my previous spot. At least Hank had a new spot to graze down.

I asked about local mechanics etc. I was told which dealership to avoid, and was given a name of a mechanic about 8 miles away. I found their website, and saw they did towing also if needed. But I figured I could get the truck moving if it did not have the weight of the trailer, and I could start it in 2nd gear. (manual transmission) Next morning, I punched them up in the NUVI, and called them. They told me they could 'maybe' look at it that afternoon, and when I asked if they had a place I could wait, then flat said "No". So, on to plan B. Punched FORD into the GPS, and found a dealership south in Jefferson City. Gave them a call, and they said bring it on in. Even checked first to see if they had the part in stock. (I told them I thought it was the clutch master/slave cylinder that had gone out)

So, Hank was put in the round pen at camp with food and water, and off I went. Indeed, I could get the truck in to 2nd, and get it going. With my GPS telling me where to turn, she directed me towards the dealership. Drove slow on the country roads. When I hit the highway, I tried to shift to 3rd, but no luck. Had to pull over and stop, turn truck off, pump clutch, start in 2nd, and THEN I was able to shift through the gears. Even managed to get it shifted into drive on the freeway! Creative driving and shifting, and soon I arrived at the dealership. I sat in the waiting room with my laptop, as the got to work on it. In less than 2 hours, I was fixed with the new clutch cylinder, and heading back to get Hank.

Got trailer hitched back up, Hank loaded, and headed home. Thankfully for this trip, I did not need the services of any more mechanics or tire repair shops. The weather was fairly kind, not blazing hot, and I arrived at home around midnight.

Again, when my NATRC family knew the truck was sick, I had offers to come get Hank, rescue us if needed, or give us places to over night.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Cedar Creek day two

Sunday was a shorter day. They had originally planned the rides distance, and speed, assuming it was going to be typical July weather of HOT and HUMID. So, today we were only doing about 18 miles, and slower than Saturday, at a pace of 4.5mph. I personally would have loved to have had them change the pre-planned speed, and moved us out a tad more when the weather turned cooler than expected. I want to test my horses condition against the trail, and other horses, and when the rides are easier, then their condition is not always tested. We were riding the same trails as Saturday, but shortened. And, we did not go to the side of the park with the more boggy / muddy conditions.


So, out through the meadows, along the tree line, past cows etc.



After an open field we had our first P&R, and afterwards, we had a gate obstacle. Open and close the gate (full size, not just a horse gate) while mounted. We could choose the manner / direction. The gate had a small "horse" gate next to it, that I knew Hank would be suspicious of if he was facing it, and looking at it in front of him, so I opened the gate facing him away from the opening, and the other gate, and backed through and turned and closed it. He was a very good boy. We open and close gates constantly on our home trails and we rarely get to do one at a ride. Speaking of gates, this area has a very interesting gate design out on some of the trails. We actually had to go through one (not judged) each day. They are set at a diagonal angle, and lift kind of like a gull wing door like those found on some sports cars.





Hank was still rejecting the stream water for the most part today, but drinking a bit better than the day before. Some rides, he loves the water, others he is fussy. He did love the water they hauled into camp, which I could smell was chlorinated. Kind of weird, since our home water is not chlorinated. But, I am never really suprised by Hank having yet another opinion. ;-)


MO has a LOT of caves and caverns. We had one creek section that we rode down into the creek, past a cave, and then back out of the creek.

I ended up out on front for awhile through some woods. If you ride out front, be prepared to be the one to remove the spider webs and spiders from across the trail. After I had about 3 spiders hit me in the face, I got a small branch, and rode with it in front of my face to grab the webs and spiders before I ran into them.

So, more woods, power line trails etc. we came to one of the gravel roads.

We ran into one of the ride volunteers, who said we were to have an obstacle down the road a bit, but the judges were not there yet. The Open riders who got there first decided to just wait on the judges to get there, so we would have another judging opportunity. We could have ridden on, as we were not super early, but I feel that since we paid to be judged, we might as well wait a little bit. If they had not shown up within 5 to 10 min., I think we would have headed on down the trail. But, they were there about 4 min. after we arived.

They placed a 6" round log, that was about 6' long in the road. Told us to face the horse towards the log at one end, and pivot/side pass around the end 180 degrees, until we were facing the other way. No stepping over the log etc. Pretty basic, and Hank thankfully did not get his own ideas to start sidepassing etc. Did it pretty well I thought, and off towards the end of the ride we went. Back on the same trail we came out on, and Hank of course was in a hurry, as he knew we were heading towards camp. Finally got him ahead of some horses, and he took the time to drink much better.

The final stretch of the days ride was on the gravel road into camp. We commented on what a beautiful day it was, and who would have thought we could have had such perfect weather in July for a ride. Bright blue sky, some fluffy clouds floating around.


Those who missed this ride from that region, really missed a lovely weekend.

Check out went fine. Hanks metabolic scores seemed to stay the same, although the horses metabolics were not checked on trail this weekend, just at camp each day, after each days ride. He did not lose any pulse points, but I knew that a couple of the SIX obstacles the vet watched over the weekend, Hank was less than perfect. Much of it I get complacent, and don't start thinking about how to keep him on track, and not let him come up with the "Hank way" of doing something. The horse is very well schooled, and can do about anything needed on the trail for me, but sometimes we are not on the same page with how to get that done. My fault for not being in charge of the situation all the times. And as I said before, to ride an Arab, you need to keep a sense of humor at times.

So, awards time, and Hank placed 3rd, and I placed 4th. I got my score cards, and started glancing at them quickly for any errors in math etc. I saw that for Hanks little decision of stepping into the ditch and turning, instead of crossing it, he lost 1 1/2 points. And he rushed up out of Saturdays creek, which was another point. Those two were preventable on my part, and good reminders for ME on the fact that I need to work on us working together. The back through the trees, where he was resistant, but we got it done, he lost a point. I'm not upset by that, as I know that once he bumped his butt against one of the trees, he had lost some confidence in my keeping him safe. A different approach to the trees next time might help. Happy he got an excellent on the gate!

I glanced at the horsemanship card, and saw that I had a -2 for "did not complete" on the log we had to turn around the end of it. Hank had a 'good" on his card. So, I am thinking that they transposed a rider number or something, and I got someone elses score. I hope who ever got my "good" appreciates it. lol Did have an interesting comment of "lack of rein control" in the creek crossing. I remember Hank dropping his head to drink, and my letting the reins go long for him to do so, then gathering back up when he decided the water still tasted bad to him. Would not change a thing,as Hank wanting a possible drink is more important to me that my score, and we pay for judges opinions at the rides. But that one, I'd love to see a video, to see if I did something my mind is missing as far as keeping "control" of him.

I learn something at every ride. My big thing this weekend is to concentrate a bit more, while staying relaxed at any obstacle, and to try to stay a few steps ahead of my opinionated Arab who thinks too much. I am not one who worries about preforming for a judge, as I have been competing horses for about 40 years. But I worry more about "what" Hank might try to do. He is just not a horse that waits for me to tell him what we are going to do. His mind is always going, and second guessing what I am going to ask. We do a lot of just stopping and standing in front of potintial obstacles and situations at home, to let him relax, and find that sometimes, we don't do anything.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Cedar Creek MO NATRC ride, day 1

Slept pretty well last night. Who would have thought that riding a ride in MO in July, would have you tossing a real blanket on the bed to stay warm?? Got up and got Hank and I ready for the 7AM ride start. We were the 5th team to time out. Not knowing the trails, and how they mark them, I prefer to follow someone who has ridden the area before. We had a mix of trails. Some that went along the tree line edge in fields, some through the woods. Some gravel roads. Single track, and two track. Lots of creek water, which Hank decided did not taste good. He is becoming a water princess. The pace was 5mph, and we were told the afternoon, had more mud, and slower going. So, we moved along where we could. He is feeling good, forward, and not showing any outward signs of stress of fatigue from all the travel time. We had an in hand obstacle of backing between a couple close trees, then a mount. Mount was really good, backing was fair. He hates things behind him he can not see in those situations, turns to look, then turns his body. P&R's were good. Another obstacle was one that We had an off trail, down and up, with a small ditch at the bottom, maybe 2' wide, not deep. I know Hank normally leaps these things, and I did a big sigh, which the vet commented on. I said "I know what he normally does with these things". So, as I prep for the leap, he steps into the ditch, hangs a hard left, and starts walking towards the vet. I stopped him, and then said "Now watch us get out of this". I quietly backed up in the ditch, turned on the haunches, as he stepped up out of the ditch, and back up the hill we should have gone up in the first place. I can't get mad. Hank just figured this was a good option, and often does something that catches me off guard, and very unexpected. Riding Arabs means you have to have a sense of humor.

The ride is pretty. I never know what to expect. we did have a cool creek we rode into that had a cave along the wall of the creek. Photos of course will follow.

So, I better stop now, as I need to recharge the laptop. More tomorrow, with hopefully more detail!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Truckin

Well, the truck had a bad power steering pump. Much better, and cheaper than the Hydro-boost. We arrived at camp, and I got all checked in etc. BUT, not far from camp, I noticed the truck was getting tough to shift. (manual transmission) I think that maybe the clutch master cylinder is going out. But I am going to enjoy the ride, and not fret about it until Sunday. I LOVE this truck, but dang it, what is up that it is all of a sudden getting 'sick' on me???

Will try to report this weekend. Slow internet, won't be any photos. Now I'm off to the rider meeting!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Hey Cowboy(photos added)

I had not originally intended to head to the ride in MO. But they needed riders, and the weather was going to be much kinder than typical July weather, and it seemed that my class was close to full, so that would mean better points than a not so full class. The rig was already packed. All I had to do was laundry, and load the horse! So, we set off at 7AM, after I had a good nights sleep. I was guessing it to be about a 13 hour trip. A breeze after driving the 850 miles home from Durango ;-) Hubby is home through Tuesday, so I did not need to bring the dog along. It really is easier to travel without her.New roads that I had not traveled on, so it was something new to see. Made a few stops for Hank to stand in the trailer and rest as I grabbed meals, fueled truck, had a nail taken out of a trailer tire at a tire shop. That sort of thing. (another case of seeing a low tire, and knowing it must have a nail in it)


We were through TX, OK and in to MO about an hour when some construction traffic had everyone stopping somewhat quickly. I got into the brakes, and had a very strange noise, shudder / vibration, and lack of braking. Got stopped for the traffic, and dove off the freeway at the very next exit. I was also having issues with the steering. Vibration, noise, and lack of steering! I have a Garmin NUVI GPS. I typed in the word FORD, and she showed me all businesses, starting with the closest, with FORD in the name. Just 10 miles away was a dealership. It was 5:05PM. I called, told them my issue, and would they PLEASE wait until I got there to take a quick look at the truck. No problem he said. (normally off work at 5:30) Thankfully the road was almost all straight, no stops until we got to the dealership. Pulled up, and he came out, looked at a few things, and said he thought it was the Hydroboost. They could work on it first thing in the AM. But now, what to do for the night as far as Hank and I ??? He mentioned a rodeo grounds about a mile away, that was actually having a rodeo. So, that is where we headed. Found an event'official' and he directed me to the contestants lot, where I could camp for the night. Hank is pastern deep in green grass, has his hay, water, and other horses around. He really was not super bothered by all the activities and noise, but more fascinated by it all.



He watched the horses warm up, the drill team pass by, and listened to all the noise, but was never upset.


He must think it is just a rather unusual ride camp. And I have a rodeo to check out!

So, in the AM, we head to the dealer, and they have a dirt alley I can park the trailer in, and unload Hank while they work on the truck. He hopes to have it done by noon, and they I have another 4 hours to the ride. And I had multiple offers from riders already at the ride, and some who live within an hour or so of my location to come rescue me if needed to get me to the ride. That was so very kind of everyone to do so. I prefer to not arrive Friday afternoon, but things will work out. I also had a friend tell me my truck was considerate. Had I been on the twisty, curvy road closer to camp and lost steering and brakes, it could have been really, really bad. Thank goodness it was on the freeway, traveling straight. My guardian angel is working over time!

Oh, and being a typical rodeo grounds, the train tracks run right behind it. Now THAT had Hank watching across the field to figure out what monster was passing by.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Purgatory NATRC ride, Durango CO

THURSDAY

Left town after a WalMart stop, and headed towards camp. The road in was mostly single lane gravel, and you would have to watch ahead to make sure no one was heading towards you, so you could pull into the small pull outs to allow vehicles to pass. Not a road you would want to meet a horse trailer (or something larger) coming towards you without a close turn out.


Finally arrived at camp mid morning. Lovely setting with views of the mountains, a meadow nearby, and a creek running along the edge of camp. Found a nice spot that had a mound of rocks to one side of me, and a fire pit to the other, so I knew I would not end up with someone else parked right on top of me. Lots of grass to graze Hank on, and he was more than happy to partake of it. Got settled in, and then grabbed my fishing pole to head to the creek to see if I could remember HOW to trout fish, and if there were any trout in the creek. I was told that there was. Found a few spots that were perfect for trout to reside in, and after a couple casts, caught a tiny little trout.


Released it back to grow into something bigger. Not much action, but I did not care. Brought back memories of trout fishing in the Sierras in CA. I do miss that part of living n CA!

Late Thursday, I started to feel crappy, and recognized it as altitude sickness. I had not had it for maybe 20 years. It includes a raging headache, a bit of an upset stomach and sinus issues. I had been drinking plenty of fluids, took my electrolytes, but that was not enough. It was suggested to eat some TUMS, which helped a little, and take regular aspirin to thin the blood a little. I took what drugs I had, and managed to get a nights sleep

FRIDAY

Woke up feeling a little better, but still in the funk. Got some real aspirin, kept drinking the water, and finally felt well enough to get some things done. Hank has been acting very cheeky and full of himself, so I knew he really needed to get out and go for a ride. Saddled up and headed out towards one of the big climbs we would be going up on Saturday. I let Hank set the pace, and in the beginning he was taking on the world, marching up the mountain. After about a mile, he decided he should ease off a bit, and walked like a horse who needed to conserve some energy. Rode a couple miles, then headed back down. The trail was one of the prettiest I have ever ridden. HUGE Aspens, green grass, some wild flowers, and the views of the other mountains out in the distance.





Later I found out this was an old Stagecoach trail. Amazing the animals could pull up the mountain, which topped out at over 10,000 feet.

Gave Hank a cleaning up in the creek, and then it was about time to start the ride, and check in with the judges. Normal stuff, and Hank checked in great, and had Zeros on all his metabolics. That would be the baseline they would score from for the rest of the weekend. Trotted sound, and we were ready to go! Hopefully all the time off from the last ride, had the little blip on the tendon become a non issue. At the riders meeting, the vet gave us instructions for the mornings first obstacle. We were to ender the wide creek 1-2 horse lengths, ¼ turn on the forehand to the left, side pass 4 steps, then turn and head on down the trail. But no stopping. He wanted the horse to do a continuous motion from walking, turn, side pass, turn. We would not be given the instructions again, and no practicing in the creek. I still had a bit of that yucky feeling, so went to bed fairly early. Tomorrow we would be riding 25 miles, and climbing up over the 10,000’ elevation mark.


SATURDAY

We were not hitting the trail until 8AM, so I had plenty of time to get things ready for riding. Water bottles filled, horse tacked up, my saddle packs prepped, and of course take Thelma for a walk before I left her in camp all day. It was a brisk morning, about 40 degrees, but I knew it would warm up before the day was over. I was third to time out, and Hank was a pretty good boy for the obstacle. Not to anxious, and listened to me. And thankfully he did not second guess what we were doing, and try doing something his mind came up with. He so often wants to share his ideas and opinions on such things. Then on down the trail, to head up the mountain I had ridden a little of yesterday. Along the edge of the mountain is a cabin that had been the stage stop.


We found a nice pocket alone, and did a nice steady walk to the first P&R which would be at over 10,000 feet. After we arrived, I watched Hanks heart rate monitor, and saw he was not dropping as quick as I’d have liked, and finally pulled the saddle to let a little more breeze hit him. But even that was not enough, and he lost his first point of the ride, for a 13 on pulse (13 in 15 seconds). Then we went on to a dirt road for awhile, before we headed down a trail along a creek.


The trees were now mostly pine of some sort, not Aspens. He was moving along, and actually a bit anxious. They had the second P&R after a long downwhill, with a trot across a meadow. This one was better, and he did not lose any points. After the vet checked him, and he again had all zeros, we had to do an off side mount. Thank goodness for a mound of dirt. He stood nice, and I did well, and did not land hard in the saddle or any other thing that the judge might frown upon. We then looped a trail that went up above camp, and then headed in for our lunch.


The ride fed us ALL our meals! After lunch, we had 10 miles to go. A 5 mile trail that went up and back along a very lovely creek.




Again, I was day dreaming of all the fish in there, just waiting for me to catch them. As we got near camp, we saw that one of the novice horses was down on the trail withy colic. Just a reminder it can happen to anyone, in any division. They routed us a bit off the trail, down and up a small hill, and the judges observed us. We timed in, and had another P&R, which Hank lost another point for another 13 pulse. At the end of the day, the vet did a recheck on the horses, and Hank was dehydrated some. I am thinking now, it might have been the combo of the altitude, and the warm weather. Also, while I saw Hank drink well, the streams are pretty cold, so maybe he was just not drinking enough. Altitude has never bothered him before, but we had been above 7000’ since Wednesday.

SUNDAY
Another beautiful day, and we were going to be on new trail than we saw from yesterday, with the exception of about 4 miles. Hank was feeling good, and very forward. We had an obstacle of backing around some small bushes, which he did excellent, and then started towards the back side of the Purgatory ski resort, and under some of the ski lift chairs. Then the climb to the first P&R.






Somewhere along through here, Cheri Jeffcoat and I hooked up, and started riding together. Her gaited gelding and Hank got along well, and paced about the same speed. This was the 3rd P&R point Hank would lose, for yet another 13. We were now well over 10,000’ again, which we would stay at for awhile as we rode that section of the mountain. Lots of wonderful views, including one over looking the highway we had driven towards camp, out over the cliffs.



Such beauty. The wildflowers and grasses seemed to change with the different areas, and elevations. While I was a bit frustrated with Hanks P&R’s. the beauty of the ride was so worth the 850 mile drive. Hank hank was feeling good, and cheerful about going down the trail. We had an obstacle of sidepassing over a pole to clip a ribbon on a post.


Hank did it OK, but did a little jump in the middle of it. Now, on to our last P&R, and the highest point of the ride. Finally, he did not lose any points, and we started heading down the mountain. We noticed that just walking and getting back on the horses made us aware of the altitude, and thinner air.




The downhill from the top was done in a shorter distance than the climb up was, and parts were pretty steep. Glad I had a crupper to keep the saddle for putting unnecessary pressure on his withers as we headed down. Then on the home stretch along through meadows and a creek, and we were all done. Got Hank cleaned up, and checked back through, and then we just had to wait for awards. I packed up to leave right away, and go back to my friends place for the night before heading home.

I figured we would end up 5th or so in our class of 6th, but was thrilled when Hank placed 3rd. I placed 1st in Horsemanship, much to my amazement. Everyone in Region 3 was super nice, and friendly again. I am really enjoying the rides there, as they are beautiful, and tough, and the people welcome us like family.

We got to our friends place, and a good nights sleep, then left Monday morning, and drove pretty much straight through, and arrived home Tuesday AM around 4:00. Just did not want to make Hank stand in the trailer for a second day of 100 degree heat. Found some new places to stop along the route, that I can unload, and even tie to the trailer and sleep a bit if I need to. When I got him home, he was about to explode, as he wanted to run across the pasture in the dark, to find the other horses. He is not holding his weight like I would like to see from the travels, but is fit, and his attitude and willingness to go down the trail is really good.


Today, I decided to head to a ride in MO this weekend while hubby is home, and can take care of the critters, and Thelma can stay home. It will sure be different than the ride in CO. So, hope to report when I can!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

In Durango

Our second half of the 800 mile trek to the ride went well today. Not as hot, but still mighty warm out there across New Mexico. Saw some new countryside, and of course snapped some photos out the windshield, that may, or may not get posted eventually.

Arrived at my friends place, and Hank was happy to get out of the trailer, and actually SEE another horse that lives next door. He is now tied to his Hi-Tie, which is his home away from home, with Thelma nearby.

Had a nice sit down dinner in town, that did not involve cooking in the camper, and tomorrow AM I will head to camp. A stop at Wal Mart for provisions, and a fishing licence. I brought my fishing pole, so I hope those streams near camp have trout in them!

Might not hear from me until Sunday night. Will see if I can get the aircard to work.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Decatur to Tucumcari

I gave Thelma her bath this morning(no one wants 80 pounds of stinky dog in the truck), Hank ate his sloppy mash, and we loaded up, and hit the road. Headed out only about 30 min. later than planned. Wanted to reach the RV park I was staying at by around 6PM. I have driven the road between home and Amarillo so many times now. Parts of it I enjoy, like the small towns we pass through, that seem lost in time, but the long stretches of "nothing" can sometimes be tiresome. As we got closer to Amarillo, I see some storm clouds to the west.

Maybe we will get a cold front, and some rain, to bring the temperature down some. It was pushing 95 to 100, and the a/c would only cool the inside of the truck to about 85.

I stopped at the truck stop for fuel, and did my normal walk around the rig to look things over. I see my right rear, outside tire is low. Upon checking it, the darn thing only had 40 pounds n it. So, I put air in, and found the closest Discount Tire, and told them I was heading their way. While I would love to support our local tire shop, I found because I travel so much, getting tires at a place like Discount, means they will fix what ever issues I have, with stores nationwide. So, I got there 30 min. before closing, and they found a big bolt in the tire!

They did a plug, and interior patch, and some kind of super sealant, and I was on my way again. And those storm clouds from above, passed to the north of us. Oh well.

Finally I reached out destination for the night, which is Empty Saddle RV park in Tucumcari NM. They have corrals, full RV hook ups, and easy to get to from the freeway. I got Hank settled in to a corral with food and water, ran and got me some food, and decided to do this quick update while I have internet. Even with the delay from the tire, I got here before the sun set, and we are all ready for a good nights rest.




Hopefully I can check in tomorrow when I get to my friends place in Durango.

On the Road again

Hank, Thelma and I are loading up, and starting our trek to Durango CO this AM. Have an RV park with corrals to stay tonight. What a treat for Hank! And I can get some sleep, without him fussing that we need to get back on the road now! Then staying a night with some friends who moved from CA to CO for a night, before heading into camp. I got great detailed directions to camp, which included where to put the truck in to 4 wheel drive. lol Glad I have 4 wheel drive! I'll try to take photos of the road. I have heard it is interesting. Will blog when I can. but I am guessing the aircard will not be working at camp. Hank seems ready to take on this ride. I have wanted to ride this one for awhile now, as it sounds beautiful, and challenging. Our kind of ride!

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Hot, Horses, Fireworks and Lightning

Another blazing hot day in No. Texas. I got up before the sun did, caught Hank, and headed to the trails for a 10 mile ride. It was actually pretty nice out, with a nice breeze blowing, even though it was heading into the 90's before 10AM! Hank can be very difficult at times on our local trails, looking constantly down low on the ground for snakes. (I assume anyway) A deer came bounding out, leaping bushes, and jetting across the trails, and he does not blink. But a lizard ran through some leaves, and he jumped and snorted. He is bored with our trails, and looks for things to amuse himself. At times he can be exhausting. Thankfully at events, he does not do this stuff, and seems to enjoy new trails.

Tonight I have been watching radar, as we have a big ban of radar heading our way. I was hearing some booms, and thinking it was thunder, went outside. Instead, I saw the neighbors across the road were having a private fireworks show, and setting off all kinds of things that popped, boomed, and whistled. Behind the fireworks in the sky was the lightning of the approaching storm. Had never seen fireworks against a lighting storm sky, and wished I had a better camera to capture it, but my little saddle bag camera had to do.
video

All the while, the horses were near the fence by the house, happily munching away, and never flinched to all the noise of the fireworks. I guess no one ever told they that some people think they should be upset by it. Here is a photo of Flag, and the two Orbs in the sky were fireworks.



I used to show at the Los Angeles County fair, during the carriage horse show each year. One of the largest fairs in the nation. Each night, they set off a huge fireworks display from behind the barns. In fact, the bursted cases from the fireworks would land on the metal roof of the barn with a thunk. A few times I was actually hitched, heading towards the ring when they started, and my Arab never cared. I think it was mostly because *I* was not concerned. Often we can create fears in our horses, that they would not have otherwise.

Oh deer, lets go to Colorado

The other day, I looked out towards the barn, and saw a deer standing there. Deer around the property is not unusual, but seeing one so close to the barn is. Oh, that horse trailer was my birthday present in 1974. We don't haul horses in it anymore, but it is still pretty sound!


Then the deer headed out into the pasture, and Flag went to check her out.


I guess I need gto find another saddlebag/blog camera. I can no longer adjust the density of the photos, and some are just tooooo dark. :-(


Today Hank had another check up at the vet to get the yes or no as to heading to the next NATRC ride, which is near Durango Colorado the 11th and 12th. I wanted to make sure he was 100%, as I have been told this ride is one of the tougher rides. So, the vet did another ultrasound, and the little blip he had seen, was fine, and we got the thumbs up. So, Tuesday, we (Hank, Thelma and I) start our 800 mile trek to the Purgatory Ride. Our weather here in Texas has been pretty dang hot, so prepping the rig has been such a joy. NOT! But the weather outlook for the ride is high 80's to low 90's during the day, and around 50 at night. But of course we will have to drive across TX and NM through the heat to start heading north to cooler weather. I have wanted to ride this ride since hearing about it a couple years ago. It just always sounded like a pretty ride, and being told it was tough by riders from Colorado made me want to take on the challenge even more.

And the last photo is Hank from a sunset the other night.