We had our first ride of 2010 the first weekend of the month. The first ride of our ride season was in December. (Our ride year is Dec. to Dec.) This ride is the one way down south, near the small town of Cat Springs Texas. Almost 300 miles one way, and we never leave the state! Our winter has been so wet and muddy, that many of us were having trouble getting the horses out on the trails to condition. But this ride is very flat, some sand, but with recent rains, not super deep. On Wednesday before the ride, we found out hubby did not have to go out of town for work that weekend, so he and Flag went along. We left Thursday, mid day, and arrived just after the sun set. On the way we had one tire on the trailer de-tread. Boy, it was nice having a second person along to help change it. I can change a trailer tire myself in about 15 min. from time I get out of the truck, until time I get back in again. But we were like a NASCAR pit crew, and I think we were on the road again in under 10 min. Having the right tools really helps. Having them easy to get to is really important too. I have my jiffy jack to drive the trailer up on to mounted in the tackroom near the door, up high. The star wrench is near the spares (I carry two for the trailer). I can get to everything quickly, to make my stay where ever we have pulled over, as short as possible.
After getting the ponies, and the TWO dogs settled in, it was time for a quick dinner. Yes, we now have TWO dogs taking up the back seat of the truck when no one is home to care for them for the weekend. Mardi is a good traveler, and is good about being tied out at the rides. Although she does bark at things a tad more than Thelma.
Friday morning we saddled up and went for a short ride, so I could show my hubby the lay out of the trails, and how they are marked. All loops come back to camp, and are fairly short. (under 10 miles each) We decided that he would volunteer to ride drag/safety, but we told management he may have to pull out of the horse became a goofball following behind, going so slow. Wanted them to have others out there, and to not depend on him until we knew if the horse could handle following instead of being out front.
Hank and I timed out in front on Saturday AM, and he was a happy camper. Rode alone for the most part, and had a nice ride. He behaved, and his metabolics were sounding good. I tried a couple different things. No alfalfa this ride, and started adding loose salt to his mashes. I took a chunk of a salt block and just smashed it up and put it in a container in the trailer. Tossed a small handful over each mash. It will take a few more rides to see if he still gets the occasional injected gums like he did last season. The alfalfa should not be the reason, but now I can play with changing a few things, without the pressure of year end awards.
Hubby rode out with other safety riders, and Flag was a pretty good boy. He was a bit strong and forward, but not tugging uncontrollably against the reins. After the first few loops, they were missing a rider, so he went off alone, and re-rode that loop at a quick trot. He said his max speed was almost 14mph, and they never broke from the trot, and was not going as fast as Flag can go at the trot. I know they both had fun, and found the missing rider back in camp. (sigh)
Sunday just seemed to linger on forever. The trails are not the most scenic, and we repeat some of the loops, so for me, I get bored, and I am sure Hank does too. After a couple hours, I glanced at my watch, and could not believe we still had 3 more hours to ride. I was ready for it to be done. Hubby only rode about 10 miles, but ended up doing around 35 to 40 miles over the weekend, which is the most they have done together in a long time. And they both had fun! Now for him to have time to get to some more rides.
After I finished up, and vetting Hank through, I was happy with how he did. Management and judges got the score cards done pretty quick, and awards were done by 3:30 or 4PM, and we were on the road before sunset heading home! Hank placed 2nd, I placed 1st in horsemanship. I was pleased. Our friend Dolly, and her horse Chance (the one Hank took a bite out of last year at the ride) won their class, and got Sweepstakes with a perfect score! I was so happy for her. She has worked hard to get that horse working well for NATRC, and also does endurance with him. She finished Tevis in 2006 when we went out together.
On the way home, we found ourselves following a friend who also competes, and her trailer and truck lights were acting up. So we decided to follow her, as her trailer lights went out, when her headlights came on. Thankfully she had brake and turn signals. We finally found turning on her emergency flashers, made her trailer lights stay on solid. I carry a couple battery powered bike lights in my trailer, but they had got old, and batteries dead. So, I replaced them, in case I ever lost trailer lights, I'd at least have something to tape to the back to make myself visible. We were home before midnight, and when we turned the horses loose, they both took off at a run, stopped, rolled in the mud, and ran off into the darkness of the pasture.
I'll try to get back to blogging in a more regular basis, and with things more interesting than the above. I am considering Tevis again this year, but want to get to some 50's and make sure Hank seems ready to roll. Just that bit of a worry wart in me I guess. And I did not take many photos, so you can go to last years post, and see photos, as it has not changed much. :-)
Last Years Ride