Sunday, May 31, 2009

a good boy scout

Saturday hubby and I decided to go for a ride. We parked out on one of the further loops, and did about 10 miles of it. When we got back to the trailer, I was feeling a bit crappy, but hubby was ready to ride some more, since he was heading out of town, for a busy month of working NASCAR, and this was his last chance to ride for weeks. So, I told him to ride to the main trailhead, and I would go pick him up there. Just another 7 miles. So, off he goes, with Flag just as cheerful as can be that he gets to go down the trail some more, and Hank looking happy that he gets to take the trailer to the end of the trail.

I get there, park, and go sit in the shade with some friends who are camping. Then after awhile, my phone rings. Hubby came across some riders who were a bit lost, and their horses were pooped. It was a pretty hot day. I direct him to how they can get back to their trailer, and suggest he stay with them to the creek crossing, and help cool down their horses, since he has a sponge with him for just that purpose. Then after awhile, another cal,, with him telling me he is staying with them to the split to their trailer, as one rider is not feeling well. What should have been another hour fifteen, to hour and a half ride, has turned in to him being out there almost 3 hours. He finally arrives, to fill in the details.

Seems the ladies did have a map, but got turned around, and almost headed further away from their trailer when he met up with them. They had 3 bottles of water between all three of them, and had been out a few hours already. The horses were a mix f an old out of shape broodmare, a younger, green horse, and one who was overweight and tired. As he started riding in, one woman kept falling further and further behind, and he finally asked if she was OK. She admitted she was diabetic, and was starting to crash. He dug in his saddle bag, and found one of his snack bars. She said she could not eat a candy bar, when he explained it had 2 grams of sugar, as he was borderline diabetic. She ate it, but it took about 30 min. to get her really feeling better. Meanwhile, he decided it would be best to pony her horse, which Flag willingly did, as the woman was hanging on to the saddle horn. Another woman had a rein about to break, and he told them he had something to fix it, but found it just needed to be re-tied. Oh, and his 2 bottles of water went to the ladies.

I told him he was their guardian angel for the day. He felt had he not found them, the one woman would have had to have EMT's come pick her up off the trail. It was just a little reminded for us to consider our trail rides, what basics we should have along, and to consider the "what if" scenarios. These ladies had not trail ridden on these trails in years and years. The weather was hot, and they were under prepared, and under conditioned.

So, my friends will laugh at all the stuff I have on my saddle all the time, and that I always have some sort of snack along, but this weekend, by husband was the good boy scout that had the right stuff along, and helped some wayward riders get back to their trailer safely.

Here is what is in my saddle packs, and all of this fit in a couple small zipper pencil holders, then in my side packs under my water bottles. (I use Stowaway Cantle and Pommel packs from Easycare)

One side:
short piece of baling wire
a couple zip ties
shoe lace or parachute cord
small packers/campers roll of duct tape
a small double end snap

In my back pack, is my first aid
vet wrap, stored in a discarded water bottle, with the top cut off, to the length of the roll. (keeps it from crushing in pack)
small container/film can of blood stop or wonder dust
small container of gall salve

The other side:
first aid packets of betadyne,triple antibiotic cream
Oragel (stops pain for more than teeth, great for itching of bug bite or sting)
benadryl (for stings, bites allergic reactions)
pain killer
tampon (can be use on a puncture wound)
feminine napkin can stop wound bleeding with vet wrap
small spray bottle of campers bug spray.

In my front pack, I have chapstic, snack, and then my 2, sometimes 4 water bottles. Some people electrolyte pills, or packets of EmergenC from Wal-Mart. Oh, ad a knife, that clips on my half chaps, and a multi tool in my pack. We also keep our phones on us, not the horses, in case of separation.

You do not need much of any of these things, and they will pack in to the small packs. If you use an item, then you can replace it. Go to Wal-Mart, and look in the camping section, and you will find some of these items in small packable versions.

While it is more common for us to use items on another person or their horse, or tack, I feel better having these things always along, as one never knows when that quick one hour ride can turn in to 1/2 a day in the sun!

Are you a good scout?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

elevation profile

Here is the elevation profile on our two "loops" on Saturdays ride. The first part, I forgot to turn on the GPS for about 1-2 miles.

Air Force Academy NATRC ride wrap up

(Click on any photo for larger view in another window)

After a good nights rest, I woke up to clear sky over the mountains, with the sun rise shining on to the sides of the mountains, casting a lovely orange glow. Camp was empty but for the few of us who stayed over.

I packed up the buckets, flipped the Hi-Ties back against the trailer, took the horses and dog for one more walk before loading up to head home. A 14 hour drive across Colorado, New Mexico and Texas gives one a lot of time to reflect more on the events over the weekend. While I can chat with the dog, she is not much on conversation and actually falls asleep. I thought about all the trail I shared with my horse and the other riders and the challenges we faced. I came to the ride knowing he was very fit but not sure how he would handle the climbs and different trail situations but also the travel to the ride and then being asked to perform. The altitude was not a concern. Although we live at less than 1200’, horses handle immediate altitude change very well. It is the riders who often have issues. I remembered to drink plenty of fluids and watch for signs of altitude sickness. I have had it in the past, and do not want to ever experience that again. (headaches, nausea etc.)

At our regional rides, I have been able to head to most on Thursday and Hank is then able to rest for most of Thursday and then Friday before being asked to take on the trail over the weekend. The trailer rides are usually only between 4 and 6 hours. The week before the rides I do some feed changes on to hay from his pasture only diet, to prep his system for the ride weekend. I also consider what he eats days before the ride, as to what foods are going through the different parts of his digestive tract during the ride. Then, during the ride, I watch not only what he eats, but amounts of the meals to keep his digestion happy, working well and his system doing the best to take care of his bodies needs when he’s working. I seem to have found the right combo for him and try to stick with the routine. This time we left mid day on Wednesday and he had a much longer trailer ride and even a stop on the way there for some rest. I still kept the same basic feeding routine but, but concentrated even more on keeping his system hydrated along the way for a longer haul. He is not the best drinker on the road going to the ride. (but sure drank on the way home!) Also, standing in the trailer actually does work the muscles as they shift and balance, so I want to give him some rest time upon arrival, to let the body recharge. While I have always considered all of these things, his surgery has made me even more aware of his bodies needs to do what I ask of him. But he has been hauled across the country a bunch and over all takes fairly good care of himself.

As we left Colorado Springs, heading south, I looked back to the mountains and saw where we had ridden but my vantage point was looking up towards the mountains I had been riding through, looking down on to the city below. The city that I viewed spread out from the base of the mountains as I rode over the highest points of the ride. I saw the neighborhoods of houses that trickled up the hillside where just days before and I was looking into individual back yards.

I saw the red rocks of the hillsides, where I had passed and looked at the details of the individual rocks.

I saw the green of the trees and bushes but not the details of each.

I thought how many travel the freeway and look out their car windows and think “Gee, those mountains are beautiful” but will never get to experience them as we did over the weekend. I realize how blessed we are to have the ability to ride our horses for miles and miles and see so much our country has to offer.

I thought of one of the moments of pure joy I experienced when trotting along one of the highest points of the ride and Hank and I were all alone. His ears were up and he was truly joyful about heading up the hill.

I could feel by his gait, how strong and fit he was. The smells of the trees, the sounds of his hoof beats and the views were a joy.

(see the horses down the hill at the p&R?)

I thought how close I came to never being able to do this with him again when he was there on the surgery table. We knew that there was a chance that distance riding could be out and he would end up being a pleasure mount. I also thought of the moments over the weekend where he was an idiot and his mind had shut off to anything I was asking of him. While I was indeed frustrated, I thought some more on what caused his mini mental breakdown. He had gone from normal, to gradually building up stress and tension until he was extremely worried about horses in front of him and he would not stop to eat grass, would not drink and was not listening to what I was asking him to do. Then we got back into a pocket alone, he started to relax again and was back to “normal”. He does not mind riding in groups. He will go ahead or behind. Normally other horses do not do much to his mind. But I am thinking it was one particular horse that set him off into “the horse the aliens abducted”. The other horse did nothing that I noticed to irritate Hank. We never really rode next to the other horse for Hank to have any kind of horsey exchange. But later when he caught up to that horse again I could feel him getting a bit upset. Maybe it looked like a horse who beat him up as a foal. LOL. Who knows. Thankfully the emotional low of him being so naughty was over shadowed by the highs of the rest of the weekend.

I thought of the different people I met over the weekend. Some I have exchanged emails over the years, but had never put a face with a name.

Some were riders who I had seen their names in ride results, year end award standings, but again, had never had the pleasure to meet them face to face. I had been told that Region 3 was not as “welcoming” as Region 4 seems to be, but I found everyone to be VERY friendly. I had people come up to me and introduce themselves all weekend. I had to tell them I am horrible with names, and half the time can not keep track of riders and names in my own region, so please do not be offended if I forget their name. I was checked on to see if I needed anything. I had riders on the trail be as polite as any in the sport. It was really no different than any of the other rides, except they were new faces and new horses to me. And many asked when I could come join them on the trail again. And in the end, when I was in shock as to how well Hank did, I had many who I had not met, come up and congratulate Hank and I on doing so well. I had offers to stay at peoples homes in our travels, and left the ride feeling like I had made many new friends.

Now, a bit on Regional ride differences for those who read this and ride NATRC. Being different does not mean it was right or wrong. Just different.

Riders time out in numerical order in the morning. But, they also auction off rider numbers, so if you are a rider who likes to time out first, you may have been spending more to “buy” rider number 1. In Region 4, we time out in what ever order we want, with open heading out first. If I, as an open rider want to time out towards the front, I am sure to be up there waiting first in line as the timer sets up.

All the P&R’s had a mandatory forward motion, or even a mandatory trot into them. Some were up a long slow gradual climb. This eliminates people stopping just a few feet from the P&R timer and “waiting” before timing in. And indeed, no rule against this, but to me, this has always been very tacky. I prefer mandatory forward motions into P&R’s to have that even playing field for horses arriving after the same amount of forward motion (or trot).

This ride (and I think others in region 3) make feeding the riders part of the ride. We had Friday night Spaghetti, Saturday Sloppy Joes, er, I mean “Jims” in camp during our lunch break mid ride, Saturday night lemon chicken, and Sunday salad bar after we got back to camp for lunch. Region 4 does some meals, at some rides, but a Saturday night potluck is very common.

The ride had not only a board meeting, but also would have a bit of a general meeting to ask questions etc. of regional thoughts before the rider meeting. They also have board members for different districts of the region. I don’t think we have “districts” in region 4. (maybe I just missed it) Region 3 seems to keep the communication lines flowing well between the members, and were very organized in this from an outsider perspective. They ask for feedback from riders at most meetings.

They offered an auction before awards. Another great way to generate some income for the ride. It also gathered riders out of their LQ trailers and campers, and in to that central area to socialize. I am basically anti social, but it was nice to see an effort made to get people gathering. And, this is not so much a regional difference, as Region 4 is pretty social with each other. Just a notation.

And now, for those photos what did not fit into the blog.

camp on Friday night

trail bridge. Mountain bikers appreciate them more than the horses ;-)

The Burger King and grocery store!

Academy gas station. Needed a hitching rail to tie up and get a snack!

cabin on the Academy, that has history, I am sure

the footing on most of the trail, even after rain was wonderful

another climb

thru the woods. Hey Hank, want a bite of grass?

how DID this train car get in the mountains?

trail along the side of the mountain

Hank with his High score Arabian halter and lead, Sweepstakes blanket, and ribbons

Our stop on the way home along a quiet road in Texas

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Ahh Hail

A short break from our Colorado adventure to share a weather report. We had a hail storm blow through tonight that was a tad unnerving. Had reports of large hail from the scanner and weather watchers about 5 min. before it started. It was just pea sized hail and rain in the beginning. We stood under the back porch and watched it hit the yard. Horses were no where to be found. Then they came running for the barn across the pasture. The hail hitting them has to hurt! Flag ran under the shelter, but the sound on the roof scares them, and the other 4 would go under the shelter for a moment, then dash back outside. Finally when most of the hail falling was around an inch to two inches, they all stayed under cover. While actually amazing to watch it fall, and bounce as it hit the ground, I was more than happy when it finally stopped. We got an inch of rain in that 20 min storm. Here is a video:

And some photos

Sunday, May 24, 2009

the importance of a couple circles

Sitting here in my camper, listening to the rain fall on the roof, as darkness has fallen on Colorado Springs. Horses have their waterproof jammies on, although, I found out this weekend, the ones on Flag are not as waterproof as they once were. But, they have had a lot of use since 2003 or so, when ever we got them. Checked radar, and this should end soon, and I will See if Flag is wet, cold, or both. He is such a cold weather wimp, but it is not THAT bad. About 55 or so.

Today we had 20-something miles to ride. The sky was a solid grey, but I could see blue sky on the horizon. So, I pulled the waterproof saddle cover off, tied the rain jacket on the saddle, and wore my tights, without the rain pants covering them. Had some comments. lol Many more ride in jeans in Region 3, than they do in Region 4. I imagine out heat and humidity is the big reason. Anyway, we head out, and have an observation by the vet and horsemanship judge, about a mile out. Just a bit of off trail, down and up some small terrace type "bumps". Hank was a good boy, but I heard my butt smack the saddle on one up hill. Oh well. We had a mandatory trot into the first pulse and respiration stop was a little more warm, no breeze, and it felt more humid than I'd expect for Colorado. I noticed a couple horses with elevated respiration. Our living in TX helped, as Hank had no issues. I decided to get him alone again, away from any other horses. He went fine for awhile, then I felt him start to get a tiny bit uptight. His poop changed to more soft than not. He was not being bad (yet) but he was worried about something. Horsemanship judge had us do an obstacle at a creek, then we were on our way to the next P&R. We caught up with a couple horses, and followed them in. This one was at the top of a hill, with a mandatory forward motion in to it. Again, Hank had no issues, and we were ready to leave. This is where the aliens must have sucked Hanks brain out of his head. He got more and more uptight, and just stupid. Fretting, and his chin was so tight with anxiety. I thought it was because we were heading towards camp, but he passed the turn to camp, and was still upset. He had the same two horses out in front of him, and wanted to catch up. He did not drink well at the creeks, and would not graze. This went on for about 6-8 miles. Finally, after we passed a stable, and I got him to stop there, and relax, he got his brain back. Aliens must have had fun with it, trying to figure how something so intelligent kept thinking of carrots. So, not I had my horse back, and the sun was out, and it was a lovely day. we went up and down more little goat trails, and moved out along some wide dirt roads, as the timing seemed like we were behind again. Cantered through a section of woods with lovely soft sandy soil, but not deep. We were both having fun again, but earlier we were both pretty irritated.

With about 4 miles to go, I caught up to the front horses, and we headed in to camp together. The rain held off, and we could hear the thunderstorm rolling in our direction, but it again, slipped to the east. Over all, for the whole weekend, the weather was dang nice. We got rained on some, but not bad, and it was cool enough for the horses, but not cold to "me". Layer of clothes seems to be the standard for this area.

Got back to camp, took care of Hank first, then took Thelma for a quick walk, and checked Flag. What a good boy he has been all weekend to stay tied to the trailer and watch everything that went on, including Hank come and go. He so wanted to get attention, and I am sure, go for a ride. Cheerful little guy, who really does enjoy the trail.

Now it was time for the final check out. Hanks legs and back were great, and when I had him lunge his circles, he was perky, forward, and I thought moved very well. Little did I know how important those circles would be later.

This is the part I hate. Packing to go home. Two horses, a dog, and myself have a lot of stuff. I got the feed repacked up in the first stall of the trailer, tack etc. put away, camper straightened out some. Later I would remember to pull the tire where the bearing was hot, and have my hubby talk me though pulling it out and checking it, including repacking it. Will know tomorrow if I got the job done. Hopefully it will not still run hot, as the one I bought on the way up turned out to be too big.

Region 3 is very social. They had an auction before awards, to get folks up to gather around, and maybe spend a little money to support the region. I sat and watched, bid once, and ended up keeping my money for today. Finally, it was award time. I knew Han had pretty good metabolics all weekend, and was excellent for the vet on his manners, and he is a very sound horse, and my Specialized Saddle is working excellent, so his back is always good. But until awards, you never know how you compare. Region 3 has some wonderful horses, that we were honored to be sharing the trails with. Horses that ride in hills a heck of a lot more than my little flatlander. Even with Hanks brain going missing for awhile, the ride was worth the trip, even if we did not place well. Had moments on the trail that I just had to hug him, as I was feeling so lucky to be there sharing the trail with him. So, when they announced Hank for first place in the large class of ten horses, I was speechless. I sat down and sent a text to some of Hanks fan club, and then was going to turn the phone off, as any replies came back to me, but it is a newer phone, I could not change the ringer to silent, or turn if off, so it kept chiming as I sat there, with it under by butt, trying to not have it annoy anyone. But I had to get up off of it when they announced Hank had also won sweepstakes. A total of 17 Open horses I think at this ride. They gave him a lovely blanket, and before I could sit down, he got the high score Arabian award, which he got a pretty blue halter and lead rope. I have watched others win a bunch of items, and tease them about needing a bigger truck to haul it home. Today, someone teased ME! And the icing on the cake, was the fact Hank had a perfect score of 100, with a plus mark. Remember those circles we lunged. He had some nice movement, attitude and willingness, he got a + from the vet. The second place horse had a perfect score too. But missed out on the plus sign.

So, the rain is still falling as I finish this up, and I guess I'll get to put on that rain coat for one more trailer check before bed, and kiss the horses on the noses (Hank will get TWO kisses) and get some rest for our trip home tomorrow.

A full photo report will follow! I promise! Oh, and that butt smack on the uphill, cost my horsemanship score 2 points. lol I placed 4th. Which was still pretty darn good in this large class of great riders.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Red fox and Burger King

Well, day one of the ride is over. Thought I'd do a quick note, without photos, and fill in details later. The area and trails were not what I expected. Not better, or worse, just different. We ride though the Air Force academy. Parts are very wilderness like, including the red fox that dashed in front of me, while other parts are very urban, including riding past the academy gas station and Burger King. We saw all parts of the academy, and it really is lovely. Climbed up to somewhere around 7800' (will check GPS later) and had views to the east of Colorado Springs and beyond. Rode behinds some beautiful large homes, and rode in very remoe areas one would never imagine the "city" was so close.

Hank did really well. Great P&R's, metabolics were good, sound and happy after our 30 miles today. Had a bit of rain on the trail, but the footing was really good for the most part. Watched storms rolling our way, thinking we were going to get dumped on, only to catch just the edge. Not that cold, but not as warm as home! Maybe a high of 60 today. Might be warmer tomorrow.

The photos will tell more of the story. Now, time for bed. Might have to go give Hank a kiss on the nosr first through.

Friday, May 22, 2009

rainy days and mud-days get me down

Too late to add photos tonight. I'll add them later this weekend!

Not much rain Thursday night. Before I went to bed, I looked at radar, and we had some ugly stuff that was kind of heading this way. But, I don’t know the normal flow of the storms here, like I do at home, and which direction they normally track. About 10:30 this AM, rigs started to flow in. About then, I saddle up Hank, and grabbed Flag, and went for a ride up the small hill above camp. Both horses needed to stretch their legs. Flag actually ponied really nice, but Hank was feeling pretty cheeky, and wanted to GO! I checked the GPS at the top of the hill, and it was 7200’. Camp is about 6800. Took a photo of the camp with the early arrivals. Came back down, passed through camp, and found a creek crossing, which the horses drank from. Flag is not drinking super, but seemed to like the creek. Got back to my trailer and found I had neighbors. I can never understand when a ride does have a nice big field like this one does, that people feel the need to park super close to another rig. I understand some rides just do not have a lot of space, but this field is plenty big for all 65 riders, and have breathing room.

I got my rider packet, met a few more people, and told them I am horrible with names and faces, and no way will I remember everyone. Heck, I have trouble in my own region! The sky was getting darker up over the mountains, and I heard some distant thunder. I decided it would be best of I went and grabbed Hank, and got checked in before the rain came our way. And I managed to do just that. When done, some sprinkles started, still some thunder around us. Someone rode through camp and said a “lightning warning” had been issued, and I might want to get inside my vehicle. Texas is no wimp when it comes to thunderstorms. I have been stuck outside, even on the trail at rides when lighting is flashing so bright, even in the daylight it is like a strobe. But I had not heard of a “lightning warning”. Thunderstorm warning, yes. So, I did go ask, to make sure I was not up to speed on what to do if lighting is in the area, and also if we are on the trail, and a bad storm hits. One thing he said is if it is really bad. I mean, it is hitting nearby etc., you can get off the horse, scrunch yourself up in a tight squatting position, and keep both feet as tight together as possible, to have as small of a grounding area as you can. Made sense, and hope I do not have to try this out!

So, the rain is now falling steady. Horses have waterproof blankets on, and radar shows scattered storms all over the Southwest. But, I brought rain gear, and am prepared to ride in what ever weather we are given, as long as the trails are safe. So, I fussed with different rain gear, trying to figure what to wear, that will layer, and keep me dry, warm, and not too hot if the sun comes out. Hank is not broke to my wearing a riding slicker, so it is the rain suit and pants. I have a cover for my saddle, and it is on already. And even though I mentioned mud in the title, so far, this soild takes care of the water well. We will see after 60 horses tromp down the trail how it looks

After hours of a light steady rain, it was time for the rider meeting. Rain let up momentarily, until it came time to go over the maps and trail. The trail master was very thorough, and had it not been raining, and had folks not got cold, and anxious to get back to their rigs, she gave excellent, details of the trail. But most of us just shut down out thinking, and wanted to get the bottom line. What color ribbons will we follow, and where are the point markers. I’m just going to follow someone who has ridden here before until I can see her markings, and how well they have stayed up through the rain, and folks pulling them down.

So, since the meeting ran a tad long, and had a few more things to get done forf the morning, it is now bed time. Hopefully we will see the blue sky at least a little tomorrow!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

another adventure

(Remember, you can click on any photo for larger view)

Not sure what to title this one. Something to the lines of “if it weren’t for bad luck, I’d have no luck”, or “maybe I should have just stayed in bed”. How about, “never a dull moment”. One of my more eventful trips, that is for sure. And nothing really bad, just little stuff.

The trailer went to the shop for the other two brakes to be installed that hubby could not do because they sold us the wrong size. The got it done at closing time Tuesday. Got the horses shod early Wednesday AM, went back home, washed the dog, and headed out. Stopped by the tire shop, as I had one with a slow leak, and needed them to look at it. I figured a nail. They would patch it from the inside like they do for me, and I’d be on my way. When I asked the guy how many holes, he said “too many”. “How many?” Again, “too many”. He shows not only the holes, but some visible staples in the tire. Can’t even be fixed as a spare. So, buy a new tire. I hit the road, about 2 hours later than planned, but that is OK. Then, the dog, who slept most of the trip to Arkansas and back, decides she needs potty breaks every two hours. So progress is not as quick as I’d like.

Everything is so green right now along 287 between home and Amarillo. While it started out as a drought looking year, we have caught up in some rain, and the fields were not looking too bad. Just north of Wichita Falls are some camels that live in a pasture. You can not always spot them, as they will sometimes we far back, among the trees, but today I was able to see many of them, and snap a photo with my little camera

Not far after than, dog tells me she needs a break. So, stop, unload her, reload her, and on our way again. She does sleep pretty sound in the back seat. I put a nice big blanket down for her to sack out on.

I make it to Amarillo before sunset, and stop at the truck stop to refuel, and get the horses unloaded, walk around, nibble some grass, and eat a beet pulp mash. This is when I notice that my camper refrigerator, which never gives me any issues, has decided it does not want to stay lit and working going down the road. 14 years, and it finally decides to act up a bit. So, grab some ice, transfer food to the ice chest, and away we go again. Then, my navigation NUVI starts sending me on a weird route, and I look, and it was set up for shortest route with a car. Meanwhile I get a scenic look at N. Amarillo! I decide to drive another few hours, to Clayton NM, where I found a fairgrounds. Get there, fumble around the back roads, including having to turn around on a dead end street, and finally find the gate, stables, and a place to park. Someone else is there, so the horses are not alone. Not a bad little spot. Nothing special, but covered corrals, and I parked right next to them.

Next AM, I fire up the truck, head out, and it starts running rough, then the “check engine” light comes on, and it is running really rough. Call to hubby and he thinks maybe the fuel filter, as it started to run better after a few min. So, onward! I get to Raton NM, and stop at an Auto Zone to get a fuel filter. I get out of the truck, and see one of my bale bags with a bale of hay is hanging OFF the roof.

My extra bag of shavings has disappeared. I am guessing it got a hole in it, and slowly the contents blew out, until the bag was empty, and my expert tie down job was now too loose, and the bale of hay tried to take flight. As I am leaving, I decide to check the hubs on the trailer for heat, and signs of any of the bearings having issues. Three are fine, one is hot! We are guessing maybe it was tightened too tight when greased. But, seems like I can keep heading on to the ride camp, and then deal with it. I exited for a sign for a travel center, to get fuel, but it ended up not being a fuel location at all. And it is on a dead end road, and I have to again, look for a place to turn around. But then I see a sign for a place that says TRAILERS. I pull in, and he actually has a bearing, so I buy it, in case this one IS bad, I can get it swapped out. Shesh, what am I forgetting? Lets see. Tire, fuel filter, shavings left me, hay tried to leave, bearing…. I think that is it. Just stupid things. But the beauty of the drive, and knowing what a lovely area I’ll be camping and riding at this weekend makes up for the weird things happening. A bit of a storm is rolling in from the west as I head closer to the ride.

Pulling off freeway, and heading up into the base of the mountains where camp is, and taking in the beauty of the surroundings.

I arrived at ride camp, and was the first rider here. Lovely spot in a large clearing at the base of the mountains.

Got settled in, horses and dog taken care of, and then climbed in the camper to listen to the light rain fall. The soil is such, that it does not get muddy, so hopefully, we won’t get much more, and the trails will be in excellent shape. Hank keeps talking to whom ever will listen. Flag is on the other side of the trailer, so he wants to make sure he is still there. But Flag never replies. The ride is full, with about 65 riders this weekend. I am really looking forward to some mountain time! Will try to post during the weekend, since I seem to have 3G with the wireless card.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Trailers and travels

I've been busy the past couple weeks getting ready for our next NATRC ride. I decided that it was time to have a few things worked on with the horse trailer. Besides having the bearings done, we decided to replace the brake units. Took it to a small independent mechanic, but he had some troubles getting the job done, so my hubby took on part of the task. Did you know you can find information on doing about any repairs on your horse trailer on Youtube? Hubby is handy, and had the basic idea on what needed done, and how to do it. We just looked up a few details, and then went to work. Jacked up the trailer, tires removed, bearings removed, and the brake unit removed, and new one installed. Could have been a simple task until we saw the store sold us the wrong size brake units, and this was Sunday, and hubby was leaving Monday AM before dawn. So, saving some money ended up with the trailer over to the trailer repair shop to finish the job. *sigh* But, it has four new brakes. The trailer is a 1994, and it was time to change the units.

I have everything packed, and ready to go. Some extra hay on my roof rack, water tanks full. The back seat is made up for the dog. She is on some medication for a couple weeks, so she scored getting to go to another ride. I really prefer to leave her at home, as it is one less thing to take care of, and worry about. If I knew every other person had their dogs contained, on leashes, tied up like I do, it would be something I did not mind as much, but loose dogs, coming to "visit" Thelma is not a good thing.

I'm taking Flag along too. He travels well, and hauling a long distance, anything can happen. Hate to show up at a ride and have a lame horse, and then nothing to ride. So Flag is my back up horse.

Hank is looking really good. His weight is great, his coat shines, and his attitude seems good. About 8 months since the surgery.

I forgot to mention the ride we are heading to. It is the Air Force Academy ride in Region 3, in Colorado Springs. I have been told it is beautiful. I have wanted to ride in region 3 for awhile. This will be an excellent test on Hanks condition to see how fit and healthy he really is. Camp elevation is 7000 feet. The vet for the ride has vetted Hank before, but not at a NATRC ride. Dr. Greg Fellers is the head vet at Tevis. I'm excited about getting to ride a NATRC ride with a vet who is so condition and metabolic / soundness minded.

Now, off to bed. Horse shoes first thing in the AM, then we start our 700 mile drive to the ride. I should have Internet, but we will see if I get time to blog