Monday, July 19, 2010

Bald Mountain Butt Buster 2010

I should have lots of pictures and plenty of stories for this post after the CTR I have been working towards since the first of the year. But you know what they say about the best laid plans........

July 10 and 11 I rode the dress rehersal and final timing for the CTR. Vooshka was great - 21 miles on Saturday and 19 miles on Sunday. She rode with horses she hadn't ridden with before and even stayed with me when the horse we were riding with decided to leave his rider at the P&R and head down the mountain. Voosh and I were left at 1200' by ourselves and had to ride down a gnarly deep brush trail in bear country. The absent horse and rider were reunited and finished the ride with us.

At the very end of the ride Voosh came up lame on her right front. We walked home and I didn't plan on riding her until Saturday the 17th. We were supposed to be drag safety rider for the Novice/CP division.

Saturday dawned clear and bright. I was at ride camp by 7:30 am and had Voosh saddled by 8:00 for an 8:30 departure. My trailer was parked right by the timer's tent so there were 50 horses and riders gathered in the presentation area beside us. Long story short, Voosh lost her mind with all the activity and energy level. She did the best impression of "airs above the ground" that I have ever seen. Thank goodness there was someone to take my place as safety rider because there was no way I was getting on that horse.

I actually did ride her later because she couldn't get away with that nonsense. I rode the Mare after lunch for the PM trail.

The rest of the weekend I was camp go-fer. I used the wheeler to set signs and mark trails. I got all the ribbons and prizes organized. I picked up trash. I helped enter data into excel spreadsheets. I brought the judges their dinner (smoked prime rib, baked potato, green beans and corn on the cob, chocolate cake).

Although it wasn't the CTR I imagined, I still got to participate in some way. And I will get to ride more because all the flagging has to be taken down!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Riding in Alaska

So we have this competitive trail ride on July 16, 17 and 18. This past week we have been flagging the trails with bright surveyor's tape in four different colors so that the riders can follow their designated trails. Our Trail Master is super organized and has color coded maps for us to follow. On Monday evening our group of four set out to mark Saturday afternoon's ride. All went well until I couldn't find the field marked "Clover" on the map. So we didn't mark that and continued to the P&R location. The Open ride went one way and the CP/Novice went the other so Christy and I took the novice flagging while the other two riders did Open.

This ride is on trails we only ride on every other year. I don't know all the specific trails and there were times Christy and I backtracked taking down flagging, then re-flagging correctly. We finally met up with the other crew who had the same problem on their Open trails. It was getting late so I said that Briar and I would finish the flagging on Tuesday.

Tuesday was rather hectic and we didn't get on the trail until almost 8 pm. We got to where I thought "Clover" was but the field was full of an excellent stand of timothy hay - not a clover in sight! Thank goodness for cell phones. When I called out Trail Master she said I was in the right place, that the field was full of clover 20 years ago when they named the field. It's a 2/3 mile trot around the field into the P&R. So we trotted!

Then I second guessed myself and unflagged to reflag. I KNOW better than that. So I had to unflag the reflag and put all the flags back. ARRRGHHHH. By this time Briar was tired, my horse was tired and the poor Mare (who is not in shape at all) was tired. We got all the flagging completed and will do a dress rehersal this weekend to see how well we did.

Our at the most two hour ride became a four hour ride. We got home at midnight.

Here's Briar and the Mare. I took this picture with my phone so this is really what it looked like - no flash or artificial light, Can you guess what time it is? 11:30 PM!!! Now do you see why I am so tired in the summer? When it is daylight until midnight or later your perception of what time it is is very flawed. Moms in Alaska in the summertime do not tell their kids to come home when the street lights come on.