Sunday, July 15, 2012

Bandit Springs

This past weekend, I went to my third endurance ride as a non-participant (still haven't participated in one, and if you read my last post, you'll see it's probably going to be a while until I do).

At my first ride, Grizzly, Hutch and her mom rode 10 miles together, so didn't need crew, and SweetPea had Rebel, so didn't need crew, so I scribed for the vet most of the day and learned a TON.

The second ride, Sunriver, I crewed for Hutch and SweetPea.

This time, I have FOUR friends riding--Hutch and SweetPea per usual, plus VH and her friend...what should her nickname be?  I can think of a few possibilities.  For now, I'll just call her K.  :-)  I arrived last out of everyone (and I didn't even have a horse to pack for), and helped VH set up the tent and moved my clothing in.  It made sense to leave the rest of my stuff in the car so I could haul it around to the vet checks tomorrow.

The ride meeting was held soon after I got there.  There were two loops for the people riding 50s (3/4 of my friends)--a 20 mile loop back to camp, then a 30 mile loop with an out check halfway through it.  VH, riding the 30, would do the same 30 mile loop, but even starting an hour later than the others, would likely be through with the out check (15 miles in) before the others got there 35 miles plus a 45-minute hold through their ride.  So we wouldn't be seeing each other until everyone was done.

After the ride meeting, we headed back to camp.  I took some photos of the horses...

Flash and Leo - they're totally bros.

Flash and Leo had nice corrals to stay in, but the three horses K and VH brought were tied to the trailer, so I went along with K and VH to take them for a little meadow walk to stretch their legs and graze a bit.

K and her handsome stallion, Monster.

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VH and her handsome gelding, Bobblehead, I mean DeWayne Brown

K and her handsome gelding Zephyr.  He's not pink, just fleabitten at sunset.

I walked Zephyr, but when we started with the taking photos, K wanted to pose with him, too, so she handed me Monster's lead and her glass, in addition to my own cup and the camera.  Right about the time I finished taking photos, Monster figured there must be some pretty mares around SOMEwhere, and started running around.  Luckily, I didn't lose my grip on the rope, but he did take a couple spins around me at the trot and canter.  Whee!

We sat around camp and chatted some more.  Talk got pretty raunchy, and my friends can get pretty loud, so we got some interesting looks the next morning.  :-)  Ah well...

I volunteered to get up at 3:00 a.m. again to feed the boys.  Crawling out of the sleeping bag kinda sucks, but everything after that is just so nice.  It really wasn't very cold at all--I was wearing just a T-shirt and fleece pants and never got cold.  The feed was already prepared, so I just had to slide Leo's bucket under his fence and poor the dry and wet parts of Flash's feed into his bucket, which was already hanging on his fence.  Flash was laying down (the first time he felt comfortable enough to lay down at a ride, that we know of) when I first got up, but he rolled up onto his chest when he saw me, then stood up as soon as he realized what I was up to.

Once the horses were happily slurping their slop, I went and grabbed my camera.  When I first got up, the moon looked really cool, shining off a bank of clouds.  Unfortunately, the clouds moved in front of the moon while I was feeding the horses.  So I killed time waiting for either the clouds or the moon to move out of each other's way by taking photos of the stars instead.  Not too exciting, unfortunately, but I thought it was cool that they showed up as all different colors.

It was a short nap until the alarm went off again at 5:00.  I was helping Hutch tack up when SweetPea came out of her camper looking a little green, and said she developed a fever overnight and was debating whether to ride today.  We were trying to talk her into not riding when she realized she was feeling crappier the longer she stood out there thinking about it, so she went back to bed.

Now I had one fewer rider to help crew for in the vet checks, but now I would be the only crew person, because Rebel would be staying back at camp with SweetPea.  I finished "helping" Hutch get Leo ready to go (the scare quotes are because I don't know how much I actually help--I just mostly stand around asking what I can do to help).

She didn't want to mount up in camp and have to ride Leo away from Flash, but she also didn't want to wait until the start line to mount.

So about halfway between the two, we paused for her to mount up.  Unfortunately, it was still close enough to camp that Leo and Flash were calling for each other.  And close enough to the start line that people were streaming by us.  She finally got up on him, but he was quite amped up, peforming an amateur levade quite a few times.  She had one foot half in the stirrup, one foot not in the stirrup at all, and a riding crop in her mouth.  But she stayed on, got him under control, and they proceeded toward the start.

After seeing Hutch off at the start, here came K on her stallion.

It turns out K caught up with Hutch before too long, and they spent the rest of the ride together.

I moseyed back to camp, and took a couple of photos of random riders and horses along the way.

How awesome is that blanket?
 I tried to console Flash that Leo would come back eventually, but I don't think he stopped pacing and calling for him all day.

Why?  Why did he leave me?  Look, I'm all braided up and everything!  Why can't I go?
VH was just getting DeWayne ready to go.  There wasn't much for me to do to help, so I just stood around and took photos, and followed her back to the start line.

And once again, I took photos of random people and horses there at the starting area and on my way back to camp again.

I can't tell if this mule looks really happy or really NOT happy.  Definitely adorable, in any case.

 I might be wrong, but I believe the horse on the right is the one that dumped his rider and disappeared, and was still missing last I heard.  I hope he turned up already, or if not, is found soon.

At camp, I cleaned the poop out of Leo's pen, checked his food and water and decided the hay bag was full enough and the water would only get warm so it made sense to top it off after the ride instead of before.

I gathered the last few things I though we would need, and drove my car down to the vet check area (same as the starting area, but far enough from camp I didn't want to waste part of the 45-minute hold walking back and forth to camp, so I drove down there with all the same gear I would have driven to an out check.

The three rides I've been to have had three different configurations.  At Grizzly, all the checks were in camp.  This was definitely more interesting as a scribe, as it meant we saw all the horses, most of them multiple times, without having to go anywhere.  It would definitely be the easiest configuration as a crew person, too, and convenient to have camp nearby--the rider and horse can rest a little more comfortably during the longer hold times. 

At Sunriver, all the vet checks were outchecks.  I'm sure this is much nicer for the riders, to ride a big loop and see different scenery the whole time.  But it's a little more stressful for the crew person--I didn't even try to get to the first check (it was a quick in-and-out, and they figured they wouldn't need me anyway), so it was leisurely to straighten up around camp then head to the second check.  But then I had to drive like a madwoman to get to the third check in time.  Lucky for me (but not them), they were going pretty slowly and I made it in plenty of time.  At the rider meeting, they said drivers wouldn't even make it back to camp before the riders, but though they made better time on that leg, I made even better time on that 4WD road, and I did make it.  But still...all outchecks is quite a bit of effort for the crew.

This ride was the best of both worlds, I think.  The riders got to ride out and away from camp most of the time, but there was only one outcheck.  And of the vet checks, the one in camp was the first one, so when "my" riders realized a couple of things they wished they could have at the next stop, I was able to get it for them easily, then head out to the next check.  At Sunriver, it likely wouldn't have been possible.

Anyway, I hung out at the vet check, waiting for Hutch and K to arrive, and taking photos of random people in the meantime.

Then all of a sudden, they arrived!

Unfortunately, I got so busy helping them that I forgot to take any further pictures at the vet check.

The drive to the next check was beautiful, so I can't even imagine the gorgeous scenery the riders got to enjoy.

 I got to enjoy a bit of a lull until they arrived at the check (they had 15 miles to ride on horseback, and I had around the same number to drive by car).

Then before long, they arrived to this vet check.  I took a few more photos this time, but still...with only 30 minutes to tend to the horses and riders, there wasn't a ton of time to spare.  K even loaned a guy an Easy Boot--I hope he returned it at some point.

Leo kept turning up his nose at the various concoctions of feed in favor of GRASS.

Monster looks like he's thinking about something important...

Hutch looks like she's ready to go again.  She was feeling much better 35 miles into this ride than she was 30 miles into Sunriver.

After they took off for the last 15 miles, I knew I'd have a bit of time to kill before heading back to camp for the final vet check, so I sat around and watched riders come and go.  I might have pulsed a couple, but there were already a few people with stethoscopes there, so they didn't really need me.

I headed back to camp, and alternated sitting around with helping to pulse riders in.

These kids rode 50 miles in saddles, passed their horses through the vet check, then hopped back on bareback for a little cantering around the meadow.  Those crazy kids!

Then suddenly K and Hutch appeared at the finish line!  Hutch let K take the earlier finish, as she was riding a stallion she hoped to put a good record on for future breeding potential.  Unfortunately, they JUST missed the top ten--they came in 11th and 12th.

Hutch looks quite pleased with herself, as she should!

I didn't catch their official ride time, but they started at 6 and finished at 2-something, roughly two hours earlier than Hutch and SweetPea finished at Sunriver.

Monster vetting through

Leo's pulse wouldn't come down at first, but once he got a good roll in, he pulsed down soon after.

Leo getting vetted

How cute was this guy?

The poultice on DeWayne's legs looked like peeling paint...kinda cool

With all the horses safely vetted through, we headed back to camp.  I walked with K and VH, leading the third horse with them again a couple times, we had some dinner and beverages, talked a little rowdy some more, and then the thunder started.  At first there was just a smattering of drops, but then it started raining more and more in earnest.  So I never got my camera back out to take post-ride photos, and then I ended up packing the rest of my stuff into the car and heading home.  I'm glad I did--it rained most of my drive home and POURED on my warm dry house once I did get home.

I heard from Hutch that SweetPea did go out on the Sunday ride with Flash, and VH rode again, too, though I didn't catch which horse she rode (probably one of K's, but I'm not sure).  K didn't ride, because she took a tumble on the ride on Saturday--Monster dripped and endo-ed, and while neither horse nor rider were hurt nearly as much as they SHOULD have been, K did have a few bumps and bruises, plus a sore ankle where Monster had stepped on it when getting back up.

I felt bad ditching them, but they had Rebel to help them, so I'm sure they did fine.  I look forward to hearing how they fared on Sunday, though.

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