My mind and body are still reeling from the weekend, which couldn't have been any more perfect. It all started a few weeks ago, when I heard rumor that the ride manager of the Owyhee Hallowed Weenies would put on a 75 if there were five or more starters. The wheels started turning, and my plan set into play. I immediately went to work recruiting riders, and before we knew it at least seven people had entered. I then went to work on my second plan... convincing my riding buddy that this 75 would be the perfect ending to her season. I had it all planned out; plant the seed, water it for a few days and then hit it with a major dose of peer pressure. Unfortunately she ruined my plan when I brought it up and she said "Sure!" Simple as that! Well I wouldn't complain, the weekend was on!
Coming into camp before our final 12 mile loop. Replika didn't particularly enjoy riding with "Spot" the Dalmation, but she dealt with it just fine.
After the initial excitement of realizing that I would be getting 75 more miles on my favorite pony, I quickly realized that Khopy was coming out of his skin in fitness, and decided that he needed another ride before the long winter. At that time I thought it sounded like a great idea to ride Replika on the 75 on Saturday, and Khopy on the 50 the next day. I knew it would be tiring but was happy to give it a shot!!
Mounting up for the second loop on Khopy. The tutu is for YOU, Sandra!!! If you look closely you can see the broken Powerstrap on the left hind. I didn't mess with it and we had no problems the entire ride.
I had planned on gluing boots on Replika, and riding Khopy in his Gloves. Although I was a bit concerned about all the rain, I didn't have much time to really worry, and figured there wasn't much I could do anyway.
The week rolled on like a freight train, and I began to get discouraged! So much to do, no time to do it! Thankfully I had started using the Adhere/Goober Glue combo for gluing boots, so when I realized I wouldn't be able to glue Replika's boots on until Friday, I didn't panic. For all of you gluing on boots, I very much recommend adding a little Adhere to the process. I was able to glue on the boots, load up feed and a few extras, put the horses in the trailer and off I went without worrying about twisting or holding her still for an hour while the Goober Glue set. As always, the boots performed flawlessly throughout the day.
Coming into the 65 mile vetcheck. Twelve miles to go!
Elly, who also uses Easyboot Glue-Ons, and I set out at the beginning of our 75 miles bright and early the next morning. We have ridden many miles together and were excited to embark on her and Jasper's first long distance ride. Jasper is a big-moving, goliath of a cross-bred gelding, and sports his size 2.5 Glue-Ons like a champ. Coupled with Replika's dainty self, they make quite the pair. We traveled over miles and miles of sand, rock, gravel and moondust, the horses never faltering. We kept ourselves busy making up ghost stories and trying to scare each other creepy tales. The day lent itself to creepiness, the erie desert landscape muted by late fall. The miles clicked by, and the day wore on. We arrived back at camp after two outchecks, at 55 miles. It was nearing 5 PM and we were sure to be riding at least a little while in the dark. Funny how the day seemed long at the time, but looking back, seems as though it went far too fast. We left camp before 6, and rode on into the dusk, cantering fresh horses into the dark. Although I worried about getting lost in the dark, getting cold in the late October evening and being too tired to give Khopy a good ride the next day, I never worried about my boots. Replika and Jasper picked their way through the dark, glowstick to glowstick, making each of us proud of all of us. It was a glorious day!
Elly and Jasper cantering along a gravel road coming into the 50-mile vetcheck. I was bragging on my mad skills for being able to snap pictures while galloping along side. This is what Elly thought of that!
The trail through the spooky canyon...
The hobbit wind caves....
And the gorgeous fall colors. All made for a memorable Halloween ride.
After completing that night, we chowed down in the warm trailer and eventually fell quickly asleep. A good friend had vetted Khopy in for me earlier that day, and Robert and Elly's husband went to work installing Powerstraps on Khopy's brand new set of Easyboot Gloves. I woke up quickly the next morning, excited for the chance to ride yet another pretty cool pony. I popped Khopy's boots on, saddled up and was ready to start the last 50 miles of the year. Feeling fresh after standing on his Hi-Tie for two days and watching the front runners take off over the hill at the start, Khopy had a minor melt-down that was taken care of quickly on my part, and soon we were on our way.
Khopy's first trip down by the river.
Khopy quickly hit his groove and kept a lovely trot and canter over the terrain, never slowing through the rocks or over hard ground. He trotted out beautifully at the vet checks and soon we were leaving on our last loop. This loop was the same loop that Elly and I completed the night before, halfway in the dark. On this loop, there was to be about 4 miles of gravel road, that seemed to go on and on, in the waning light AND in the full sun of the day. It wasn't until this point that Khopy started shortening his stride and becoming a bit mopey. Being only his second ride, I figured he would get tired at some point, and this was it. He kept up a nice trot but I wished I had taken the time the day before to put his Gloves on with Goober Glue as a sole packing. Lesson learned and I will be using Goober Glue with the Gloves for endurance rides from now on. Of course once we got off the gravel road and onto the trail into camp he picked up the pace and all but flew into camp. I'm pretty impressed by this guy!
I have ridden 850 endurance miles this season, all in Easyboot Gloves of Glue-Ons. I have ridden countless conditioning and trail riding miles, and in Gloves or going completely barefoot. It has truly been a banner year. My horses look amazing, I feel like I have solidified my glue-on process and am 100% confident in the Gloves. Although I am a bit sad to end the season, I am content to bask in the glow of success at this time, knowing I have done everything I could to protect my horses' legs and feet throughout the miles. I also hope to put some time in on the baby, and let Replika enjoy a winter off.
My most favorite view in the world.
What are your goals for winter?