Where did I end off? Last time I wrote about the beginning of the Owyhee Fandango endurance ride, and the fun we had with our Easyboot Family. I believe I left several pretty strong indicators of what was to come, weather-wise. I'll just jump right in.
So after not riding Friday, I was ready for Breve's endurance debut! We decided to give him a little extra sole protection by adding Sikaflex to his size 3 Easyboot Gloves, and applied tape and powerstraps to his hind boots. He was ready to go. That night, I also lucky enough to have Nero's Glue-Ons applied by The Grand Boot Masters in a type of boot-gluing assembly, as they would be gluing boots on a few hundred-mile horses for the Sunday ride. My last gluing experience was a wee-bit, um, insane. Despite having glued on successfully dozens of times previously, watching Kevin and Rusty glue boots on my horse totally reminded me that gluing is *not* akin to ripping your fingernails out, so long as you have all of your supplies laid out, the appropriate amount of glue, tips, gloves, etc, and are working on horses who have been properly trimmed and fit for boots. It is what you make of it, and one situation where being completely organized and prepared pays tenfold. But I digress.
Thankfully, due to modern technology, I spent the remainder of the afternoon/evening obsessively checking the weather forecast for the next day. I tend to be a bit of a buttercup and am not generally one of those "tough it out" types when it comes to nasty weather. Specifically wet, cold, wind, etc. That said, I'll ride all day long in 100* so I guess I can give myself a little credit. The forecast said 30% chance of rain, which allowed me to fall asleep happily, boots on, horse ready and 70% chance of not rain. I woke up the next morning super excited and ignored the teeny pitter-patter on the roof. I tacked up the Big Guy in a slight drizzle, and headed off with my pal, Merri, and her pal, Jose.
Yay I love this!!!
Our first loop would be a 25-mile loop into the Birds of Prey area. It's a great loop with lots of fun sand-washes and single-track trail. While the footing was a little slick, knowing now what the second loop would be, lets just say it was like a groomed arena made of recycled Nikes. The cool, wet day was ideal for the horses and we flew through the morning easily. While I complained a little about the weather, it was really not that miserable. Miserable was coming.
Another super fun video done by Merri Melde of our adventures from the sucky rainy day!
Our horses passed the vetcheck and settled in to eating while we tried to dry off and get some fuel. Soon enough our hour had passed, and we were warm, dry and re-charged. That lasted about five minutes when it began to really rain. Not like it hadn't been really raining, but it was really raining now. We headed the opposite direction that the morning's loop went and quickly we realized things weren't going to be easy. Where the footing had been nice and sandy for the previous loop, the second loop was a slick clay that was getting slicker and slicker. We slipped and slid and slopped through the loop, all four of my Gloves holding fast. No twists, no turns, no rubs, no nothin' but solid performance. If this wasn't the ultimate test, I don't know what was. At one point, climbing a clay hill that was slicker than snot, I jumped off to help my horse and experienced first-hand what the horses were dealing with. In just a few short minutes I had about six inches of accumulated HEAVY clay form some sort of disfigured club on my boots, and looking back at the horses, on theirs also. It was some serious mud and would have been a fun test for Easyboot Grips!
Trying to hold up my foot for Merri to take a picture of the clay built up around it. I literally could not lift it any higher, and had to find a sagebrush branch to scrape it off my foot before I could get back up. Check out the mud on Breve's feet!
After a couple hours of horses slipping, me bitching and Merri exclaiming how much she loooooved the weather, we were headed back into camp. Thank God! And all I'm gonna say is I had a rash all over my legs from my tights being soaked and stuck to my legs all freaking day. Eww and oww. A hot shower never felt so good. I pulled Breve's boots, stuck a blanket on him and fed him a warm mash while I pulled his boots and marveled over the fact they performed so well. After taking care of him, I immediately swapped gears and started preparing for the next day's 80 mile ride on Nero. By God, if it was raining when I woke up I would NOT be going out that day.