We got back from our second 50 mile ride last night and now that my brain is back online, I'll tell you about it.
Wendy Connell and I hauled down on Friday to Glenwood, WA (about 15-20 miles outside of Hood River/White Salmon area on the Columbia River Gorge between WA and OR) and set up camp. Our friends Jennifer and David LeBlanc had held a primo camping spot for us (Thank you!), so we were set up and vetting the horses in by about 5 pm. We're getting pretty good at setting up camp, with me setting up most of the camper area and Wendy getting the horse temp pens up. Good old division of labor! Got everyone settled in, had supper and met some other Teke people who were there - Emery Rhodes and his friend Terri (I know I was told Terri's last name, but can't remember it for the life of me). They had two Teke geldings there, Ged and Soldier, both bought from Tito Pontecorvo down in Texas. Emery has also imported two more Tekes from Belgium and I can't wait to see them. There was also an Arab-Teke cross there, Midnight Sky's Shiraz, owned by Ramona Thacker and bred by Susie Morrill. I also got to meet Shannon Mayhew, who has (I think) 4 young Teke crosses growing up at her place. Lots of other really nice people there too, with many different breeds of horses. Very fun!
We started Saturday morning at about 6:10, hoping that everyone had left camp, so we could avoid Galen's 'race brain'. Much less half-pass, shoulder-in and collected canter this time! I kept telling him to save it for later. Well, once we started trotting (we walked the first mile or so out) we started passing people and then he wanted to catch them all. We passed about 20 or so people by the first vet check, with me trying to rate him the entire time. Good thing I had gloves on. Our first 20 miles took about 2 or 2 1/2 hours and we pulsed down as soon as we came to the first vet check. We passed another bunch of people at the vet check, as we both were ready to leave before a lot of people who had come in before us. We were feeling pretty smug and you know what that means...we went out of the vet check and were so busy congratulating each other that we missed the turn! We did almost an entire loop that we shouldn't have and learned that one really should 'READ THE DIRECTIONS". Oh well, we retraced our steps to where we had gone off trail (probably a good 10-12 mile or more snafu) and got on the right loop. We were now behind everyone, which in some ways was great. Galen didn't have horses in front of him to pass, so he calmed down and went at a lovely pace. We also knew we were dead last, so didn't stress about going fast. We got to look at the gorgeous scenery, enjoy some lovely weather and really have fun. We were the last ones into the second vet check and they were all packed up to leave as we left. Our last loop was another lovely loop (although we had done a bunch of it before, LOL) and we saw some deer and some great views of Mt Adams. We even discussed that we should have asked about pulling trail markers, but it was a good thing we didn't, as our Teke friends Emery and Terri also went off course and did an extra 20 miles on their horses! They had meant to do the 30, but ended up doing 50! Guess us Teke people are so happy to be riding our horses that the real distance just wasn't enough. Happily, Ged and Soldier did fine, although I bet the 4 of them were a bit more tired than they planned. Wendy and I did come in last and I let Wendy have the Tail End this time. Even with our extra mileage we still did the ride in about 8 hours and change, which is about 2 hours faster than our last ride at Milwaukee Railroad Trail. Both of our horses vetted through with all A's and I was particularily pleased that Galen was much stronger this time and that I was hardly sore at all. Guess our conditioning is going the right way.
We had the awards that night, as many of us were leaving Sunday (we could have stayed and ridden another ride, but it just wasn't in the plans this time - maybe next year). I would highly recommend this ride - lovely trails and scenery, fabulous weather (OK, that was luck), the option of buying your dinners from the Rodeo association on whose property we camped and really nice ride management. Both Wendy and I finished the weekend with big grins and we also got really nice sweatshirts as awards.
Our next planned ride is June 28th at Renegade Rendevous, but we'll see if I make it, as I have two mares due to foal right around that time. I hear that ride is really fun too, so I'm hoping the mares cooperate.