Klickitat Trek, May 29, 2009
Wendy Connell, Monica Bretherton and I went to the Klickitat Ride in Glenwood, WA this weekend. This ride winds through high pine woods with fabulous trails, river crossings and some minor (to us anyway) technical spots. The weather was pretty warm – somewhere around 90 degrees, but there was a nice breeze.
Monica and I rode the 30 and Wendy rode the 50 on her Nez Perce mare, Allie. Wendy started out at 5:45 am and we left at 7 am. Our first loop was 13 miles to an out vet check. Monica and I started with very fresh horses (even though we’d gone out the night before for a little ride) and we had some very collected canter and some lovely half-passes at the beginning. Ari (Monica’s mount) even threw in a few Teke bucks for good measure. They were feeling GOOD! We trotted and cantered the gorgeous, sandy trails through huge pines, did a little pine-tree bending (some of the trails were very zig-zaggy around trees), up some hills, down some hills and as we hit a long, straight stretch, we looked at each other and said “This is PERFECT”. Of course, we spoke a bit too soon…
About 10 minutes later, maybe, Ari started to peck a little and I looked and he’d lost a front shoe. So, we retraced our steps a bit to see if we could find it, but didn’t. Happily, we had extra easy boots on each saddle, so we both hopped off and I put an easyboot on him in about 20 seconds, with horse trotting up behind and horses trotting off in front. Then, we continued on and Ari figured out the slightly different feel to that one front leg. We trotted past the photographer and had our ride photos taken and then came to the first vet check. Pandemonium! There must have been 50 or 60 horses in one not very large clearing, with two or three water tanks, 2 vets and my oh my! We had several close calls with horses threatening to kick, while in the vet line, Ari and Galen didn’t want to be parted at ALL (definitely something to work on for the next few weeks!) and then Ari didn’t trot out perfectly sound. Not his front either, but he had stiffened up a bit behind while waiting and was just a little tight in the hind end. We realized later that the heat, hills and speed were just a bit more than he’d done before. So, Ari was done and I was to continue on. Galen thought that wasn’t a very good idea at first and between threading through the mobs of horses standing and hearing Ari’s whinnying, it took a bit to get a mile out of camp. But, we soon met his ‘new’ best friend and continued on. 7 miles back to camp completed the first loop and we then had a 30 minute hold that was mainly spent in the vet check line again. I did find that riding alone gives you a lot of opportunity to chat (I kept missing ribbons I was chatting so much and had to backtrack a few times) and I got to talk to several people about Tekes. As Galen was being very impressive at this point (no screaming or trying to find his brother!), that was good. We came into camp, were pulsed down immediately and vetted through fine. Our last loop was 10 miles and we found several new ‘best’ friends and he got to impress people with his smooth gaits and forward movement. We rode mainly with a lovely lady on a Paso Fino. When we walked, she led but when we trotted, we led. We exchanged stories about riding ‘rare’ horses (there aren’t all that many Pasos doing endurance either, compared to say, Tennessee Walkers). We came in right around the middle of the pack, were pulsed down on entry and passed the vet check with flying colors.
Monica and Ari were back by then, and Monica got to meet lots of people and hear lots of stories – the big one around camp were the girls that tried to lead their horses through a fairly deep and fast river crossing and ended up in a wreck. One horse fell on the girl leading it in the river, the horse then ran downstream, maybe fell in the water, hit a tree with its head and ended up with a fractured skull. Happily, both horse and girl were not too bad – very shook up and definitely out of the ride, but both alive and pretty much in one piece. Several riders stopped and helped them get out of the water, gave them a lecture about being prepared and being calm and got them headed to the vet check. This happened just before we got to the river crossing, which was fast and up to the horse’s knees, but not (to us anyway) really that bad.
So, we got the horses taken care of and waited for Wendy to come in from her ride. We found a nice patch of shade and sat for about an hour and then when Wendy and Allie came in, I trotted Allie out, as Wendy’s knee was giving her trouble and then we all went back to camp. We had a lovely evening, feeling a sense of accomplishment, chatting with people and making notes on things to work on for our next ride, which is July 4th weekend.
There were several Teke crosses there too – Susie Morrill brought 5 Arab-Teke crosses and they all did great and Ramona Thacker was riding a Teke-Arab cross. Shannon Mayhew (or Mayfield?) sorry!, was there, riding her mustang, but she has 4 up and coming Teke crosses. Shannon also top-tenned in the (going out on a limb here, sorry if I’m wrong) 30. The gaited people have a huge group that goes to rides, with blow up alligators (‘gators’), flags, etc, and we thought maybe we need to do that. Maybe a Turkmenistan flag and who knows…yurts seem like a bit too much work. Maybe someone will have some better ideas!