So, life is always interesting and I think, often times doesn't turn out the way one thinks it will, that things can change when you think you're going one way and all of a sudden you're going in another. And so it is with Ali'i.
I thought he was retired from endurance riding and then Summer got hogtied. She has shown intermittent lameness that I haven't figured out yet, so while she heals and I wait for someone else to work on her, I pull Chubby out of the pasture and look at him. I ride him and he looks fantastic after working and his heart rate is better than ever. I guess 9 1/2 months off has never hurt an endurance horse.
We worked back slowly but quickly, each ride being a little different. One day was hills, but easy, another lots of walking but long, another was in the round pen with increasing time & variety. I spoke with Janine about what was happening and she thought he had a great base on him and could do what I was asking about ~ riding a 50 with him. At Washoe Valley on Mother's Day weekend.
I love this horse so much and being on him again has made my heart soar. He's sweet, cute, easy and so nice to ride ~ I thought I wouldn't enjoy him after riding Summer, but they are both incredible horses, just different. And, after doing this 50, I even feel in better shape than last year.
It also was so nice to ride with Donna. She's funny, easy and our horses are compatible AND she stops to take photos. This one at the top took my breathe away when I saw it originally and couldn't wait to see it. She sent me some 7 versions and I had a hard time picking which one I wanted to use for the blog. I will post a link to her work soon, as her work is so creative, and random. She catches images that are just fun and ordinary, but makes them so beautiful. A true artist. I love you Donna!!
Washoe Valley, NV. I love this place!! Lake Tahoe is up in the mountains.
The sage.......O M G.....I almost fell over from the fragrance when I opened the window into the campground. Possibly my most favorite scent in the world! But, I've said that before....
T taking Ali'i up and back to stretch him out for the pre-ride vet exam. I am hypersensitive to Ali'i's arthritis so I wanted to make sure he was warmed up after our trailer ride. Look at the ass on that horse!! It didn't happen by itself!! All that hill training last year.
Ali'i & I. Donna is in the background with Lily Pod.
Ali'i got all "A's" on his pre-ride exam. I mentioned the hocks to the vet and that he can have a slightly off gait. The vet smiled and said she didn't see a thing, that he looked excellent, so not to worry about noting it on the vet card.
All the collies in their pens. T was FANTASTIC with all he did for me in helping crew and taking care of all the dogs. The Punkies seem to like to go and travel well, so it's fun to have them.
Donna and Fred. We had dinner in Winnie ~ Doesn't Fred look like he wishes he was somewhere else????? He did mention that, like he'd rather be riding motorcycles with his friends. Wimp. Endurance isn't only for the horse & rider...............suck it up F R E D ! ! ! ! Hehehehehe!!!!!!!!
T marinating steaks. He used his bar-b-que and they were sooooooo tasty!!! Donna doesn't eat meat anymore and had to get pasta from the ridecamp dinner, then she proceeded to talk about little eyeballs in our food & stuff like that. I got her back by discussing the Winnie septic issue I had prior to leaving. It was gross.
6:25 am Saturday. I had to still boot up Ali'i and had bought new hind boots a size smaller. They were REALLY snug so T had to manhandle them on Ali'i's feet with a rubber mallet. In the meantime Donna is training her horse.
Because she trains her, Lily might still kick (hence the HUGE red ribbon on her tail) but she didn't try and buck her off when she first mounted her. Ali'i got slapped in his big round ass for that!!!
We walked over to give the timers our numbers and then we're off. God, I was soooooooooo non-stressed compared to doing this race last year. It was so easy and our horses were very compatible.
We were out for about 3 or 4 miles when we saw this most beautiful bird fly next to us. Donna and I were oohing and ahhing over his beauty. I didn't know it was a magpie, as I have never seen one. I told T about it and he said that's what they were. At the one hour hold, there was another one (or was it the same one??) that landed right on Ali'i's pen rail. Donna called me to go look. We then saw it 1 or 2 more times as we rode and finished. I was thinking of Pierre or my cousin Cheryl.......sometimes I think they come to visit in forms such as this. It was special. And if it was them, Thank you. Oxoxoxox.....
One of the "SOB's" ~ "3 Steep Canyons" in the first 25 mile loop. They were very steep, up and down. I told Donna we were going to run down them on foot. She begged me not to...then I remembered how steep they were, AND rocky.
Taking a quick nap after 26 miles. We had another 20 mile loop, 15 minute hold & vet exam, then 4 miles and after finishing we had 1 hour to get our final exam.
Speaking of special........I was thinking the other day that I have NEVER fallen off of Ali'i. I might have jumped off (???) though I can't even remember doing that, but I've never lost my legs on him, nor has he been so bad as to launch me. Then I thought "Should I blog that? No. I'll wait til either I do get launched, or I never do and I'm not riding him again." I didn't want to test fate.
On the second loop about 10 miles out there was a water trough, hay and usually someone who takes numbers so they can keep track of everyone. This year no one volunteered, so there was a cooler full of water, cookies & a clip board to put our time & number on. Well, whatever about that because that was on the other side of the trough. We were about 20' away and Ali'i must have thought the trough was a huge black bear because he spun so quick to the left I was off and on my ass in a split second. I hit my head into the ground also and have to say I am so thankful to have my helmet on, as I think that would have hurt way more than it did with a bare head. I had to sit for a minute to see how bad I hurt, and Donna grabbed Ali'i who was over the spook and ready to graze. Anyway, it was good to get that (first) fall out of the way ~ hahaha!!!!
This is about 6 or so miles into the second loop. Up over the top of the hill and before my launch is a VERY sandy downhill trail that is probably 3/4 of a mile or so. Donna told me last year on the 30 Miler Lily rolled in the sand. Sure enough I hear Donna yelling and she had to jump off while Lily just laid right on the trail to roll. All I can think about is my saddle getting messed up, but hers is a treeless (??) so maybe they are rollable??? Anyway, good laugh and where was my camera?? She rolled one more time before the sand was done.
Right before the roll. Probably happened because Donna was putting her camera away.
This is the last 4 mile loop which went along Washoe Lake and was very sandy, so we had to go very slow.
And here I am sitting on Lily's head ~ hahahaha!!!!!
End of 50 miles. Ali'i is contemplating peeing. Behind him in the picture is the road that we started on in the morning. I like a ride that starts uphill because it takes some of the gunk out of the horses when they're all wild and ready to go.
Within the first 5 miles we saw a woman walking back with a gorgeous chestnut arabian with 4 white socks & blaze. He was HANDSOME. We asked if she was ok and she said yes, but she was done with the race as he was an ex-race horse and didn't have an "off-switch" yet. I bet he was a fun ride!! (NOT!!!) Anyway, she sounded like she was a patient sort and would stick with him and was willing to go all the way to a race and pull if necessary to prevent an accident or injury. Anyway, I don't have it in me to ride a horse 5 feet like that!! Ali'i's puffy enough!!!!
Donna & Lily. This was both of their first 50 miler completion. I was so proud of both of them and Donna is stellar to ride with. She's good with her horse and conservative ~ EVEN THOU once we passed someone we didn't want to give up our position!!! We started dead last and 20 minutes late and out of 52 starts (50 finished) we were 39th & 40th in some 9 hours & 38 minutes. We got cool hay bags as completion awards.
Ali'i's vet score in the first & second exam after the first 26 miles had some "A-"s & "B-"s. At his final vet check his pulse was 48 (they can be as high as 68 for this ride) and he got all "A"s except a "B" on attitude. The vet said he looked a little tired. I was so thrilled with this final exam.
Awards Dinner ~ It was cold!!!!
People bring dogs. Soleil went one night, Cardiff the second night.
Leaving Washoe Lake this morning. I forgot to bring home some sage. I was just so overcome with emotion on how much I love my little horse. Every time I looked at him I wanted to kiss him and then I'd cry.
Donna Mickelson Photo
My Mother's Day present from Donna, this photo. And my Mother's Day gift everyday is Ali'i.
Thank you Donna for this & being a great riding buddy, Fred for taking T to Starbucks & entertaining him (I'm sure!), T for being a great crew & dog sitter and Ali'i for carrying my butt for 50 miles. That gets me all mushed up!! I love you all!!!