Sunday, October 20, 2013

Foothills of the Cascades Ride Part 1

Wow, what an awesome weekend!

I still can't believe how everything just came together so perfectly.

After class on Friday I headed out. No address was provided, just some vague instructions to get off the interstate, go to Mollala then follow the signs to the ride. Hm. I called one of the ride managers and managed to get a little bit clearer instructions then after everything was loaded in the trailer, we set off!

It took a lot longer than I thought. Mapquest said it would take an hour to get to Mollala, but being that the ride was out of town in the middle of nowhere added an extra 45 minutes. Got there before the sun set and managed to squeeze my trailer in with enough room to set up a corral.

All settled for the night!
I signed up for the ride and got Jetta vet checked. She was quite good for the vet - she stood nicely for him to look in her mouth (she HATES having that done) and even lifted up all her feet without threatening to kick. Always a good thing right? All A's on our card!

I got everything set up for Jetta overnight. It was a bit of a challenge setting up the corral with just one person but I did it. I brought her slow feeder and stuffed it with hay. I also brought a big muck bucket to use as water and I filled it from the water tank in the trailer. I think she appreciated having water from home.

Sunset in ride camp

I slept in the bed of my truck. I have the camper shell on so it was nice and cozy. Except for me worrying about bugs. I cleaned out the back of the truck and found so many bugs. Ew. So I slept with a blanket over my face just in case... I actually slept pretty well. It was a lot warmer than I thought it would be. I was able to watch the stars before I went to bed and even saw some shooting stars! I woke up at 3am and saw Jetta standing and apparently staring directly at me. Kind of creepy. I briefly thought that she must be out of hay and that I should go refill her but decided on more sleep. She'd be fine for another 3 hours.

Morning view!

At 6 am, the truck I parked next to loudly roared to life and turned on their generator meaning I about jumped out of my skin/sleeping bag ready for whatever was coming. Only to realize that everything was fine and I could take my time getting out of my cozy bed!

Despite the ride manager's assurances that 6am is when it got light out, it was definitely still pitch black. Well, as dark as it got since the full moon was super bright. Got ready in the dark, even managing to put all of Jetta's boots on while she ate her breakfast. Her easyboots fit! I had been so worried about that overnight, but they fit perfectly and actually weren't all that hard to put on like I had been led to believe. I managed to eat a tiny bit of breakfast myself and loaded up the saddlebags. 7:15 am was the start time for the LD riders. The big main group left right at that time but I left a few minutes after just to give them some space.

Watching everyone get ready was interesting. I would say about half of us had fire breathing dragons on our hands, though I must say Jetta was a much "smaller" dragon than most of them... lots of them were rearing and bolting! Jetta was just very forward.

We started out on the blue ribbon loop that was 10 miles. Jetta was so amped up. Her thought process: "I am a thoroughbred race horse! I must beat all the other horses! I must gallop!" She was disappointed to find that we were NOT going to gallop and instead she must maintain some sort of rational horse trot. Which she did not. When she's super excited and trotting fast her trot gets sort of lateral. I swear she thinks she's part Standardbred. I wouldn't be surprised if she started pacing.

Around 45 minutes in we were finally able to have a four-beat walk rather than a jig and by an hour and 15 minutes we had a semblance of control in all the gaits. For the most part of this loop we had that "sweet spot" where we were in between riders but couldn't see the ones in front or behind us, it was just us. It was really nice. And the scenery was gorgeous! I couldn't get over what a perfect day it was. The sun was bright, it wasn't very cold, the fall leaves were pretty and the trails were awesome. We even passed a waterfall!

I was feeling good when we rolled into camp for our first vet check. We were right around our normal time of an hour and 40 minutes for 10 miles, actually we were 10 minutes fast probably due to her behavior at the beginning. She pulsed in at 80 which worried me. She usually comes in right at 60 so I think it was due to her being so amped up at the start. Spent a while trying to get her to drink (she wouldn't). I sponged off her neck/jugular area and fed her an apple, loosened her girth. She finally dropped to 48 and we did our vet check. She got A's on everything but jugular refill. I need to research what affects refill times, but I think it's because she didn't drink?

Had a 30 minute hold and then we were off on the trails again! This time for the orange loop. It was kind of hard mentally switching from looking for one color of ribbon to the next. I decided to be a little more conservative on this loop since a) she hadn't drank anything and b) I wasn't use to her pulsing in so high. The goal was to come in with her being dry and not sweaty.

Off the beaten path. I promise there's a trail in there somewhere...

To be continued...

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