Sunday, August 23, 2015

Huron River Endurance Ride - Novice 13.66 miles

Despite a niggling throat itch that was requiring frequent coughing, I got up early Saturday morning to load Gwyn up and head over to Kensington Metropark. It's about 1hr 15 away so it isn't a place I've been able to explore yet, though I was aware that it had a great network of trails.

The Huron River Endurance ride is in its infancy, this is the first year it was held! It was organized by a guy from California who has apparently won Tevis. He is also a pro hoof boot fitter and I might try and get out to him to get Gwyn fitted and measured by someone who knows what they're doing.

Ride camp and the staging area as I drove it. These were the outlier campers. The main group was around the corner.

I was one of only a few who chose to make this ride a day trip. Nearly everyone else had camped the night before. One lady from Ohio was staying again that night before driving home. I remembered her from volunteering at the Brighton CTR.

I unfortunately arrived right as the 50s were all coming in to a hold so it took a while to vet in. There was one vet and she definitely worked all day! The novice 15 miles was set to leave at 10. That was probably poor planning because we were going out on the same loop as all the 50 milers AND some of the slower 25 milers. It was an out and back kind of trail so great training for letting someone fly by your horse and leave them in the dust. -.-

I did get vetted in and tacked up and left only a little bit after 10 am. I had seen another group getting ready to ride the novice and was hoping to be ready to leave with them but I ended up catching them anyway.

The trails were really nice, minimal mud and some deep sand, but otherwise very barefoot friendly. There were some road crossings but for the most part the drivers were good. There was one person who was definitely not going slow past the group I was with and I tried to tell him to slow down but I do wonder if there was just a cultural difference at play and he didn't get it.

I caught up with a lady and her 9 year old daughter who were on the novice ride and rode with them for the first 10 miles. In hindsight I wish I left them sooner because the daughter was more hesitant to move out and we had minimal trotting so that 10 miles took FOREVER. The daughter was on an old hand arabian who's got thousands of competition miles and apparently he and Gwyn were having it out silently. Seeing as they're both herd leaders and both of them were behind the lead horse.  Regrets, but I'm also glad I had company.


I did end up parting ways with them after that first 10 miles and did the loop on my own. Doing that gave me more confidence, which is really what going to the ride was all about, building confidence to do this without friends, necessarily. Next time I will ride my own ride, or find someone who's going more at my preferred pace. Gwyn has already shown that she can handle solo trail rides and yesterday she showed me she can handle horses passing her, and leaving a group of horses that she buddied with for a while.

Waterpark we rode by.

I honestly think Gwyn was happier once we were alone. Once she settles down we get into this great ground eating trot that she'll plug away at on a loose rein. The Arabians we were with were doing a very slow trot so I was constantly half halting, again, annoying the Goober. She was well behaved though, despite all of that. I was so proud of her and how far we've come together.

The park we rode in was beautiful. Apparently they spray insecticide so there were NO BUGS. I saw one deer fly. ONE.

The turn around point. To keep everyone honest we  had to sign in and write our name and rider number. 

Another appy! They were excited to see other spots too! LOL

The big stream. 
There was one issue with Gwyn and that was with tiny streams. This is something I need to work on but it almost got me kicked out of riding with the mom and daughter. Gwyn LEAPS tiny streams. Like ones that she could step over in a stride. Oh no. LEAP.

So when we approached a BIG stream I got a little nervous. The Goober Pony walked calmly through.





Big houses through the woods. We rode by a gated horse community too. My pastures look better than theirs do. HA.

A big accomplishment I had this weekend was when I lost my crop. I brought it along just in case and had a clip that attached to my half chaps for it. Well, as we approached the big stream it popped off thanks to a branch. It's my awesome rainbow crop and I really didn't want to have to buy another, so I hopped off to retrieve it. Then I realized I needed to get back on. I haven't mounted a horse from the ground in over 10 years. I've always used a picnic table, mounting block or step stool.

But all I had was a decently steep hill. So I lined Gwyn up while people around me asked if I was alright (because I was not on my horse, they were sweet and concerned!) and amidst a ton of encouragement, I mounted Gwyn from the ground. And then we proceeded to cross the stream with no drama so it was a really big moment and I was super happy and didn't stop grinning the rest of the ride!

I will continue to use assistance to mount because I want to minimize back pain for Gwyn, but it's such a confidence booster to know that I can do it if I need to on the trail, where it counts. Non scale victory for the win! I'm regaining my athleticism!

Yay selfie!  I rather like this angle, ahahah

Canoes were 'concerning' but not spook worthy

Gwyn's 'concerned' ears focused on the canoes and people in the water.

The final loop trail where I took off on my own for about 3 miles. Loose rein trotting and some cantering by ourselves in beautiful forest? Glorious!

Despite my Tough-1 falling apart, it does offer alternate spots to attach things, so I rigged up a better, more secure attachment system.

Nomming on well deserved soupy grain and electrolytes.
We got back to camp and she pulsed in immediately at 80. I took her away to cool her off so I could officially 'finish'. Sponged her and she drank deeply. There was a hand pump and someone was cranking water while she drank but it wasn't until she was done drinking that she had enough energy to spook. Goober. So then we sponged off while more people used the well so she could get used to the damn thing and chill out. Went back for a pulse and she was in the 50s. Good mare needed a drink and a bath in cool water and she was perfect! Great energy at our trot out. She vetted all As coming in and all As going out except for a B in gut sounds. She definitely had 10 more miles left in her. I could have gone longer too, despite my reduced breathing capacity.

I let her chill in the shade and eat hay while I chatted with people, then finally loaded up and drove home.

By the time I got home exhaustion had caught up and I put Gwyn back in the pasture with Saffron and Arwen and left the trailer for the next day.

Eric gave me a massage last night and immediately my cold that was bubbling beneath the surface broke free and my sinuses immediately clogged and my coughing got worse. I had chills and I can't take anything for it.

Today I am taking it easy. I've been cold all day, even when I was outside and got a little bit of my weed pulling cleaned up and burned in the fire pit. Eric helped me unhitch the trailer while I closed windows since its supposed to storm.

Gwyn greeted me extremely enthusiastically when she saw me today and that made me feel great. All three of them came up to greet me, even Saffron. I think I'm making headway, slowly but surely.

Take Away or Thing I've Learned for Next Time
1. Ride my own ride and trust my horse. She's more solid than I'm giving her credit for.
2. Get horse camping equipment so making those early start times for a 25 are easier and either teach Gwyn to hi-tie or practice being in a small electric corral at night.
3. Make neck halter for metroparks bridle tag, I have the paracord already
4. Make reins and maybe paracord halter bridle?

1 comment:

  1. Yay TeamGoober, definitely lots of be proud about (: Hope you feel better soon!