Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Oak Leaf Run 2018



So if you recall (or if you're a new reader), Oak Leaf Run 2017 was a cold mess of a rainy weekend where I significantly regretted my decision to not sleep in my trailer but stuck it out in my truck tent.

This year, the forecast was SIGNIFICANTLY better, if  a bit colder. Colder I can deal with so long as I stay dry.

It was still a ridiculous shit show and things tried to go wrong everywhere, hahah.

My goal was to be packed and leave home by 11 am.

You should be laughing. I did not leave by 11 am. In fact, at 1230 I received a text from my daughter's school saying this:

Parents - please come pick up your (JK-8) child from the lower campus immediately. An email with more details will be out soon.
Cue panic mode. I was just about to hook the truck to the trailer ( soooo close to leaving) so I busted ass in the truck heading to her school. This was their version of a lockdown, unfired bullets had apparently been found on the upper school campus and they were evacuating so they could search the grounds. WTF. 

I dropped the kid off at daycare, called the spouse to inform him the kid was taken care of and safe, and then went home to finally hook up and load. It was at this point that Saffron snuck through the open stall door while I was haltering Gwyn and bolted for the green grass of freedom. She is much more wily than Gwyn and easily escaped under the single strand of not hot electrobraid I use as a 'load up quickly Gwyn' pen. This effectively showed Gwyn exactly how to defeat the pen and she also promptly escaped.
Not how I wanted this day to go, lol

Thankfully, a bucket of a  handful of grain caught Gwyn and Saffron usually follows Gwyn so I got them back, reset the fence a bit lower so Gwyn couldn't repeat the performance and Gwyn loaded right up.

I was finally on the road by 1:30. But panicked because I couldn't remember exactly how to get to the park from the highway and google maps makes my phone auto turn off. So I had to have my husband send me directions (which he sent using a link to... wait for it... google maps) but I was able to screenshot the directions before my phone shut off again.

Then we were finally off! And I could feel a cold coming on...

The drive itself was uneventful, thankfully. It was cold, mid 40s, so I had a cooler on Gwyn in the trailer. It started to rain as I reached the west side of the state. Thankfully, it was never a huge downpour, and by that measure alone I was amped for the weekend. Plus I had much better rain gear this year, lol.

Alicia was already there when I arrived. We had adjoining campsites so it was like a great, big commune of camping. She'd invited an extra person as well, so the three of us had a blast. I didn't get many pictures. But it was a pretty neat set up.

Silver Creek County Park has great equestrian camping facilities. Each campsite has at least two spots to high line and the posts have bucket hooks for water. They've got water pumps spread through the camp ground as well as pit toilets. It's all really wooded with tons of pine and oak trees everywhere (hence the name of the ride). The ground is very sandy and it drains well.

I spent the weekend in the tent and I was pretty toasty. I made sure to have a hat to wear to sleep and that kept me really warm. Between my down sleeping bags, my Alki thermal blanket, and some thermal pjs, I was pretty toasty despite near freezing temperatures.

Gwyn did come off the trailer with a bit of blood on her nose, but when I had the vet check her out (thanks Mary!) she deemed her fine, just probably from a bonk in the trailer. Phew!

Saturday dawned cold but clear and I settled in for my timing duties for the day. No one was riding the 75 this year, so it was just 50s, 30s and a 15. Alicia rode the 30.   There was also a 25 LD offered at night, 5pm start. It was a long day! I was timing from 7:15 in the morning to 9:30 at night!

The weather was great, but people really had to be mindful of cooling their horses just right so they wouldn't tie up.

We did have some drama when one of the comp riders fell off RIGHT before they came into camp for their first hold. The lady's chin met her horse's knee and it split open. The woman had to be convinced to go to the ER where she received a ton of stitches. We had a bunch of nurses helping (fortunately) and they took one look at the lady and went "we can see INSIDE your chin. That's bone. You need to go".   Amanda, Alicia's friend, drove her to the ER. She came back in time for the potluck and was fine. But hoo boy, that woman wanted to go out and do another 15 miles.

Endurance riders are crazy. ;)

Sunday I planned to ride the novice, 15 miles. When I got up my cold was even worse, but I figured I could push through. I got Gwyn ready and hopped on for the start. We blasted through the first mile. She was spicy and just really wanted to move out on the trail.

Then we crossed the creek and hit more twisty trail and my lungs were on fire. I couldn't catch my breath and my right calf was immediately cramping. It was so painful to have my foot in the stirrup. There was one other rider with me and I told her to go. Between the cold air, the cold in my chest, and the cramping calf in the first two miles? I was done. There was no way I'd be able to keep up a decent pace to finish reasonably.

Instead, I strategized a way to have a nice trail ride, lol. The trails at Silver Creek are fairly well marked and I was able to navigate off of the ribbon marked path and get back to camp and Rider Option. I have no regrets about the decision.

Gwyn felt great. She was tackling the trail like a beast but she also wanted to go far faster in the deep sand than I was comfortable with. I felt like shit and would not have been riding my best. Given my asthma is triggered by being sick and being in cold air AND being exercise induced... it was like a formula for dying.

We moseyed our way back after spending a very beautiful October morning in the woods. I packed up camp and really eyed my cot before packing it up as a nap was super tempting. But I also wanted to get home at this point. I was not feeling well.

I got home around 4:30. I unloaded the necessities, prepped Gwyn's mash for dinner and went inside to shower.

Then I crawled into bed and passed out until 8pm. No joke. I helped put kids to bed, took some nyquil and was out again by 10pm and slept until my alarm for work on Monday. I'm still sick so obviously I needed the rest. I'm glad I chose to stop. Super super glad.

I got everything I wanted out of the weekend. I had a beautiful fall trail ride. I got to go camping with my horse and my friends. The weather was on point. We had lots of laughs and adventures. It was a great end to the competition season for me.

Modeling a sidepull from Two Horse Tack that we were sent to try. I rode her bareback through ride camp in this on Saturday! It seems to work well, though I definitely want to get some more rides in with it for a more thorough review. 

I was sent the sidepull to try in exchange for promoting their products, and if you're interested in purchasing anything from them, you can get $10 off with the code Ambassador17

Rye at the finish


  1. Nobody did the 75? That is sad and a big reason the longer distances are disappearing. Can’t hold them if nobody wants to do it. I’m sorry you got sick and ended the ride early but it sounds like you weren’t upset by the outcome so yay!

    1. One person was interested but didn't want to do it alone. The girl who rode the 75 last year was in college and hadn't been conditioning for that mileage. Last year was the first year they had even tried a 75.

      And yeah, so many little things had changed from my initial plan for the weekend that it was easy to let go of the expectations I had and just enjoy the fall day for what it was. Just being out in the woods with the leaves changing was enough and was invigorating rather than draining.