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Montell -- the ride from hell

No, let me rephrase that, the ride itself was wonderful, the rest of the
was hell.   This is a little long, so bear with me.  Saturday morning, my

friend, Dawn and I prepared to head off to Uvalde, TX -- some 5 1/2 hours

away -- for the Montell Cliff Hanger 3 day 25/50 Endurance Ride.  I
have known right from the start that things weren't going to be just
when my boarder mare tried to take a chunk out of my shoulder for daring
stand near her gate. (First time for that, too!)  Anyway, we loaded up 
Scarlet and Kit and off we went.  The drive out there was pretty
although the A/C did quit in San Antonio.  So, we get to Uvalde and turn 
north for another 30 miles to Montell, where the ride camp was.  Most of
drive was flat, which caused us to wonder where the heck all the hills
since this ride was in the "Hill Country".  Never fear, 3 miles from the 
turnoff, the hills popped up.   Beautiful country.  Lots of shrub trees, 
cedar, mesquite, cati, and tons of ROCKS.  I was eager to try out
Easyboots for the first time.  She is flat soled and has very sensitive
so I didn't think her shoes would be enough.  We arrived at camp and set
our area.  Scarlet and Kit were very interested in all the other horses
spent the next hours until dark pacing around the pen trying to look at 
everything at once.   It was getting close to 8 pm, so we checked in and 
vetted the horses in, then sat for the ride meeting.  It was nice to hear

that we didn't have to leave until 9 the next morning.  More nice that we

realized at the time!!  Afterwards, we found the chuck wagon was closed,
we talked ourselves into unhitching the truck and driving back to Uvalde
dinner.   So, we went to town and stopped at the Kettle for dinner. 
dinner is when everything started to fall apart.  I started the truck and

drove maybe 5 feet when smoke started billowing out of the hood.  I 
immediately turned the truck off and popped the hood.  The smoke
fast and we couldn't find anything obviously wrong, so I started the
again so we could see where the smoke was coming from.  No smoke this
so we cautiously started to pull forward only to find that the steering
was stuck.  Obviously, the truck was going nowhere.   So, Dawn goes back
the Kettle for some help and comes back out with a waitress and the cook
they call a boyfriend/husband? (can't remember) who is a mechanic.  First
thought we only needed a fan belt, but it was a little worse than that. 
told us that we could leave the truck there and the guys would fix it in
morning.  So, we got a ride back to camp and the horses, thinking we had 
found a solution and everything was going to work out.  (Cell phones
work at camp -- too many hills or something)  The next morning, since
wasn't anything we could do about the truck, we went on our ride.  It was

wonderful.  We had a controlled start and the front group had about 7
in it, including us.  We all stayed together for the entire first loop --

even when I had to stop to replace Scarlet's easyboot and Dawn had to
stop to 
tighten Kit's girth.  The only person that passed us was Darolyn and her
junior (cute kid!).  
I thought that was pretty cool of everyone not to rush off and make our
horses go nuts.  The trail was very hilly with tons of rocks.  I loved
the fact that with the Easyboots, Scarlet never slipped on 
the rocks.  She seemed to like it too and after the first couple of
stopped doing her mincing trot and began to step out as she gained
in her footing.
  The midway vet check was  a breeze.  Scarlet pulsed in at 14 and Kit at
 They weren't tired in the least.  We were a little late leaving for the
loop, but since they changed the trail to an easy one, we weren't
(Apparently on the first two days, lots of horses were coming in over
because the trails were so difficult.)  The 2nd loop was mostly down a
road - 6 1/2 miles down and back.  We kept a steady 10 mph pace the whole

time and to our great joy, came in 4th and 5th place!  It was our first
to make the top ten and get to stand for BC.   Scarlet was a little
but Kit was still raring to go.  He got excellent scores and I believe he
2nd overall in BC.  I'm very proud of him -- this was only his 3rd ride!
  So, the ride being over, it was time to worry about how we were to get
again.  We decided that Dawn would stay and pack up while I hitched a
with a group leaving back to Uvalde to get the truck.  Well, the guys
unable to fix it.  Apparently it needed a part that had to be ordered. 
here I was stuck in town with Dawn stuck in camp and no way for us to
each other.    It got really bad for me when my cell phone died after 10 
minutes of talking to my Dad and AAA.  I have to use TX Relay and a TDD 
attachment and cannot use them on a pay phone.  So, thank goodness the 
waitress, Amanda, at the Kettle was nice enough to use the phone for me. 

(the other waitress was a real princess.  She was royally ticked off at 
having to help me that the entire time she was talking to my Dad, she was

cussing under her breath.  I guess she doesn't realize that deaf people
read lips!! )  It took several hours to get everything settled that we
-- tow truck to take the truck back to Houston, a motel for me, and 
hopefully, the next morning, a rental truck that could tow the trailer
horses back home.  So, I went to the motel, worrying myself sick about
sitting there waiting for me to pick her up. 
  The next morning I found that we could not get a rental vehicle with a 
towing package, so Dad had to drive all the way out there with my Blazer
pick us up.  I also got a message at the hotel desk that Dawn had gotten
ride home with some friends, so that was one worry off my mind.  My
were with the ride manager, waiting for me.    The end of the nightmare
was finally in site.  :o)  The rest was pretty uneventful.  I finally got

home around 9 pm last night and got a rental car this morning for work. 
so worn out, but Kit, LOL, is raring to go again!

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