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Gambler's Special 2000

Photos are up:

When I loaded the horses the morning we left, it was 22 degrees. Still 
though, I didn't blanket them. They would be going to a much warmer climate 
and in no time would be plenty warm inside the trailer. I just love how the 
horses load so easily in the dark, sure makes it easy on a half comatose 
handler ;^). So we're going down the road, having left at 4 a.m. in the 
dark and by about 5:15 a.m. the sun is coming up and Dave says to me (I'm 
half asleep), "hey it looks like one of the drop down feed doors is down". 
So we pull over, and sure enough it had fallen down. I reached in to pet 
Weaver, and he was a bit cold. Does ice cube sound about right? Luckily, he 
was smart enough to duck back into the trailer so wasn't a total 
horsecicle. We let them out in the arena at Beatty (Thanks John!), and the 
horses got to run around, roll, pee drink, eat and have a geniune good time 
while Dave went to gas up. The dogs also had fun playing with the horses. 
We left at 4 a.m. and arrived in Jean (near Vegas), at about 12:30 p.m. It 
was a long day, but the horses had hauled well. We unloaded and set up camp 
in our usual spot. This isn't a very large ride, this year only 27 horses 
on day one and 15 on day two - but we love how friendly everybody is and 
being that it is a 2 day ride makes it even more tempting to do. Being 
camped behind a casino with an all you can eat buffet certainly doesn't 
hurt. Ride Management is great, and they always have good vets too.

I had decided to ride my horse Rocky on the first day. I was a wimp this 
year and opted to do the 50 instead of the 65. Last year I did the 65, took 
12 hours and rode in 50 mph winds in the rain, so was smug knowing that I'd 
be done much sooner on the 50 :). Got to meet Cheryl Newbanks, after 6 
years of cyber-knowing her. She was planning on riding Rocky on the second 
day with me & Weaver, so on Friday we both went out for a short ride. Then 
we vetted in later and weighed our horses on the scale. I actually weighed 
both horses. Rocky started out at 936, and Weaver at <gasp>, 1084. Oh MY my 
my.......I knew my little 14.3 hh gelding was a tubbo. A lard butt. A toad. 

The weather was absolutely gorgeous. We started out Saturday morning with 
bright blue skies and big smiles. The trail is really nice, single track 
and it winds and turns and dips and goes up and down - a lot of fun to ride 
:). I started out easy and increased speed as we warmed up and got going a 
few miles. I had not even bothered bringing a scoop along, since you 
absolutely positively cannot sponge or scoop water on your horse on this 
ride (on the trail). I did bring water bottles for the horse, so knew he'd 
be fine. It was warm compared to what we are used to up north. We got into 
Bird Springs, 14 miles into the ride and he drank well so I electrolyted. 
Then we were off, they turned us off of the road right away and back onto 
single track. We were having a blast weaving and turning thru it all and 
dodging all the cactus. The horse knows this ride and thrives on it. I had 
to keep remembering to shut my mouth from smiling so much I was getting 
dirty teeth :))))))))))))). I was now riding up in the front of the pack 
with Patty, A.D. and Pete. Actually, Pete was up ahead of us but soon 
figured out it best to follow us girls since he kept missing the turns and 
realized we both knew the trail.  He dropped in behind us because whenever 
he was the 2nd horse it would grow real quiet and he figured he was keeping 
us from talking.  Patty and I were disappointed that both men were riding 
in jeans.  Patty informed them that we liked our men in lycra.  <bg>

Came to the section known as Rocky Pass. It's really not all that rocky, 
though guess that all depends on where you are from. It doesn't seem that 
rocky to me, and the horses always have Easyboots on. We wound our way thru 
creek beds and up and down hills and then zipped and zoomed our way to the 
water. The next water from Bird Springs was 17 miles further, which was a 
total of 31 miles or so into our 35 mile loop. Now we could see the casino 
and camp in the distance and the horses were really wanting to go. Our 
horses all drank extremely well and I gave Rocky more electrolytes. Then we 
wove and winded our way down the trail into camp. Got off and walked him 
in, he was down at 60 on my HRM. Vetted thru, then weighed him. He'd lost 
about 20 something pounds from what he weighed when he started that 
morning. Took him to the trailer and he ate well and took care of himself. 
The hour went by fairly fast. Dave was out walking the dogs, they had 
actually gone about 3 1/2 miles each way out to where the water was. So I 
never saw them during my entire hold. I was late getting out since my watch 
was slow, and the other two had left without me. Peggie asked me what I was 
still doing there. Barney accused me of being asleep at the wheel (again). 
Rocky saw their dust and he just cruised along until we caught them. We 
weren't going really fast, was averaging about 107 HR and on the downhill 
about 90. This loop was 15 miles and the first water was at about 12 miles 
I guess. We heard Elfta behind us. Boy she sure couldn't sneak up on 
anybody <bg>.

Let the horses drink good and electrolyted then we headed for camp. Rocky 
knew he was going home, and was going to be DONE! Got near camp and Pete 
galloped up ahead and finished first, then Patty and I decided to race in 
for 2nd. At the last second before crossing the finish line her horse 
veered off to the right and headed straight for the water troughs! She 
missed the finish line completely!!!  We vetted thru, then I weighed the 
horse. He'd lost 8 pounds during the ride. Rocky's 10 minute CRI was still 
48/48 even though he was all excited and agitated about Weaver calling to 
him. These two horses are so awful about being separated at a ride. Gawd.

By now I realized that Rocky wouldn't be going the next day anyhow. Cheryl 
was leaving for her last loop and saying she was too sore to ride. She was 
also saying a lot of things, I think she was completely delirious and had 
lost it <bg>. Her horse made it just fine thru the ride though. :)

Once I got Rocky cleaned up, I went over and vetted Weaver in. Weighed him 
again, he got to do that a lot. The horses all seem to do pretty good on 
the scale. I never saw any that didn't. He'd been rolling, (of course), so 
I got to clean him up again. We had plenty of time to goof off, make 
margaritas, eat at the buffet, shower (Cheryl had a room), and kick back. 
It was a gorgeous day.

The awards were later that night.  Everybody had fun playing April Fool's 
jokes on each other.  The 65 milers got big bushel buckets for completion 
awards and denim jackets for weight division awards, and the 50's got a 
canvas bag filled with goodies - a LVDR calendar, hoof pick, horse comb and 
some other stuff.  Weight divisions got a tub of biotin, and at this ride 
they don't give top ten awards but they draw 10 vet cards so that everybody 
has a chance to get something.

The next morning I tacked Weaver up. He was sure happy that it was finally 
his turn to get to go! Again, I was late getting to the start because my 
watch is slow. That's okay, I wanted everybody to go since I wanted to ride 
slow. We had a nice easy start and did a steady pace mixed in with walking. 
I was trying to determine the best way to manage the horse mentally. If he 
could see horses ahead he wanted to go faster, and if he could see horses 
behind he also wanted to go faster. To add to the frustration, of course, 
he was already pissed at me for making him leave Rocky behind in camp. 
About the time he got over that he got even more irritated at me for not 
letting him go as fast as he wanted and started shaking his head sideways. 
It didn't do any good, he quickly found out so the next trick he tried was 
stopping and pawing the ground! poor horse, he was about to explode but 
didn't know how to do it. :))  I finally put him in a steady trot and kept 
him there, rather than trying to keep him behind the horses in front of us 
since they weren't going at a consistent pace. He was much happier this way 
and settled in and we were riding our own ride. Kept him at a nice easy 
trot. 82 on the HRM.

Got into Bird Springs. He drank really well, so I electrolyted then off we 
went. Now, Weaver has done this ride probably more times than Rocky so he 
knows (or thinks he knows) the trail better. As soon as they turned us off 
onto the single track he seemed to be confused and argued a bit with me 
that "no no no, we're supposed to go STRAIGHT". Well, we always had gone 
straight before, but I had to convince him that we weren't going that way 
this time. He saw the trail markers and realized that maybe I did know what 
I was talking about and agreed to go that way <bg>. (he's very 
opinionated). I was glad to be riding him though, because several times I 
was asleep at the wheel, and he followed the trail perfectly even making 
sharp turns and never once led me wrong. We were having a really super 
ride. He soon realized that I had carrots in my pack and all I had to do 
was rattle the plastic and there his nose would be at my knee..gimmme 
gimmme gimmme da carrot mom!!! He ate several carrots all at a trot, then 
when he discovered grass on the trail - oh boy - he went from grass swatch 
to grass swatch all the way up thru the Rocky pass area eating as we went. 
He was in pure heaven. I got off thru this section and walked on foot. I 
kept checking his HR - it was down into the 50's, then again when we were 
trotting downhill he was in the low 80's again. I had told Dave that I'd be 
into camp at about 11:30, and sure enough we were there almost exactly on 
time. Took us 4 1/2 hours to go 35 miles. Weighed the horse going in and 
out, just like the day before. It's neat to see how they lose weight and 
put it back. They really take good care of themselves and they really ARE 
drinking well aren't they?!  Barney drew more blood as soon as we got into 
the check.  This was Weaver's first time to get tested in the Pride Project.

We left late (again) from our hour hold for the last 15 miles. Different 15 
mile loop from the day before. We were taking our time, just doing the same 
kind of trot we'd been doing all day mixed in with some walking and an 
occasional canter to break things up when the footing was good.  We went 
thru the freeway underpass and continued thru the loop.  Soon two riders 
came along and passed us, both spurring their horses with each stride.  I 
followed for awhile, then forcibly made Weaver walk and chill out until 
everybody up ahead was out of sight.  Then we took our time going into camp 
the last few miles, alternating between walking and trotting and feeding 
carrots :).  Patty took our picture as we trotted across the finish 
line.  Then I vetted and weighed the horse.  He had lost 6 pounds during 
the ride that day.  Barney also drew more blood from him.  We'd finished, 
and had a beautifully warm sunny day to go clean up in.  That night we ate 
at the buffet again.  Nearly everybody left that evening, just three rigs 
left in camp.  We had breakfast in the casino before coming home Monday 
morning.   Had a great time, thanks Peggie and Claire, Barney and Linda, 
and everybody else who worked the ride!  :=)))))

Happy Trails,

in NV
& Weaver
& Rocky

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