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A Fire Mt. newbies ride-long

Usually just a lurker, but here goes....
Horses got fed very early Sat morning and Captain only ate a few bites. He's
not a good morning eater anyway and he knew something was going on. Cliff
Sime was already there and brushing his horse down. Vinny was eating good as
long as Cliff was brushing.  I tried to brush Captain and get him ready at
the same time but he was already itching to go.
Instead of trailering to the ride, I chose to warm him up by riding him
there as I knew he would be ready to get on the trail and I didn't want him
to get sore from not being warmed up properly. It was cold but I could
already tell the weather would be just right as soon as the sun came up.
I should say that my goal here was to be dead last.
Mike(hubby) was going to help Harlan with timing after we left and in
between checks.
We left around 6AM to head up to the ride and check in.  Captain was excited
but keeping it well in check, that is until we rode into the Valley Rider's
property.  Mike had picked a good location and was all set up.  Captain saw
all of these horses and it didn't take him long to figure things out. He
just couldn't be still he was so jazzed. We walked around and offered him a
drink. The
50's started getting assembled at the gate and he really wanted to go with
them.  When they left he calmed down a bit.
Then Tom Miller called for the 30's to check in and before long they were
off.  I thought it would be a good idea not to ride in the pack so we waited
about 5 minutes and began our journey. As soon as we left the property
and headed down the trail Captain decided he didn't want to be behind.
Surprisingly he was very good, he felt strong and we trotted well up into
the hills before coming down to a walk. Not far from the start I met a rider
headed back to camp. No clue as to what was wrong. Riders passed us up and
still Captain didn't make much of it.  I was pleased. The Scaramella's
passed us up, mom riding her stallion and Brittany riding her most cutest
pony. Captain was really fascinated with that pony as it passed.
Wendy and another rider met us at the base of the mountains at a good gallop
headed back to camp having almost completed loop 1.  Flicka looked good.
It was a really good ride so far and Captain was doing great. Uh huh, until
we headed down the backside of the mountain towards Searles Station. My good
little boy turned into a speed demon. The first water stop he wouldn't drink
as he was constantly scanning for more horses and dust. One rider stayed
with me to make sure he would drink. No way, so I thanked her and told her
go on ahead and we began a slow trot again  He pulled and fussed and had a
short bucking stint in which he decided he couldn't keep tabs on the dust
ahead if he did that, so he settled in for a pulling fight.  We made it to
Searles Station and turned a bit east rounding the loop and heading back
towards base camp.  The trail was very well marked. Heading back into the
mountains we got passed several times and Captain hated this. It was as if
he was saying I can do this mom, just let me at em. The snap on my right
rein broke and a firm whoa brought things to a halt. As pissed as he was
becoming I wasn't sure he would stop, but he was a good boy and let me run
the rein through the bit and get back on.  Back over the hills to the second
water stop. There he put his face down to the water and just wet his lips.
We moved on.  Now even with all this fussing, at no time has he even started
to blow at all. Sweating, yes and my leather roping reins are bleeding red
all over him and my gloves. What a sight. From the water stop we went down a
really pretty canyon into a soft sandy gully and he hasn't walked one step.
Dance, jig, prance. Soft sand is really his thing. He can move in soft sand
like it doesn't even exist. We have lots of it around here, so getting
legged up for it is easy. I decided we would walk it or rather jig it. The
trail all through this ride had been decorated(littered)
with metal scenery, old cars, buckets, all spooky things for an A-rab. He
isn't usually spooky anyway, he just gives them a good look.  One thing on
his mind, those horses were ahead of him and they shouldn't be. He is
competitive. So we alternated jigging and trotting those last miles into
base camp and he was quite unhappy with me.
He was already down coming into camp so we had a 15 minute wait. Base camp
was full of riders coming and going and Captain still didn't want to drink.
But he did eat, even as jazzed as he was, he still ate.  Good boy.
He was so jazzed and pissed he had worked himself into a real nit. We went
immediately to Dannette(Vet) to check this out. He trotted well and drug
Mike along. We had decided Mike would trot him for the vet because we didn't
want to stress my ankle and I was tired from holding him back. After looking
at him, she laughed. What a nit he had himself in. He still had good signs,
A and B's, just some mild signs of colic from being a nervous nilly. She
suggested another 15 minutes in camp which I was glad to do. I was already
tired from holding him back. On went his cooler and he ate more hay. The CA
drug lady was there taking samples and Captain did not want to give her any
since he had already peed. She said that was ok cause she almost had all of
the bottles she brought with her filled already.  She thought he looked
After we both had some more to eat and a good rest, we headed back out on
loop 2.  We walked, yes walked (thank the lord) until we got past the 50's
finish line. He felt really strong. We trotted up toward the rock piles to
the left of the mountain (the St. Jude trail) and he broke into a gallop.  I
let him gallop well up into the hills. Only then did he blow a little and I
hoped he had gotten the boogers out of him.  We walked for a long time.
Then we headed east towards Wagon Wheel and the Trona/Searles road.  Here
the trail was not marked as close together as it had been on the first loop
and we were on a motorcycle trail that had all sorts of trail crossings on
it. Thankfully we walked a long time and he was happy to do so.  It was so
nice to admire the scenery and just gawk at things.  The weather was
beautiful and the view was really great. We came into the first water stop
and there Captain wet his lips and headed to the hay pile and dug in.  There
Kim and Ed Winchester were manning the water tanks and I chatted there for a
good 15 minutes.
Three other riders came in and I was a little surprised to see them as I
thought I was the last 30.  Then I rode with Debbie T.  She was riding her
cute Paso who is for sale.  Nothing bothers him and I mean nothing.  This
was also his first 30 and he was well conditioned. Some 50's came blasting
through and although Captain mildly eyed them with envy, the Paso totally
ignored them.  We alternated walking and trotting. Mostly walking as I found
my arms getting tired and my legs getting even more tired from Captain power
trotting and trying to make as much stride and bounce as possible as he
wanted to roll the trail up behind him. We made it into the second water
stop and the 50's  vet check and Captain wet his lips and dug into the hay.
wanted Dannette to take another look at Captain since she had moved there
from base camp, but there were quite a few 50's were lined up and Debbie
wanted to leave before a group of 50's getting ready to leave.
With only 3.5 miles to go, Captain knew where base camp was and holding him
back was not easy.  The 50's blasted past and we again did some
trotting(read power bounce) and walking.  At the edge of the mountain I
decided I could afford to let him move a little and we galloped and trotted
most of the rest of the way in.
Debbie was great to ride with and I hope I can ride with her again.
I met my goal, Debbie and I were dead last 30's.  Yeah!!
Captain knew he was done. He knew he had accomplished whatever it was that
the other horses were doing. He really strutted himself around.
We went right to the water and Captain buried his nose and tanked up. He was
already down coming into camp and after P&R and tanking up again, we
unsaddled and went to the vet.  Chris Mason vetted him. She got a kick out
of him trotting Mike out.  He was still ready to go, the little turd.  She
said he looked really good for his first 30, but I looked well worn.  I'm
sure I looked
like I felt. Val Rodgers told me to get some strong stuff out of the cook
shack.  Couple other people told me that too.  I must've been a sight.
Captain hopped right in the trailer and we took him home and cleaned him up.
I put him out in the arena to roll and boy did he roll.  Then he ran for
while.  He really wanted to say "hey look at me".  Mike and I had a good
laugh out of his prancing around. He was really proud of himself.
After blanketing and making sure he happy, we went back up to the ride.
Mike went out to help Johnny at the finish line and I hung out and helped
get the dinner ready. Boy was I sore.
Dinner was really good. Roast barbecue beef, beans and various salads and
fruits and deserts.
They put wood in several washer tubs and the fire warmed up the dinner area
and also lit up the area and everyone got cozy. There were several gift
certificates to Trails End and bags of equine senior for oldest horse on
the 30's and 50's.  They also gave away a water bag that attaches to your
for you to drink out of (forget what it's name was).  We received our
leatherman-like knife and checked on Captain before heading home.  I put
another blanket on him and gave him a little scratchy for carrying me safely
over hill and dale.
I could hardly move the next day. Captain rolled several times in the arena
before rocketing off to show himself off to his stable mates that he had
completed his first 30 miler.

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