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[RC] Whiskeytown Chaser - part 3 - superpat

Poor ride management. This ride was turning out to be a disaster. And they had obviously worked so hard to make everything right. The printed maps and instructions, the wonderful awards, the planned dinner that evening with Tri-tips cooked on the open spit. But according to someone's law, "If there is something that can go wrong, it will" was definitely applying to this ride. At one point, when I hopped from my horse to adjust my saddle, I realized that my boots had filled with water and each step was super squishy. We both found that our waterproof riding pants and jackets weren't really waterproof. But at least my neoprene gloves, though soaked were keeping my hands from freezing. The horses weren't drinking, even at the stream crossings when we had them stand in the middle of the streams. Even after electrolyting, they weren't drinking. But they were ravenous and we stopped often for them to munch on the abundant clumps of grass on the sides of the trails and roads. We realized that at the rate we were advancing, with the many twists and turns, we would likely finish with just barley time to spare. As miserable as we were, comfort wise, we could not help at commenting on the beauty of the area and it was a pleasure to ride the single track trails, which by now had turned to little streams. We were still having fun. If one had a horse who had issues with water, after this ride, the horse would be a guppy puppy.
Arriving back at camp, we were greeted with cheerful encouragement by a drenched group of smiling volunteers who were braving the elements and keeping a happy presence. Aren't endurance people great? Oh darned! Scrimshaw was not so tired that she would let the P & R person take her pulse without a fight. But, again, patience and kindness won out and after a few minutes of chasing her in a circle and stroking her and cooing to her, the kind man in the scary wet black slicker and the fisherman's rain hat was able to get her pulse which, thankfully was not elevated and we were vetted through and cleared for our hour hold.
Once I had gotten Scrimshaw's blanket on and she was scarfing down the beet pulp mash with a vengeance, I went into the trailer and turned on the heat and sat right in front of it. It felt sooooo good. Leighsa would not come in and opted to eat in the horse section of the trailer because she feared that if she once got warm, she would not want to go back out for the second loop. And she would have gone out, too, but I was having second thoughts. Our babies had already gone what we figured to be about 40 (or more) miles. If we went out for the second half, assuming that we did not get lost, they would end up doing at least 65 miles. Was it fair to ask this of them? The longest training ride we had gone on was 20 miles, some of it hard climbing, albeit. They both were eating well and looked bright and spunky. They had trotted out well and could probably have finished the ride easily. But how would we feel if somewhere out there, one or both of them should run out of gas or get overly tired. We opted to pull and have them remember a good experience. Even with the weather, it was hard to pull when you know that you have a sound, healthy horse, definitely fit to continue.
I really appreciated the vet wanting to see the horses before we left. He offered to come to our trailer to check the horses or for us to bring them to the vetting area. He just wanted to know that they were ok. And of course, they looked great. In fact, both vets, after the trot out told me that they thought I had a fine little horse and it was well worth the time and effort to get her desensitized to the vetting procedure. (I was still embarrassed by her performance). We gave the horses time to rest and eat, and eat, and eat and then headed for home. We also learned at that point that at least the first part of the ride had been "sabotaged" and ribbons had been taken down by persons unknown.
As a footnote, it was a good thing that we left when we did. Heading toward Mt. Shasta, the rain turned to snow and it was accumulating fast and we still had a high pass to go over. I was happy that I had put those new tires on last week. Had we continued the ride, it is doubtful that we would have been able to make it home without some white knuckle driving and luck. My niece lives in Mt. Shasta and she said that she awoke Sunday morning to two feet of snow in her yard.
Bottom line is that Whiskeytown is a beautiful ride and ride management is terrific and the vets are awesome and I will definitely be there next year. Hopefully the sun will be in attendance also. The one suggestion that I would make is that when there are portions of trail that will serve more than one loop that each loop be ribboned with a different color tape. I would also like to see more flags more often if only to reassure me that I am on the correct trail. Y'all missed an awesome ride. Miserable as it was, it was FUN!!!!!