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[RC] A Successful PAC Story (part one) - JMM

My husband drove me, a month's worth of clothing and equipment, and my good old gelding Music, South to Interstate 80 in Pennsylvania to meet Cia and Wave.  On August 24, three weeks before the PAC in the state of Washington, we left NY and PA behind and started west.  This was no wily nilly meeting and trip - this was a mission with a plan, and the successful outcome was the satisfying reward.
I had helped Cia in Spain last year and had become attached to Wave during the World Games.  I was impressed with his workman - like attitude and his ability to adjust to everything around him. I was thrilled when she asked me to come along to the Pan Am Championship.
We traveled only 400-500 miles a day stopping in the middle of most days to walk and graze for almost an hour.  The two geldings got along great, with good natured Music aptly handled the role of companion, scratching post and entertainment to Wave, while Cia and I got on swimmingly.  The four of us moseyed our way across the country with the human travelers singing to rock and roll, playing gin rummy, and absorbing the history and beauty of the west, while the equine partners munched hay, watched out their windows, and rolled in the western dirt each evening. 
We stopped every afternoon in time to set up camp, ride the geldings a few miles, and make new friends from the Equine Travelers book we used to make overnight accommodations.  Except for the second night when we stayed with old friends of mine from Sandarac Arabians in Illinois, we stayed with strangers every evening of our trip west and never had a bad stop.
Getting to Trout Lake on day 7 of our journey was really exciting.  After 2700 miles we were ready to put down our "camper' roots" and put up our portable corral.  The area was beautiful with the White Salmon River nearby and Mt. Adams which stood above us in our rented field.  The horses had not lost a bit of weight and appeared content.  We met the neighbors, made lifelong friends, and scouted the local groceries (25 miles away) and feed stores for supplies for the ride.
With two weeks until PAC, we began to explore the trails.  Instead of hard volcanic rock, we were delighted to find good soft footing, but the dry weather that caused fire warnings, also turned the trails to dust.  Many times when trotting down a trail behind another horse, I couldn't see the footing I was asking my horse to trot through.  I couldn't imagine being the 20th horse through in a single file line. Fortunately that aspect of the trail would change before ride day.
Though I was along as 'groom' and was prepared to do anything needed, Cia took care of Wave herself  She was aware of every poop, every drink and whether he seemed restless or happy.  Nothing escaped her observations and though we were in a secure field and the horses were in a sturdy portable corral, we never left them alone.  Too many accidents can happen, and we were going to do everything within our power to make sure Wave was ready to compete at his best.