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[RC] Cobre Ridge - or it doesn't rain in Sunny Arizona - Patti Kuvik

I was going to stay home and work on my income tax  I had kind of decided to
put this whole endurance thing off until Choli's tendon healed up and my new
little rescue guy (an Arab? I who thought I would never get an Arab?) got
his
teeth fixed and learned to be a horse  and could eat properly then see if he
was interested in the trail.
But what the hey - Cobre Ridge was just down the road, what a great chance
to meet some local endurance folks, and I had such a blast when I
volunteered at Scorpian Sting and Red Rock. I was starting to think this
volunteering stuff could be almost as much fun as actually riding.
So a last minute call for directions and I was on my way. Heck, it's just
down the road - I'll hop in my truck and spend the afternoon at ridecamp,
help out where I can, come home to feed the ponies and grab a shower and get
back there in time for the start in the morning. Let's see - stethescope,
cooler with some water and a couple of cokes, an extra jacket - it doesn't
really rain in Sunny Arizona and when it does, it doesn't last.
A quick stop at the Green Valley Walmart - there's Lucinda-vet's truck, she
must be on her way to the ride, good sign. A rig pulled in a parked next to
me - "headed for the ride?" "yup, see you there". Another good sign.
Three exits down the highway then off to the road to Arivaca. Wow - this is
really gorgeous, and it's right in my backyard! Up and down hills with the
sun peeking out gilding the lush desert hills, some nice looking farms, good
paved road. An occasional rain shower - but this is Arizona, it won't last.
I saw the sign for the turnoff for ridecamp (good directions, Nancy) and
headed down the dirt road. Oops? Started slithering down the dirt road. Axle
deep clay mud, a few washouts here and there, all downhill. Oh well, it'll
dry up in a couple of hours. Continued through a gravel bed wash - uhh,
really hope the rain lets up - then through some bottom land. No problem,
just keep two wheels on some dry stuff. What dry stuff? Slithered into
ridecamp sideways. Did I mention axle deep clay mud? How embarassing - I had
come down to "help out" and here I was parked sideways across the main road.
Permanently. After an hour of trying dried grass, sacrificing a blanket and
a tarp trying to get out, I took refuge with Cindy who at least had managed
to slither off the road instead of in the middle of it. And the rain came
down. We watched four more rigs slither into ridecamp trying to keep out of
the worst of the mud. This is Arizona - we don't need no 4WD. Unless you're
a vet - they know better. We watched the vets arrive. We watched the vets
leave. And the rain came down.
What I learned:
Endurance riders carry shovels (thank you Dale for digging my truck out).
Endurance riders share (thank you Dale and Iris for the sandwich, the extra
sleeping bag, the warm fire under your tarp and the hot coffee Saturday
morning).
Endurance riders have fun - even when you're cold and wet and shivering and
the ride's been canceled and you're not sure if you'll ever be able to get
out and get home again.
Cell phones don't work real good down in a hole (but my friend was able to
pick out "stuck" "barn" from my message and my ponies at home did get fed).
Endurance horses are tough - especially if they have a raincoat and lots to
eat.
Picket lines are easy to set up and don't take up any space in your rig
(thank you to the couple from Camp Verde who took the time to show me how
it's done - nice set up and easy to build).
The rain finally stopped early Saturday morning - everyone with horses
tacked up and rode the trail. Early reports were that the trail was
gorgeous, the footing not too bad, lots of water crossings. I took down and
loaded Cindy's panels back on her trailer while she was out (I got to do
something helpful after all) and decided to try to follow some others out of
ridecamp. Able to power through the worst spot on the road out, back to
pavement at last.
A hot shower, the mud and smell of wet wood smoke out of my hair, and the
Cobre Ridge ride that wasn't is now a memory - of great people, super
horses, new stuff learned.
Can't wait for next year!

Patti Kuvik
Vail AZ

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We are talking about all the tools we can use to keep our horses safe and
alive at the rides. Training/conditioning is one of the best tools
available. It makes us better horseman and women, it benefits our horses
and could quite possibly be the key to preventing most crashes.
~ Lisa Salas - The Odd Farm

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