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[RC] LBL ride - Tina Hicks

If you didn't get really wet and really muddy this weekend then
you weren't at the LBL ride in KY :) However, even with all the 
rain, a good time was had by all - or at least me :)

The drive over uneventful except that was longer than it should
be. We were stuck for almost 2 hours in a traffic jam north of
Nashville as we tried to go from I65 to I24. The cause of a tie
up was a wreck between a semi and a car early Thur AM which
cause I65 to be closed at that exit for hours. Both the car and
the semi were completely burned up :( After seeing the carnage
of those two vehicles I couldn't really complain about the
traffic jam - what was an inconvenience to me was The End for
whoever was in those vehicles :((

As I got closer to LBL the scenery changed from
attractive/pleasant to downright beautiful. Around every bend
was another postcard - lush green pastures, cows/horses grazing
on rolling hills, old red barns with the requisite silo beside
it and of course the farmhouses with shade trees that have both
been there for generations.

The directions were good and soon we were checking in at LBL. We 
were too late to get anything but an electric spot but that's 
still living pretty good :) LBL is a huge facility with 
everything you can think of - stalls, washracks, bathhouses, 
small general store, and tons of trails. 

I brought both boys to this ride - my walking horse Hank and my
Arab Ccomet. Ccomet is 7 now, we've had him since he was 8 mos
old. We started riding him for real last year (besides getting
on him briefly a few times a year once he was 4) - this was his
first endurance ride outing. My plan was to ride Ccomet one day
and Hank the other - both in the LD. 

This meant for the first time I would be leaving a horse in camp
while I was on the trail. Taking Ccomet to vet in was the first
test. Hank can gait really fast in little circles on the picket
line :-p but when we came back he was standing there eating hay
but still screaming every so often for good measure :)

The forecast was rain/storms pretty much all weekend. Thursday 
afternoon was gorgeous and gave us all fasle hope :-p

Ride meeting came and went as did dinner and getting ready for
the AM. I made my life really easy at this ride - didn't even
take anything over the vet check as I was in no hurry. There was
a water trough at the check - my theory was that I'd walk in,
vet through and then walk to the trailer (a pretty good distance
but do-able) for our 40 min hold - didn't care if I was a bit
late on our out times. That's what I did each time - worked just
fine.

About midnite Thur the frst fat drops hit the trailer. It just
went downhill from there. Rain, rain, rain - Non-stop till about
7AM. We had a short break for the start then more rain till the
afternoon.

So, tacked up in the pouring rain - uugghhhh :-p And the picket
line area was fetlock deep in mud - uugghhh :-p But, it could
have been worse :) It wasn't cold and it wasn't storming (had
done that ealier) - just raining. 

The start was nice - Ccomet is as good a boy as I thought he
would be. A bit forward and wide-eyed at everything but very
rate-able. He was a very good boy the whole time - he doesn't
waste much energy at all fighting/pulling in the beginning -
which is a _big_ change from starting a ride on Hank, also known
as the Black Guided Missile :). AFter about 5 or 6 miles we were
trotting along on loose rein for the most part - now _that's_
living :)

The first obstacle right out of camp was a stream that had
turned into a 3-4 ft deep, fast moving mini-river. The footing
was actually concrete as the FS used this crossing so footing
was no problem.  Don't look down at a fast current while you're
walking across fast-moving water - in addition to making you
dizzy you tend to follow it - very weird feeling.

Anyway, we were finally off.

The trail was muddy, muddy, muddy (Thur was the 3rd day of
rain/storms for that area) as you'd expect but not sucky or
boggy at all - just sloppy and slick red clay. The base
underneath the mud was good.

The single track parts splishy-splashy but again not boggy at
all - which was a nice change from most mud I've been in at
rides in the SE. Once you got going it was easier to trot
through most of it rather than walk except for doing down hill -
going downhill on wet, red clay with 3 inches of mud on it got a
little exciting a few times :-p

Most of the trails were FS roads or carriage roads (with a few
rocky stream bottoms thrown in as part of the trail) so alot of
it had a pea gravel base with some areas having larger, more
gravel type rock. All in all it was very nice footing even with
all the rain.  Actually the rain was a godsend on the FS roads -
Jerry said that prior to the storms the FS roads were rock hard
but with the rain they were perfect.

The scenery was beautiful - part of the trail went around a huge 
lake. Even though we went by it 4 times over the 2 days I still 
ooohh'd and ahh'd each time :) Besides the one hill right out of 
camp the terrain was moderate - mostly rolling hills with lots 
of flat. Lot of FS roads/carriage type trails that were nice to 
trot side-by-side with your buddy too :)

Needless to say, there was pleny of water on the trail and
plenty of lush, wet grass. We vetted through both times on Thur
with all A's.  Our shoes, girths, and bottom third of the
saddles were completely covered in mud as was the bottom half of
the horses.  Ugghhh.....

The trails were marked great and whole ride was managed like a 
well-oiled machine - Diane and Jerry (and everyone else) sure 
did a great job with this ride.

So, Day One done - time was about 4 hours or so I think and a
ton of fun - really :). Fri afternoon/nite were rain free which
was nice.

When I completed Day One Ccomet was vetted in for Day 2. I was
having second thoughts about riding Hank -with the mud and
constant slipping/sliding it had gone from an easy 25 to a
not-really-that-easy ride since there is no "starting easy"  on
Hank - I pretty much hang on and steer for the first few miles
:). Right out of the start was a decent little hill - with the
mud it was quite a chore getting up it. I wanted to use this
ride to condition Hank - not kill him :) So, as much as I wanted
to ride Hank, I opted to ride Ccomet for Day Two. Ccomet was
pretty sad about it too :))

It was dry from Fri afternoon till right after the start on Sat
but it only rained about 2 or 3 hours. At this point, what's a
little more rain/mud?

Again, vetted through with all A's both checks - we made it in
on Saturday to finish with 20 minutes to spare :). Hosed
Ccomet's underside/legs (and my girth, stirrups and tennis shoes
at the same time :-p). Had to get home on Sat so missed the ride
dinner - I'm sure it was entertaining if Jerry was involved :)

So....a great ride, rain or not :)

Tina (and a ton'o mud :)) 
and Ccomet with 2 LD's on his record 
and Hank who just got some frequent trailering miles 





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There is no better way to see the world than from the back of a horse. 
~  Teddy Roosevelt

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