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[RC] Aussies in Reno!!! - Jay Randle

Hi All
Well, it's been a VERY fun and busy 12 days since our little group of Aussie endurance riders landed in LA!  We headed straight to Kim Fuess' place and met all her ponies, then enjoyed a memorable dinner at the local bar/restaurant (on Valentines Day).  Karaoke, California-style.... WOW!  It was pretty fabulous!  Kim and Richard were the most gracious hosts, with invitations to return offered.  I'm hoping that I can host Kim for the 2008 Tom Quilty Gold Cup ride, which will be held at a location only 2 hours from my stables at home!  Kim, get that air booking under way!!!
Then we headed off to the Eastern Mojave ride.  What can I say?  Those of you who know the "Duck" rides know what I mean!  Our group were all pretty impressed with the style of endurance that the Duck rides offer, and I was proud to meet Dave and the very hard-working Annie.  But the HIGHLIGHT of our experience was meeting our fabulous hosts, particularly Bruce Burnham, Howard Keen and Kat Swigart, all of whom happily provided horses for our riders.  Young Leila (14 years old) rode Kat's mare Windy for the first two days, successfully completing with smiles all 'round.  Jane Davidson rode Bruce's lovely grey, while Beck Forgan was mounted on Howard's "old campaigner".  All had a wonderful time, and we all learned a great deal from the experience.
It was also great to finally meet Merri Melde, Becky Hackworth, Bruce Weary, Laney Humphrey, Dave Rabe, Jason Wonders, and a multitude of other people who welcomed us with huge smiles and happy faces.  I was repeatedly asked questions about the Australian way of doing things, while frantically trying to absorb the American way!  I had thought to bring along with me a sample of our Novice and Endurance Horse logbooks, and they were studied with a lot of interest by many people over the weekend.  I will have them at Convention if anyone else is interested in seeing how we keep track of our horses' achievements.
>From the desert we headed into the wilderness... well, Las Vegas to be exact.  And shopping.  And more shopping.  But no gambling... we're saving that for Reno!!!  :-)
With heavier suitcases, we headed off to the Grand Canyon and a mule ride down and up the canyon!  Mule riding is a little different to endurance riding, especially mule riding in the snow, on narrow slippery trails, and under the control of the "Mule Wrangler".  But tons of fun!  In fact, now voted as one of the most awesome experiences ever in the life of the participants! 
Then it was a turn to the south, and some R & R in Sedona, well that was the idea until we saw the shopping!  We did get some sightseeing in too, however, and visited Montezuma's Castle (which Beck expected to be an actual castle with carpet and stuff, so she insisted on wearing her little carpet-walking shoes and was a bit put out when she discovered it entailed a traipse around in the snow and ice-covered walkways).
Continuing south to Scottsdale, and 2 days at the Arabian Show..... yes, I know that's not a 'normal' hang-out for endurance riders, but boy (!) what an experience.  We had hoped to catch up with a couple of people there, but the crowds and the noise and the confusion and everything caused that arrangement to come to a screaming halt.  So, Jenny and Rusty... sorry!!  But I'm sure our paths will cross again in the future.  The show was an eye-opener, with both good and bad bits.  I'm not a fan of shows, but the stallion who won the Liberty Championship deserved the win, and the display by the Mounted Police was interesting and fun.  The rows of vendors also kept us busy, and the barn displays were pretty amazing.
After figuring out the Phoenix airport, dropping off our trusty rental and making the flight with minutes to spare, we headed for Reno.  And here we are, staying with the VERY hospitable Dovie and Bob Pickering, and catching our breaths after a whirlwind tour of the Western States so far.  Oh, and the excitement of being in Reno, and the Convention this week, is just too much.....  lots of happy chatter about our future experiences as we contemplate the half-way point in our journey.
See you all soon!!

Best regards

Jay Randle

Find it at www.seek.com.au Your Future Starts Here. Dream it? Then be it!