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[RC] Old Pueblo Day 1 - Steph Teeter

We kept expecting the wind to blow sooner. It was supposed to start yesterday bringing in a cold front. Then last night, but it was cloudy and warm all night (I woke up roasting under all the covers... or maybe it was just hot flashes), and this morning it was still calm and just right - not too hot, not too cold. But just when we got in from the 2nd loop and settled into the hold, a monster gust came in, blowing our buckets hither and yon, sweeping the hay off the ground, grit in the eyes. It sort of settled down again, and we left on the last loop with a nice cooling breeze, but still not too bad.

Now we're done, hunkered in the trailer which is rocking in the wind, ghostly howlings through the vents and windows and under the gooseneck. The horses are standing in the lee of the trailer, eyes closed and just being horses. (maybe a little tired too - we had a FUN ride... and you know what that means :)

The start was lively - everybody was circling for a while waiting for the starter to say go, taking numbers, and all the horses were first- day-fresh. Kevin's lovely gentle Redford was bucking pretty good, Mac and Jaziret were doing the gallop in place thing, and it was a classic yeehaw start. We zoomed over two track roads, and single track cross country, and winding through the trees and brush and then there were lots and lots and lots of gates to open once we got into the big grazing allotment with all the cattle . This was actually good because the horses started getting their brains back after the umpteenth stop-open-go through-close-go. We did the first 20 mile loop in 2 hours - a good steady pace, and came into the first hold somewhere between 10th and 15th place.

We cruised through the second loop nice and easy, John/Mac, Kevin/Red and Jaziret and I taking turns leading. We rode some with Kevin Waters on his pretty palomino firecracker and Stephanie Palmer on her campaigner - another 'mature' horse at 17 and still going strong. The wind was getting stronger, but pleasant riding. When we left on the 3rd and final loop the horses were still strong, but not pulling as much - just right really. Coming in on the last 4 miles we could see a couple riders (Dominique and Joe) ahead of us and we sort of picked up the pace a little. We kept gaining on them and sure enough had to pass them and figured they'd just let us go by and we could trot on in.

We were thinking that we were close to top ten and passing two riders we'd be fer-sure top ten and after we passed them they picked up speed and so did we and before you know it we were galloping in. We came upon Marilyn McCoy (high energy ride manager) who was out there fixing the trail markings - 'last loop? that way!' - and I sort of hesitated and broke into a trot and then heard a little 'go!' and so I did :) We ended up finishing 4th, 5th and 8th (John held Mac back a little) and everybody was grinning, it was energizing. Dian and Kim had left on the last loop in front of us, but taken a wrong trail and did some extra miles, but still finished close behind us. We were surprised with our placing, and of course that made it even more fun!

Susie Kelly and Christoph Schork finished 1st and 2nd (at least 40 minutes in front of us), and Mary (?) finished 3rd. John and I are going to ride slower tomorrow, and Kevin is going to ride his other horse Far. (and fast I think).



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