Unused as we are in this region (Pacific Southwest) to enduring extremes
of weather, 47 teams showed up to tackle this new ride. Myque had
gotten 91 preregistrations, so this weather curve was a terrific blow.
The campground was a terrific site, with a clubhouse, rec room and
showers. Friday night's weather was gusty winds but no rain until 4 am.
Many people loaded their horses in trailers at 4:30 to get them out of
the rain until closer to the 6:15 start. 27 started the 50, 15 on the
It was my first 50, and the first for Ember also. It was a new
experience to start into driving rain. We teamed up with a couple of
vets from Ventura whose horses were very compatible with our desired
pace. Lost one at Vet 1 after her horse threw a shoe and started
shivering while it was being replaced, she self-pulled after he showed
some back soreness during the trot out. Our time on the first 25 was
about 3 hours riding time.
Must add the Kiwi Covers rump rug to the "best buy" list, it was easily
deployed by slow-moving fingers, and equally easily resecured for
Removing saddles wasn't required for the lunch check, so I blanketed
over the tack. I had almost pulled Ember from the ride because she
didn't drink at all Friday, nor Saturday morning. She drank a mouthful
at lunch, chowed down, unconcerned by the intermittent heavy rain and
On the second 25, both horses were sluggish moving out, with a bunch of
elevation as the initial trail offering. Great footing, little mud,
lots of runoff. Upon reaching the top, both horses dived for the first
large muddy puddle they saw, and drank like fiends. They continued to
drink at every large puddle, and were completely invigorated. Lots of
singletrack on this loop, and beautiful views.
Unfortunately, we had trouble with trail markings on the second loop of
the afternoon. We had never stopped following ribbons, but never found
Vet 3. We did a lot of backtracking, and found ribbons leading to
trails which were dead ends. We found out later that the dirt biker
we'd seen out there had been moving ribbons. Heinous. We met up with
two people who had been to vet 3, and pointed out the proper way back to
base, as they were about to follow one of the mismarked trails. The
third rider with us at this point opted to go the 30 minutes to vet 3 so
he could get completion. Cynthia and I decided that our ponies had done
their miles and wouldn't understand the concept whether they'd
"completed" or not, but would be delighted to be done, untacked and
Cynthia thought we'd done 10 extra miles in our attempt to find the
right trail. The riders we'd helped finished 5th and 6th.
We took our horses through the completion check as soon as we got back
to ridecamp. Ember vetted through with all As and A-, except for
average gut sounds. She was ravenous. Becky Hackworth thoughtfully
provided beet pulp for Ember, her first experience. She loved it.
Anyway, I learned a lot from this ride. The most important is to
remember to bag my map. I was the only one of the group to have a map,
but it quickly disintegrated in the driving rain.
I learned that my horse is indeed fully conditioned now, and if she can
do 50-60 miles in 7 hours in these conditions, that we can probably do
any ride on the schedule.
And lastly, I had expected to have some body soreness from the extended
distance, but that wasn't the case. Just that rather pleasant "gone
exercising" sense rather that the "gotta use the handicapped rails to
pee" condition. <g>
Our own Kris Olko won the 50, and Nancy James got BC. All the 25s
finished. Great ride dinner, catered lasagna with the trimmings, and
two kinds of cakes. Sorry I can't remember the 25 BC winner's name.
They got waterproof canvas embroidered blankets, and the top tens got
ride diaries, nice ones. So did the top 5 BC on the 25.
Lynne, from soggy SoCal
and Rem-member Me