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Comstock Ride & Goal Accomplished! <long>

This was not just another ride for us.  This was one of those rides where a
special milestone was reached for my horse, Dream Weaver.  At the start of
the ride season I had set a couple of goals for him this year.  The first
goal was to ride 1,000 miles in one season, and if that wasn't enough, I
also wanted to complete four one day 100's.  We had managed to complete the
latter goal and while I had considered doing one more 100 on him, I decided
not to temp fate and take the easy way out and do the 50 at Comstock this
past weekend.  We went to the ride on Friday, only one ride away from our
ultimate goal of 1,000 miles this season - with no pulls.  

So of course I was a little nervous (ha!), the fatalist in me worrying that
for sure something would happen to the horse.  All the things that could go
wrong entered my mind, and I tried not to think about it and tried to focus
on all the positive things we had going for us.  

As I was loading Weav into the trailer, the wind blew the trailer door
around and WHAM - smacked him right in the front shoulder.  Great way to
start! <not>  We arrived at the ridecamp in the afternoon and saved a spot
for Lucy Chaplin-Trumbull who came over from Sacramento with her horse
Provo to ride her first 50 with us.  It was nice having somebody around to
worry and stress more than I do to take my mind off of what else could go
wrong.  Aren't newbies fun?  ;=0

The vet in was uneventful.  I almost wanted to argue with the vet for
giving my horse an A on gait.  But, I thought - can't he see that the horse
paddles? I guess I get so used to having vets mark him down for that it
surprises me when they don't.

Ride start wasn't until 7:30 a.m.  It was cloudy and cool, but not very
cold.  I finally got Lucy on her horse, she kept insisting that she could
not get on.  But, you have to I told her!!  We finally got her mounted and
began trotting down the trail.  The horses went down the trail very nicely
together and we had an enjoyable first 30 mile loop.  We got sprinkled on a
little bit, and the breeze at times was chilly.  Lots of water on the trail
- and the footing was excellent.  We saw several riders cutting trail -
they went the wrong way and rather than come back and follow the marked
trail, they just cut over.  I just have to assume that they don't know the
rules - if you get off trail, you must go back and get onto the original
trail that way.  You cannot just cut over, especially if it shortens the
trail and/or allows you to get in front of other riders (without actually
passing them).  I was riding near last so it really didn't matter, but that
is the kind of thing that I've seen other riders get quite upset about.  

Lucy appeared to be worrying about her horse, so we stopped and I gave her
my heart monitor.  Once she got the monitor on her horse she could see that
everything was just fine, Provo would recover quickly everytime we stopped
and his working rates were in the normal range.  

We survived the first loop - without getting run down by speeding cars and
motorhomes.  You would think some people would consider what would happen
to their cars should a horse land on their hood, but noooooooooooooooo,
they don't slow down.

Headed straight over to vet in and that went well.  They had three vets and
something like 110 (est?) horses between the 25 and the 50.  They had
plenty of food for us - starting with breakfast and continuing into lunch
with sandwiches, fruit, snacks, drinks - you name it - we didn't go hungry
at this ride.  Our hour hold went by fairly quickly.  It seemed like the
weather was cooperating - the clouds parted and the sun beat down on us
just as we got the horses back to the trailers - perfect timing!  

The remaining 20 mile loop was really nice.  This was the part with the
climbs, which gave us spectacular views of the entire city of Reno.  I
showed Lucy where the Silver Legacy was (the casino where the next AERC
convention will be).  It is sure big!  There was plenty of grass on the
trail and the horses ate as we went down the trail.  Once we made it to the
top, there was a good bit of downhill on the other side that was steep with
a lot of rocks.  We dropped down into a little sandbed and thru a canyon
that was really pretty.  This was a really nice part of the trail.  We
arrived at one of the last water stops --- our horses were sure
disappointed to see that the trough was empty!  They fought over the last
1/4 cup, which was sort of pointless since just around the corner were
several large puddles and the horses were able to drink their fill.  We
picked up the pace a bit and in no time arrived at the last vet check, only
four miles from the finish.  We had been warned that if we took our horses
to the vet and they weren't already at 60, that we would receive a 15
minute additional penalty.  (no P&R people here)  I knew I wouldn't have
any trouble, Weav was at 36 at lunch and even without his HRM on I knew
he'd be down so I went straight to the vet, and sure enough he was already
below criteria.  Lucy was a little bit worried, though her horse was doing
just fine and was at criteria when the vet checked.  The look on her face
when I walked my horse over to the hay though - pure panic.  (I was only 6
feet away)  We stayed here longer than the regular hold time and let the
horses eat while we gourged ourselves as well.  As I sat on the ground and
watched my horse graze I started to feel really sad and almost began to get
tears in my eyes.  I couldn't believe that we had only four miles left to
go.  I was excited about achieving our goal for the year, but at the same
time I was being selfishly sad because I didn't want it to end, and I knew
in only 4 more miles I wouldn't be riding this horse again for a few weeks
(yeah, yeah, I know - get over it Karen!)....I promised Weav a nice 5 or 6
week vacation after doing rides every other weekend since Tevis.  

The finish came quickly - the footing the rest of the way in was really
nice, and the weather continued to clear for us.  My husband was waiting
for us at the finish line and we pulled tack and put coolers on the horses.
 Then went in to vet - yeah - one last vet check and we're done I thought!
We're really going to do this!!!!!  Trotted him out and the vet said 'your
horse looks really good', so I felt really great about finishing this ride
and achieving our goal which took us the last eleven months, lots of hard
work, time off work, sacrifice and luck (lots of luck) to get there.  I
walked the horse back to the trailer with tears in my eyes and a big lump
in my throat.  I am so lucky. 

I just want to say that the ride management did an excellent job on this
ride - it was very well done.  They gave out a lot of interesting and fun
awards to the riders.  I received a crystal vase for achieving 1000 miles
at their ride on Weaver, which I thought was really nice.  I won't tell who
got the 'dirtiest horse' award <bg>, I'll get in big trouble for that!   

Lucy, Congratulations to you and Provo on your first 50, you did a terrific
job.   It won't hurt by Wednesday, I promise! <bg>

Happy Trails,

in Gardnerville
& Weaver, 2005 miles & Officially On Vacation!
& Rocky...gets to do Crystal Peak next :)

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