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EHSC 50 <story>
Since I've already gotten a dozen e-mails asking "where's your ride story",
I figured I better get busy...
The EHSC (Eastern High Sierra Classic) 30/50 ride was held this past
weekend in Bridgeport, CA. This is a really nice ride with an excellent
base camp (pasture) near Twin Lakes and with access to some of the most
beautiful trails in the Sierras. I have always liked this ride, as it was
our (mine and the horses) first 50...we have completed it the last four
years in a row now and I liked it just as much this past weekend as I did
the first time. The food was really good and awards were laundry bags with
the ride logo on them. They always have really nice completion awards at
I wasn't sure if I would make it to this ride. Two weeks ago I had a bad
accident with a friends horse in a horse trailer and had sustained some
serious injuries. I waited until the Wednesday before the ride to try and
ride and found that I could ride if I kept the horse in a nice easy trot.
Left lead not comfortable. Shaking, not allowed. Otherwise, I felt that
I could do it. So I headed down there (60 miles) early Friday morning so I
would have plenty of time to set up camp and rest. When I arrived there
were already several rigs in camp...many had arrived on Thursday. I first
saw Katja, who did her last endurance ride in the US before heading back to
Germany at the end of this month. She held my horse for me while I got
situated, and then she and Jazon helped set up my shade :-). It was a
beautiful day, plenty warm though. I'm not sure how hot it was there, but
had to be in the 90's (was 104 at home).
One of the reasons why I wanted to complete this ride is because it was the
third ride of the Triple Crown that Jim and Jackie are doing now - the Fire
Mountain Horse Excellence Award. Any horse that completes the following
three rides gets the award...Death Valley Encounter (200 miles), the 20 MT
100, and the EHSC 50 (350 miles total). After completing the first two
rides, I knew the remaining 50 would be a piece of cake...for the horse.
Of course, there was no pressure in seeing the embroidered blanket that
Jackie had on the table with our name on it....ohmygawd!!!
The ride did not start until 6 a.m. this year...it was already fairly warm
by then. We had a nice start, dusty as usual. I got a rider behind me
that kept running her horse into me and actually knocked me out of the
saddle a couple of times...ugh...then got behind her, which wasn't any
better since her horse kept turning sideways and trying to kick us. It
took a couple of miles to get spread out and get moving comfortably. The
start goes thru sagebrush and dusty trail, then winds its way up thru brush
and trees, then over a ridge where you can see Twin Lakes just as the sun
is rising. To add to the ambience...the smell of bacon cooking at the
campsites surrounding the lake. This loop was 9 miles, then headed back
into camp for a 15 minute hold and vet check. Second loop was 11 miles
thru some cross country up the side of the mountain. The trail was much
easier to follow this year, and the type of trail where you are thankful to
be riding a sure-footed horse and not a clutz. I kept a few riders from
going the wrong way....they were going too fast to see the ribbons. Made
it to the water check and inadvertently was directed to go the wrong way,
with about 8-10 other riders. I didn't get far before I got the funny
feeling of de-ja-vu...I stopped and pulled out my map (as if that helped)!
<vbg>...and told my friend that I was SURE we were going the wrong way..we
needed to be going the opposite direction! Sure enough, I turned around and
headed back down the trail, passing several groups of two who also all had
their maps out and shaking their heads....at least two riders in front of
us were zipping along and I'm not sure how far the got before realizing the
error. Got back on the correct trail and made it back to camp. One hour
hold and 30 miles left to go.
Three of us made it to the first gate. The first two got off to open and
close it. They had an extremely difficult time, and in the meantime one of
the riders horses decided to take off in a completely different direction
from the trail....zoooom...off he went in a nice trot. I knew if I chased
him right off that he would only run, and I didn't have the strength to
ride that hard, or control my own horse and try and grab the loose one...so
I waited until he stopped and then took off after him. He was easy to
catch and I ponied him back to his owner. She had first told us to leave
her at the gate and she would close it on her own. I'll bet she was glad
that we hung around <g>.
The majority of the last loop was marked backwards. Meaning, we were
supposed to have ridden it going in one direction but because of some pack
mule teams going thru the area that day they decided to send us around in
reverse to avoid any confrontations. So that made things a bit more
interesting for those that are directionally challenged. We had several
creeks to cross, some beautiful spans of aspen trees and forest to ride
thru...lots of nice green grass for the horses. There are also wildflowers
in bloom everywhere.
Came across my friends who were actually on their honeymoon (what else
would you do besides an endurance ride?)...and her horse had lost a shoe
and the easyboot would not stay on. They were getting nowhere fast...so I
told them to unscrew the heelstrap and tighten it up...worked perfectly and
they both completed and the horse with the lost shoe finished with all
A's...my friend later paid me back by picking up two syringes that I
Last vet check...about 5 miles from the finish. We had a 15 minute hold
here. I was beginning to wilt from the heat. I kept pouring cool water on
my neck cooler and that helped. Horse was eating well and of course
drinking well...lots of water on the trail. I did electrolyte him but
didn't mess with any carbo stuff. The last five miles were really easy.
An easy cruise down into camp, and of course the horse knows it well...thru
the knee-knocker gate....the pasture...across the creeks...and down to the
finish line. My friend and I were side by side until her mare laid her
ears back and threatened to kick...so my wimpy gelding backed off...and I
let him...as the sudden deceleration caused my ribs to crack and creek one
last time on the ride this day. I stopped and got off....ahhhh....I had
made it!! What a relief...we went straight over and vetted thru. Horse
did fine. Rider needed to sit for awhile.
But like Jackie B. said at the awards when she gave me Weaver's Horse
Excellence award...IT WAS WORTH IT. :=)) btw, one other horse and rider
received the award as well...Melissa Ribley (sorry I don't know her horses
Well, it was worth it until Sunday morning when I tried to get up and
couldn't. Oh man!! Ever felt like you wanted to die and afraid that you
wouldn't? Things are much better today...the horse took me for a walk and
I'm only a Grade 2. Haha!
& Dream Weaver...next ride Tevis :)
& Rocky...next ride depends on when mom can get on me (he's a lot taller)
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