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Washoe Valley 100, the Rocky version <g>

I think it was Wednesday night before the ride that I decided to take Rocky 
to this ride.  I had pre-entered my other horse but wasn't really sure 
which one was going.   After doing 20 MT I was pretty sore and not sure I 
ever wanted to ride 'ol Rockhead on another 100 miles.  But I got over 
that, funny how all those aches and pains and the memory of them melt away 
with time.

The only thing that I was really concerned about is that Rocky had just 
gotten new shoes on Wednesday, and I never do a ride that soon on a new set 
of shoes, the horses travel best with a week or two of growth.....other 
than that I was fairly confident that we could do it.  I admit that I was 
considering wimping out of doing the 100 if the weather continued to be 
bad, and do the 50 instead.  50 miles in bad weather is bad enough, but 100 
is pure insanity.  (well....doing a 100 is insane enough....isn't it?)

I hauled out early to Washoe State Park and got a good spot, and reserved 
spots for several friends (there is plenty of room in camp to do 
that).  First things first, I saddled Rocky up and took him out to pre-ride 
the last loop around Washoe Lake.  I didn't get a chance to pre-ride any of 
the trail this year so I figured this would be the best part to take him 
out on.  It's only a 4 mile loop.  When we came back I glued his easyboots 
on, cleaned up my tack, packed my crew bag and made sure everything was in 

Dale Peterson asked if I wanted to go for a ride on his motorcycle with him 
to check out some of the trail.  Oh boy would I!  So we headed up the 
mountain and rode most of the pink loop, some of the orange.  There were 
still some muddy sections but they were quickly drying out.  Boy that trail 
seems even rockier on a motorcycle than it does on a horse.  We went 26 
miles and it must have taken us 3 hours.

Listened to Bill play guitar and sing while I got my glo bars, breast 
collar, flashlight and stuff together.  Ended up forgetting to use any of 
that stuff, but was ready!  Had the syringes all ready - e-lytes 
mixed with probis and applesauce, and the carbos.  Extra mix of both were 
in tupperware ready to go.

I slept about three or four hours, typical for the night before a 100. Kept 
a close eye on Rocky to make sure everything was going well with him.  He 
was eating good, drinking plenty and doing his normal tear up the nice neat 
pen so he could roll routine.

I made sure everything for the crew stop was ready ahead of time.  Dave was 
coming out at 7:30 to pick it up and meet me at the out vet check (32 miles 
into the ride).  I also had stuff there for two other riders for him to 
bring, and he had Pat's husband going too (who arrived about 3 a.m. when I 
was up checking on the horse).

Let's see...time to start.....did the potty thing....tightened the 
cinch....water bottles filled, orange juice in one, got my gu, 
helmet.....t.p., extra easyboots, was overdressed as usual......and off we 
went!  The start begins with a nice long climb then down over the mountain 
into Carson City and alongside the golf course.  At 7miles we dismount to 
do a trot by for the head vet, Nancy Elliott---cross the highway at a 
signal then the bridge at the Carson River and back onto trail.  Jim from 
Family Photo was there taking pictures.  Rocky didn't spook this time. 
:)  We continue over into the Pinenuts and into some beautiful 
country.  There are creeks everywhere, and the canyons we ride there are 
rugged and gorgeous.  Beautiful rock formations, wildflowers and pinion 
trees line the way.  The trail is narrow mostly thru those sections and you 
find yourself ducking quite a lot, and still getting slapped in the face 
and poked and prodded all over.

Near the end of this section I decided to dunk my sponge into the creek and 
sponge Rocky's neck.  I had never done this with him before, and in fact 
for the first time the day before had just tied on a hay bale string onto 
my sponge so I could try this (most rides only allow you to scoop, no 
sponging).  So into the creek my sponge went the first time, and I sponged 
him off.  Great!!!  Then up to the next creek, only this time we didn't 
stop, got to the other side and took off at a full speed trot.  Well, my 
now killer sponge was completely soaking wet and at the end of a 4 foot 
string flopping along and chasing Rockyf!!!!!!!  We're going full out and 
here I am holding the reins in one hand, and the sponge in the other and 
here is Rocky jumping thru the air and kicking out at this monster......I 
tried reeling it in as fast as I could and we continued without missing a 
step.....I was laughing so hard I almost split a gut.  Guess you had to be 
there. :)

As we came up over one of the final ridges, covered in wildflowers lo and 
behold but right in front of us was the most beautiful bay stallion you 
have ever seen!  He just stood there and watched us.  We made it into the 
Dayton vet check in good order and vetted right thru.  Rocky had a couple 
of small dings on his legs, probably from cantering downhill in the mud 
earlier (don't ask).  It was already sunny and warm, and I was sweating 
with just a sweatshirt on.  This was heaven!!

After leaving this check you cross the highway and over another bridge and 
right thru the town of Dayton.  You have to ride right up to the signal and 
push the "walk" button.  Then back onto more trail and thru Moundhouse and 
more civilization.  The Select plant puts out a tub of water for the 
horses.  By this point three of us were riding together, myself, Pat, and 
Brian.  The horses were all drinking really well, and Rocky wasn't spooking 
or even zig zagging. :))  Dave and Otis (Pat's husband) met us up on 
Linehan road with more water and again all of the horses drank.  Then back 
up over the mountain and down into Washoe State Park.  We were now 50 miles 
into the ride.

This time the hold was an hour long and everything went well.  Rocky's 
easyboots were still on and he eagerly dug into the food.  He was still 
warm, so I sponged him down during the hold.  I hate a half a tuna sandwich 
and drank a can of ensure, a Kern's apricot juice and a 32 oz. container of 
gatorade. <bloat>  I changed Rocky's cinch and turned his pad over, oh and 
also put him in a rope halter.  Dave refilled my water bottles and I 
grabbed my jacket in case it got cold on the next loop and we were off 
again.  Yellow loop, 20 miles.  Goes up thru some rather deep sand and then 
down and up again and eventually you get up to the top and there is a 
number check with hay and water and snacks.  Rocky dug into the hay and off 
in the background was a really large herd of wild horses.  John Collier 
offered us drinks and cookies...mmm mmmm.  There were lots of 50 mile 
riders out on the trail with us on this loop.

Started heading down and one of Rocky's easyboots finally came off.  I 
figure it stayed on 60 miles so not too bad considering it had no heel 
strap on it <g>.  I picked it up and continued without putting it back 
on.  I figured I'd just glue it back on at the 70 mile point. We continued 
down Jumbo grade.  The first snake we saw was going just as fast as it 
could across the road in front of us, but the second one was just laying 
there and all I could do is scream as we went over the top of it, since 
there wasn't much else I could do.  Ewwwww, I hate snakes!!!

By the 70 mile mark everything was going well.  The horse looked and felt 
great and my only problem was the sports bra was rubbing.  So I changed 
that, ate a banana and drank some more juice. I had Rocky's easyboot glued 
back on, or so I thought.  Then he stepped out of it and right into his 
hay.  Ugh!!  So here was his foot, with about a half a flake of hay glued 
to it.  I didn't have time to completely start over, so I just pulled off 
what I could and shoved the boot back on there.  It set up and stayed on 
for the remainder of the ride.  I checked the other boot and it was still 
on good so I left it.  I made sure Rocky was okay all over, no tack rubs or 
new scratches anywhere.

Next loop was about 25 miles and included the SOB's, a series of steep up 
and down climbs.  We headed back up the mountain, same trail as we started 
on. After about 5 miles we turned off and continued up and around the 
backside of the mountain.  About halfway thru the loop we came to Agalae's 
stop and they had food and water for us and the horses.  Rocky dug into the 
hay and I almost couldn't drag him away.  He was already diving for all the 
fresh grass alongside the trail.  Whenever he got to a creek he'd drink and 
drink and drink.  I was not sure if he should be drinking so much or 
not.  Once we started to the SOB's, he was really tired and all he wanted 
to do is eat.  So I dismounted and we did that section with me on foot, and 
with him going from grass plant to grass plant eating the whole time.  The 
sun was starting to set and I realized that I had forgotten to bring my 
flashlight, or put on the breastcollar with the glo-bars.  Uh oh.  I stayed 
on foot on most of the downhill because of the trenches and rocks and with 
the moon coming up on the other side of the mountain, it was pretty dark 
for us.  I was mounted when we came to the washout in the side of the 
mountain, which was marked with a blinking yellow light.  Good idea in the 
daylight I suppose, but in the dark it only served to blind us 
completely.  I couldn't see a thing so just had to trust Rocky to get us 
thru it.  As we crossed over I wondered how long it would take before 
somebody noticed we were missing <g>.

After that the downhill leveled out some so we trotted down.  Caught up 
with Gloria on the way down and walked with her awhile.  Then Rocky wanted 
to trot some more so we went down and trotted the rest of the way into 
camp.  I had to wait for him to get to 60 because I had stupidly trotted 
him in like that.  Luckily Dale and Otis were there to help me and Connie 
stayed with a stethoscope on Rocky until he did get down.  Then we had a 15 
minute hold and headed back out for another 4 miles.  It was nice riding 
alongside the beach, with the waves lapping.  By this time the moon was up 
and the visibility was wonderful.  You could see the snow covering the 
sierras on one side, and were surrounded by sand dunes and the sound of 
frogs everywhere else.  We walked this whole loop.  I am always really 
careful with Rocky in deep sand.  When we got to the firmer stuff I got off 
and walked and jogged with him and he was pulling me forward wanting to get 
into camp. I am sure he knew we were finished.  We finished at 10:29 
p.m.  The same time I've finished that ride the previous two years, on a 
different horse (weird, huh?).  I vetted him right away then led him back 
to the pen so he could eat.  He was one starving little pony, and boy 
you've never seen a horse give the evil eye until you've tried dragging 
Rocky away from food when he's hungry!!

So we came away having had a wonderful ride and a terrific time.  For 
completion awards we had a choice over a certificate or a coffee cup. Our 
team awards were easyboots :), a red #1---just Rocky's size :).  I didn't 
stay till the end of the awards since I had just washed my hair (there are 
showers there!) and it was freezing cold and windy out & I was chilled to 
the bone.  Boy were we lucky with the weather during the ride, what a great 
day it was.  The vets and all the volunteers are always wonderful on this 
ride and everybody is so nice.  I'm not sure but I think 41 or 42 horses 
started, and 30 completed the 100.  Rocky worked his way up on this 
one.  Did the 25 as his first ever ride there.  Then the 50 the following 
year, and now this year the 100.....and he's just now getting over 
spooking.  <sigh of relief>  (which means I only needed a small crane to 
get me out of bed the next day)  hehe

Happy Trails,

in NV
& Weaver, 2,580 miles
& Rocky, 1,395  :+)

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