Check it Out!
[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next]
[Date Index] [Thread Index] [Author Index] [Subject Index]

Fwd: NATRC Swanton Ride - Tales of the Green Horse

I originally posted this to the CTR list and had several people tell me I 
should post to Ridecamp as well, so here it is.  Since Star is an endurance 
horse in training, thought some of you guys with youngsters would appreciate 
our (mis)adventures.


---- Begin included message ----
Now that I'm safely back at home, taking my 5 year old, fresh of the race 
track, only been on the trail 6 months, GREENER THAN GREEN, horse (Star) to 
the Swanton NATRC ride doesn't seem like such a terrible idea.  This weekend 
though, that's another story.  When I decided to enter the ride, all I could 
remember about the Swanton ride was big trees whizzing by, beautiful Pacific 
ocean views, and a waterfall.  I've only ridden this ride in the Open 
division before, and that's pretty much the description most Open riders 
give…it's a pretty briskly paced ride (to put it mildly).  Since I was taking 
Star in the CP division, I figured I'd get to mosey along and really enjoy 
the views . This is kind of what happened because, in my purely unscientific 
study conducted this weekend, I learned that big surges of adrenaline through 
your blood stream actually heighten your senses (especially vision as you 
watch the ground rush toward you).  Luckily, as I was talking with Bob Waugh 
Friday night, I chickened out on the idea of riding alone and asked him if we 
could ride together (I'd still be out there if I hadn't).  He agreed and we 
timed out together Saturday.  Star was cool as a cucumber until we got to 
some switchbacks and there were horses above and below us - too confusing!  
He wanted to go up, down, and sideways.  Sideways was a bad choice and one of 
his rear legs left the trail, luckily the other three legs picked up the 
slack and we stayed on the trail.  Next was a bridge (we've never crossed a 
bridge before).  Bob and Mij bravely led the rookie across and Star followed 
on his tip-toes after checking with me to make sure that  I reallllly wanted 
to do this.   We had several miles of uneventful bliss until we came to the 
(gulp) waterfall.  How could I have forgotten how scary that waterfall is?  
The real problem is the trail that the waterfall drains into and over.  Big 
scary rocks, mud, all that icky stuff horses hate.  Star has only crossed 
nice little Santa Ynez creeks approximately 6 times, so this must have looked 
impossible to him.  (The Novice division has crossed this waterfall for the 
past 20 years - I could be exaggerating the danger a tish).   After Mij and 
Bob once again showed us how to do it, Star put his head down and blew on the 
bad rocks, then levitated himself over the rocks and evil water to the other 
side (I almost ended up riding double on Mij).  This is a fairly narrow 
trail, so I didn't really enjoy the levitation thing even though Bob said it 
looked quite athletic (he would use that word a lot over the next two days).  
Just as my heart rate was returning to normal (I should have been the one 
with the heart rate monitor, not Star), a woman ahead of me stops her horse 
smack in the middle of a narrow trail (why doesn't this stuff happen on fire 
roads?) and says:   "something's wrong with my horse".  Something did look 
wrong :  he was pawing the ground and jumping, tossing his head, etc.  
Puzzling behavior until I felt the first sting and Star started jumping and 
trying to get away.  The woman ahead of me must have been impervious to bee 
stings because she was still standing there saying "What's wrong with my 
horse?"  I yelled "BEEEEEEES, RUN!!!!!!!" (Larry Bentley would have been 
proud).   We lit out of there as fast as we could leaving behind some really 
angry bees for the next riders.  We vetted out that afternoon uneventfully.  
I have to admit that I laid awake quite a while Saturday night trying out 
various excuses as to why I couldn't possibly ride out on Sunday.  I was 
pretty sure I'd be riding alone, because Bob Waugh is a nice guy, but NOBODY 
is THAT nice.  I planned to allow him to gracefully sneak out of camp without 
me and to look brave as I rode out alone (I also made sure my socks didn't 
have any holes in them and that my legs were shaved - (didn't want to gross 
out the paramedics).  Sunday morning inevitably arrived and none of my 
excuses sounded plausible in the cold light of day.  As I was gulping down 
some coffee, Bob walked over and asked me if I thought we should try to ride 
in the front or the back today.  I looked at him carefully and he looked 
reasonably sane, non-delusional, not running a fever, but why in the world 
would he agree to ride with me on my green horse after yesterday?  Then it 
hit me…ahhhh, pity!  I can handle that.  We decided to ride out toward the 
front since our horses were fast walkers (not to mention one fast levitator). 
 Any of you who know me will be shocked to hear that we made a wrong turn 
right out of camp and, yes, I was in the lead.  Once that error was 
corrected, we started up a long, steep trail.  I was doing my best to stay 
"up" out of the saddle in good NATRC style.  However, Star, being a former 
race horse, has different associations with that particular style of riding 
than a seasoned NATRC horse does and we ended up fish-tailing around and 
generally causing a big delay on the trail while we got readjusted (once 
again, narrow trail).  Definitely need more uphill training.  More bridges, 
mud, creeks, and lots of horse levitation.  Star and I both learned a lot 
(mainly that he has an insane owner).  We did have totally zen moments on the 
trail of enjoying the views, the trail and other riders.  The P&R crews 
helped me keep count of how many near death experiences I had along the way 
(I offered to let a couple of them finish the ride for me, but no takers).  
The Mcrarry's do an awesome job with this ride - sawing, chopping and 
generally beating the vegetation into submission so that we can ride.  The 
food was superb and 20 years of experience putting on an NATRC ride really 
shows.  Back to Star….he's out in the field right now with his yearling 
buddy.  When I turned him out he ran and bucked , rolled and generally showed 
that he was none the worse for his "near death" experiences.  I'm sure he 
told his yearling buddy though:  "If they ever put you on the race track, run 
like the wind, because this trail stuff is really hard!"

Sylvia & Star (the incredible levitating horse)
---- End included message ----

    Check it Out!    

Home    Events    Groups    Rider Directory    Market    RideCamp    Stuff

Back to TOC