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Okie does Coalfax Coal Rush

Coalfax Coal Rush     written by Sheila Garretson

What a great time we had at this ride!! Thank you,  Susan and Ralph, for
putting on this wonderful event.
Boy, it sure feels hot here in Okla. After that nice cool weather in
Raton N.M. we are about to die here!!
We arrived at camp on Thursday, after a long nine+  hour drive.  We had
passed through the gate, and were driving  the one mile to camp, when
Linda said, “Oh look, I think that’s a black bear.”  At which point I
said, “Oh my God, it is a bear!! And it’s on the trail where the markers
are!!”  When we got up to the camp, and met Susan, she asked us if we
saw the Cinnamon bear with the 3 cubs . At that point, I was like, “Oh
no, there are more than one kind??”  Now I realize seeing a bear may not
mean much to some people but it was a  first for me.  We got all kind of
instructions about how to handle trash and food items at the ride
meeting.  No need to attract them!!  There were 5 of us altogether from
Oklahoma.  Carol Barker and Terri Chapman were doing a 50 miler and
Linda Hancock, Beverly McDaniel and myself were doing the 25. Beverly
was riding a new mare that needed to be with other horses , and we
assured her we would be taking it easy.  Friday morning rolled around
and we all decided to take a little ride. Linda and I decided to ride
the 8 ½ mile loop. Since it would be our last loop on Saturday, at least
we would know what it was like. Ralph told us  there was a steady 4 mile
climb and a few washouts. It took us a long time to get to the top. Luna
and Brother thought their hearts might explode!! We managed to get there
and boy was the view worth it!! We even took pictures, you see Linda has
this camera that she carries, and it has photos from last year on it. I
guess it’s about time to finish this roll before we forget what is on
it.  Going down was much easier and a lot less rocky.  The washouts on
the first part were slow going.  We prefer not to use Easyboots. We
train on gravel roads and slow down over really rocky spots. About
halfway down we heard a crashing in the trees and all I saw was tan and
white. Well, Linda said, “tan and white is the color of deer, deer are
our friends.”  Onward we go and a flock of turkeys cross in front of
us.  We recognize turkey!!   We get back to camp, a little over 2 hours
just as a rainstorm hits.  Nice cool off.  That night Bill (Linda’s
hubby/our pit crew) proceeds to tell us that he found out while talking
to Ralph most of the deer population is gone due to the Cougars!!!
Thanks Ralph!!! That was more than we wanted to know. We are going to
believe that  crashing  sound WAS a deer!!

The next morning we got to sleep later than usual.  Since we were doing
a 25, start time was 8:00am.(really 9:00 Okla time). Carol and Terri
were off by 6:30am. Our first loop was 17 miles and it was really nice.
We all got in and our horses received A’s.  We had a one hour hold.
Sadly, Terri’s horse was having a little trouble coming down and his gut
was a bit slow, so she decided  to pull.  I’m glad to report he was
doing fine that evening.  Carol was doing good, and they were off on
their 2nd loop.  We had gone faster on the first loop since we knew what
the 2nd one was like.  We all did good and had plenty of time to
spare!!  Beverly’s mare did  really well for her first  time. Bev and
the mare have a few things to work out - saddle fit being the main
one...Great job Beverly on demonstrating how to stay in the saddle when
it is on your horses neck!   She has a new saddle on order, and plans on
doing some crupper training. Cruppers are a really a good thing for a
sport saddle. Linda and I are thankful for ours!  Beverly swears she saw
something black in the trees on that loop and we all knew that there
were not any black angus cattle here.

The vetting was great. Both vets were very nice and  really wanted to
know about our horses.  We invited Dr. Flemming to come to Okla.  This
was the first ride that we had been to outside of our region.  One thing
that we were curious about was  CRI’s.  They were not done at this ride
and we are very accustomed to them in the Central Region.  The president
of the AERC and his family  were there, that was cool, but Where Was His
Helmet????  The awards banquet was like a big party!!  It was well
organized and ran smoothly.  Thanks again for a great first ride. You
all get our vote for #2.  Susan you are a great artist!!

Sheila & Luna  “Boy mom, my butt hurts “

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