Home Current News News Archive Shop/Advertise Ridecamp Classified Events Learn/AERC
Endurance.Net Home Almosta Bennett Hills Ride


Stories by Merri: Friday || Day 1 and 2

Saturday-Sunday June 27-8 2009

Almosta Bennett Hills Endurance Ride

Saturday Day 1

We had a pretty decent turnout for the Almosta Bennett Hills ride, formerly the Bennett Hills ride - 28 riders on day 1, 23 riders on day 2. And all but two of them finished!

Steph managed to include almost one big hill on day 1. The 50's set out from basecamp at 7 AM, while the LD riders hauled out 30 minutes to the vet check on Bachman Grade road to start. A few riders camped out there overnight and had a great time, "just like the old days."

Steph promised Rhett after he reached 4000 miles - which he did on Day 1 - she was going to start riding him slower. Today, she and John started out in last place! (John was riding one of Bev Gray's horses on his first 50). I was still gimping around with my mashed toe, so, being the weenie I am, I didn't ride but spent the day helping out a bit, riding the 4-wheeler a lot (only on roads!) and taking pictures.

It wasn't a ride to go fast anyway - there was a 10-mile climb up on loop 2 for the 50's and loop 1 for the 25's; and what goes up must come down, so, being and out-and-back trail, it was 10 miles back down to the vet check. Plenty of rock underfoot, so it was a good day to take your time and enjoy the scenery. It's still pretty green around here, and one hill was full of Sego Lilies - a trillium-like white or pink flower that I've never seen around here before.

Riders got a goodie bag at the vet check to take up and open up on top... goodies for rider and horse, and one possibly lucky person got a lotto ticket in their bag. No word on if Cindy Bradley won the lotto... or if she would be sharing if she did.

Steve Bradley rode his motorbike to the top to take pictures, then pulled ribbons after the last horse on the way down. I was a mile or two out of the vet check waiting for riders to come by to take pictures. I got the first five coming by, and then came Amanda Washington and Fast Eddy.

When I stand out somewhere taking pictures, I always make sure the horse sees me and knows I'm a human so that he doesn't spook. I walk and move around, so I look like a human, and I say something, so I sound like a human.

Eddy saw me walk, heard me say hi, and I took a picture. Then as they moved closer I crouched down, to place the horse in the frame just right, and apparently I looked like a mountain lion about to crouch and spring, because Eddy leaped off the trail into the sagebrush.

I was horrified and said so, while Amanda said something like, "Whoops!" or maybe it was something else, but she managed to stay on and laugh about it. Not a mile up the trail, when she got off to open a fence gate, Eddy took off and left her for the vet check another half mile away! Then ensued some chaos, with worried veterinarian Robert Washington starting to go look for his missing wife after Eddie showed up without her, Amanda walking into the vet check worried about her disappeared horse. But horse and rider were fine, and after their hour hold, they went on to finish the ride.

Nora Cassens brought 2 of her young girls Zena and Jessica, and escorted them on the 25 miler. The 2 juniors finished first, with Zena Smith taking the first prize today. Last but not least down the mountain was Pam Haynes on Dancehall Tillie a big beautiful black bruiser of a Thoroughbred-Shire cross. Pam's ridden her in all of her 17 rides, where she's had only one pull... and that was when she tried a 60-miler. They take their time in the LD's, but they git r' done.

Beverly Gray and her amazing horse Amazing Ku tied for first in the 50 with Pat Gisvold and Tezero's Khadesha. Coming in as turtles were Steph and John Teeter!

The awards were no frills, the dinner was pot-luck thrills (there's ALWAYS great food at an endurance pot-luck!), and it was early to bed for an early start on tomorrow's ride to beat the heat.

Sunday Day 2

Supposed to be in the mid-90's today, so the 50's started on the trail at 6 AM just as the sun was coming up as an orange ball in the east. The 25's started at 6:30 AM. Nance Worman was riding the 25 today on her palomino Barbie (that's really her name!). "Wouldn't you know, the ONE TIME I ride a 25 in years, I have to get up early!"

All the loops were out of camp today, and Steph had to do some fancy trail design to make sure horses and riders crossed the two creeks running with water, Pickett Creek and Hart Creek, since we didn't have any water tanks out on trail. Her best advice was, "When you come to an intersection, don't ever turn!" and "Bring your map!" Only a few people took a wrong turn, although one gal - who arrived early in the morning before the 25-mile ride - started out on the correct blue loop, but ended up on yesterday's blue loop... which took her up Toy Mountain! She was gone a very long time, and certainly did at least 25 miles, and her horse passed a vet exam, so she was given a completion.

It indeed got into the 90's, though much of the ride was up on the ridge tops, so horses had a good breeze. The water seemed to be at just the right places for everybody so horses didn't go thirsty.

Nora's girls won the 25 miler again, with Jessica getting first today; on the 50, Pat Gisvold and Jane Cunningham tied for first, and Jane took the first prize saddle pad, since Pat got it yesterday. Katelynn Keller rode and finished her first endurance ride in the 25 miler; Annerose Carlile came within 50 or 100 miles of 10,000 career (in the US) endurance miles, and this was her first ride, I believe since Eagle Extreme, where she got bucked off and ended up in the hospital with a concussion; Bonnie Bolender's horse reached 1000 miles; and most of all, I think everybody had a good time.

That included the volunteers, which included Regina Rose, Barbara, and neighbor Janice, who did much of the transporting of horses (Regina) and the timing and secretarial work. And plenty of friends and crews and riders who weren't riding both days.

Just another of those fun weekends where there is really nothing better to do than go to an endurance ride.

Now, if I can just avoid getting stepped on before the next one so I can RIDE...