Friday, January 9, 2015

2014 Sesenta Años

Since Cthulhu's birth, and the subsequent intensity of time required on my part, I hadn't ridden much. By November, Cthulhu was ready to be weaned, and doing pretty well all things considered (there will be more on him in January). Things were going well, so I decided to get in a ride.

Initially I planned to go to Lead Follow or Get Out of My Way in Arizona. Unfortunately, as the date approached, I realized Hoss's Coggins test was far out of date, and we didn't have time to get a new one. So, I decided we'd go to Sesenta Años in Santa Barbara.

I was feeling a little ambitious, since the ride is a multi-day, and thought to take DC for a limited distance ride as well. Unfortunately, she was having a terrible time with lameness, and it became evident her saddle had a lot to do with it. So, she stayed home with Cthulhu and Hoss and I headed to Santa Barbara.

My husband had come home from work for his regular two weeks off a few days earlier, and he wanted to go with us. He had an important doctor appointment on Friday, so we didn't get to the first day. My plan was to ride Saturday in the 50 and Sunday in the LD.

It's been a long time since I've done much in terms of endurance riding. As a result, I forgot my video camera *and* my still camera. Fortunately I did have my phone and was able to get a few pictures.

We were very late arriving in camp on Friday night, mostly due to my GPS suddenly developing a mean streak. I had put in the address, but it wanted us to go up the 5, and that wasn't happening. Ultimately it ended up sending us over 100 miles out of our way and running us into the most bizarre places where no horse trailer should attempt to travel.

Because we were so late, I picked up my paperwork and took it with me back to camp. We got camp set up and went to bed.

I got up early in the morning and fed Hoss as usual, thinking ride start would be 7am. I filled out my paperwork and took it to Annie. It was a good thing I went when I did. Turned out the ride started at 6am! I had twenty minutes to get Hoss tacked up and vetted.

It was still pretty dark when I walked back over with Hoss in tow to vet in and head out on trail. I heard Cheri Briscoe, owner of Echo, who is one of Hoss's best friends, talking in the darkness. I called out to her and we were able to chat a moment. The drawback of this was Echo and Hoss seeing each other. They were both very thrilled, but Cheri does not like to let Echo socialize, and for that matter, I'm not a fan of letting Hoss socialize, either. Cheri pulled Echo away while I led Hoss to Alina for vetting. When I trotted him out, he was still in a snit about Echo, and he bucked his way along beside me.

We walked around waiting for the trail to open for a while. Hoss was pretty amped, but he was being a pretty good boy. It's nice to have a horse who will obey even when he can barely control himself.

The trail opened and we started on our way. Pretty early on, I discovered there's a skill I haven't gotten back since the hip replacement: I can't stop a horse cantering without jumping in his face! Usually Hoss will slow back down at the slightest suggestion, but he wasn't having it this day. I wound up letting him get away with his version of bolting several times before I was able to at least talk him into not doing it.

We were going at a pretty good clip, and we met up with another horse and rider we've been with before (Joan and Dodge). Hoss and Dodge, when it's just them, are reasonably well matched. The biggest difference is that, while Hoss will give a solid 5%, Dodge will put in 20%. Dodge's trot is generally faster than Hoss's, but if it's just the two of them he'll slow down and let Hoss catch up.

This ride turned out to have some pretty spectacular hills. Unfortunately Hoss and I had been training for Lead Follow, a pretty flat, low elevation ride. Sesenta Años is much hillier and much more elevation change. It started to tell on Hoss pretty early.

We came into the vet check at just shy of 25 miles at 9:30. Hoss took a few minutes to come down, while Dodge was down right away. This meant Dodge would leave the vet check about 5 minutes before we did. I was kinda okay with this, as Hoss simply wasn't ready for a ride quite that strenuous at the pace Dodge can do it.

The perversity of horse
Hoss was not especially interested in his bran mash, but ate his alfalfa relatively well, and was drinking just fine. He was pretty interested in the dry grass! When our hold was over, I got him ready and we headed back out. By this point, Dodge and Joan were long gone.

Without the motivation of another horse, Hoss was slower and more manageable. I was OK with this.

The loop after lunch included a long (about 10 miles) stretch with no water and a whole lot of climbing. I really knew Hoss was feeling it when we got to the top of a hill, ready to go down, and he just stopped and looked at me. I ended up leading him quite a bit, as I just knew he was feeling a bit humbled by the experience.

We climbed out of the section without water with Hoss feeling like he was gonna die. I had given him a dose of electrolytes, which had helped, and he really needed water. Finally there was a water tank, and he was able to get a good, solid drink.

Once he'd tanked up, Hoss was much happier and picked up the pace for a time. We were trotting along well and getting close to the finish when he just quit on me. Chalking it up to a combination of under condition and lack of company, I got off and led him.

After we'd been walking a while, and he had showed no interest and moving on, Echo caught up to us. Thinking he might be motivated if he was with his friend, I hopped on and asked him to move out. He did not feel right. He felt lame.

I got back off and looked him over. He had sprung a shoe, and now was moving stupid. I continued leading him, sure we would be disqualified for lameness at the end.

We trudged into camp and walked up to Alina for our vetting out. I was tired and sore, and so was Hoss. When Alina asked how the day went, I admitted neither of us had been truly ready for this particular ride, and told her Hoss's right front shoe was sprung.

Hoss is truly an interesting character. The last time I had looked at him trot, he looked dead lame to me. When I trotted him for Alina, I swear he knew what was at stake. He shuffled along and disguised his problem well enough for Alina to say he looked normal to her. I just shook my head and took him back to the trailer.

A lovely sunset in camp
Our original plan had been 50 on Saturday and an LD on Sunday. With a sprung shoe, moving on it for well over 4 miles, and no way to fix the shoe anyway, we decided we'd be going home in the morning.

When I went to settle my entry fees, Annie handed me a couple of boxes and a mug. All the items involved were awards from the XP rides Hoss and I had completed in 2013.  We brought home a *lot* of stuff.

Awards from individual rides in 2013
Our awards for Gold Medal on the XP -- over 1,000 miles!

 *It took me a little while to get to writing this post. I felt the need to figure out how to do a tilde before I wrote it. My father was a Border Patrol officer, and having grown up in Southern California I understand the significance of the tilde. It utterly changes the meaning of the word. My father had this story to tell:

While out with a bunch of rookies, a group of illegals (that's what we called them way back then) was apprehended. One of the rookies went to questioning one of the illegals. This is how that conversation went:

Rookie: Cuantos anos tiene?

Illegal: (looking confused and perhaps a little offended) Solo uno señor!

Because "años" is years; "anos" is anuses! The rookie's question literally translated as "How many anuses do you have." Yup, I'd be confused and horrified! 

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