It was 90 miles from our door to ride camp. The drive was quite easy from our place to Auburn and then sent me back to childhood with the hairpin turns on the 49. A very windy but relatively short bit of road and before we knew it we found camp! The people at check in directed me to my camping spot next to D, my hoof care expert, who brought her home bred Arabian, Launi, for his first LD. She was majorly nice enough to speak up for me so when we got there we found not only friendly faces to camp next to, but a sturdy, empty horse camp corral for Blaze! Such luxury since my mounts are generally quite unglamorously tied to my 2 horse Miley at rides. The corrals were permanently installed and part of the very nice horse camp setting, there were a few scattered around camp but not many and it was very nice of D to save us one.
Launi was waiting to welcome Blaze 🙂
Setting up the sweet digs:
Launi and Blaze took to each other right away and alternated between sharing food and trying to nibble on each other’s faces passive aggressively. Blaze was gelded late and has some stallion-esque tendencies, he has always maintained neat stallion piles where he lives and if he lives with a mare he is a total Herd King snot and has been known to mount mares in the field. Launi is about 7 and was gelded 2 years ago, with foals on the ground, so he appreciates the ladies himself. You can almost imagine them chatting up the chicks together 😉
Let’s be friends and bite each other:
Camping effort was minimal, with the ride so close to home and a shorter ride day overall we downsized the Arabian Nights compound a bit:
Funder was there to do the 50, while D, my regular training buddy N, and I were all planning on the 30. Here we are in the middle of a no-doubt serious ride camp chat fest:
My Crew Husband and the 2 sidekick pocket dogs came along since it was going to be a short trip, and as usual they were quite popular in camp.
Wilbur the Wonder Wiener
I was recruited to trot out Launi for D, he is hugely tall and she is, well, not! He was lagging it in his pre-ride vet check and causing some concerns for the vet so we did a practice run and then re-checked him through:
trotting the Launi-Moose:
Don’t forget important pre-ride activities like reading your welcome packet. Don’t study too hard though, soon you’ll be at the ride meeting where 5 ppl will tell you 6 different answers and none of it will make sense anyway. Just look for ribbons!
Blaze does not require a pre-ride of any sort but I was bored waiting for the 8 pm ride meeting while being simultaneously too lazy to do the whole tacking up thing. Plus I needed to visit Funder’s camp and say hi to Dixie. And thus, bareback riding over for a chat and back (with a beer) was born.
Ride meeting was how most ride meetings are: long, sometimes painfully confusing as 8 people ask the same question at different times and occasionally get different answers..I was used to being on the 50 so was all ears at first, then remembered I was on the LD so tuned out..by the end I was cold and hungry and had concluded that my ride strategy was much the same as it had been before the meeting: Ignore Babble, Follow Ribbons.
The 30s had an 8 am start which meant that I was up by about 4:30 and seriously twiddling my thumbs by 7 am. Then I found the green glitter in the horse trailer and some time passed bedazzling Blaze’s number and a heart on his other flank:
Launi and Blaze ready for action..or eating
Here comes N and Willow! Ready for the ride
N and I have known each other about a year now, since meeting at the Patriot’s Day FEI ride last July. We ride quite regularly together at home, but we hadn’t been in the same distance AERC ride at all this year and I didn’t have any photos of both of us on board, so this time I was determined to at least get some photos of us. D hadn’t been to a ride in 5 years herself, so of course we didn’t have any photos together either. Til now!
Ta da! Here is the home team from the Lake Oroville trails, ready for the GC 30 🙂
N’s Game Face! She means business–and so did Willow!
Away down the start we go:
The 30 miler was a 5 mile loop, a trot-by the vet’s as we passed camp, and straight on out on the trail until a 1/2 hour vet check hold at 22.5 miles. There were 5 or 6 road crossings done with the assistance of volunteers with signs and one road crossing that you were required to dismount at and walk along until safely back off the pavement. Water troughs were relatively plentiful, and there was a creek too though we didn’t go in it since it was full of horses at the time.
Oh, and the footing? Fan-frickin-tastic! Okay yeah there were occasional tree root/rock sections (very short,) some weird cement blocks kinda half sticking out of a few short climbs (easily avoided), but on the whole the footing was great: either single track trail, shady dirt logging roads, or gravel road, but that was always shady and pretty friendly for gravel road. Hills were minor, mostly very short, sometimes steep, but we couldn’t even tell which was “Their Hill” as in THE hill of the ride, so that tells you something–and really, after
death marching hand walking Desire up Berkeley Hill in the heat of the afternoon, no hill impresses me anymore. Having made rocky Whiskeytown and Hat Creek and the hot hills of Cache Creek a yearly habit, I sooo appreciated the moderate difficulty and great footing of this ride.
Cruising the forested trails with Nikki and Willow
Just as I snapped an Eating picture Willow’s head snapped up and it became a Posing picture
All told we were 5 minutes behind Willow for our out time but N kindly waited for us and after stuffing our faces, vetting through (all As with B for gut sounds), getting a glimpse of D still alive and on board Launi (hooray!) we were off for the last 7.5 miles to the finish. Willow started to slow down and lost her motivation as leader at the point so Blaze took over and was more than happy to charge along at a good trot. It was a relief to switch up to some cantering in there too, I train him at the canter fairly regularly and think I might do so more, since his trot takes so much out of me.
We emerged out of the trees to the finish line and the kind volunteers clapping for us. There was some general confusion and misinformation spread around but basically we had to pulse to 60 for our Completion and then had 1/2 hr to do the final vet check. I hadn’t realized how close to camp we were so we were trotting right to the finish line and it took Blaze a couple minutes to pulse down but he did in short order and that was that!
Cooling Blaze at the finish:
Gut sound bribery..you know you wanna eat it..
I love this pic, he looks soooooo cute and small:
Cleaning him up for the Vet Check, good boy eating
Willow and Blaze final Vet Checks:
Cute little pony trot out 🙂
Blaze is always making friends, see that tilt to the tall vet’s head? Can’t you just hear him saying “awww hiii” Yep, everyone does
Some leg love for snoozingBlaze:
D and Launi were back and Finished when we were done vetting and she was happy to report a successful first LD for her big boy. I trotted him at the vet for her again and he got his Completion,
yay Launi and D!
While the husband packed, I stuffed my face with Strawberry Crepes and ride dinner, and we were on the road and home before dark. It was a great ride and a great performance by Blaze and all our local horsey buddies who went. See you at the next ride!