Spring ride could not have been more of a success for me.
Let me start off with the thing about horses and people. The thing about horses and people is they have a way of changing your plans last minute. The whole week leading up to spring ride changed so rapidly, I wont bother you with the details, just the result.
Thursday night at about 11pm, we decided Bentley was going to come along to Spring ride to learn how to camp and see all the action. We didn’t really have much of a plan, but we figured we would put the horse in the trailer and figure it out from there.
Friday, I had a half day at work, and rushed immediately to the barn. I couldn’t sleep the night before, so I had done all my packing. Loading Bentley was pretty easy for a first timer. Took maybe about 10 minutes and one broken lead rope. The chain got caught in the trailer and snapped, wasn’t because he was being bad.
We thought traffic would be best on highway 407 considering it was a long weekend, and it was good, until we got off and realized hwy 7 was still under construction. Poor horsies stuck in trailer while we were stuck in traffic. We got to the ride site about an hour later than expected, but still with lots of daylight left.
Did I mention… we no longer have square bales at our barn and had a bit of a dilemma when bringing hay there?
The trail was beautiful as could be expected. We had 25C+ days leading up and during the ride, so it was nice and dry. Only mud we came across was towards the end on the rail trail. Unfortunately, we were the first group out (a staggered start was chosen by the ride managers… wonderful to have!) and the water truck hadn’t been out yet to fill the troughs at the first stop. There was still a pond we could drink out of (errr.. the horses… I didn’t drink from the pond haha). About that time, the front runners from the 50 mile endurance ride came by too.
We finished about a minute before the minimum time allowed, so we had to wait before crossing the finish line. It was good to help bring our heart rates down a little too. I was worried we had calculated our time wrong, and cutting it so close would disqualify us. As the awards went out… working their way up the places (oh and I wasn’t expecting it to be placed, i thought we were graded) I got even more worried about this as I didn’t hear my name. But then finally, my name was called… as first place!
After dinner and awards, we just relaxes. Sorry Bentley, we will have to postpone our ride until Sunday!
The good news continued as Linda won an award for last year for the most miles ridden by a first year rider/horse! Oh and Linda received a grade 1 completion (that’s the best grade) on her 12 mile set speed.
Bentley was jealous, he wanted an award too. Bentley your time will come!
It was early to bed that night. However, I think my pit crew must have had a harder day than I thought… couldn’t even make it to nightfall.
Sunday was another day of the same thing, with some differences. Again, we completed 25 miles but this time it was a Competitive Trail Ride. So it is less like a race (you have a certain time you must complete at) and judges you more based on your horses condition throughout. We got nicked pretty good for a girth sore. We were still allowed to ride, but had to change the plans. I rode in Michelle’s saddle (her owner) with a VERY loose girth. I think the first 12 miles was just me getting used to the saddle. I must need some chiropractic work done, because I could really feel myself leaning to the left while cantering, and would grab the pommel and shove myself into the seat.
By the end of the ride, I could also feel me right knee acting up. I am pretty sure I rode the last 2 miles without stirrups (yes trotting too) So kids, if you are reading it, your coach isn’t being mean making you post trot without stirrups… there may be a day you will kill for that skill!
We completed with 3 penalty points, largely from that girth sore, and earned a 3rd place in my division (middleweight), 5th overall.
Lee didn’t take any pictures this day, but at least I remembered my GPS this time!
But wait… we weren’t done with Sunday. Not even close!
Linda and I had decided we were crazy enough to try our first ride and tie. So after 37 and 50 miles of riding respectively, we set out for 6 miles of running/riding with Sable. I started out as the rider, Linda as the runner.
We had smooth sailing the whole way home. We pulled into the driveway and ALL the kids came out to see us. Bentley had a huge cheering section to help him off the trailer. He still wont back up off it, but Mr. Jack B. Nimble Gianthorse somehow was able to turn around in the tight 2 horse with the divider swung to the side.
We had just gotten them off, when the trailer carrying the show kids came in behind us.
I cant remember how I spent the rest of the evening, but I am guessing I took a well deserved nap. And that’s it for Spring Ride. I told you it would be worth it!