Saturday morning I pulled Bentley from the field, and he walked just a little slower. He took a little extra time at the water trough to drink slowly, look around, and sigh. He knew he wasn’t coming back after this ride, and he was soaking it all in.
He stalled eating breakfast and was a little reluctant to get in the trailer, but in no time we were packed and ready to go. We arrived in good time at Dufferin forest, set up camp and were able to attend the tail end of some clinics. After, I dolled him all up to do the moonlight ride – a first for us!
I had been fiddling around with my Derby saddle all day – switching the stirrup leathers and working on making my pack nice and tight. I had been so caught up in it, I realized a little late that dinner time was fast approaching and I better eat before I hit the trails. Just before we were going to make dinner, Linda got a call from our friend Sue who had a flat and couldnt make it to a ride. So we all agreed that Linda zip out and get her! Unfortunately that left me with a dinner of snacks, and as I tried to snack away, I also got a call from my work – apparently my cell phone “pocket” dialed 911. Weird thing was, I had left it in my tack box after it was being strange and sending contacts to Lee, tagging random people in other peoples photos on facebook, and wouldn’t lock. So how it called 911 when it wasn’t in my possession is a real mystery, but I managed to miss my opportunity to eat while trying to contact the police and convince them I wasn’t needing rescue. It also meant I had all of 5 minutes to tack up and check my gear. Well, I didn’t check it very well because I crossed the starting line with severely unbalanced stirrups, riding 2 holes too short on the left. Being hungry and unbalanced for the first loop, I was pretty miserable and seriously questioned why I wanted to do the Mongol Derby when I could barely manage to stay in my saddle.
Thankfully on the hold after loop 1, we did not have to remove tack which gave me more time to fuss over my equipment. I dropped the left stirrup one hole, they looked even and felt much improved, but before day 2 I dropped it another hole as I still felt a bit off and I was getting rubbed on my left leg.
Second loop – wow what an improvement! Instead of being miserable (I also had some snacks while on hold) I had a blast. We had now cracked the glowsticks in our horse’s manes and tails, and lit up the LED dog leash necklaces we gave our horses. The 3 of us (me, Solstice, and Emma) all matched with the glow gear I had brought and we looked like a multi-colour team. We all looked and felt fantastic and were having so much fun as it started to get dark. It was Solstice’s birthday, and we decided this would be the birthday tradition from now on. The horses were great in the dark and the bright lights made the party pumping – now we just need to remember the speakers and music for next year! Thanks so much to the Downings for putting this fun event on for us every year!