Thursday, February 16, 2017

In which it's hard to write something new about a familiar routine

The annual PNER Convention is done, the sn*w is melted, 
and the Swamp Tulips are beginning to sprout....

...and so, it's time to start legging the horses back into condition for endurance season.

The Usual Suspects try not to take training too seriously

My challenge right now is to write something new about a process that is not new to me--or to this blog.

So tonight, I'm using special effects.

Dory told me about the free app called "Prisma"
 that does crazy things to ordinary photographs

This way, maybe it won't be too boring when I gush about the glories of blue skies overhead in February !!!!

The blue only lasted for an hour, and then the grey returned.
But I was out under the blue the whole time it was there!

The Prisma app makes a "blue sky" into quite a different experience!

Our forests are very green, but it's still a moss-and-fir-tree greenness.

The grass is still dormant, and the leaves haven't budded out yet.

The trails are still muddy, so we train on the armored logging roads.  Fiddle and I covered about 7 miles today in 2 hours--a nice, easy start to the training.  

It would be easy to over-train right now.  When I talk to other riders, especially the Green Beans, I am a little jealous that they are logging 20 or more miles a week.

But I know better.  A super-fit horse in February will be accruing micro-injuries and getting tired by May, and I don't want that for Fiddle.

She's 15 this year, and my task is to be proactive about preserving her joints and tendons, while getting her back in shape for distance following a year off to recover from a stifle injury in 2016.

I'm in no hurry. 

My intention is to enter the 25-miler at Coyote Ridge at the end of March.  If that goes well, we'll try the 50 at April Daze a month later.

The rest of the season--the rest of her career, really--depends a lot on how well we get through those first two events.

So, we're taking it easy.  Lots of walking, lots of hills, some trotting.  

No hurrying.

It's a good time of year to pay attention to my horse.

And that is, of course, a Good Thing.

Friday, February 10, 2017

In which we celebrate Ross, who was at his best on the full-moon nights

Tevis completion 1997  21:17 (74th place) with Patty

"I'm not done playing yet!"  (age 4 months) Iwith Patty's dad Dick  1988

1996 with Patty

1996 with Darlene and Feather B (horse) and Patty

2009, with Madeline

2012, with Madeline (front) and Sirie (rear) and Paisley (dog)

2012 with Patty, photo by M. Bretherton

2013 with me

2013 with Patty, his all-time favorite person

Kupenda Derasa 1988 - 2017
He trots ahead.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

In which it sn*ws, and half of the state shuts down because We. Just. Can't. Cope.

Photo dump:  it sn*wed.  


It was pretty (if you like grey).

You can barely see the house, and the sky is completely gone. Other than that...?

Sn*w on a farm is a pain in the tail feathers.

Cornelius the rooster refused to come out of the coop until
Monica scooped out a path for him

The roads were a mess, and

The reindeer are on vacation.  Tootles the tractor is our next best option.

everything between Seattle and the Canadian border closed (or froze shut).

The goats didn't come out until white stuff stopped falling.

At Haiku Farm, we did what we always do,

Clear paths and driveways
feed animals

reading time with friends

including a bit of play.


Foxie Loxie


By the end of the day

driveway clear

The smoker full of food for dinner

(we smoked EGGS!)

wiped out from the fun.

It was melting.

And that is Good.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

In which the day gets better, and we meet bicycles out on the trail

Today started out badly.  So I went riding.

"There's something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man."

Or woman.  (Turns out that Churchill isn't the one who said that, but it's still kinda true.)

"No hour of life is lost that is spent in the saddle."

(Churchill did say that.)

 Unlike our ride on Friday, we didn't get soaked with rain.

 I was a little sad that nobody else was available to ride with us today,

but as I said earlier, the day didn't start well and I wasn't very good company for anyone else

...except the Dragon, of course.

We were happy to meet some folks at the "lunch stop" field.  These are students from the Washington Student Cycling League, out for a training ride with their coaches.

Chloe's mom tagged me on Facebook:  Chloe loves horses
and was thrilled to hand out treats to the Dragon on the trail!

The conversation on the trail led to further conversation online.  Now, we are hoping to put together a joint training session for bike students and horse riders (and young horses like Freya)!

Fiddle models the "pirate" fleece cooler that Patty got her for Xmas, and
the purple halter that Duana won in the raffle last weekend.

After riding, I took a two hour nap.  The day is nearly over, but it's much better than it was at the beginning.

Tomorrow, it's supposed to sn*w.  Bahhhh.  But I guess I'll save those cuss words for later.

For right now, it's good.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

In which the world needs some good news, so here ya go: picture of Caliph!

Ready for a little GOOD NEWS?

I got the update (below) from Jacqui.  Ten years ago, Jacqui was very ill, and gifted Fiddle to me for safekeeping.  

Last year, Jacqui was feeling well enough to want another horse...but NOT a Dragon.  Did I know of a nice, sweet, well-trained gelding who would be good for Jacqui and her little granddaughter Eliza?

Caliph is a little Morgan/Arab gelding who needed a home, and was
"too good to sell on Craigslist."

Today I got an update:

"He looks great....he has filled out and there are 4 little girls who live  near me who come over to give him apples and carrots and fuss over him and he LOVES the attention although he is a bit greedy so I had to teach him that trick to turn his head away when food is coming.  Then the girls put the treats in his bucket and everyone is safe.  

He hauls like a dream and likes to play with the chickens and the ducks.  I couldn’t ask for a sweeter horse.  Thank you!

I have one picture of him – 

Apple, plz?

...he comes over to visit me each morning when I am doing the dishes 
to see if he can coax an apple out of me – pretty sweet…"

Monday, January 30, 2017

In which we look forward to a long endurance season starting soon!

Another PNER convention in the books, and we looked so fancy!
(more pictures coming soon)

I spent a lot of time hanging out with the Juniors and Young Riders as well as the Pirates and Fish, but I also attended some meetings and some educational stuff and did a little bit of shopping and bought a bunch of raffle tickets as usual.

Duana won a very large purple rope halter from the raffle,
but for some reason she gave it to me!  

While hanging out with a Green Bean rider, I was able to talk a lot about some (but not nearly all) of our region's rides.  I have seen a lot of trail in (gasp) 16 years of competition.  But there are still so many more I want to see!

With that in mind, I've transcribed the current list of 2017 Northwest Region rides, and added my photos and notes for the rides. 

My hope is that other riders and ride managers will pick up the idea and post their photos and notes somewhere so I can link to them here!

New this year are rides sanctioned by EDRA in addition to AERC rides.  I have denoted the EDRA rides with yellow highlighting like this.

So, here goes:

03/25/2015  Coyote Ridge, Coulee City Washington
Coyote Ridge is a former AERC ride, with a very experienced ride manager.  

Coyote Ride vetcheck 2016

Jim and I attended the ride last year as volunteers (Fiddle was still rehabbing a stifle injury).  The trails are sand with some soggy soil after a very wet winter, and the roads are flat sandy-gravel with plenty of "give" to ease concussion.  As you can see in the photo (above) there are very few trees, but it is unlikely to be hot in March.  Rain and snowmelt may make the trail more challenging.
2016 Coyote Ridge narrative and photos are HERE.

04/01/2017 Owyhee April Fools (Tough Sucker), Oreana Idaho

04/15/2017  Grizzly Mountain, Madras Oregon
Under new (experienced) management this year.  Wide open spaces, some climbing.  The weather is fickle, so pack everything.  I rode this event in 2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005, but I don't have any photos online!  It's very pretty.  More trees along the trail than Coyote Ridge.  

04/22/2017  Eagle Canyon, Eagle Idaho

 04/29/2017  April Daze, Spokane Washington
This is the third year for this early-season ride based out of Riverside Park.  Lots of good footing, elevation changes, some rock.  

75 miles of torrential rain (2015).  The weather was much more pleasant in 2016.

This ride might include all kinds of weather: hot, cold, wet, dry, and everything in-between, so pack everything when you come.
2015 Fiddle and I did the 75-miler in the pouring rain HERE
2016 I borrowed a Paso Fino from a friend to do the 25-miler  HERE

04/29/2017  Helldiver Resurrection Again, Vancouver Island British Columbia

05/13/2017  Owyhee River Challenge, Adrian Oregon

05/20/2017   Mount Adams, (FEI), Trout Lake Washington
Lots of elevation changes, single-track and logging roads.  Experienced ride managers, trail is well-marked. Weather is usually moderate.  Rain is always a possibility.
The view from King Ridecamp, 2011
Mount Adams was a many-first-ride for a few of the Usual Suspects in 2013 HERE

Flower's first 50! (2013)

2014 The first ride Fiddle and I did following my first hip replacement surgery HERE
2015 We returned to the ride and had fun on the 50-miler HERE

05/20, 20, 22/2017  Titanium Run 3-day Pioneer (FEI), Fort St John British Columbia

05/27, 28, 29/2017  Oregon Outback Hallelujah Trail Pioneer, Burns Oregon

06/03, 04/2017   Klickitat Trek I&II, Glenwood Washington
A regional favorite:  beautiful trails, not much rock.  Lots of gentle elevation changes, lots of water, and lots of grass along the trail.  
Pre-ride warmup, 2010
Weather is usually warm (or hot) and sunny, but I've spent 75 miles in the rain here in the past, too!  Great completion awards.

2010 Pictures and narration, including photos of the "scary bridge across the Columbia" HERE.
2014 Pictures and narration HERE
2015 Pictures and narration HERE
Klickitat Trek 2015

06/08, 09, 10/2017   City of Rocks Pioneer, Almo Idaho

06/10/2017  Limestone Challenge, Selma Oregon

06/17/2017  Sunriver Classic, Bend Oregon
Another former AERC ride now under EDRA leadership.  I did my first 75-miler at Sunriver in 2004 on the Toad.  Then fuel got expensive and I haven't been back, which is too bad!

Toad and me at Sunriver (2004)

Beautiful trails, lots of water, good markings. Lots of elevation gain and loss--downhill stretches "feel flat", because they are very gradual.  Uphill stretches look like HILLS!  Lots of trees, lots of grass for grazing.

06/30, 07/01 /2017  Renegade Rendezvous, Nile Washington
The prettiest trails in the Pacific Northwest!
My favorite ride.
LOTS of elevation change and plenty of rocks.  Most years the trail is a 50-mile loop with 2 out checks. There is also a (slightly) less-challenging 25-miler offered on the Friday of ride weekend. I have attended this ride every year since (egad) 2002, and Jim and I joined the trail crew in 2005. We can tell you just about anything you want to know about the camp, the trails, and how the magic happens.

Clearing trails so that even a Dragon can pass through unobstructed, 2013

2009 Renegade HERE
2010 Renegade HERE
2011 Renegade HERE
2012 Renegade HERE
2013 Renegade HERE
2014 Renegade HERE

Renegade Rendezvous 2014
Renegade 2015 HERE
Renegade 2016 HERE

07/07, 08, 09/2017  Bandit Springs,  Ochoco National Forest, Oregon
I would love to return to this ride in the beautiful forests of Central Oregon.  Maybe this year?  According to AERC records, I haven't ridden here since 2001!

07/08/2017  Midnight Rider, Olympia Washington
This ride takes place on the Capitol Forest trails, where the Bare Bones rides were held in past years.

Rosemary's ride photo from Bare Bones 2015

Rumor has it that this event will take place at night!  New ride manager.  Trails are well-established through forests and meadows.  Many bridges.  When it rains, the going can be slick (not much chance of rain in July).  Unfortunately for me, this ride is scheduled 7 days after Renegade, while Fiddle will still be resting.  I will try to attend and help out, though, as it's close to home for us.

07/15/2017  Ride the Loup, Loup Loup Pass Washington

 07/22/2017  Pacific Crest Endurance Ride, Lily Glen Horse Camp, Oregon

08/05/2015  Sand Canyon, Chewelah Washington

08/05/2017  Titanium Run 3-day Pioneer FEI, Fort St John, British Columbia

08/26/2017  Cowichan Valley Rail Trail & BCCTRA, Duncan British Columbia

09/02, 03/2017  Crazy Daze of Summer I & II, Spokane Washington
Another ride in Riverside Park, this time at the END of the summer. I haven't ridden it yet, but Santa Jim and I explored with the quads while un-marking the trails last year.

Lovely trail, beautiful footing, not too hot, no rain!
Well-established forest trails, lots of water, plenty of trail marking.  This is a public park that is sometimes subject to trail-marking sabotage, so extra markings are put up for riders! 

09/16/2017  Oregon 100, Brothers Oregon
Sand and sage as far as the eye can see.

Excellent footing, very little rock.  A few trees (maybe 12?) but it really is mostly sand and sage.  Not much elevation change.  In 2017 this ride will be a fundraiser for PNER, with lots of raffle items available.

2015 Photos and narration HERE

09/16/2017  Swiftwater, Teanaway Washington

09/23/2017  Prater Mountain, Priest River Idaho

10/06, 07, 08/2017  Owyhee Canyonlands Pioneer, Oreana Idaho

10/14/2017  Foothills of the Cascades, Molalla Oregon
When it's sunny, it's beautiful.  When it's raining, it's "rock soup". 

Sky and Cricket at Foothills in 2010
The food is good, and the company is good, and the trails are beautiful.  Bring a raincoat or two, just in case. 

2010 Sunny day narrative and photos  HERE
2012 Rainy day narrative and photos HERE

10/21, 22/2017  True Grit, Burns, Oregon (formerly The Haunting)
I do not enjoy this ride manager's events.  Some people do, but I do not.

Haunting - a costume ride in 2015
I attended one in 2015 because I "needed" the miles to secure the Standardbred Endurance award, and it was the last ride of the regional season. Fiddle and I finished the 50-miler in good time. The trails were gorgeous and the company was fabulous. 

However, the trail markings were skimpy, the water tanks were scarce, and ride management was nonchalant about riders who were long overdue.  Some people love the Outback Trails, but I won't be back.

10/28/2017   Owyhee Hallowed Weenies, Oreana Idaho

Okay, all you PNER'ers: let's hear your opinions and see your pictures!  

Remember, this isn't politics:  it's okay to disagree with me.  
I'll still pulse your horse for you next time we're in camp together!