In which I discuss the reasons for going horseless to a ridecamp

When I'm in camp to compete, a lot of my attention is focussed on myself and my horse.

Sure, I meander around camp on Friday afternoon, chatting with friends, but at the same time I'm doing a mental inventory of every blade of grass my horse eats while we wander, mentally calculating the amount of electrolytes she's already had balanced against the amount she needs to have before sundown, mentally second-guessing the weather forecasters...

...You get the idea. There isn't much of me left to enjoy camp, mentally-speaking.

That's one of the reasons we go to at least one ride every year without our horses. This year (as last year) we've chosen to attend the Milwaukee Road Rail Trail Ride, and leave the horses at home for the day.

Working as pulsers at the ride also gives us terrific opportunities to catch up on the gossip.

We can admire the fashion sense (or lack) demonstrated by our friends and fellow competitors:

I think these gortex chaps look really stupid...but they are waterproof...and warm...and lightweight...and they come in purple. You know I want them.

Patty's dedication to the color pink is not even slightly impaired by the gender of her patient steed. (Shade is a gelding).

Ryan borrowed this cooler from the ride manager (they are both on my team, the Pirate Nation Endurance Riders). I want it.

...except purple, obviously. I'll just keep dreaming.

Okay, here's something I really do need:

Check it out: a fold-up tripod mounting block! It has a string attached, so that once I've climbed aboard Gigantor, I can yank my mounting block, fold it up neatly and stash it in the nifty carry-sack tied to the saddle. Oh yeah.

Incidentally, this is the horse who was carrying the mounting block:

His name is Hector, he is 17hh, has size 3 feet, and he looks verrrrrry familiar, doesn't he?

Hector is Fiddle's half-sibling, a horse from the same stud, born 3 days after Fee. Their neck tattoos are only 3 digits apart! Penny has Hector's full sister, who is 2 years younger and a bit shorter and daintier than Big H. I can hardly wait to meet little sis.

Then, there's stuff in the catagory of "what have you got on that horse?" Check out the headgear...a german martingale? I do not consider this safe equipment for trails, especially competitions. If the horse should stumble, he has no way to catch or balance himself.
Tie-downs in general are on my "no fly" list for competitions, after witnessing a horse who dumped his rider at a ride several years ago and then got himself lost in the desert for 3 days. The tie-down kept the horse from reaching food -- and more importantly -- kept him from drinking water. Bad scene.

Team competition is very fierce among some of the groups in camp. The Pirates and the Fish are not hot competitors...and the Fish presented me with a little gift today:

"Fish or Cut Bait"

Fun, huh?
More photos from the ride:

The trail actually travels under Interstate 90.

Mimsy is an excellent lap-warmer for Jim. (Luna is my lap-warmer.)
Ryan took Reba on her first LD ride. Yes, I know he isn't wearing a helmet. I keep keelhauling him, and lashing him with the cat o'nine tails, but he keeps sneaking out of camp without it. What's a Pirate Captain to do? Sigh.

Sue is rather famous for riding one of the most powerful and most ugly horses in camp. This isn't that horse--this is Hum-Vee's little brother Imp. He's kinda cute, especially compared to Hummer:

Sue has a t-shirt that says, "Yes, I DID ride his tail off."

(Humms and Imp are curly horses. They don't grow much tail, even if you don't ride them hundreds of miles).

Another picture of Penny with Hector. Jim says that Hector looks like Fiddle, except his ears aren't as big.
Actually, I think their ears are the same size. Hector's head is bigger.


  1. Hahah, what fun! Glad you're home safe. Good pictures. Hey, your desert is green too!

    I keep almost buying one of those portable stools - then I picture hitting Dixie in the stomach with it as I reel it up. Eeek.

    I never thought about a tie-down preventing a horse from eating. I don't use them because they don't actually keep a clever horse from rearing up, and I haven't had a chronic headslinger.

  2. Lovely photo's, looks like you had a lot of fun !

  3. What a great opportunity to people and horse watch! I love all the fun gear, especially that skull & crossbones cooler.

    I want to see the ugliest horse.

  4. Funder--That's the sagebrush in MY neighborhood! Aarenex was just up the road!

    Aarene--I am SO sorry that I didn't get over to meet you guys! I have been flat out in bed, sick as a [sea?] dog, ALL week! Just started being able to keep food down on Friday, and was conserving my energy to make at least a brief appearance. Then Beth's trainer called Saturday AM, and he needed me to bring him out some hay. Between loading and unloading two 120 lb. bales, the hour trip, and watching him work her (instead of making the trip again today, as I had planned), by the time we got home, I just went to bed and collapsed. (Allan's been a dear all week, doing ALL the horse chores.)

    I'm glad you all had a good day. Did you come over on Friday? The National Guard was doing artillery practice late that night, and it sounded REALLY close to us--the ride camp is almost due north of us about 6 miles, so I wondered what the horses in camp thought of that!

    I know why you don't ride this ride [sneer] .... Something about dark black holes in mountains?

  5. Great pics. Looks like a fun time.
    Don't the Endurance Rides have guidelines and rules such as no tie downs?
    It clearly states in the rules for Competitive Trail rides (ACTHA) that no tie downs are permitted. I'm with you, just not a good idea.

    My horse was kept in a tie down before I bought her but I've never used one on her, so I don't have much experience with them at all.
    But why can't a horse bend down to eat or drink wearing a tie down?
    It's to keep the horse's head from going up to high, not low, right?

    Sorry if my question seems silly.


  6. FUNDER: We will definitely practice with the portable step at home. Fiddle has a "thing" about her peripheral vision, but she's okay with stuff as long as it isn't brand-new-in-front-of-a-discerning-audience.

    LYNDA: it's more fun to ride and event like this. However, as EVENSONG says, there is a tunnel that eats horses.

    LEAH FRY: Next time I see HumVee, I'll snap a photo. Sue says that riding him is like riding a locomotive: you can sorta steer but you cannot stop.

    EVENSONG: I hope you're finally feeling better! We had a good day for the ride, but it's not a good trail for Fiddle (even without the Tunnel O' Doom) this year. Next year I'll probably put this on my list.

    LAUGHING ORCA: The sport of endurance has no rules whatsoever regarding required or disallowed tack, as long as the health of the horse is unimpaired (if the horse is injured at any point for any reason, that horse gets pulled from competition). IOW, you can ride your horse in full-dress battle armor if you want. The problem with the tie-down was that it was very short, and the horse couldn't reach food/water. I don't like 'em, personally.

  7. Thanks for replying to my comment and explaining about the lack of endurance rules and the tie down situation. :-)

    Hopefully someday I'll get to experience an endurance ride, too.



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