Friday, March 26, 2010

In which we load up the rig and head to the Dry Side for the weekend

We're off to Home on the Range for the weekend. Please leave a message. Beeeeeeeeep!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

In which we pack up and make our GREEN trailer into a CLEAN trailer

The big countdown to the Home On the Range endurance ride has begun: we will leave on Thursday to help ride management get set up before most of the riders arrive on Friday. The ride itself is Saturday--less than 6 days away!!!

Fiddle and I are signed up for the Limited Distance event--just 25 miles. It's really hard for me to wrap my brain around the shorter distance.

When I stopped competing 2 years ago to take time to work with Fiddle, I was routinely finishing 50s, and didn't think twice about signing up for 75-milers. Jim keeps reminding me that Fiddle and I will probably only be out on the trail for about 5 hours, which she will think is a long time. My mental clock is set for a longer duration. I wonder if I'll learn to prefer short rides? Unlikely!

Today I packed up the horse trailer. The dogs helped, as usual.

I emptied out all the extra stuff that accumulated in the trailer over the winter: stuff like six wool toques, and at least 10 pairs of polarfleece gloves. I left a hat and two pairs of gloves.
When I first started doing long distance rides, I had almost nothing in the way of gear: a horse, a saddle, and a bridle. A fanny pack, a helmet, and a good waterproof/breathable jacket with lots of pockets.

I spent the next few years shopping, and accumulated a whole bunch of stuff. Several styles of saddle bags. Biothane bridle, breastcollar, and crupper. Heart-rate monitor. GPS. An (old-style) easyboot. Iceboots. A couple hundred buckets, and about a million sets of gloves (I hate having cold fingers!). I travelled with a friend who believed in having an extra (or two) of everything. Packing her trailer with all that stuff pretty much required a degree in engineering.
After a while, I started rebelling against having a second set of freakin' everything cluttering up the trailer, and became a minimalist again: a horse, a saddle, a bridle, a fanny pack, helmet, and jacket.

These days I recognize the usefulness of saddlepacks, but I don't stuff them full of food and gear the way I used to. I mostly carry waterbottles (3 bottles for an LD in early spring, 4 or 5 bottles in summer--my horse is BIG and DARK, and two of the hot-weather bottles are dedicated horse-squirting bottles to keep her cool), an easyboot, and a rainjacket in my packs. On my body (pockets and fanny pack) I carry some string cheese, my phone and my camera.

When I load the trailer for a trip nowadays, it's mostly full of horse food! I also take 3 large buckets--two water buckets and a manure bucket--plus a feed pan and smaller bucket for each horse. Crammed into the corner is a bucket of dry beetpulp, the manure fork, and a box of dry feed and some electrolyte powder. I also pack LOTS of hay--Hana has a dainty appetite, but Fiddle has a big engine to maintain, and it requires plenty of fuel!

It all fits in the trailer with plenty of room to spare.

Once the inside is ready to go, it's time to tackle the outside:

Those dark patches on the roof (and elsewhere) are a green mossy substance that covers every inanimate object in the Swamplands. Our houses get it too. I know lytha will laugh because she polishes her truck and trailer every week (at least), but we haul to so many (ahem) dirty places that it scarcely seems worthwhile to wash the rig. For me, washing the exterior once or twice a year is sufficient, as long as the parts that the horses are in is kept clean.

Today was the day for washing off the green! Willy helped me--he's very useful for scrubbing the taller bits!

Okay, the rig is clean and packed. The truck will go in on Tuesday for new tire$ and brake$. I'm going grocery shopping this afternoon to provision the camper....We're almost ready! Wahoooooooooooooooo!