Truthfully, in the back of my mind, I consider everything "practice" because my eventual goal with Fiddle is 100-milers. And if I'm being really truthful, I'll admit that even the 100-mile rides I want to do will be practice for the ride I've wanted to do since I learned that it existed: Tevis.
We aren't nearly ready for Tevis yet, obviously. But at Home on the Range this year, we got some good "practice" at going FAR.
At the vetcheck, Fiddle just wanted to nap and snack. Hana wanted to be a pain in the patoot. You can see in the photo how thrilled Fee is about that idea.
At the end of 25 miles, Fiddle figured she knew the next step: she had done her event, and now I'd pull tack and feed her some extra-lovely stuff.
Well, she got plenty of food, but she was very surprised that the saddle stayed on. And then I got back on! That was just so wrong.
When it was time to leave camp, she couldn't believe it. You stupid woman, I've already done my 25 miles. I'm not leaving. You are soooooo wrong!
She wasn't tired. Rather: she was convinced that I had made a mistake, and if she refused to leave then I would realize the error of my ways and take off the saddle.
We ended up leaving camp backwards. That's right: she walked in reverse the entire length of the driveway out to the trail. In front of God and everybody, she walked backwards. It was a nice walk--no rearing or bad behavior. But, backwards.
What else could I do?
After 2 miles of the Road That Never Ends, we were out on a new section of trail. We leapfrogged with my friend Chuck and his daughter Terry, who were doing the 75-miler. Chuck has a perfectly good standardbred at home, but he's training his mustang Blazer for Tevis this year. Paisley (the standie) is his back-up Tevis horse. I think he's got it backwards!
Chuck and Terry were ahead of me when we got to the water tank and waved to Mike who was filling it up again for us!