The Renegade Rendezvous is considered one of the most strenuous endurance rides in the Pacific Northwest region.
Sometimes called "the Little Tevis," there is nearly 2,000 feet of elevation gain in the first 12 miles, and plenty of elevation changes during the rest of the ride.
|On the trail at Renegade Rendezvous|
It's also one of the prettiest trails on the planet, winding through the Naches Wilderness forest of pine, fir, larch, and alder, opening onto broad views of surrounding ridges and mountain peaks. We didn't get bright blue sky on ride day, so the photos this year aren't as spectacular as they were last year, but it was just as pretty as ever IRL.
|A strained shoulder muscle kept Cowboy Jim from immersing himself in pulsing this year|
|The Dragon loves her Cowboy|
|Third loop, sky beginning to clear.|
|drinking like a Pirate|
She paced herself perfectly. I could almost see the thought bubble above her head, reading: "I know how long this trail is, and I know exactly how much energy I have in my fuel tank to finish it, and I don't have any energy to waste." And she didn't waste any, either!
She leapfrogged with a big appy gelding from Montana, whom she didn't "like" but declined to hate. For Fiddle, that's practically love. We also periodically traveled near a big grey mare, and the rider reminded me that two years ago our two mares just about got into a battle because they were both so nasty. This year, they were both concentrating on the trail and not messing around. Hooray!
|Vetcheck in camp, Monica served as hitching post and carrot dispenser.|
The guy on the appy just shook his head and thanked me for getting out of the way of the clueless lady. I thought that was very nice of him.
|The last loop, above and around camp|
We finished 14th out of 22 starters
|Finish Line, photo by Monica Bretherton|
|Beginning and ending scores. She ate her way through the ride.|
Back at home, a few photos to illustrate the lack of surgical scar:
|July 4, 2012|
|Surgery site, spay + 8 weeks|
She is not being tormented by hormone fluctuations. She doesn't cycle anymore and it doesn't hurt anymore. She doesn't protect her back end as strongly, although she will wear that red tail-ribbon for life, just in case.
In general, she spends more energy moving down the trail, and less energy fretting--and that is a Very. Good. Thing.
The surgery isn't cheap, and shouldn't be considered frivolously. It won't fix problems that are caused by bad training, poor nutrition, inadequate dental or crummy farrier work. However, in the case of Fiddle, I consider the procedure a huge success.