Showing posts from August, 2013

In which endurance is not always "roughing it in a cow pasture"

I've been invited to give an Endurance 101 clinic the day prior to the Caribou Gold Rush Express endurance ride next weekend.

It's a long drive north (high up in western British Columbia, Canada), but the trails are reputed to be gorgeous...and then, of course, there's the facility where we'll be staying.

I snagged a couple of photos from the website of 108-Mile House, also known as the Hills Health Ranch:

Normally, an endurance ridecamp is a large field--usually an empty cow pasture or open meadow.

However, this ride is held at a health spa.  In addition to the unaccustomed luxury of running water in camp, we also have access to showers.

Urr, and the indoor swimming pool.  And the hot tub.  And the sauna.

And if we get bored with that, we could always sign up for a pedicure, or heated stone massage.

Or, I guess we could go riding...

So, yeah.

Sirie and I are packing up the rig and heading out this week.  We're taking Fiddle with us, and a tent.  And a camp stove.

In which the garden is going crazy, and we are happy with that

This is the garden I dreamed of when we moved to Haiku Farm.

It's taken four years to get to a "brag-worthy" garden.  Four years of amending the soil with leaves, stall cleanings, kitchen waste and chicken fertilizer.

There hasn't been any science to it.  I don't test the PH of the soil, or any of that.

We literally just keep dumping sh*t in.

And the rewards for our casual caretaking:

Last spring the feed store had a bin of "fingerling seed potatoes" on sale.  "Prolific producers" said the sign, and that's what I look for.  So I bought a half-pound of fingerling seed potatoes, and planted them.

I'm pretty sure "prolific" is not quite the right word.  "Run-amok" seems more precise.

And, of course, there's the annual Zucchini Problem.  We take zukes with us everywhere, handing them out as "hostess gifts" to the people we visit.

 And, of course, at home we eat out of the garden every day.

It's what …

In which we head north to play games with our favorite kind of horses

If it's raining in the middle of summer,  it must be Standardbred Play Day!

The forecast said "showers until 10am"  and by 10:15am, the skies were dry. (a minor miracle...but the crowd was distinctly thinner due to the weather)

Fiddle and I don't worry to much about rain.  We went to Canada, ready to PLAY!

There was only one other horse/rider team in the "experienced-under-saddle Standardbred" division, and Darren and Hazeltoes were there to WIN!

When "gunning for home," Darren would holler "HYAAAAAH!" and Hazel would respond with a burst of speed.

I'm pretty sure that Fiddle and I are allergic to "HYAAAAH."

Years ago when she and I (and Jim) attended this event, we tried for speed and ended up mis-communicating a bunch of stuff that I really don't enjoy the other 364 days of the year.  So this year

we left out the "hyaaaaah," and just had fun trotting around poles and barrels and ropes and buckets and stuff…

In which it's time to say "Hay, hay, hay!" and I have help from city folks

This is what city people pack when heading out to buck hay:

But I'm not complaining!  Duana and Jason volunteered (yes! volunteered!) to help me pick up hay.  And I rarely say "no" to volunteers!

It's amazing how little room there is in the big truck when you cram in three adults and a happy dog.  But we didn't have far to go.  The hay field is only 15 minutes from the house.

I offered no instruction, other than, "put the hay in the trailer.  We need 30 bales."

Jason didn't know about hay hooks, nor had he watched generations of farm folk yanking bales around by the strings.  He's a big strong guy confronted with medium-small bales, so he just grabbed them like he was carrying a very prickly dog...

...and tossed them in the trailer.   Du appointed herself "tetris queen" and set about the task of arranging bales so that they would all fit.  (I put 35 bales into the trailer last week, so I knew it was possible)

We grabbed the last seven…

In which we go to a ride and I ride! Hooray! (here's how it happened)

I was very close to despair last month, when the pain from arthritis kept me from riding at Renegade...and, I feared, might keep me from riding distance at all, ever again.

But it hasn't stopped me.
Thanks to some new pain med protocols, and plenty of physical therapy
 ...which I practice at home and in ride camp

(along with Patty, but I didn't take pictures of her doing PT because I was busy doing mine!)

I felt pretty confident when I brought the Dragon up to be vetted in on Friday afternoon before the Bare Bones ride.

Fiddle is still fit to do a 50-miler, and that's what we did at this ride last year.  In view of my own lameness, though, I opted for the 30-mile Limited Distance event.  The LD at Bare Bones is strenuous, and would let me figure out how feasible longer-distance events will be for me in the future.

Fortunately, Fiddle didn't take notes at the ride meeting, and so she assumed that we were doing the 50-miler again!  Once her usual early-morning little ta…