In which early mornings are never easy, but the ride is worth it

Ride-day mornings come early, and with them always comes my question:

Early morning trail at Cariboo Gold

"Why on earth do I do this?"

The south end of Sucker Lake

I am not a morning person, and Fiddle is not a "morning horse."

On ride days, we shamble through the usual routine of food and drink, but being awake and in the saddle before the sun is up and warm is never enjoyable for me.

Obstacle-that-isn't-an-obstacle on the trail.
This cow peered at the Dragon for a moment and then hightailed it for the trees.

Early in the morning, it's easy to focus on stuff that might go wrong during the day.

The cows might eat essential trail markers, the weather might turn dreadful, the pain in my hips might flare out of control, my horse might turn from a relatively tame dragon into the other kind....

Mackeral sky

I can't remember a ride morning where I haven't seriously questioned my sanity.

White birch trees, so different from our Swamplandic landscape

Why on earth do I do this crazy sport?  It's hard.  It aggravates my arthritic hips like crazy. It's expensive.  And (most of all) it requires me to be up and mostly-functional before 10am.  What's to like?

In the far distance (around 2:00 on the horizon) is the Hill lodge.
Ridecamp is just below it.

And then the day gets lighter (if not warmer).  And the trail in front of me is beautiful.

A skier's warming hut.  These trails are used for dog-sled racing
and cross-country skiing in winter.

And the trail behind  me is beautiful.

Blue sky!

And my Dragon is the most beautiful of all.

She went forward for me all day with barely any bad thoughts.

 And my friends are there, too.

David's horse Laser had his 100th start at Cariboo Gold.
Laser's record for endurance is currently 100 starts, 94 finishes--outstanding!

It always seems that it's over too soon.

We didn't spook at the finish line banner, but Fiddle kept her
 "warning ear" pointedat it as we passed by...just in case.

And I can't wait to do it again.

Day after the ride.  She lost a shoe at mile 16, but finished the ride
with A's for gait and impulsion wearing 3 steel shoes and a bright red Renegade boot.

(and at Cariboo Gold, riders can relax in the pool and hot tub after the ride--pure luxury!)

Feels so good after a ride!

I never believe it early in the morning, but by mid-day I almost always remember:

Life is good.  And endurance is good, too!


  1. david and laser: AMAZING team. i remember david telling me how he picked him out as his endurance horse. if the leblancs wanna come to the buck clinic in nov.....wouldn't that be a cool reunion.

    this post reminded me of the "down with mornings" chapter of grasshopper on the road. i hope you know it. i cannot seem to find it, but here's something similar:

    While Grasshopper is walking down the road, he meets several characters. He met a housefly, who was only interested in cleaning, and one day hoped to clean the entire world.Then there were the butterflies, who everyday sat on a big mushroom, scratched their heads three times, spun around six times, took a nap, and while they were napping, dreamed that they were taking a nap. The butterflies told grasshopper to stay with them because they liked talking to him and they wanted to talk to him everyday and add them into their strict schedule. Grasshopper declined their offer and moved on because he didn't want to do the same thing everyday.

    There's also the horseflies, who had an exclusive club for only those that loved the morning. After grasshopper told them that he also loved the morning, they invited him to join the club to sing and cheer about how much they loved the morning. When grasshopper dropped the bomb that he also enjoyed the evening and night, well they kicked him out. :(

    Grasshopper, do you really do something different every day of your life?

    Always, said Grasshopper.

    Always and always!


    Grasshopper was tired. He lay down in a soft place. He knew that in the morning the road would still be there, taking him on and on to wherever he wanted to go.


    you and fiddle and the road and the color purple.

  2. Laughed all the way through this because it's exactly how I feel!

  3. OMG you don't like ride mornings?! Woah, crazy.

    I can't sleep past like 5 am, so I might as well ride. My horse appears to be clean. She's amped up so she's a prancing pony. It's not hot. Nothing hurts (at least not much.) The air is cool (or frigid) and everything is so full of potential! It kind of all goes downhill from that point, at least til I get a couple miles from the finish and I get my emotional payoff :)

    What a beautiful trail! I'm so very happy that YOU were fit to continue at the finish!

  4. The pictures of the trail (and Fiddle) were beautiful, but my favorite is the hot tub. What a great way to end a ride, and I bet it helped you feel a lot better than usual the next day. Is it possible to make them mandatory at all the rides?:)

  5. Just beautiful photos! The ride sounds outstanding! A "must" for next season. Happy to hear that you both finished sound & fit to continue!

  6. It's the ears at the bottom of the photo. Don't know why?
    When ears are in the bottom of my field of vision, life is always worth living. Even at 100 degrees. (I'm good with mornings. Hudson and I HATE hot days.) We won't be doing any distance rides - his perfectly sound, beautiful-in-the-xray, soccer-ball sized knee nixes long rides...but I love morning rides on the trail, which we get to do thanks to friends...your photos make me happy. Ears. At the bottom. :)

  7. Very jealous of your riding country, but love the ears photo's

  8. Very jealous of your riding country. Ears photo's are my favourites!
    Angela author of


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