In which wings would have come in handy, and the food (as always) is good

We picked up Patty and Flower on Thursday morning,

and crammed all their gear into the rig with all the other gear

There's still room in the back seat of the truck for one more person,
assuming the person likes Floofs.  A lot.

and drove ourselves over to the Jubilee Ranch Endurance Ride.

On the Dry Side of our state, you can tell exactly what parts of the landscape
receive irrigation, and what parts don't!

The horses settled in nicely

Waiting for food.  You were planning to feed me, right? 

once we cleared the cheat grass out of the paddocks

Those spines are prickly!

We set up our own cozy nests, and settled in for a weekend of fun.

Captain's berth in the SS Illegible.  Warm and cozy for two Pirates and two Floofs. 

We messed around a bit.  We played with the dogs,

Roo's favorite game
and took the ponies out for a shakedown

Patty and Flower in the hair-side-up configuration.
Note the lack of wings.  This will be important later.

and finally settled in for a short, cold night.  The thermometer said it got down to about 45 degrees, but it felt much colder anytime I stuck a body part out from under the blankets!

We started the 50-miler at 7am, which seems decadently late, but gave us plenty of daylight to see the trail.

Since the sun sets around 7:30pm and riders are allowed 12 hours
to finish 50 miles, the math was reasonable.
Photo by Elayne Barclay

The trail is a mix of dry, high desert and heavily-irrigated apple orchards. 

WANT: apples.
DO NOT WANT: the workers' salsa music

These boxes are a little scary, according to most of the horses.
 Most of the footing was quite good, but 

(insert ominous music here)

there were spots near the trail that the local indigenous personnel, aka badgers and ground squirrels, feel a pressing need to build tunnels.

Fiddle and I passed over a stretch of trail about ten minutes before Patty, Duana, and Laura got there.

Apparently, as soon as the Dragon was gone, a badger decided to put in a new freeway bypass...under the trail.  There was no visible hole in the track, but when Flower stepped on the hollow ground, she fell through--up to her shoulder.

Patty wants to remind everyone that she did not fall off her horse.  Her horse fell down--and (lacking wings) Patty fell down too, executing what a nearby rider described as a "ninja attack against the ground."

The result wasn't pretty.  The nearby riders had to go to the top of a hill to call for help.  They had the ride manager's phone number, but there was no reception in camp, so they got her voice mail.

FORTUNATELY, the ride manager had recorded the landline number for the Ranch on her outgoing message, so they were able to call the Ranch and request help on the trail.  Still, Patty waited nearly 2 hours until the ambulance arrived.  Not fun.

FORTUNATELY, several subsequent riders with extensive medical training came trotting down the trail.  An RN determined that she had not concussed herself (but she would need a new helmet).  A retired surgeon determined that she hadn't broken any parts of her head, but that she did need to go to the hospital.

FINALLY, the EMTs arrived, and so did a friend wearing a fresh helmet, ready to ride the worried-but-uninjured Flower back to camp.

Meanwhile, back on the trail...

Fiddle and I had no idea there had been a crash, and we continued on.  The sky looked ominous during the first 15-mile loop, but aside from a few stray drops of rain, the weather stayed up in the sky.

When we got back to camp, we vetted through

Betsey was my designated trotter for the day.  She is awesome.

and got caught up on the news about Patty:  she was headed for the hospital in Walla Walla via ambulance.

Nothing I could do for her, obviously.  So we headed back out onto the second leg, a 25-mile loop.

Skies were more blue.  I kept my raincoat handy, but didn't need it.
Pretty sure the coat scared the weather away.

As she has been wont to do during competitions this season, Fiddle picked up a friendship with new horses.

My horse wants to be with other horses?  Crazy talk.

This time, we rode a few miles early in the day with Candy, a green bean rider, and then with Lori, an experienced LD rider on her first 50-miler.  Lori's horse is 20 years old!

Overlooking the Snake River

The trail was well-marked, and the horses snacked their way through the orchards

Green grass and ripe apples = perfect food for Fiddle

These enormous, candy-sweet apples are a variety called
  Opal, and are exclusively grown in the USAby the Broetje Orchards.  
We ate a lot of them on ride day.

and finally arrived back in camp for a 45-minute hold.

On the last, 10-mile loop, we finally ran into the photographer, Cassidy Rae. She caught several good shots of us.  Here's the best of them:

42 miles into the ride, and we're both still smiling!
Photo by Cassidy Rae

Finally crossed the finish line a bit shy of 8 hours.  When we got back to our camp, Patty was back!

Betsey applied selected essential oils and some light massage
to poor Patty.  I'll get a guest post from Betsey soon, explaining
the stuff she does and how it helps.

Most people who went to the ride just got the t-shirt.
Duana was back too, after the 25-mile loop...but Hana was lame RF and she pulled.

Roo is a comfort dog.  Getting pulled sucks.

We had signed up for the enchilada dinner, which was a great opportunity to hang out with riders from other camps.  We haven't seen Mel in almost 10 years!

"How did you get beet pulp in your ear?"
Patty managed to eat dinner without chewing much, and then went to the Ladies' room to investigate the damage.

"You should see the other guy..."

Bedtime comes early when the weather turns cold and no campfires are allowed.  

But in the morning

Santa Jim and Betsey assembled a fabulous breakfast

more food.

Fiddle befriended this local kid last year, and he came back to visit us in camp.  

Fee recognized Orin immediately--and immediately started begging.  She
knows that he knows where to get more apples!

Finally, awards were over

Four first-time 75-milers at Jubilee!

Margie finished her first 50!
and we packed up and headed home. 

It wasn't entirely the successful weekend we had planned. was Good Enough.


  1. I'm glad nobody was SERIOUSLY injured. It's one of my worst fears to have my horse break a leg in a hole.

  2. Sounds like a scary wreck, geez. I'm glad everyone walked away with nothing broken.

    I also wanted to say that the ride pic of you and Fee is fantastic.

  3. So glad that Patty and Flower are going to be ok and that it wasn't worse. Some days, not being able to fly sucks.

    And I agree with Melissa, that photo is amazing.

  4. I'm so glad Patty wasn't hurt too badly. I love this style of blogging-with lots of photos to go with the stories, and . I so enjoy your dry sense of humor. Thanks for letting us tag along on the adventure!

  5. I have to ask : What's in the ammo cans?

    1. I think the "ammo cans" are soft-side boxes that Betsey uses to organize all her vials of essential oils. We do use ammo cans to contain the small hardware pieces that connect the portable corral panels.

  6. Great ride wrap-up! So glad that Patty & Flower both survived the fall without serious injury. Those holes are the pits! Love the photos too! Almost like riding there! :-)


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