The mushroom hunters wanted to attend a local schooling show
to cheer on people from the barn,
but Fiddle and I needed to get out and ride a little.
|Sloshing through a leafy wonderland|
We haven't been out together since the Milwaukee ride, and I needed to test out a couple of tack items that I haven't used for a while. Nothing new at a ride! And nothing old, either, unless it's been tested recently!
So, out we went.
|Happy horse has happy ears on the trail, even in the rain.|
The Haunting is a 50-mile ride in central Oregon, and I've never done it. It was on my original ride list as a "last resort"--it's a long drive, and my experience with these ride managers has not always been the best. I've always finished their rides, but was never very happy with the low level of trail marking and supply of water. But they've hired one of my favorite ride vets for this event, and supposedly they have other people marking trails now, so maybe it's better? (dubious voice)
|Something cool for somebody's Decorative Goard collection?|
Anyhow, if Fee and I can finish 50 miles at the Haunting, it will be our 10th consecutive ride of the season, which gives us a Sandybaar award. Sandybaar was a very successfully competed stallion in the early days of the Pacific Northwest region--he had thousands of miles in competition and was never pulled. The PNER region gives "a Sandybaar" to every horse/rider team that completes a minimum of 10 consecutive rides together in a single season. It's a hard award to earn, and in 15 years of playing the game, I've achieved it once, in 2004.
50 more miles would also tip Fee over the top of her 1000 mile medallion from AERC, which would be nice. And of course, there's the Standardbred Endurance award...we are still in the lead, but the season ain't over yet!
|Cooperative horse hauls more than her share of mushroom hunters up the hill.|
In other words: NO PRESSURE. Right?
This is the first time in ever that I have pushed so hard for miles in a single season. And truthfully, probably the only time I'll do it. Not because it was hard--the whole point of endurance is to seek out difficulty. But rather because once I've done it, I probably won't need to do it again, at least not with this horse.
I ride my horse for fun. Not for points, not for awards. The fun of endurance is the challenge. And when I've met the challenge, it's time to find a new challenge! (100 milers, anyone?)
|Patient horse patiently waits for mushroom hunters to return|
with the bodies of the slain.
In the meantime, there are still mushrooms out there waiting to be found. And, after we met up with the Usual Suspect Mushroom Hunters, look who has joined in the moiling:
|It's Santa Jim!|
|He found some lovely chanterelles|
And after the moiling...
|Hey, Food Guy?|
it's time for lunch.
|Obedient horse does tricks for cookies|
We're all packed up and ready to head south to Oregon in the morning. Wish us luck!