First was the Resolution ride in Rio Verde, Dec. 31, just down the street from us... After my hitting the dirt at the last ride, I was a bit nervous about the start of this one...A friend brought her horse along to try the fun ride, so Noways didn't have his heart throb, Titan with him, but did have a buddy to hang with nonetheless... As it tuned out, he had a calm start, just very forward as usual. In no time we were running with our last trail partner, Tammy...
Noways knew were we were even though we had trailered to the ridecamp. So every time we got to a trail split, he would give a try for home...:-) We led most of the way, but Tammy always caught up to us and wouldn't let us out of her sight. We were way ahead of the next group of horses so I tried to talk Tammy into easing off some, but... Anyway she raced past me at the finish and won the ride...so much for tieing or at least discussing it. My revenge was that Noways got BC!!! Yea! I was so very pleased with my boy...:-) They had the awards the next morning, so I didn't know this until I was home the next day.
Next in Feb. we went to Sanford for the Springdale Romp. I had both boys and it worked really well this time, as the horses are in stalls, so I didn't have to worry about the horse left behind getting into trouble. This is a three day ride, so I rode Noways the first day on the 50. We were in the lead with another gal, when we took a wrong turn and went way out of our way...about 8 miles total...so by the time we got right (we weren't the only ones, but we went the furthest) we had the option of skipping the little 5 mile loop and just getting a completion, or do another 5 miles and keep in the competition. We were so far behind, and I was too disappointed to stay in it..so went for the completion. We were alone most of the final loop into camp and really relaxed and had a nice ride. So just a completion here.
I rested on the second day...preparing for another fresh horse...Titan.
On the third day I took Titan out for his day. He was such a good boy! He was very much on the muscle for the first several miles, but manageable. We stuck with Bill and his mare Jubilee for the day. Didn't want to get lost again...and Bill and J were on their third day, so thought he would be the perfect pacer. And he was. Titan tends to lose heart about half way, so having a pace horse really helped him. It was time to step up his pace some and we did. He takes good care of himself and eats and drinks well...he can even nap while eating...:-) Marcella and Jr. stuck with us, so it was a fun ride all the way through. Titan was very tired at the end of the ride...Bill keeps a steady trot all day. But, after a good nap, he seemed to recover well enough. (Am suspecting ulcers... he grinds his teeth). We all tied for 3rd place!!
Next ride: Old Pueblo down in Sonoita, March also a three day. Mary Lynn flew out for her annual visit and ride. So the plan was I would ride the first day, (while she crewed), rest the second day, and if all was good ride again with ML on the third day. As it turned out Noways got a good case of scratches so we crewed for ML and Titan on the third day.
Again I took a wrong turn while out on the final loop, in the lead again...oh can not put into words how discouraged and disgusted with myself I was... I actually considered just turning back and giving up the ride, Even Noways was loosing his usual 'zip'.... But, when I finally made my way back to the trail I decided to suck it up and go on. It took Noways a few minutes to get back into the right state of mind, but soon was back in the game. What a horse... Anyway, we actually still managed to finish 7th place. I was pleasantly surprised, as we really backed off the pace. I did get to ride with Earl Baxter most of this loop, so it was a nice ride after all...
We all enjoyed a nice rest on the second day, and took a leisurely trail ride, showing some friends some of the trail.
Third day, Mary Lynn and Titan decided to pace with Bill and Jubilee, so they took off while Marcelle and I did the crew thing. They actually had the prettier trail to ride...I was envious for sure. Other than one episode of bolting, ML and T had a good day, finishing in 4th place! He looked much better after this ride. I had treated him for ulcers before the ride, so perhaps that helped.
Both horses got some rest while I had company, with just a few gentle rides in the desert. Then we headed back to KY the first of April.
Next ride: April ~ Land Between the Lakes, KY. Noways was elected this time and we did the first day 50 miler. The pace was extremely fast for the terrain, but we still finished in second place. Decided a race off may cost me a finish and even a long lay up, so held back at the end, much to Noways disgust...whirling and throwing his head in protest... I even got off to lead him in after the finish line and he dragged me into the VC...boy he can wear me out... He looked a tiny bit off at the trot out, but we got a finish anyway...whew...
My trusty truck had a major breakdown on the way to camp, and did not have a vehicle back and working for the 6 hr. drive home. Lee had to borrow MLs truck and come and get me...long story...didn't get the truck back for two more weeks!!
Next ride: May ~ Maumee Valley, IN. Vicky graciously offered me a ride, so we packed in with her for this one. It is now Titan's turn, since Noways had a trip to the Vet$$$ for my worry over his windpuffs he had developed over the winter. I am suspecting all that sand riding...but who knows. So, Noways has a mini vacation for about 6 weeks...turned out to be about 9 weeks.
Really a nice campground, and trails here. Titan and I rode with Vickie and Morada for the day.
This is our clubs mandatory ride, so we worked the first day and rode the next. Had a great ride, Titan was willing all day, but had a strange hopping going on occasionally, but could not pin point what he was actually doing or why... Finished in 6th place and he really looked good!
Next: June ~ Top of the Rock, IN. Rode Titan again, giving Noways lots of time off to be sure he is going again when we do go again... Since slow is not anywhere in his gears... I have to be sure he is truly healed up.
Titan is a fun horse to ride, but can be a bit bolty...so we took a pre-ride with Brenda and her new horse Tonka. He got all of his wanting to bolt, and hitching up done on that. So on ride day he was a good boy again...It rained and rained, the trails were slick, slick, slick. Horrible storms/tornados had damaged much of the trail back in Feb. so it was rerouted some and we had to repeat some trail, but it was still beautiful. Titan won my heart when the saddle slipped while we were negotiating a slick rut, and I came off in the mud. He took off, but when I got to a paved road, there he stood just up maybe a 100 yards with the saddle hanging off his side, waiting for me to rescue him...GOOD BOY! We ended up in 7th place! :-) And he looked good too...
We missed the Scioto ride...Titan came up with a mystery lameness. Paige had other things going on anyway. No rides in July, thank goodness as it was 100 degrees most days...
Next ride: August ~ Ride Between the Rivers, WV. Finally, Paige is able to join me! Since Titan has been off, she has been working with Sully who is finally sound after two years off... So it was Sully fresh from a two year vacation, and Noways after his 9 week vacation... I don't care for the trails here because of all the hard surface...all rocks and more rocks with a bit of deep mud thrown in. But it looked like the only ride Paige could do before school starts, so off we went. The hospitality here is the BEST, so we had a good time of it for sure. Paige and Sully rode in the 30 miler with ML and Gregg and all finished in good time! Noways and I did the 50 and finished 5th place, even though 'because of pilot error...what other kind is there', Noways had lost a shoe and I didn't discover it until we were going out for the final loop. When we got to the gravel road, he told me about it. So I got off and walked him back to camp to have another shoe put back on instead of fighting with a boot for 18 miles... That's OK, we had a great last loop all by ourselves...well almost, we had a drafter, but was able to easily leave her after the last river crossing...:-).
Next ride: Aug. ~ VA Highlands, VA. This ride is our prep for the National Championship, so really didn't want to do any racing here if it could be helped...ha, ha...Noways always has a win on his mind... We decided to ride the second day 55 so we could crew for friends who would in turn crew for us the next day. An away VC can be a hassle without a crew for sure... First day, ML, Gregg and Brenda rode the 30 miler and all finished great. Dee, Dee, rode the fifty and finished well too. Brenda even top tenned. Second day, ML, Brenda rode the 30 (ML ROd though) Brenda again finished in the top ten. Marcy, (DNF) David, Cindy and myself rode the 55. This ride is a real challenge. I have ridden and finished it four times before. Won it last year in a race off... and nearly didn't vet through, so really didn't want to do that again especially right before Nationals. So, Cindy and I decided to pace together and keep our heads...:-) Of course Noways had other ideas about it, but I was able to keep him down to a low roar not letting him do too much galloping, so he locked into a fast trot (14mph down hill) and we still finished 3rd place, tying with Cindy and another gal we rode with most of the day. All of my brake muscles were screaming....We all had a great time, and are looking forward to the National Championship at the Biltmore!