Coolest Ride and Tie 3×3
|June 9, 2023||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Farley, me, and a friend did a ride and tie last weekend!
Let’s review the preparations leading up to this race, since I haven’t been posting about it on the blog.
That’s because there weren’t any actual preparations.
Look. When we decided to do this ride and tie June 3rd seemed so far away….
I’ve been running right? Nope.
Conditioning Farley? Nope.
Definitely setting up practice time for me and my partner who has never done a ride a tie, an endurance ride that wasn’t the out and back road at Cache creek, or a trail race? Well. Kinda.
One day after polo practice I tied a loop of bailing twine to the corner of the arena, tacked up Farley and declared that our course was on the rail of the polo arena. After a few laps of switching off at the loop of bailing twine we quit. Threw the tack that was on the horse into a wagon and stashed it in the horse trailer so we wouldn’t forget anything the morning of the ride.
I’ll pause while you wipe the tears of laughter and horror from your eyes.
So you will understand my amazement when at the event we were winning by a huge margin until someone who knew better, who didn’t realize he was getting lapped (I believe the word is chick’d) convinced my partner to accompany him on yet another lap of the hardest loop and she managed to go another 4 miles. Without me or the horse.
When I got to the hold (which was also the start and finish) and figured out what had happened, I decided that me opening a can of cold sparking sangria sounded like a much better option than going out on the last 9 mile loop whenever Maya returned from her extra credit milage. When Maya reunited with me at the finish, I handed her a cold beverage and informed her that we had just finished the 13.7 mile distance. Yay!
We agreed that she wanted some extra training miles. And well….we knew something was going to happen! And in the scope of “bad things that could have happened” ride and tie style, this was a “meh” thing so we declared the event a success, cleared our schedule for the fall coolest ride and tie, and both agreed that we should try and earn ourselves a championship buckle next year.
Let’s hear it for base fitness
“I thought you said you weren’t fast!” Maya yelled at me while chasing me down the course. I’m not. But I know how to use the trail to my advantage, I’m efficient, and despite being about 18 months since regularly running, 20 years of distance running trumps any recent breaks. There’s studies on horses that suggest that early fitness and training develops the musculoskeletal and cardiovascular systems for future work as an older horse in some very interesting positive ways. I’ve been running marathon distances since I was a teenager off and on and I feel very fortunate that I get to do all sorts of cool things now because of that one decision that my teenage self made.
Farley is very likely relying on the same principle.
This was not Farley’s last ride (I think), but at 24 years old and most likely *never doing a 50 mile ride again* I know that some day in the near future, and certainly within the next 5 years, we will go on our last trail event together and it will be the last time I get to ride this incredibly talented mare.
The best part of doing these events on her right now is that instead of feeling anxious as I ride her down the trail that every uneven step means this is her last endurance ride and the end our the goals and hopes with her, instead I’m simply riding with appreciation.
“This might be our last time going down the trails together and what a ride it’s been.”
It’s joy instead of stress and fear.
We are taking it one ride at a time and living in the moment. It’s the best.
Farley (mostly) behaved herself
We started out with the pack and kept it down to a dull roar and while she did attempt to convince me that she should have a larger input on pacing, she generally let me say “patience, patience old girl”. She loved being out in a race environment and being competitive. Being in the lead and doing a remote tough loop headed away from camp was not her favorite and because she’s 24 years old, and I’m a sucker….I did get off and do most of that section on foot despite me being the lucky person in the partnership that got the horse during that section (sorry Maya).
That first tie of the race is still the scariest. After 10 minutes of riding I decided it was time to give Maya a break and tie. I carefully selected a tree, tied, and cautiously backed away. It’s been 9 years since Farley has done a ride and tie. Does she remember?
She glared at me and then turned around to watch for her runner.
Ok. then. This might be ok.
I was still ridiculously relieved when Maya shouted my name and showed up riding my horse. It worked! She found the horse! The horse was still there! They stayed on course!
Later on when Farley bounced Maya off during a remount, instead of leaving her ass in the dirt like she has when she has occasionally done that to me (every single instance was me doing something dumb btw), she came back when Maya yelled at her. Maybe the mare is getting soft in her old age.
That Gel I ate…
…that was two or three years out of date. It tasted….off. I use Spring Energy Gels (they are expensive but they work really well for me) and I still have a stash of them from my last ultra. I didn’t think they would be THAT bad. Maybe some quality issues?
First swallow: Ewe. I don’t remember them tasting like this.
Second swallow: At least this race is short enough that I’ll probably finish before suffering from food poisoning.
After finishing the packet: Is it supposed to be that shade of pink?
I’ve now thrown them all out and have promised myself I will buy more once I schedule my next long run.
The miles are harder on Farley now
The Adequan definitely made a difference, and she still wants to compete, but 20 miles on her looks a lot like 50 used to. It used to be that after coming into a hold, after 45 minutes she started asking when it was time to go out for another loop. At the ride and tie if she had asked, I probably would have dragged myself out onto that 9 mile loop, but she didn’t. She was content to sit at the trailer and eat her mash. That will do mare, that will do.
We did some light riding the day after the ride and tie (arena w/t/c next to Fig and a friend) and she was a little stiff, but worked out of it within a few minutes and felt strong, willing and sound.
This is a sport that she only gets to do if she can do it without meds like Bute and firocoxib and the vet part of me can’t believe that she still can.
End of shoe cycle
I put steel on her before cache creek because I just didn’t have time to mess with glue ons or boots for the events we had coming up. Ideally we would have re-shod her before the ride and tie since the shoes were 6 or 7 weeks 0ld at that point. Buuuuttttt…..I didn’t have any other events planned, they didn’t look that bad, and my friend that I would have asked to shoe her was having surgery the next week and was trying to catch up with her regular clients.
So I just crossed my fingers and went with it.
Nothing BAD happened, but I could tell her feet were a little long. She tripped a LOT more than she usually would have and that really wasn’t fair to her old bones.
We weren’t *that* ugly thanks to the glitter I found last minute and smeared all over Farley’s butt.
Farley rode in her standard endurance kit (solstice saddle) and I did my standard ride and tie tricks – my favorite tie rope, the reins zipped to an oh-crap handle.
I wore my smaller red running vest with front bottles, calf sleeves, sun sleeves, and a race belt for my number – which was extremely unflattering but had the advantage of making my race number a lot less annoying than usual.
Me and Maya are only one hole different in stirrup leathers and unlike all my other partners, *I’m* the one with the longer leathers! So my stirrups were one hole shorter than normal but within the comfy range so we didn’t have to do anything weird like double up stirrups or leathers.
Best of all was the gear we got for finishing….a coffee mug!!! I broke my mug I got at my first ride and tie here 10+ years ago and it’s so nice to have another one to remind myself that sometimes, I do the “coolest” things!