Man, I have rolled over in my mind A million times about what I wanted to write about this adventure. This was not my first endurance ride at the Caja Santa Fe. A few years ago this was my very first 50 mile endurance ride. I got To do this ride On my mentors horse named Buzzy. That Ride was truly the coldest I have ever been in my entire life, and I used to live in Alaska if that tells you anything. It rained, sleeted, and snowed. We were wet and freezing. The only way to stay warm was to put my hands under the pad of the horse as I was riding. I remember trying to figure out what was warmer. Having my hands in my wet gloves or taking them off. Man alive it was miserable ! But you know what I love so much about that ride? I walked away from it in love with endurance. Endurance is to endure everything, and take care of your horse and to meet the challenge set out before you.
I had hoped to come to Santa Fe this year and try to do a 50 mile ride on Merlin. Unfortunately, I haven’t had enough time to train so we went with the intention of completing two limited distance rides. To save money on costs my friend MICHELLE and I went together and split cost. It was easy for us to do because at this ride we couldn’t have our horses at our trailer at the camp. They would all be stalled there and the rigs parked in particular area away from the stalls.
I’m not going to lie. I wasn’t a big fan of this idea when I was on my way. I had debated on even going. One of my most favorite things about going to rides is camping with my horse. I love hearing them eat, looking out my trailer window and seeing them rest. I like to be able to watch how many times they go potty both poop and pee (it’s not weird I promise it’s watching their hydration and metabolic). However, it actually turned out pretty awesome.
The weather was stellar!! No sleet or snow only sunshine and sunburns, my kind of weekend! People come out of their trailers put their chairs out by the stalls and visited. I just loved that!! Im real bad about hiding in my trailer at most ride. One big reason is I’m kind of shy (I know, go figure... but I truly am) . I’m not confident fully in the endurance arena yet. I’m still so new I really have no stories to share. And I feel like a creeper just walking up to people or eaves dropping on their conversations. Having the rigs parked the way they were and the horses in the stalls forced people to socialize. Or at least it forced me to. It was awesome for me because i got to see all these people I saw as endurance celebrities become normal people. Who would have ever thought they were normal!!! I got to hear these super star riders worry about all the same things I do. Then I realized “wait a minute, these pros with thousands of miles freak out too!!!” In my mind i had built up that these people with 1000s of miles of experience, the folks that have gone to Tevis and finished had it all down. They knew exactly what food to give to make their horses eat. Their horses always are and were immortal. They also had feet made of concrete and never got hurt, these folks never have to worry about their horses acting up at the start. Their horses never ever buck or misbehave because they had secret awesome trainers that taught their horses to be perfect and taught the riders secret passwords to say to their horses just in case the horse forgets to be perfect. That’s how they got decade team horses duh!!
Then back to reality. These people are normal people, with normal concerns, and they are still so excited for accomplishments just like it’s the first time.
It was so cool to see Mary ANN Maynard finish her 50 mile ride on her new horse and be so excited!!! To see Cressy Drumond (my mentor) complete back to back 50s on her baby Saga and to know his next stop is Tevis!!! To meet Christoph Schork and him talk to me like a normal human being (he’s a total celebrity to me),to hear Crockett Dumas crack jokes at the ride meeting and everyone laugh because they were actually funny lol, to see Marcia Hefker (mongol derby winner) and her talk to everyone do down to earth and kind. Rodger Taylor (endurance hall of fame) help manage and provide advice and assistance and his amazing wife and daughter doing the same. Watching Courtney Kizer ( mongle derby finisher) worrying about her horse and working so hard to take good care of it. Meeting and speaking with Kevin Waters (also a complete endurance celebrity), so down to earth and having such passion about the animal welfare in the endurance community. Marcelle Hughes (another Tevis finisher and local celebrity to me) bringing her older horse and completing LDs with him his new horse (side note: she is also so humble, helpful, and kind if u see her meet her and talk to her:) ) Mike Guy and his wife Evanna taking each of us that we’re interested and showing us how to properly wrap and care for injuries and feet, sharing his stories and experiences of training and respect with horses. In those few minutes we were able to learn so much!! I could go on and on. I met new people and heard their stories and shared the trail with them. I hope to do so again!! I got to see other friends like Melanie Martin and her handsome and sweet Stallion (side note: if I had a mare this would’ve be my mares baby’s daddy no doubt. I have never ever seen a sweeter, endurance strong, handsome horse)
I met two awesome girls who were my neighbors. Jessica who’s last name is TBD. I know she’s from Colorado, her horse is bad ass, she got first place in the LDs both days, she’s completed a few 100s, is amazingly fit and is a fellow keto girl who snacks on potted meat lol I hope to run into her again. She was way cool.
My other neighbor was Lisa Boyd who had one of the fanciest trailers I ever seen and her horse is a beautiful dappled gray who is also Russian (like my sweet Merlin). This gal saved my goat charging my gps.
Moral of all of this, is the riders there were fan freakingtastic. And I was so happy to hang with all of them. The vets were amazing and helpful, the volunteers were great. There were radio guys and water folks out there pointing us in the right direction and keeping track of us for our safety.
The morning of the first ride Merlin was a dragon, I literally thought any second his wings would pop out and I would be like Denarys on the Game of Thrones riding around on her pet dragon. He was breathing Fire!!! Snorting and rearing to go. (not literally rearing but he did literally jump off a hill instead of walk down, and threw a bucking fit at the bottom because he couldnt go to the front... everyone loves those kind of embarrassing tantrums....SAID NO ONE EVER!!!)
|this looks just like us at the beginning of the first day...|
The first day was so interesting because there were so many runners on our course. They were running the same trails "Horse Vs Runner". They let the runners start 30 min a head of time. It was a great time! The horses knew the runners were competition, or at least Merlin did. It kept him motivated to keep going the entire time. When he spotted a runner he knew he wanted to be in front of them. This day flew by because of all the stimulation. The trail, the runners, all the horses, and I did only 25 miles. There are so many great pictures of this event on Facebook. This is the site to the sign up this year that tells you a little bit more about it> https://ultrasignup.com/register.aspx?did=56071&refcode=U91YDZT6&fb_action_ids=10156172539471070&fb_action_types=og.shares
this was a true athletic event, very awesome riding next to these extreme runners.. got to talk to some of them on trail, and it even motivated me to possibly to an Ultra one day.... maybe..... Got to get through the World Championship Ride and Tie first... then we will see (to be continued)...
Merlin vetted in at the end of the first day like a champ!!! I was going to go home that evening since my riding partner Michelle wasn't going to ride the next day. However, she talked me in to doing the second day, since Merlin was so rowdy he needed it and she would crew for me (Bonus).
As I mentioned before second day, wasn't as fun. However we did finish.
We did get lost on trail, as did several other folks but we finished but truly by the skin of our teeth.
The bonus about this day is I met an amazing gal on trail who rode with me the entire time, got lost with me, and kept the spirit of endurance fun, going the entire time!
The best part about the endurance rides are the people! This entire event was so fun! I love meeting new people and seeing people that I have already met. Each ride is like a family reunion.
Merlin finished... ate lots of food, took lots of naps, and was happy to be home when we got there.
|chowing down... you would think he did something:)|
|Nap time for this good looking dude!|
It was a challenging but amazing weekend.
|Done! Cant wait to do this again!|