Strawberry Fields Forever (My First Endurance Ride)

Well, I finished my first ride! Kind of. . .

Let me explain.

As I mentioned, my first endurance ride was this past weekend. Sterling and I arrived at camp just north of Strawberry Reservoir on Thursday, set up quickly and easily (there were just the two of us, so it was super simple), and basically relaxed the afternoon away.

Everything went smoothly, with one tiny exception—halfway through dinner, the trailer shook and we looked out the window. Kadie (my horse) was lying on the ground, her leg wrapped up in the Hi Tie (the apparatus that keeps her attached to the trailer). We rushed out, got her back on her feet, rubbed her down, and she didn’t seem to be any the worse for wear. We weren’t sure how it happened, but we were grateful that she didn’t seem hurt.

The next morning was a bit frantic—the alarm clock didn’t go off, so we started the ride 5-10 minutes late, dead last of 39 riders. I wasn’t too bothered; this was my first ride, and I was really more interested in the experience than coming in ahead of anyone.

That said, the experience was fabulous! I’m a speed girl, and I have to say that I love these endurance rides. I totally got into the trotting and galloping, and like the long rides a lot better than the shorter walks. I’m definitely a lifer—this was the first of many rides for me!

We had our vet check halfway through the 25-mile ride and passed with flying colors; we grabbed a sandwich, gave the horses their supplements, got a thumbs-up from the vet, and we were off on the second half of the ride. We arrived back in camp before noon, and finished 15th and 16th—a pretty good spot considering the late start we had. I was excited for the second ride on Saturday. . . until we noticed about an hour after getting back in camp that Kadie was favoring her leg, limping around and not doing well at all.

The vet checked her, and they pulled Kadie and me from the ride. (I got an award for the most gracious pull—I didn’t care about being pulled at all, I was mostly concerned about Kadie.) We couldn’t figure out what had happened; the ride that morning had been the smoothest ride I’d ever had on her, and Sterling and I had been watching closely and never saw her show any signs of lameness.

While I was disappointed, we made the best of the situation, taking it easy Friday night. . . we actually enjoyed a leisurely dinner and played a few games (Go Fish, Speed, etc.) before heading off to bed. We slept in, broke camp, and still got home several hours earlier than we would have otherwise done. We kept our eye on Kadie the whole time, and whatever the problem was seems to be gone now.  She’s walking fine, and although we’ll certainly take it easy the next few days and have the vet look her over at least one more time, nothing seems to be wrong now.

And I can’t wait for my next ride! I’m feeling badly that I didn’t start riding years ago when Sterling started, but I’m glad that at least I’ve started now. I guess I’m living proof that it’s never too late to pursue a new interest!

I took a few photos, although in the middle of a competitive ride, taking pictures isn’t a top priority. But the scenery was beautiful, the weather was perfect, and I thought I’d share the few photos I took. . . .