Thursday, December 31 2009
We went to Death Valley once again. We haven't been in a few years, really ever since the ride was held in the windy dust bowl. This year was really great. The camp has changed and the weather was chilly but dry.
Jeremy and I had a goal to qualify the two newest horses so that they could do the Git R Done FEI 50 in Jan. The two horses were: Carnivalle, (who belongs to our friend and client, Deborah Reich) and A Kutt Above. Carnivalle needed to do 2 days and Kutt needed 3, since he had never done any endurance before.
Since I would be potentially doing 3 days Jeremy opted to bring Bey along so that he could ride him on the day he wasn't riding Carnivalle.
The drive down was really uneventful, although highway 5 had all sorts of Christmas traffic on it and we had to take 99 instead. We got to camp around 4 pm and got set up. It was nice to see old friends. Two of our friends were there that we didn't expect to see (they live in Washington), Dennis and Sue Summers. It was really great to get to hang out and catch up with them.
On day one Jeremy rode Carnivalle and I rode Kutt. The trail took us through an old mining town called Johansberg (SP?). The ride photographer was shooting pictures in front of the old Opera house there. Jeremy and I were riding in knee high, stripped, Christmas socks, so our picture should be festive.
Lunch was out in the desert. Ann had hot soup for all of the riders out there, which was nice since it was so chilly outside. Leaving lunch we realized that we were near the top ten. We had a fun ride into camp and cantered along effortlessly. We ended up 4th and 5th. Our friend Dennis won. At the ride meeting it was announced that Carnivalle had won BC! It was her first 50 so that was really cool.
Day two was cold as well. Jeremy was on Carnivalle again and I was on Kutt. We rode a loop back to camp for lunch. This is when we cleaned up our camp so that after the ride we could pack up and drive to Balarat for the next camp site. After lunch we rode a trail that was cross country for miles and miles. The only thing that had been over that section of desert was Dave's motorcycle. It made for a bit of fun in the steering department as neither of our horses had any experience in weaving and dodging through brush. The horses both thought they knew where to go which made for a lot of swerving as they would decide to follow last minute instructions from their drivers. By the end of it they were really good at it. I did have to shorten my stirrups for this however!
We ended up 4th and 5th again. Dennis won again on a different horse. This time it was Kutt's turn for BC! This was his second endurance ride ever, the day before being his first. Cool!
After we finished we packed up and drove to Balarat. It is a mining ghost town. We set up and then hung out with Dennis and Sue.
Day three Jeremy rode Bey and I took Kutt out for his final day. We rode with Sue almost the entire way. On this first half of the ride we saw three bands of wild Burros. Lunch was out on top of a hill/mountain. Hot soup waiting once again. It was really cold at this spot.
On the way in it was rocky for a long while. We were all walking and a few 25 milers caught up with us. Jeremy pulled off to use a bush. When we got back on trail the other riders, 3 LD riders and 3 50 mile riders, were out of the rocks and we could see them down in the distance. We could also see the fork where the LD's went right and 50's went left. Out in the desert we saw a father and son that were on the 50 and we could see Sue galloping along catching up with them. Jeremy and I decided to catch up too.
Bey and Kutt galloped along like the wind. We were going 16 MPH for quite a while before we caught the father and son. I had been watching my ride time all day. To qualify Kutt for the FEI ride he needed to do the 50's in a time longer than 5 hours. I saw that I would be close, so I told Jeremy to go catch up with Sue and that I would pull in behind the father and son. On the way into camp I spotted a large Coyote, he watched us as we went by.
Sue and Jeremy tied for first and I was 8 minutes back in 3rd. It was a really fun ride. I am completely in love with Kutt.
We were really pleased as we were able to qualify the two horses and we had a lot of fun doing it. I was really tempted to stay and do the fourth day. Kutt would just have to finish and he would have been the overall winner! I had to control myself and look at what our goal was, and that was to get him to the Git R Done FEI 50 which is on Jan 16th.
We are currently driving home. All three horses are happy and will love to get back into their pasture.