Monday, May 10, 2010

I wonder if Ruth remembers???

I wrote this for mouthy mondays on mugwump chronicles about an endurance ride my dear friend Ruth and I did years ago... I wonder if she remembers it like I did?

I must have been about 14 and my favorite riding buddy at the time was 12. We found a flyer for an endurance ride at the local feed store. It was over the same trails we rode almost every weekend. We just knew we were going to be a shoo-in to win this ride. We had no idea what the ride entailed or what endurance rides were all about, we just knew that our horses knew those trails and were in excellent physical shape. We were giddy and excited about our big find and made a pact not to tell the rest of our little group so we wouldn’t have so much competition.

The ride started way out on the outskirts of town instead of at the trail head. It only added a few miles onto the ride itself but since we didn’t have a horse trailer it would add a good 5 miles to our ride. But we figured that if we just rode more and more on the days leading up to the ride and really kept our horses in tip top shape we could do it. So we planned, rode and did everything a couple of teenage girls could dream up to get in shape for the big event. We made sure our horses were shod two weeks prior, we each bought some light weight saddle bags to carry our food and drinks in and of course we talked about what to wear.

So the big day comes, we get up, are saddled and ready to go by 3:30am. The ride started at 8:00 am but we wanted to be there in time to let the horses rest for a while before we actually took off on the ride. It was dark outside when we took off down the rode. We figured that the fastest, shortest way to get to the starting point was to go down the main drag through town. It was a large four lane boulevard, shouldn’t be too busy at 4am and after all there were plenty of stoplights. Finally we get down to the freeway, (yes I said freeway) and we decide that the safest place to ride on a major freeway is in the median or middle. Heck is was all nice and level, with sand and gravel. The horses didn’t seem to care about the traffic and it was getting light outside. You know how when you think about how far someplace is you always think that it is less than it actually is? Well we rode on the freeway for quite awhile when our friendly local Highway Patrol officer pulled off in front of us. He was a little more than annoyed with us. The conversation went something like this… Officer: “Girls what are you doing riding on the freeway, don’t you know it is illegal to ride horses on the freeway?” Us: (scared half to death) “No sir, we are on our way to an endurance ride that starts at the Garden Drive exit.” Officer: “You didn’t see the sign on the on ramp that says BICYCLIST AND EQUESTRIANS PROHIBITIED?” Us: “No Sir, it was dark when we came on to the freeway.” I thought his head was going to explode. We were quiet as church mice as he stood there scratching his head. I am sure he was trying to figure out how to get us off the freeway in short order. Then he says “Do you know I can site you for riding your horses on the freeway? Do your parents know you are out here?”

We both start to bawl. Site us, tell our parents, we were dead. Of course no one had bothered to ask us how we intended to get to the big ride and we definitely knew better than to volunteer that information. He finally tells for us to get to the Garden Drive exit as fast as we can and to NEVER, EVER, pull a stunt like this again. We wipe the tears away and thank him a million times over and start back out on our journey.

We had lost time and he expected us to hurry so we start long trotting to the exit. As we approach the exit we are sure we are late and that everyone has left without us. No one was there. No horse trailers, no horses, nothing. We get our maps and entry material out and we start to look at them. Upon closer examination we realize that the ride doesn’t start here. This is the directions for people trailering into town to get to the trail head where the ride is supposed to start. DUH. We have ridden 5 miles out of our way and have to ride 5 miles back to the trail head. And in a hurry to even make it to the event on time.

Obviously, we can’t go back down the freeway. We have to ride the back roads. We chose not to take this route because is has a long, very narrow, two lane bridge high over the river. We had crossed it before but it was not horse friendly. A couple of months before a horse had been crossing it and had spooked, jumped over the railing and died. We vowed that we would never cross it again, but here we were, it was either the freeway or the bridge. We decided to take our chances on the bridge. We didn’t use the pedestrian walkway and led the horses right down the middle of the road stopping morning traffic. We made it across the bridge o.k. but at the end of the bridge is one of our local police officers. The conversation was very similar to the one we had with the Highway Patrol officer. He didn’t threaten to site us or call our parents but it was uncomfortable none the less. After a good 5 minute lecture on not riding in places that were not safe he let us go on our way.

By this time we were really late. We had another couple of miles to go before we got to the trail head. So we start long trotting to get there. We finally arrive at the trail head and the check-in staff looked at our horses like what the hell have these two been up to? When I got the look, I knew right away they thought we were idiots. We told our whole sorted story and they must have thought we were the stupidest kids on earth. They checked over our horses and released us to go. By the time we got to the end of the ride, our horses were tired and sweaty and so were we. They had traveled a good 8 to 10 miles further than any other horse there. And we still had to ride home. The actual endurance riders pointed and whispered. People that we knew pointed and whispered. It was embarrassing. The vet checked our horses and very nicely asked us what happened. We regaled the whole tragic story. Tears and all. He told us that even though our horses were tired and that they could use a drink, they were probably in better physical shape that most of the horses he had seen that day. I don’t know if he meant it or he just felt sorry for us. He told us to take the ride home slow and give them a good dinner and lots of fresh water and try again next year.

That was my first and last endurance ride. I have never felt like such a loser horse owner as I did that day. I never wanted to feel people looking at me or my horse that way ever again.

It was also proof positive that a horse will give you 110% of everything they have – and then some.

Friday, May 7, 2010

psst... I have a secret

Let me start by saying that I have a wonderful family and zillions, well maybe not zillions but tons and tons of wonderful friends. But I also have a secret. They don't know about this blog. I don't know why I haven't told them. I did tell trainer lady. She had started her own blog and we were talking about hers and I felt kind of deceitful not sharing that I had a blog. So why am I bringing this up now? Because my oldest daughter has started a blog. She has been writing for several days and is very excited about chronicling all of her adventures. As much as we are alike, we are very different. The first thing she did was post on Facebook and send everyone in her address book an email stating that she had started a blog.

Today I am going to introduce you to her.
My oldest daughter is a free spirit. She is her own person and no one is going to tell her anything. I realized this when she was about two. Telling her "Don't touch the stove, it is hot" to her meant "touch it-just to prove mom wrong". Of course when she would burn her little finger she would run around crying and carrying on like she was on fire. She is now 27 and still touching the stove. This has been our relationship forever. She has to figure things out on her own and I have learned to respect that. Along with that one streak of, shall I say independence, she has many qualities that I admire and respect. She is never afraid of trying anything new or different. She will always sit in the front row. Never afraid to say exactly what is on her mind, although I do wish she had a profanity filter sometimes. Not that I am a prude, I pretty much can hang with the sailors and potty mouth right along with the best of them. I swear she can talk to a rock. This is a trait that she got from her grandmother on her fathers side of the family tree. The girl has never met a stranger in her life. She is committed to her friends and family like gorilla glue. Undeniable loyal and honest, sometimes to a fault.

She works at an assisted living facility and cares for senior citizens. They absolutely love her. When she went to work there, I could see she was becoming very attached to some of the residents and it scared me. She wears her heart on her sleeve and I feared that she would have a hard time coping with the loss. I was concerned that the fall out from losing one of these new surrogate grandparents was going to send her into a emotional mess. But you know what? She deals with it with grace and dignity. She has been working there for several years and has lost a few of her "favorites". I am sure there are tears, but she handles it in her own way in her own time.

She has friends that have small children that she has pretty much adopted as her nieces and nephews. They call her "Auntie Poopsy". I have no idea why, and I don't know if I would answer to that but she delights in it. She goes to their baseball games, football games, dance recitals, school functions etc. I hope that her friends realize what a gem of a friend they have.

A link to her blog - it would tickle her pink if you checked it out...

I guess it might be time to out myself and my blog.