It wasn't a big turnout, 3 on the 75 and 15 on the 50 miler with 15 on the 25 mile LD. A lot of trail riders came for the day too. I was riding Blue with my friend Tamara Baysinger. Tamara was starting her new horse on his first 50 and I had said I'd take Blue along to keep her company. Always helps a green horse to have an experienced trail buddy.
Our first loop went out through the sagebrush and we climbed up to the edge of Rocky Canyon as the sun was coming up. It's a couple hundred feet deep and has the notoriety of being a murder site a few years back when a guy pushed his wife over the cliff. Her friends put up a cross in her memory.
At the 12 mile point I thought I'd put Blue's interference boots on his hind legs. I was sure he would have settled down enough for that but about 200 yards later we had a bit of a rodeo. He was pretty ticked off about them and I rode him maybe another 1/4 mile and he wanted to buck some more so I got off and took the boots off. I said I guessed he didn't need them that bad and quickly velcro's them around the breast collar and got back on board. Blue was very happy again, no boots, and we trotted off with no problems. We traveled over hill and dale, and used a portion of the historic passage of Goodale's Cutoff. This cutoff was a 230 mile alternate route or spur of the Oregon Trail and was most often used to avoid Indians. Our trail had many arrows marking the way - but no Indians. The ride management had hauled out a lot of water and placed hay at the water stops so the horses wouldn't get too hungry on the 25 mile loop. There was a bit of grass here and there at least. With only a few miles left to go we spotted a coyote.
And a mile or so later there was a large hawk on the hillside. He was busy eating something and holding onto it with his feet.
At the end of the 25 mile loop we had a vet check and both horses were looking good. The vet, Keith Ruble DVM, noticed Blue's boots hanging off his breast collar and commented about them. I said "those are rodeo instigators, I put them on and he started bucking and I pulled them off." After we trotted out he said, "He looks great, and ready for another rodeo!" LOL We had an hour hold for horses and people to eat and rehydrate before heading out for our second loop. I put Blue's interference boots back on him so he'd have the whole hour to decide that he could live while wearing them.
On loop 2 I was given a treat as Jammer, Tamara's horse, gave a rather small shy. I looked in the direction he was looking and there was a badger peeking up through the grass. He'd see us and go down his hole but he couldn't stand not knowing where we were and he'd pop up again. We watched him and played peekaboo with him for a few minutes before moving on. I commented "Wow we're doing pretty good for wildlife, a coyote, hungry hawk, and a badger." Tamara replied, "Yup all we need now are antelope.
A couple miles later she got her wish, a pair of Antelope!
As we traveled farther out there was a herd of cows coming down the draw to a creek and both horses were fascinated and had to stop and stare.
This final loop seemed endless and I drank 2 bottles of water and rationed out the third to make it last. This loop of trail had an extra loop or lollipop of trail off of it that went out to Bettis' Ranch. After we finally got around it and back onto common trail I told Tamara, "That was no lollipop. That my friend was an All Day Sucker!" Obviously we'd been out in the sun too long because we thought that was pretty funny!
We took good care of the ponies and let them eat grass whenever available and they drank lots of water. They both had a good attitude all day and at the finish Blue had all A's on his vet card. The good vet said, "Are you sure you don't want to judge for Best Condition?" Nope I was sure, I knew time and weight scores would be against us but I guess his vet score would have been pretty good with all those A's. Thanks Blue for a good day!!!!