Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Three Grannies Great Adventure Part 1

What an amazing week and a half!! My bestest bud from Washington, Colleen Martin, that I met endurance riding in the 70's, and my good riding buddy Linda Ballard, who I also met endurance riding in the 80's, and I cooked up this plan of getting horses to the beach. Only Colleen and Linda had never met until Wednesday, they had only talked on the phone as we were planning this escapade, but I knew they'd get along. The beach trip was supposed to be part of taking The Big Brass to the Appaloosa National Championship endurance ride (ANCER). But he had/has too many hoof issues, changed the horse plans. Then we replaced ANCER with Oregon Outback for an endurance ride to go to but it cancelled. So we changed again to Bandit Springs.

The morning of July 10 we were loaded up and on the road to the west side of Mitchell, OR., Hwy 26, for the Bandit Springs Endurance Ride. Camp is a pristine mountain meadow filled with fearless deer and bordered by towering Pines.

At night the moon was full and lit up the meadow so it was like day light.

We saddled up and went for a little ride on Thursday evening after we set up camp. A nice little doe hung out for her picture. 

Colleen rode Blue and Linda had her mare, Aire.

Friday morning we saddled up and rode about ten miles out through the forest and watched even more deer. The trails wound around the meadows and it was beautiful! We were treated with the wight of a doe and 3 fawns! The grass was so tall you could hardly see the fawns. 
Bandit Springs is an old ride in the Pacific Northwest and not far from where I lived years ago so it was fun to go ride it. I hadn't ridden it in years! It is a two day ride and it was very well managed and marked. Linda didn't ride the endurance ride since she broke her wrist less than 3 weeks ago so it was just two of us grannies riding out of ride camp Saturday AM. 

Sadly Blue got a belly ache after vetting in and looking great in the vet check. We took him back to the vet right away at the first sign of discomfort. So Colleen pulled at that point. Lesson learned here, we had to have weed free certified hay for places on the trip. We bought some grass hay but had also gotten the small compressed bales of alfalfa. I hate changing a horses feed and thought I had transitioned them well but didn't realize how much that compressed alfalfa swells up when wet until we soaked a skinny little flake in a bucket of water later that day for Thunder. Holy cow it filled up the entire bucket, which is what it also did to Blue's tummy and he isn't an iron gut like Thunder. So we didn't feed any more of that without it being soaked first for the rest of the trip! Thunder and I completed the 50 just fine though. We were very grateful to the ride vets and especially Cassee and Shawna for taking good care of Blue! 

Sunday, Thunder and I went out again for another 50, this time with Tamara Baysinger. He wasn't near as spooky and obnoxious the second day! And it got mighty hot out there too! We let the horses eat quite a bit on the second 20 mile loop and walked a lot but it was hot and they felt hot to the touch even with sponging them off at water tanks. But we finished again and Thunder was none the worse for wear. 

Sunday night after a little thunder storm came through and soaked us during awards people were heading home. As camp emptied out the deer came into the ride vetting area and drank water from the tough and were eating left over hay. What we didn't think about was the Redmond Rock salt lick I had out for the horses to slurp on. We weren't in bed very long when Linda shouts, "We got loose horses!" The horses hadn't gone far but evidently Thunder didn't like it when the deer came too close to check out his salt block. Assuming it was him that broke the high line he and Blue were both on and they were easily caught and high line repaired and back to bed we went.

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