Thursday, May 19, 2016

New AERC Decade Team

The Owyhee River Challenge endurance ride marked Thunder's and my tenth year of completing AERC rides. Thunder is my second AERC decade horse. Zapped+/ was my first.

Back when Karen Chaton interviewed us about Zap and our Decade award, a question asked was "In choosing my next horse what would I look for?" I replied that I already had him. Thunder was two yrs old then, I'd owned his mother, Rushcreek Hollie, and his sire, Z Mufaurwa.  He was born with that attitude that you knew would make him a good tough horse.

This is the view I've mostly enjoyed for thousands of miles and many many trails. Our journey hasn't always been fun and games. I have spent many a moment cussing him! Yet he is the endurance horse I bred him to be. We completed our first AERC ride in 2007 at Weiser Rail Trail. Then we had a huge train wreck in the Owyhees that fall. The short version is he spent 6 days in the Owyhees and was found by my friends while I spent 3 days in the hospital. But, again with the support of friends, we made it back and Thunder is now on the edge of his 5000 AERC miles.
Thunder and I with Jessica Cobbley riding The Big Brass and Sarah Jackson on Street Cop. Photo by David Honan

After that rough "come back" year, Thunder and I just kept going, we had issues to work through but I never quit! I think my favorite ride on him was Owyhee Canyonlands 5 day where he won the 5 day and got overall Best Condition. I remember just sitting out there with him in the moonlight and enjoying his presence, and being grateful for the team we'd become. Nothing like a good strong horse to put you in awe of their amazing power!
Jessica and I strolled into the finish of Owyhee River Challenge 55 miles. Photo by David Honan

Thunder has spent many a mile trying to make my battered old body into a faster rider. I've spent many a mile trying to slow his red head down so my body could manage to ride the miles. Somewhere in there we reached a compromise! Congratulations Thunder! And here is to maybe another Decade! Although we'll both be pretty long in the tooth by then!

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Ghost Riders at Still Memorial

Last week I just had to get out of Dodge! I was going to burst if I stayed home. So Friday at 9:30 AM I was tossing stuff in the trailer, loaded the Blue and off we went for Prineville. My dear friends Cole & Charlotte Still, along with Alice Warner, and the Prineville Ridge Riders had put this ride on for over 40 years. We used to help every year in the old days when that area was "home". However they are gone now to better trails but I could hear their voices calling me.

Cole and Alice built many trails and added to the trail system each year as time went on. And I'm sure Cole rode the ride for 32 consecutive years and as I rode this year I recalled many of my old endurance friends. I know some of them were riding with me. My trail angels. 

The views of the Cascades are gorgeous as you climb Grey Butte. I remember one year Speedy's saddle slipped and I got off to fix it. The bugger wouldn't let me back on and Jo Calver came along and saved me and helped me back on the big guy!! Not sure how many times I've ridden the ride, I know my first year there was 1978.

The trail off "Still Hill" drops down to those alfalfa fields you see in the distance.

I like how the USFS has put up signs for the Cole Loop. Sadly vandals had torn some of the signs down. At one time Cole had put up horse shoe markers along the way. The route is mostly single track trail. 

The Buck Brush or Bitter Brush was in full bloom and gave off an amazing aroma as we trotted on through towards the big pasture and Weigand well. Blue and I had a great ride and an awesome day. He finished with all A's on his vet card. I'm happy I was able to visit the homeland for a day and remember the good times with friends of the past and present.