Sunday, May 27, 2018

The 2018 Version of Owyhee No River

Owyhee No River May 2018                Karen Bumgarner

                First, I would like to say thank you to all my helpers, volunteers and ride vets for making this ride a success, because it couldn’t happen without you!! Without all of you this entire sport of endurance and distance riding would not exist. So, thank you so very much! Special thanks to Matt White and his boy scout Troop 255 of Middleton, ID for hauling our water. What a fantastic job they did. Thank you!

                For some silly reason I always want to do things a bit differently. It must be in my DNA. One year I had a Ride & Tie which was fun but not a huge success as 1) it requires a lot of work on the rider and runner’s part, and 2) there isn’t a lot to tie to out here. Then I had the BIG loop of 55 miles because I love big loop rides. However due to fires, storm erosion of trails, BLM losing sage grouse habitat (we have no sage grouse but they think we do), vandalism, and the fact that an out-vet check requires even more volunteers, I just had to let that go. I added trail rides that became an ApHC Regional Trail ride for my Chief Joe friends to use for conditioning on a daily basis to prep for the 5-day ride in July. And then this year I added what could have been (as far as I can tell), Oregon’s first Competitive Trail ride. All in addition to the usual 25/55-mile AERC Endurance rides.

All these trails took a long time to mark and my BFF, Colleen Martin, and I were given refreshments from the lady doing weed patrol. She saved our lives! HAHA

                The trail rides had 25 riders!! Yay! Only two were SWIT members though, Barb McGann and myself. Glad to attract non-members but I think we need to promote the club a bit more. Let’s be inviting our friends to gatherings.

               Friday’s Competitive Trail Ride, CTR, was sanctioned by AHA not NATRC, mostly due to simpler rules. However, I see NATRC has some proposed rule changes that may improve this. NATRC may attract a few more entries. The big reason I did it was to allow riders to get their AHA horses qualified for upcoming AHA Distance CTR Nationals. A horse needs two CTR’s to qualify for the National ride along with mileage, refer to AHA for all info on that. And maybe someday other breed registries will join the CTR Championships like they have the endurance Championship.  I would call the CTR a success with 7 riders, three totally new to distance riding so maybe we’ll see them again. The trail was 2 loops, a scenic loop of cow trails connected out to the Sand Castles, where we hauled water and riders went by it twice due to a spring not being in working order. I have a plan to maybe take this to a spot on the canal next year for water, we’ll see. After a vet check and 30-minute hold they rode the creek loop. The winner, with a perfect score, was Dirty Martini, ridden by Ann Kuck!! Reserve was The Big Brass and Jessica Cobbley. Congrats to all who came and participated. I’ve been asked will I do it again? Yes, but I need a ride manager!! I could even add it to the Pie Ride but I need a ride manager. The pay for the job is horrible but if you’d like to act as such I would happily let you do that. Special thanks to Lucie Hess for making this ride happen.

                Saturday the 25-miler had 22 entries and 21 complete. Riders had a 15-mile loop that we’ve used previously, followed by vet into a hold, and the scenic creek loop which is 9.25 miles according to Garmin. Simone Maul and a mob of others came in with the Mule gang. Boogey pulsed down first and took BC honors two years in a row! First Junior and 2nd overall was Sydney Jackson aboard the mule, John Henry. Winning time was 2:41.  

                The 55 had 22 start and 18 finishes. The 55’s had two loops with some repeat through the creek, lots of new trails this year and people seemed to love all the cow trails. Two loops put the vetting in camp. The second loop had a couple miles of hit and miss gravel road that used to be dirt, sorry but in reality, that really isn’t bad compared to some rides and there was a soft shoulder at least. David Laws won in 5:47 aboard his Rocky Mountain horse, Che Ole, in 5:47. Second was Beth Claussen and Beau De Valeroso. Best Condition went to JAC Wynterhawk, ridden to 4th place by Lee Pearce in 6:53. There were no Junior riders on the 55-mile ride.

Michele  McGorky and her critters helping me unmark trail She did most of the work :) 

                Two horses deserve an extra mention because they competed two days in a row. Dirty Martinis participated on both the 25-mile CTR and the 25-mile LD. Owyhee Justice finished both the CTR and the 55-mile ride. Three riders also did CTR one day and endurance the next, congrats to Ann Kuck, Jessica Cobbley and Karen Bumgarner.

                The Longhorns and a rattlesnake sighting added some special interest. Oh, and let’s not forget the sight of our dedicated photographer, Dave Honan, wading in the creek either!!

                We raised $300 for Troop 255 and $1500 for the Reboot Veterans Horse Camp in Idaho. Donations to Reboot allow Veteran’s to participate all week for free!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Deja Vu?

While it's true we can't go back in time and do-overs don't exist, there are times that stir some great memories. And some things just feel like you're home again.

This is one of my fave photos of  Moka's Pat A-Dott, (aka Speedy), and I taken at the Chief Paulina ride in 1985. Speedy was the only horse to ever do the CP 100 five times and I still have the blanket awarded to him for that. 

And now, umpteen years later, I'm lucky enough to have another colorful leopard that like to go places. This is Owyhee Justice, aka Rio. I got him for my Chief Joe horse but he wasn't particularly happy walking along. He wanted to do more than that. And when I ride him he reminds my of my good ol' Speedy. Deja Vu!! 

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Death Valley Escape

This ride has been on my "must ride" list for years and I finally got to go!! The locals call it the Death Valley Encounter, but for me it was a brief escape from cold and snow, and as I write this, it's 18 degrees so I'm ready to return!!

The day after Christmas when most people are shopping, I was trying to make my way through Boise. It was like being on a suicide mission with two big wrecks in the West bound lanes and more piling up as drivers ignored all the flashing lights warning them of what lay ahead. On my side, heading East, all the Einsteins were rubbernecking at the wrecks and then slamming on their brakes, only to slide off and land in the median. I was scared spitless, or something like that, the spelling varies. You don't get pictures of that since I was still doing my own driving. Once the other side of Boise I had to stop at the rest area and relax my shaking hands. Then onward to Gooding, meet the Cobbley's and stow my rig at Huber's.

The remainder of our trip was uneventful. We marveled at the sun and the rising temps, we were so excited to meet 60 degrees!!! We made it to Ely, NV and stayed at the fair grounds there. Brrrr in the morning. We piled in the truck and Mike says "where to today Miss Daisy?" "Oh anywhere warm will do nicely", I replied.  We made it to Trona, CA. and camp around 3'ish. I don't recall exactly we were all way too excited.

Camp was the Trona Golf Course and Country Club. It was a full campground but we found a spot half a mile from the vetting area and such necessities.

Then there is all the "get ready to go" stuff to be done. It was dark by 5 so you better hustle hauling water, feeding, organizing and putting goo in Brass's hooves. Dinner, ride meeting, set the alarm and get ready in the morning.

Now I won't lie. I "love" a good Duck ride.  The Duck and Annie Nicholson put on good rides, and Duck always promises you a cave with a bear to wrestle. I think our bear was rocks but you can find your own bear. :)  I have always counted the Duck as one of my endurance heroes. I love it when he says these are "endurance rides, not races". I fully appreciate that he points out we are here to ride in harmony with our horses and enjoy what the mountains and desert have to offer.


It was cold starting in the morning. "I can't feel my legs" Jessica said, as we marveled at the unstoppable Dave Rabe, in his signature shorts! The man has over 69,000 AERC miles now I might add. Somewhere along the "burro trail" we got into the sun, shed a layer, and then rode across the vast Panamint Valley to lunch. We had multi-million dollar entertainment as we watched the jet pilots fly maneuvers.

After lunch we again climbed over the Slate Range and had an easy descent back into the valley to arrive in camp after the sun had set but wasn't quite yet dark. Oh what a marvelous day it had been, the stunning views and vistas were unmatched! We had so much fun, Thunder and Brass did so well, that we signed up for Day 2.

Day 2 gave us two loops. A 30 mile loop where we backtracked up to the Slate Range crossing, then across more mountains on a very good old motorcycle trail, then up to the radio towers. Endomondo said we were at 3757 elevation at the top of something Peak via the Tower Trail. Then through Manly Pass, down Goff Canyon and into camp for lunch.

Our hope that morning had been to have a bit of a faster day but the slog over the Tower Trail and all had us 6 hours into the ride at this point. Ugh! Leaving at 2 for 20 miles we knew it'd be dark when we would finish. The horses were doing great, even though Thunder had been pretty warm and panted a lot during the heat of the day. However the trail turned away from camp about a mile from camp. Thunder was convinced I was the biggest idiot and horse could be stuck with. How could I possibly be going this way? They were happier when we turned back towards camp. And camp was a welcome sight!!
We vetted through just fine and because Thunder had gotten so warm earlier in the day, I had already decided I was sitting out day 3. Turned out Day 3 trail wasn't a lot different from Day 2 so no big loss.

Mike was happy as he had ridden two short rides on Khalid who is just beginning, I had my two days, but Jessica was going to try for 3. But when trotting Brass out he just didn't look quite comfortable, so she opted to not start. They went to town for propane etc., I went down to the vetting area to help Annie for a bit. Then I gave the horses a massage. It was a lazy relaxing day. I was completely happy with my two mid-winter rides on my wooly horse. All of us decided we'd gotten our money's worth, if we skipped day 4 and headed home we wouldn't miss any work. So as we spent the night at another fairgrounds, all the DVE riders were having a New Years Eve Party and steak dinner.

About noon I was back on the road in my own truck heading home. What a fabulous way to spend Christmas break and see 2017 out the door. Thank you again Mike and Jessica Cobbley for letting me travel with you. It was so much fun!!! Thanks Andi Sorrell for taking good care of the home ponies. What a great experience, I am so grateful! I want to do it again someday!