Monday, July 28, 2008

Reveal Your Inner Pink

Friday July 25 2008

Friday morning I saw Rhett far out in the pasture by himself, which can often indicate something is wrong with a horse (recall the story of Phinneas, where he'd about sliced his back leg off and was out laying by himself) - especially Rhett, who never does that.

I hiked out to see what was up with him, and oh, no, nothing was wrong with Rhett. He just didn't want to get in that trailer that we'd pulled up and parked in the yard. If you don't want to go to an endurance ride, what do you do? You hide, peeking out from under some shady trees to see if anybody is going to notice you.

Rhett hadn't been lame but he did have a mysterious crack in his coronet band for a week, and Steph decided last night for sure she wasn't taking him to this weekend's endurance ride. Rhett hadn't gotten the message, so he decided it was better just to hide. Maybe it was really the thought of wearing Pink that really scared him, because, if you go to a Pink Flamingo ride, there is a good chance you are going to be dressed up in pink, whether or not you think it is a manly color for a gelding.

Which happened to at least 2 geldings from Owyhee County. Jose and Mac willingly hopped on the trailer, and Steph and I headed off to the 2-day Pink Flamingo Classic endurance ride in the "cool, forested mountains around Cascade, Idaho," about 3 hours from Oreana.

As we drove into ridecamp, in a private meadow full of rich grass by a creek, we heard the first (and, as it turned out, fortunately, the only) casualty of the weekend - while out riding one of the trails earlier today, Marilyn Hornbaker had, in a freak accident (with horses, many are freak accidents), fallen off her horse, and was airlifted to the hospital. She'd turned to swat one of the nasty horseflies off her horse's butt, and was turned one way in the saddle as he jumped the other - and landed on her hip, and broke it. Later we found out she actually broke the femur where it joined the hip, and she had a rod inserted during surgery. Sally Tarbet, who along with Linda Walberg manages the Pink Flamingo ride, reported that Marilyn was mad - mad that she would miss the Pink Flamingo ride this year.

There was a bigger number of riders than Sally and Linda had expected this year - 68 entered in the 50 mile ride and 43 entered in the 30 mile ride. There was also a trail ride each day.

We were advised at the ride meeting to RIDE SMART, said head veterinarian Robert Washington. "We are here to help if anything happens, but we do NOT want to have to treat your horse." A lot of the horses and riders were from desert country where little hills and sand training is common, but here there would be a lot of hills and some steep climbs, and it would be a warm day. "TAKE CARE OF YOUR HORSES." More and more vets at the endurance rides are giving these talks at the pre-ride meetings, but people always still seem to listen. New riders are always encouraged to come see the vet after the ride meeting for any questions they may have about the ride.

There would be a raffle on Saturday after the ride dinner to raise money for the American Cancer Society Strides Against Breast Cancer Research. There were some great prizes on offer donated by many companies and individuals, with, of course, many of them in the Hot Pink variety. There would also be awards for the best Flamingo camp, and the best dressed rider.

I hadn't planned to dress pink-ly, and I don't own one item of pink clothing, but... there was the Pink Bling for the horses to consider. It all started with that pink marker we used to put numbers on horse butts. I put Mac's number 503 on one side of his butt in flaming pink, and the other butt got... a flamingo. The one flamingo led to a couple of flying flamingos on his other big white spaces - shoulder, gaskins, forearms, and his forehead.

And, we did bring along some bright pink flagging tape. Might as well put a few ribbons in Mac's mane, right? Well, you know how it goes, one pink ribbon led to another, and soon not only Mac's mane and tail were flowing with long hot pink ribbons, but Jose's also. Oh boy, I bet the cowboy that used to ride Rushcreek Mac at the Rushcreek Ranch in Nebraska would love to see pictures of him like this!

Even though the Raven doesn't normally do LDs, he got into the Pink Bling Thing too, tying on a few pink ribbons around his neck and hopping into his Raven bag on the saddle.

And it was early to bed for the 6 AM start of the 50 miler in the morning - for Steph and Jose. I'd be sleeping in, having a few extra cups of coffee waiting for my 7:30 AM start on the 30 miler with Mac.

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