Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Happy Little Ridecamp

Saturday June 4 2011

Due mainly to the ill-timed EHV-1 outbreak, and due somewhat to high gas prices and to some of our regulars being gone on the XP ride, the 3-day Owyhee Fandango was small affair this year.

But it was still a family affair. "It's like coming home to your Family," Joyce Sousa said. "It's so relaxed here, people are nice, the trails are great - that's why we keep coming back."

Endurance riding is indeed a family affair for the Sousas: Joyce and LV Integrity, and her daughter Jennifer riding MC Gallantly finished second and first on the 100 miler. It was Joyce and "Ritzy"'s 5th year to come here. Joyce says that coming here is their vacation. Ritzy also won Best Condition - not bad for a 17-year-old gelding with 6840 miles and 28 hundred-mile finishes (!) to his credit. Not bad for Joyce either, who has over 20,000 miles. 'Gallo' has 5245 miles and 12 100's to his name, and Jennifer has over 8800 miles. Joyce's husband, and Jennifer's father, Dennis is the regular Super Crew for them.

There was the Levermann family who came from Canada. This place is like a home on the endurance road for Katrin and her kids. Last year after breaking down on the way here for the 5-day ride, and arriving with a lame horse, she and the girls had so much fun they made sure to come back for the Fandango. It was a bit stressful getting herself and her two Junior daughters and their 3 horses (12 boots!) ready to ride each day, but they did it. They were the last tired ones in on the 60 miler near dark on Day 3, but they endured and finished, and arrived at the finish with a little fan club of friends - family - waiting.

There were many more of the regular Owyhee riding family members here; there was also the Blue Canoe catering gang, the Radio club guys and gals, and the Bates Creek neighbors who regularly help with the ride, by helping at the vet checks, hauling water, and donating prizes.

And there were the newcomers welcomed into the family. A horse-riding stranger named Larry from Missouri called Steph a few weeks before the ride and offered to help; he spent the 4 days during the ride working his butt off, keeping the old green truck running, loading and unloading crew bags every day and driving them out to vet checks, helping people with their horses at the vet checks and at basecamp, and jumping in to help with everything else he could think of.

There was the riding family we missed at this ride - those on the XP riding through the storms in the mid-west - that we hope will be here in September.

One of those hotel slogans is "Come as a guest, leave as a friend." Here at the Owyhee rides, it's "Come as a friend, leave as family." If we aren't technically relatives, we are still related, a big Owyhee Fandango family getting together for our annual reunion, using horses and endurance riding as our excuse.

It was small this year, but it was a happy little Owyhee Ridecamp.

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