Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Owyhee Fandango Day 2

Saturday May 26 2012

Day 2 arrived with heavy gray skies and a light rain, that lasted all day, but Amanda and I saddled up Breve and Jose anyway. I think I can safely say, among the total 37 starters in both distances for the day, I was the only one grinning from ear to ear all day long, not just from riding a Fabulous horse, but riding him on a Fabulous wet and cool day in the desert.

Jose and Breve went great together. Amanda was thrilled with Breve's first 50.

I did love the rain, but the mud was something else. On the north side of the highway for loop 1, the sand footing was good. On the south side of the highway for loop 2, it got slick and sticky. I have christened the Brown's Creek hill as SlickSnot Hill. Amanda thought she'd do her horse a favor and get off and walk up it. Bad idea. She had to stop and rest halfway up as she'd carried half the hill up on the bottom of her shoes. The clay mud cakes on like glue. She couldn't even lift up her leg for a photo.

That's when Jose started having boot trouble. He lost one glove, and after I put it back on, it stayed on another 5 strides before coming off again. It weighed an extra 5 pounds, and I couldn't scrape the clay off. We weren't far from a water stop, and there I rinsed and scraped 2 1/2 pounds of clay off to where I got the boot back on. It stayed in place for another 2 miles or so, but it was so deep and goopy that Amanda, riding behind me, never saw it come off. Maybe Steph will find it when she unmarks trail after the ride, or we might find it sprouting flowers out of the inside next spring.

Jose lost a second glove after climbing the Hart Creek knife ridge. Amanda didn't see that one come off either. We were only 5 miles or so from camp, so we just travelled carefully over rocky sections. Tami Rougeau, following a half hour behind us, found one clay glove and carried the 5 pounder back to base camp. The horses handled the going well, adjusting their strides to the different depths and slickness and consistencies of the mud/clay/puddles.

There wasn't a single pull all day, and by the end of the day, I think everybody was finally smiling. It was another great day to ride in the desert, another 50 miles for Jose and The Raven!

Video from day 2 here!

and many more videos and photos from the Owyhee Fandango here on!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Owyhee Fandango Day 1

Friday May 25 2012

While it was somewhat of a dismal turnout for the 3-day Owyhee Fandango ride, those that did show up had a desert-ful of fun, despite having the most rain over the weekend that we've had in a whole year combined.

On Day 1 it didn't stop 27 50-mile riders from saddling up in the heavy rain and hitting the trail at 7:30 in the morning, nor the 12 Limited Distance riders from heading out (into a little less rain) at 9:30 AM. The rain became showers, which became alternating showers and sunshine for the rest of the day.

Garrett Ford from Durango, riding his monster horse The Fury, and Gene Limlaw from Vermont, riding Garrett's other horse Cyclone, tied for first in the 50 miler. The Fury got Best Condition. Deo Peppersack finished first in the LD and got Best Condition with Cinnamon.

24 riders finished the 50, and 11 finished the LD. I didn't hear any reports of the Horny Jackass biting anybody in the butt on the 50 miler.

Here's the Owyhee Fandango Day 1 video!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Owyhee Fandango 100-Mile Tune-up

Tuesday May 22 2012

It's just 5 days till the Owyhee Fandango 100!

Here's a video of our next to last short conditioning ride for Jose's and August's first 100 miles!

[link here:]

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Prepping for the Owyhee Fandango 100

Wednesday May 16 2012

When it comes down to preparation, I can't really count the last 100-mile ride I did. That was Tevis in 2009, and since I got the mount on Nance Worman's horse Quinn with only 5 days' notice, I had nothing whatsoever to do with his conditioning.

The last 100-mile ride I did before that was 2003, and since I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday, I sure don't remember what I did to get a horse ready for a 100. This time I had about 3 weeks' notice, since the idea popped into Steph's head that I should ride Jose (Steph's horse and My Pal) on the Owyhee Fandango 100 with Connie and Carol.

All three horses have a base this year of two 50 mile rides in April. We are lucky in that the horses have plenty of room to move around day and night - and they do this, walking at minimum several miles every day. (Well… except for Finneas who's on a diet right now - more than anything he needs to lose weight before the ride!)

The first thing we decided is that we aren't riding to win or Top Ten; we're riding to finish. We had a total of 4 weeks between the last 50-mile ride and the 100-miler on May 27. Here's some sound conditioning advice we followed. Going on the theory that the last hard ride before a 100 should be 11-14 days out, we did that on Monday (13 days out), taking our three steeds (with Judy subbing for an absent Connie) on a 22-mile brisk ride. We motored the 11 miles to Regina's house, had a lunch break, and zipped the 11 miles back home. 

Now, we'll ride them twice more, 4-5 days apart, easy 5-6 mile rides. This also fits with the theory that a horse won't feel the effects of a conditioning ride till 5 days later - hence there's no point in trying to put more condition on your horse within 5 days of a ride.

At this point it's more about getting me in condition. I am riding 1 or 2 horses a day, but I'm shrinking away from going out and hiking in the heat of the day… I figured I'll either put that off till later, or, hope and pray like heck that it is not a hot day in Owyhee on May 27th! 

10 days to go!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Steph's New Endurance Horse

Sunday May 13 2012

It's too early to tell, but, this baby by a Shagya mare and a Thoroughbred stallion (a son of Kentucky Derby winner Fusaichi Pegasus) has the same top qualities that every super endurance horse started out with: long legs and super fuzzy cuddlyness!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Owyhee Fandango 100 - Flagging the Snake River Trail

Saturday May 12 2012

Carol, Steph and I hiked and flagged the 'boulder field' along the Snake River, part of the 80 and 100 mile rides on the May 25-27 Owyhee Fandango.

I made a fun video that gives you a hint of some of the scenery and wildlife you'll see, and part of the trail you'll be going over. You'll see that it's not hard; it's just technical for maybe a 1/2 mile stretch. The weather was perfect - not too hot nor too cool nor too windy, and this day, at least, there were no gnats! (Bring your human bug hats or bug spray, and spray for your horses too, just in case.)

I have put in an order for perfect weather on ride day!

You can see more photos, and upcoming videos on the Owyhee Fandango ride page:

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Big Owyhee One-Oh-Oh

Tuesday May 8 2012

Let me preface this by saying, It Was Not My Idea.

I was ready and willing to help on the 100-mile day at our upcoming 3 day Owyhee Fandango at the end of May. I was ready to help crew for Carol and Connie.

Carol hasn't done a 100 since 2007. If she finishes, she'll get her 6000 miles! It will be her horse August's first 100. Connie has never done a 100, nor has her horse Finneas, but they both have the gas and gumption to git 'er done.

Connie and Carol have been sending psyching-up-encouragement emails to each other. Connie has a little good luck present for Carol. I've been sending both of them a few inspirational emails, such as, 

"The Moon Phase on 27 May, 100-mile ride day, will be waxing crescent (36% illuminated) which in this desert, will be bright enough so you can see to comfortably pick your nose."

Today, Steph sez, "Why don't you wear the helmet cam, and ride Jose on the hundred with them?"


I've been quite content to do 50's on Jose. To some 100-mile gurus, that's not 'real endurance' and I'm a wimp. I'm here to say that I am not a wimp, but you can call me lazy, if you must. To me, 50 miles is just dandy - I get good exercise and pleasure from 50-mile rides (multi-days are my favorites). I haven't done a 100 since 2009. Jose's never done a 100. If Jose completes, he'll get his 2000 miles.  

Oh dear! I was cruising through life all happy and lazy, taking on little challenges like 50 mile rides now and then, with nothing piled and spilling over my plate to worry about. Now I have a LOT to chew on. Now I must begin a major mind shift. I have to think about things like, how to train Jose? He's fit, having done 2 50's this month, 3 weeks apart, but… now what? a few short rides? a long ride? both? a lot of short rides? Walking? Trotting in sand? Hills? What am I going to eat? I don't like to eat on 100's, but I must. It'll take me weeks to figure out what to eat! I better start cooking many things now, so that I have a variety to choose from! What to pack for the vet checks - some of them will be out-vet checks. In fact there will be 2 different out-vet checks, so I'll have to pack 2 different bags for each hold. What to put in the bags for me, and what for Jose?? Jose will need a variet of grain and hay and a change of saddle pads and cinch and grooming brushes and brushing boots and extra horse Easyboots and a blanket in case it's cool or wet or windy, and a variety of food and frozen water and gatorade and Starbucks coffee drinks and a change of clothes and bandaids and Ibuprofen for me... Do we (Jose and I) each need a bag at each vet check, and what, now I have to pack 4 bags?? What about the weather - will it be comfortable, or will it be hot? Too hot? What if it's too hot?? Ohmigod what if there are thunderstorms???? And now I have to look at maps! Now I have to charge lots of batteries for the helmet cam… and decide which vet bags to pack them in and decide on what 8 hours of footage to shoot. And what about that starting time - 5:30 AM!!! I don't like that side of the morning!

Steph said I need to start riding in the middle of the heat of the day to get acclimated. Yuck! (Steph said, fairly skipping with glee, "Yay! I'll ride with you in the heat of the day!" It's that time of year where she gets to Yippee and I get to start whining.)

On the other hand, I'll get to make a special video of a 100-mile ride, of a special place (the Owyhee desert) with Big Things on the horizon, and hopefully not the sunrise 24 hours later! I will discover one hundred new ways to admire the Owyhee desert. Possibly 100 new sore muscle fibers. I will soon share a new experience with Jose Viola.

And, a big motivator is that I'll now be in on the little prezzies Connie is creating. My prezzie for the three of us will be beads for our horses' manes. The Navajos thought a turquoise bead in the hair protects you from being struck by lightning. (Does fake turquoise count??)

I have 19 days to psyche myself up!  Don't know if I'll inform Jose about it yet or not. : ) 

Let the psyching begin!