Home > Trip > Dispatches > Daily Dispatches > Daily Dispatch #218

July 14, 2012: The Upcoming Competitive Trail Ride

The local competitive trail ride, called the Bald Mountain Butt Buster, is going to be held next weekend. It’s a one-day trail ride for those in the novice, and a two day ride for those in competitive pleasure, and open divisions. The ride length is approximately 20 miles each day. Both days are timed – in addition, each rider is judged on horse care and equitation. There are also pulse and respiration stops, where veterinarians assess the horses’ condition. If your horse’s p and r remains high, it is pulled from the event. Scorecards and awards are also given out at the ride’s end.

I competed in this event two years ago, and scratched a mile into it. I was riding

alone. Raudi bolted at the timed start, and spooked when we came to an enclosure with cows. I went over her head, into a manure pile. My saddle slipped, and I could not remount my wildly dancing horse. It did not help that I didn’t sleep at all the night before, nor did Raudi. I was attempting to sleep in the truck bed, which was attached to the trailer. Every time it moved, so did I. And there was no herbal tea available in the morning, so I drank caffeine tea. This made me jittery.

This time, things are going to be different. The most important thing is that I’m going to have company. Pete’s is going to do the ride on Mr. Siggi. We’re going to pitch the tent, and I’ll have chamomile tea with my breakfast. We might also do a short ride the day before the event, doing the beginning and end portions, and in this way acquaint the horses with the route.

Our friend Heather is going to ride with us in the competitive pleasure division. Emily will also be riding Tinni in the novice division, and Vicki will be riding Hunar in the open division. We’ll be a spread-out posse.

Additional Icelandic horse riders will include Chuck and Cindy Miller, who will be coming up from Tok. We stayed at their place prior to and after our long ride last summer.

If, for some reason we aren’t able to do the ride, it will already have served its purpose. My knowing that I’m going to participate has motivated me to do longer rides than I might have otherwise. For instance, yesterday I did a strenuous hill ride after doing a lengthy trek with Pete. As importantly, this has prompted me to work on my horsemanship abilities. I’ve been practicing mounting and dismounting from the left and right sides because the judges might ask us to do this. What I’ve discovered is that it’s harder for me to get on from my right side.

The best part about getting ready has been doing this alongside Pete. Some time ago, he printed up information about what’s required of competitive trail ride competitors. We then read it and talked about particulars. We have differing reading-related tastes, so sharing our insights has been fun.

This morning we put together an extensive list consisting of what we need/what we need to do. This reminded me of last year’s trip planning, and in a way it’s a mini trip. As I learned when bicycle touring, whether two days or two months, the gear is pretty much the same. Planning in advance also means that we’ll be less apt to forget needed items, like horse girths. I’m also going to have to do a considerable amount of tack and horse cleaning this upcoming week.

And we’re going to need to get in a few more rides before next Friday. It’s tricky, getting out when the ground is dry. But we’re doing it.

I’m both excited and apprehensive about this upcoming event. I’ll get to ride and camp for two days. And I’ll learn much that will serve me in good stead during Part II of the Long Ride Home. But at times what happened to me the last time out occasionally comes back to mind. When such thoughts surface, I remind myself of how far Raudi and I have come. My much improved horse still is now more fearless. She stands still for longer lengths of time. She stands still when I go to get on her. She’ll also walk off down the road on a ride if given the opportunity. Sigh.

Green horse/green rider, or so I’ve been told. I have to admit, I wasn’t at all thinking about particulars when I purchased Raudi. This kind of thing must be like parenting – one can’t possibly consider all the ins and outs involved because there will be so many. In this respect, linearity is our saving grace. Otherwise, we’d crawl under rocks and revert to being our primordial selves.

In other words, I might have bypassed buying Raudi if I’d known what was ahead. Yes, it would have been far easier to then take on a well-trained riding horse. But my now recalling the ups and downs (and our showing in the previous competitive trail ride was a definite down) reminds me of the value of something that I previously only equated with writing; this being the importance of process. Our learning things together has definitely further endeared me to this horse.

Next: 219. 07/12/12: Indoor Day