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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Horse Expo and another AERC 50!

We are all looking forward to summer, but the spike in heat was not exactly welcome. Upwards of 110 degrees, Sacramento Horse Expo was unseasonably hot this year. Last year Dixie and I rode in the demo and it was only by chance that I had something else planned for her this weekend so I declined on bringing her again. It turned out to be a good idea, because the demo was cancelled due to the heat! Instead, Winston filled her place in the booth and we talked with people about mustangs, Extreme Makeovers, training, and TIP programs. I met a lot of great people and am glad that we braved the heat to be there. 

Geyserville also saw extreme heat Friday and Saturday, and when I arrived at 5pm it was still in the 90's! I settled in and walked Dixie around and prayed the weather would be cooler as predicted. The rider meeting let us know the race would begin at 5:30am instead of 6 to try and beat some heat. I also picked up a junior rider (they have to ride with someone older) and enjoyed hearing stories of the day. The ride managers were thrilled that even in the extreme heat, there were no metabolic pulls from the ride that day, meaning people took really great care of their horses. I knew I was with a good group of people! After an amazing Paella dinner, I headed to the truck for some sleep. 4:30am rolled around and I started getting Dixie ready. Once 5:30 hit, we headed out onto the first loop. Our horses were matched pretty well and held a good pace throughout the race. Each of the 3 vet checks we came into Dixie scored all A's and in the final check she only got one B in her gut sounds. I was so proud of my tough little mare! As usual, many people asked about the 'mustang' and how they always dreamed of owning a 'wild one'. I encouraged them to check out the different programs featuring mustangs and get involved.  

All throughout the ride, I kept thinking the weather seemed so nice... I hope it holds! Fortunately, it did!   As we neared the end of our ride 8 hours later, we were met at the finish line by Anthony and Winston. As I recounted the day, only one wrong turn slowed us down and a broken gator on Dixie's EasyBoot Glove made me consider taking her back boot off. Surprisingly, the broken gator didn't affect her boot staying on for the last 20 miles! I was very proud of myself for putting them on! I am sure I owe a big thank you to my farrier for making sure her feet were nice and clean the day before!  We walked back to camp and took care of our horses and relaxed a little bit until the awards ceremony. 

I knew we took a moderate pace so when I heard my junior's name called... I was thrilled! He had won the TOP JUNIOR in the 50 mile ride award and a gorgeous cooler for his pony. The vet spoke about how well he took care of his horse and I was so happy for him. All throughout the day everyone that saw us cheered us on, the future of the sport really is up to the young people that choose to keep it up. We also got to meet one of the younger relatives of the Cooley's, who graciously allowed us to ride on the beautiful piece of private property. It took so much work for this ride to be created, and it really showed that the endurance community is a great group of people. I wanted to thank the ride managers, Cynthia and Forrest, as well as the Cooley's for providing the amazing land. It was a fabulous ride and you can be sure we will be back next year! 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Shine and Shine Only

I am a little late in giving you all the play by play on our multi-day ride in Gilroy, but it is worth it!
Dixie and I headed up Friday May 17th to the Shine and Shine Only ride (put on by Becky Hart). Now that we have been to a few rides, it was fun to recognize people and horses. Although I have to admit, I am much better at remembering horses names than people!
Since Dixie was given a little more time off than normal from my last adventure with Sweet Pea and the Extreme Mustang Makeover, I thought doing 2 LD's (25 miles) in a row would be a nice way to get us back on track. 

As usual, Dixie camped like a pro...

In fact, I would say that I was pretty pro-like with my tent setting up skills too! Truth be told, I spent the first night with a few friends in a bus (Thanks Jennifer and Barry!) but did set up my tent all by myself for the next night. 

The weather couldn't have been more perfect if it was ordered. Dixie was more than ready to go and as the start of the ride began, I knew I had a hot little mustang underneath me! We immediately found a riding buddy that was similar in pace and enjoyed the whole ride talking and sharing horse stories.  

At each vet check, we passed with ALL A's and at completion she got only 1 B in gut sounds. I expected this because Dixie didn't eat very much during the ride, she was too busy thinking about crossing the finish line! We finished along side our friend and took 3rd place overall. Now, in limited distance endurance, the place does not really matter BUT what does matter is getting the Best Condition Award. Well, I am proud to say we DID NOT get that award, but it was not Dixie's fault... it was mine! There are a lot of things you base the award on and rider weight is one of them. Since Dixie had the highest vet scores of ALL 10 riders she was the natural choice but my weight was the lightest, so in combination we lost. I guess that is a pretty ok reason to lose if you ask me! Don't forget, I still have a wedding dress to fit into! 

As for the second day, Dixie was fresh as day 1. I was expecting her to be slower but the heart rate monitor guided our ride and she showed she was fine to ride at a nice clip that day too! We rode with a new buddy and I think Dixie made a boyfriend! They were so cute, my favorite part was when her buddy would canter and Dixie would go into the extended trot. The rider said "Do you know you horse can trot at 12 miles per hour?!" I was so proud of her and when people asked "What kind of horse is that??" I proudly told them she was my American Mustang! 

We are headed to our next adventure this weekend and I hope to update you soon... stay tuned! 

Thanks for reading :)
xo Alyssa & Dancing Dixie