Sign up for new blogs via email

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Wild West Endurance Ride

As soon as I was able to ride, I was thinking about which endurance rides I wanted to go to. I had my heart set on Cooley June 14-15 but alas, the timing wouldn't work. I was bummed since Dixie had done this ride in 2012 and 2013 and we had so much fun. Then I found the Wild West ride in Nevada City, CA June 20-22. I signed up for the LD 30 miles as soon as I found a friend who would help me crew (and watch Ash!)

Sleeping in a tent, waking up early, the bustle of a ton of other horses and their riders gives me the chills! I was so excited to get started. Dixie was also excited, scratch that... ecstatic. She had been ridden mainly on the barn property for so long that she was a *little* overly zealous about starting the ride.

 She threw a bit of a fit when the ride began and I pulled her off the first 4 horses that were pacing a little too quickly for my liking. Luckily, another nice gelding came along and Dixie settled into her pace. The horses took the first 13 mile loop together, never straying from a strong working trot. When we came in, I jumped off and started sponging cold water onto Dixie to get her pulse down to the required 60/bpm. After a minute I asked to have her checked and she was down even lower to a 55 (which is great!). That should have been my first clue Dixie was in much better shape than I thought.

We went out on our second and final loop by ourselves. It is so nice to ride with someone and chatter down the trail, but it is also incredible to just enjoy the ride with your horse. The gorgeous Tahoe National forest was nice and cool and there was not a horse in sight. We felt like we had the place to ourselves!

After we hit mile 18, I noticed Dixie had turned a front boot sideways. I quickly jumped off and fixed it. It is always best to notice boot issues as soon as possible, otherwise they tend to fall off and you lose them altogether... which is what happened about 4 miles later. But this time it was the other front boot! I am pretty sure I jinxed myself because the last thing I said to my farrier before we left it "I never have problems with my front boots, only the back ones!" Note to self, don't say that anymore! Fortunately I had a spare in my pack so I swung off again and fixed her up. We even went back a ways to look for it (they are not cheap!) but couldn't see anything. Oh well, call it a ride casualty and keep going.

Before long (about 2 hours) I started to recognize the trail and realized we were almost back to camp! As we trotted into the finish line the volunteers told me we had finished 2nd. We had only passed one horse and I wasn't sure what had happened to the other riders in front of us earlier. Either way, Dixie and I had a fantastic ride and really enjoyed every minute (minus the booting issues!)

Monday, June 9, 2014

Getting ready for summer...

Considering this is my first post about life at the barn in 2014, I think it is easy to see how things have changed. I have been working at the barn plenty, but not so much riding. Dixie seems to exercise herself, whether she is running in the pasture or lunging in the arena. 

Karen donated this bridge that we converted into a teeter totter for our obstacle course. 

Oh yea, here is why I have not been riding much these past few months...
Ashton Robert was born 4.17.14 at 10:21pm
We went on our first outing to the barn to meet Dixie of course!

I am more than thrilled to share that our fencing project is complete! It was a long time (since August) for this to happen since it was 100% volunteers. We used peeler posts and Fastline Fencing made specifically for horses. Thank you sooooo much to those that helped build this safe fence for our horses. 

And now to get back to a riding schedule... Dixie has been waiting patiently (well maybe not that patient!) for me to jump back on. She is 6 years old now, and in the last few months really filled out (I guess I could say the same for me too) I think the break was good for her. As we start to gear up for our next training rides, I will decide when we will get back to competing. In the meantime, we are plenty busy around here! 

Napa Horsemen's 75th Anniversary

June 07, 2014 8:45 pm  •  
The Napa Valley Horsemen’s Association celebrated its 75th birthday Saturday with wagon rides, rodeo performers, a barbecue, stick horse races and other activities under bright, blue skies.
Some 200 visitors, including neighbors who had never visited the state’s oldest horsemen’s association, stopped by to take part in the festivities at the group’s home off Foster Road near Napa.
Visitors included horse lovers of all ages, such as 8-year-old Isabella Clary.
“I love horses. It’s my favorite, favorite thing in the world!” Isabella said, She was clutching a new stick horse as she and her family waited by the barn for a wagon ride to tour the 32-acre property the association purchased in 1948 after spending its first nine years in Napa.
The horse-pulled wagons rode by the barn, then past the family-owned farm Building our Community through Agriculture (BOCA), which produces fruits and vegetables.
The wagons also stopped by the clubhouse, once a milking barn. There, guests were encouraged to climb off the wagon and visit the area reserved for Ag 4 Youth, where disadvantaged and at-risk students between the ages of 9 and 19 raise animals to be sold at the Napa Town and Country Fair in July, including two steers.
Founded in 1939, the association now has about 130 members, president Mark Evans said before the start of the afternoon horse show after a tri-tip and hot dog barbecue.
The show included performances by the Painted Ladies Rodeo Performers of Folsom, Larry Braun of Petaluma riding the Peruvian Paso horse TLA Amada, and children riding stick horses.
“This is a resource for all of us,” said County Supervisor Brad Wagenknecht at the start of the show, referring to the association. “It is right in our own backyard here, in Napa.
Volunteer members said they all share a love of horses. The club’s activities these days include a monthly potluck, an annual crab feed and horse shows.
“We’re happy to share with the community today our 75th birthday,” said Gina Massolo, 36, a regional manager for a hotel management company and a past president of the Horsemen’s Association. She has been riding horses since age 5 and joined the organization in 2009.
“It’s a social club. You’re around other horse people,” said Massolo, as she greeted visitors at the gate.
The association also continues to evolve. On Sunday, the volunteers are dismantling the 1948 arena, to replace it with a new, modern one, replacing the old wooden fence with steel pipes.