Saturday May 26 2012
It was a cough that became the monkey wrench in the Tres Fabulosas original team plan of me, Carol, and Connie riding the Owyhee Fandango 100 miler together.
I'd heard Jose cough a couple of times before the Fandango, including one of our training rides. He never had a temperature, never felt less than fabulous, under saddle and with the herd, but it made me start to fret: a worry worm stuck in my craw.
I had Robert the head vet check Jose out on Thursday (Day 1 25 and 50 milers were Friday, Day 2 25 and 50 milers were Saturday, and Day 3 30/60/80/100 were on Sunday), and he couldn't find any congestion, and of course Jose didn't cough for him. But my worry and doubt remained unchanged. Judging by the way Jose looked and felt, and having no temperature, even if he had some remnants of a cold, I knew he could do a 50. But… a 100? There's a world of difference between a 50 mile ride and a 100 mile ride. It's not just the mileage that adds up, but the time in the saddle and the cumulative stress on the body; and if you are starting with something already compromised, well… I would just die if anything happened to Jose.
Thursday night, when the weather forecast looked dismal (to some people : ) with rain, rain, and rain and cool temperatures predicted, a new plan hatched. Steph had planned to ride Batman on a 50 on Day 1 with Amanda and her new moose of a Shagya, Breve. But Steph hates cold wet weather as much as I love it. So… Jose and I would ride with Amanda and Breve on the Day 1 50, and Steph would become a Fabulosa and ride the 80 miler along with Carol and August, and Connie and Finneas on the 100 (and possibly elevate to the 100; both distances would start at 6 AM).
But when Friday morning dawned cool, and seriously raining - who likes to saddle up in the rain and go out on a 50 mile ride, much less handle a horse new to endurance riding in the mud? Plans changed to me and Amanda riding the Day 2 50, and Steph and Connie and Carol would still ride the 80/100.
Day 2 arrived with heavy gray skies and a light rain, that lasted all day, but Amanda and I saddled up 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. Jose felt Fit and Fysically Fenomenal and Fabulous all day. He did cough, once at 5 miles, once at 10 miles, and once at 15 miles… and that was it. He probably could have done a 100 just fine (physically he felt like a monster), but if he'd have coughed at 5 miles on the 100, I would have been worried for the next 95 miles.
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. Gumbo Mud, Shirley calls it. 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 Easyboot 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 Endurance.net!
Next: Owyhee Fandango Day 3 and Team Flexible Fabulosas!
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Saturday, May 26, 2012
Saturday May 26 2012
Saturday May 26 2012
Change of plans and change and change...
I'm riding Jose today, Day 2, on a 50! Details later, stories, videos, etc.
Here's a video from Thursday, day before the ride started:
Follow the Fandango on Twitter, EnduranceNet or on the ride page:
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Click the link for a video of Jose's next-to-last training ride for the 100.
and follow updates of our ride! at:
Monday, May 21, 2012
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Saturday May 19 2012
I've been lucky enough over the years to have helped with spotted owl research and banding. And I was lucky enough to participate in helping to band screech owls with the Boise district BLM! They take out a handful of people on raptor banding trips throughout the year. I signed up for this one about 6 months ago.
Retired biologist John Doremus started working with raptors for the BLM in 1972, and he was the raptor biologist for the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area in Owyhee County along the Snake River since it was first designated a Natural protected area in 1993. He started hanging nest boxes and building nesting platforms for raptors, and banding and monitoring the birds; and as the BLM manages this NCA, they continue this raptor banding and monitoring today.
A group of us went to a number of these nest boxes occupied by screech owls along the Snake River. 4 of the 5 boxes were occupied; 3 nests had owlets too young to band (1 week old and 2 weeks old); we banded one nest with 5 young (3 weeks old).
Here's how you catch a screech owl: Greg Kaltenecker from the Idaho Bird Observatory was the Master Raptor bander. He climbed a ladder to the nest box, opened the top, and reached in and removed the adult (presumably) female screech owl and handed her off to one of us;
then one by one he reached in and removed the 5 owlets.
When owls are upset or feel threatened, they snap their beaks. All around us were the Snap! Crackle! Pop! of agitated owls. After a while though, as long as you don't make loud noises or make sudden movements, they relax in your hands.
Greg attached a silver federal band, each with a unique number, to the right leg of each owl, then weighed each of them, while Jill recorded the info.
The owlets were sublimely, ridiculously cute, and of course we all posed with our fluffy little treasures before Greg tucked them all snugly back in their nest box, putting mama screech in lastly on top of them.
One day, maybe each of these babies will be sitting on nests of their own along the Snake River.
[slide show here]
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Monday, May 14, 2012
Monday May 14 2012
It's hard work being a baby horse on the first day of life, coming from a dark and quiet womb into all the sights and colors and sounds and smells of a new world, figuring out the food source, and the long legs that wobble and won't fold right.
Steph's new little monster on the crick - could one day be her new endurance horse! - got a new name which is debuted in this video I made of her on her first day on earth!
Saturday, May 12, 2012
P.S. I wish I could say I did the artwork, but Carol found them online! They fit us each so well, don't you think?
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Tuesday May 8 2012