Wednesday July 11 2006
Oh, no! The 75-mile endurance ride we were going to do this weekend, our major prep for the Virginia City 100 in September, has been cancelled, due to lack of enough entries! Gretchen and I are disappointed and bewildered – now what are we going to do? We already missed the 2-day 50 last month, where we wimped out because of the heat, and because of this 75 we wanted to do, we missed a 75 miler July 1 (which was closer), and a nice 50 last week (one we really like). Now all we have scheduled is 2 50’s later in August. What do we do now?? We’ll have to come up with some longer, harder rides around here on our weekends – though that’s not the same as an endurance ride (the horses are much less motivated).
Anyway, tonight we went on a moonlight ride. We finished our ride at 10:15, and the moon came up over the hills at 10:20. We had plenty of light by which to unsaddle! We climbed up to Summer’s Meadows, getting near the top after the sun had set (Good luck!! - saw an owl fly out of a mountain mahogany bush!! I think it was a short-eared owl.), and led the horses down the steep trail on foot, in the advancing darkness, down to Twin Lakes. By the time we hit the bottom, it was quite dark, and we were wondering where that moon was. We joked that it would probably come up when we got back to the trailer.
The horses were a little more hesitant in the dark (Raffiq has done 2 hundreds, so has been in the dark before), so we let them walk until they were comfortable trotting. Raffiq had the lead, until a Big Scary White Rock vaporized beside the trail and he put on the brakes. I encouraged Spice into the lead (with the Extra Confidence-Giver, tapping with a whip), and she did great. The sky still gave off a surprising amount of ‘light,’ although that didn’t help when watching our path - soon we humans could see nothing of the trail unless it opened up, but the horses trotted right on along. Spice even seemed to enjoy herself out there.
When we got back to the trailer, here came the big full moon, lighting everything up, throwing enough light on the hillside behind us to grab Raffiq’s full attention – he was sure he could see a bear wandering up there somewhere.
Well, we pretended anyway that we just finished the Likely Express 75 mile ride. I guess that will have to do for this month.