Sunday May 25 2014
Up top, Steve Bradley photo!
I was keeping a sharp eye on my competition on Day 1 of the Owyhee Fandango endurance ride. Far ahead was Christoph, but I wasn't out to catch him. But a mile ahead of me, I was tracking a trio of Steph on Jose, Carol on August, and Wayne on his horse. About the same distance behind me, I kept crosshairs on PJ and Lynne.
I wasn't doing it to garner any particular placing. I wanted to be In The Bubble:
a nice cushion of space between the riders ahead of us and the riders behind us. Sunny does better for me in an endurance ride when she's not directly leading or following other horses. She relaxes more, keeps her head down and travels smoothly and steadily, and keeps her cool when she's by herself.
We were In The Bubble, a magnificent glorious Bubble, for 1 hr 45 minutes of trail after the start of our ride.
Then the bubble rather quickly shrank, and popped. We caught up with the trio ahead of us while the following riders caught up with us.
The second half of the first loop was um… challenging. The adventure started down in Sinker Canyon, which Sunny isn't particularly comfortable in anyway with the towering red rock walls and the overgrown brush and trees. That was where she startled from horses behind her through the bushes. She bolted, then wheeled, taking some vines draping around my leg and hers and she does not like anything wrapping around her legs!
From then on, she figured a cougar was sure to get her, and the only gait I could get out of her was a high-headed pogo-sticking jigging foxtrot.
The last picture in Sinker before all heck broke loose and I had to put the camera away!
It got worse when we suddenly came upon a line of people along the narrow trail - stopped by a rattlesnake blocking the route. We had to wait there a while, until one rider dismounted and shooed the snake out of sight, and until the line of excited horses got going again.
The rattlesnake traffic jam!
I did manage to not fall off Sunny on the looooooooong 4 jiggy miles of Sinker Canyon; and once we left the canyon to climb up the hills to the vet check, Sunny settled down.
back to normal calm at the vet check.
After the vet check, for the entire 25 miles of loop 2, we had another Glorious Ride In The Bubble - a mile or more behind the horses in front of us, and miles ahead of the others.
Sunny above Sinker Canyon
Just me and Sunny, cruising through the Owyhee desert. It averaged out to one of the best rides I've ever had on Sunny - love me some Bubble!
In The Bubble at Sinker Reservoir