Tuesday, November 2, 2021

The 1000-Mile Standardbred Hillbillie Willie: Part I

A great accomplishment turns into not-good-then-thankfully-ultimately-good-depending-on-your-perspective long-a$$ day

Be sure and read Part II when it comes out tomorrow.

by Merri Melde

Last ride of the season. 50 miles on Hillbillie Willie the Standardbred. If we finish, it’s over 9000 miles for me (and The Raven!) and 1000 career miles for him (!!!!).

He’s got a bit of a winter coat, but he’s super fit, and he’s riding with his best bro DWA Barack. Since it was the Owyhee Halloween ride I started to dress Willie as an Appaloosa, but I got halfway done on each side of his butt, and it looked more like a…. spider web and not really even a good spider web, and then he went and rolled, so I gave up. So he really went as a 1/4 Appaloosa, 3/4 Standardbred. 

After his Autumn Sun start last month, this start had me a bit nervous… I didn’t know if Willie would be a firecracker again or good - but this start was so good. The two boys walked out of camp together and calmly started trotting down the 3 miles of long straight dirt road, despite being able to see other horses and riders ahead of us. It wasn’t a big field of riders - 14 in the 50 (and 12 in the 25), the weather was perfect - stayed cool all day - and footing spectacular.

I rode with Convict Connie, Dept of Corrections

All day I marveled at Willie. He really seemed to be enjoying himself. This horse was born for the trails, not the racetrack. So strong and forward and always wanting to go faster. Even when we were headed towards home (basecamp is 10 miles from home, and we rode within 2 miles of home) and then turned away, Willie was like, “Yep, headed this way now, let’s go!” He drank well on trail, found tiny bits of grass growing along trail to snack on (often he is all business and won’t take time to munch, but this ride he allowed himself the leisure of grass snacking as long as Barack was doing it too!). He ate and drank well at the lunch break, and he bombed out on loop 2 with the same relish.

Let's go faster already!

All systems were go… although Willie didn’t drink at the second-to-last water trough out on trail. Nor the last one. Hmmm. He should have dunked half his head in and drunk. But at the last trough we were almost within sight of the finish and Ridecamp, so maybe he was just waiting for that. 

He finished strong, and this marvelous Standardbred completed the ride, 9000 miles for me (and The Raven!), 1000 miles for Hillbillie Willie!

Didn't my sister take some great pix!

But…. next comes Part II...