Recap of the Belair Gong Show Ride. 

Well they say it takes a village to raise a child. Apparently the same holds true for preparing some endurance rides.  As there was a truck breakdown, an ATV “incident”, an Argo stuck up to the axles and a surprise early foal the cast of characters was constantly changing. 

I went out early on Friday to help with the remaining trail marking and ended up roaming through the forest with Carrie and Trish. When I say roaming through the forest I do not mean on a trail!  It was like a scene from Survivor Man with us trudging through dense foliage back to where the Argo was stuck. To say I was shocked that we actually found it again and we weren’t lost for days would be a total understatement. Carrie suggested I go back through the forest and take the truck back to camp. Bwahaha. Like that was happening. As I hadn’t left a breadcrumb trail leading back to the truck there was no way I was attempting that! Visions of me camping out under a tree in my tattered clothing, crying while eating moss until someone saved me came to mind. Instead I once again trudged back down the trail all the while donating to the Mosquito Relief fund. 

I have to say if I’m going to be lost in the forest I’ll make sure Trish and Carrie are on my speed dial. Not only do they know where they’re going and seem to have one of everything they also have a full sized freezer in their trailer!  One that is stocked with ice cream!  Yes ice cream. And they share. 

Finally, just before dark, all the trails were marked and ready.  The Argo was still stuck but that was a problem for another day. And, thank goodness, not one I had to figure out!

By the time I got to bed my feet were not happy with me. I guess my “running” shoes weren’t made for walking.  I couldn’t get to sleep and at 2 AM I was on Facebook chatting with someone from France about her Tevis ride!  Of course when my alarm went off I was finally asleep. I was awake but I felt like a bag of dog poo and I was about to attempt 50 miles. Oh joy!

Saturday we had 4 riders in the 25 and 6 riders in the 50!  That was so nice to see as, this year, we haven’t seen as many riding 50’s. Unfortunately 2 of the 50 mile riders were pulled mid way through the ride so we were down to 4. 

This was Tia’s come back ride after her injury in May so I was worried that my conditioning maybe hadn’t been enough given the heat and humidity. At mile 3 I thought “what was I thinking?  I don’t want to ride 50 miles” but if Tia was still in it then so was I. Funny when I got to the 25 mile mark and I thought “well there. That wasn’t so bad” and then off we went to finish. 

It was a hot day for a ride but to have Tia perform so well made it even more rewarding. She was her usual self again. Shaking her head and pinning her ears if Bolt, Wendy’s gelding, tried to pass or swishing her tail to keep him behind her. The final loop she thought a good pace was fast and then faster still!  I love that little grey pony.  She is just so competitive. No way was that big tall Bolt getting the better of her. 

The 4 of us completed our 50 miles with Ethan’s pony taking the high vet score AND best conditioned. “Take that you Arabs” said Ginger.  Also, our French friend Lola, completed her first 50 mile ride on Elizabeth’s Jag. Well done Lola!

After an exciting gallop to the finish line Wendy edged me out by a tooth. Ok so we walked in but doesn’t galloping in sound so much more exciting?? As this is my blog post I get to make up whatever I want lol. 

We later had a wonderful pot luck dinner where stories of the ride were shared. Our story was how we met Winnie the Poo on one of our loops. Good thing we didn’t see Mrs Winnie as I’m not sure that would have been fun. I did try to take a picture but apparently a small bear can run faster than an old gal trying to dig a phone out of her pocket. 

On Sunday we had 7 riders for the 25 mile ride. Unfortunately one rider had to pull her horse as she felt she was off. A quick shuffle of riding partners was done and all was good.

Sunday was Serenade’s turn and I made sure my girth was tight to prevent any sudden dismounts!  I was asked if I would take the lead. Nothing I like doing better than bombing down the trails in the lead on a spooky 5 year old. But common sense has always alluded me so I said “sure” and away we went. I’m pretty sure I heard “you need to Slow down” a few times but maybe they were actually saying “you need to go to a hoe down”.   I’m really not sure which I was supposed to do but I will practice my square dancing moves before the next ride just in case.

We had a couple of rather spectacular spooks which I was quite happy I stuck but overall I was thrilled with how well my big Yellow Pony did. She was forward moving the whole ride. Sometimes a bit too forward moving but nothing that I couldn’t handle. She ate, drank well and pulsed down very well. And looked good doing it!  We still have work to do on manners but we are improving that’s for sure! 

Despite the early hiccups it was a great weekend of riding on lovely trails that the blind leading the blind managed to ferret out. I’m happy we didn’t have to send out a search party looking for anyone (namely me).  Numerous people played a part in this ride actually happening so kudos to all involved!  Good job peeps! 

Our next stop is MEC!  

Darice Whyte

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