My apologies as I’m a bit behind on my blog post however I’m retired and frightfully busy with puttering and the like lol. Anyway here is the recap of the North Dakota ride that was very well attended by our membership.
Endurance riders are a funny breed. Tell us there are prizes and we will drive 8+ hours to go to a ride. That prize can be a t-shirt and we will still show up!
Our rides in Manitoba were done for the year so we started looking around for somewhere relatively close by to go to. And with the lure of “prizes”the plans to go to Buffalo Gap North Dakota for the September Maah Daah Hey Endurance Ride began. Not exactly close but ooohhh prizes!
What started with 2 people going ended up being a rather boisterous group of 11 riders. None of us had been to the area to ride and we were super excited to head down to the Badlands for the ride.
For those of you who think crossing the border with a horse is difficult think again! We had our health papers and Coggins test ready and we were in and on our way lickety-split.
Our destination, Buffalo Gap Guest Ranch, is close to Medora North Dakota. They have facilities set up for the horses so one less thing to have to worry about. The Ranch has direct access to the Maah Daah Hey trail so is a very convenient location.
Our horses settled in well; some a bit too well! One of the geldings and one of the mares apparently thought they had booked a room for the night and proceed to get jiggy with it! I guess they didn’t get the memo about conserving their energy for the ride. As the gelding’s owner said “Porn Star in the morning, Rock Star in the afternoon” Both Horses did well in the ride and were much too tired after the ride for any further shenanigans.
There were about 30 riders in the 30 mile division and 23 in the 50 mile division which is an excellent turnout. We wanted to ride both days so we entered the 30 mile ride for Saturday.
I’ve always wanted to ride in the Badlands and it lived up to my expectations! It was like a mini Tevis in some places with changes in elevation, switchbacks, drop offs and water crossings. The scenery with the autumn colours was picture perfect.
On the first loop we moseyed along taking pictures and selfies, admiring the view and just soaking it all in. I came to ride the scenery and if I finished last well, whatever. I wasn’t in a hurry and I wanted to gawk so that’s what my riding partner and I did.
The first hold was away from camp so we had put our supplies in a large pail for the ride manager to bring up for us. Of course we forgot many items but food for horse and rider was supplied so the basics were covered.
After an hour hold we headed back along the same trail we came in on only this time we were going at a much faster clip. My horse, Serenade, seemed to know we were heading home and was done with photo ops! There was one rather nasty incident where a huge cow charged us. Actually it was a calf and it sauntered up to the trough but from Serenade’s reaction it obviously had evil intentions. We got through that unscathed and headed back into camp to vet in. Both horses vetted in just fine and we received our completions.
I was told that we would need hoof protection for the ride but it turned out to be just fine. The number of hoof boots lying along the trail was astounding! I did think about gathering them all up and holding them for ransom but that would have meant getting off my horse far too many times! Another money making scheme down the drain
At the awards I was stunned that we had come in 7th and 8th as we didn’t exactly hurry but I guess others were making the most of the scenery as well. Of the 11 riders from Manitoba 10 of us finished. We shared stories of our adventures on the trail and maybe had one or two laughs. Maybe. Some of the group went to bed but some of us still had energy for dancing! And dance we did!
The next morning I had a lady tell me that when she saw me I was either prancing or I was brushing my teeth. I did think she was going to say I was always in my PJs. When given the opportunity one should always prance like nobody’s watching . It is good for your soul.
Unfortunately, due to forecasted rain, the ride for Sunday had to be cancelled as the trail wouldn’t be safe for the horses. Sadly we packed up our tent and headed home. Memories were made, pictures were plentiful, dancing was done and new plans to be plotted! Another excellent adventure for sure!