Pictured: L to R, Dianne on Serenade, Darice on Tia, and Tammy on Kaliyah    Photo Credit: Shannon Yaskiw

Well it was a chiller thriller at the Park for our final ride of the year. So many brave souls showed up with their steeds despite the horrid weather we had to contend with on Saturday. There was a brutal north wind but the rain and sleet really added to the fun! Trying to keep horses, riders, volunteers and our vet warm was a challenge. At one point I noted Carrie had heaters running and a number of people were huddled around them trying to stay warm.

We had 7 competitors in the 50 mile ride! As we often have 2-4 riders in the 50 this was fabulous. 2 of the riders were attempting their first 50 so it was a big event for them.
As Dianne, Tammy and I headed out in the sleet Tammy commented that we were “hard core riders”. I think what she meant to say is we were lunatics. I do think you have to be slightly off kilter to get up in the morning and think “I’m going to go ride my horse for 50 miles in the rain and sleet”. Most people would stay in bed and wait for a nicer day.

When we came in for our first hold people swooped in from all over like magic! There were offers to hold our horses, unsaddle our horses, trot our horses, feed our horses, water our horses etc. It was a true Tevis moment for me and all that help was gratefully appreciated!

As we were 1/2 way through our 3rd loop a loose horse came cantering down the trail at us. As I recognized the horse to be Avery’s I thought I should try to grab his reins as he came closer. Because I’m agile and have cat like reflexes. Ok so that’s totally not true. As he came closer and wasn’t slowing down Tia wisely swung away from him to avoid a crash. I shouted out “You’re on the wrong trail” but maybe he heard “There’s a cougar on your tail” as he kept going. Not the first time this escape artist has given his rider a bit of heartburn from dashing off to places unknown. Luckily this time he was captured after a brief run for freedom. I’m sure he was just checking out new trail for our next endurance ride.

Unfortunately with the unplanned dismounts of a couple of riders they decided to call it a day. I can not for the life of me figure out why they wouldn’t want to continue on in the now pouring rain. Hmmm.

On our last loop at about mile 42 everything of mine decided it had had enough! My boots and socks suddenly were soaked and same for my jacket. I guess both had reached maximum capacity and surrendered. I had my face washed numerous times by branches and rain was dribbling down my back. I’ve ridden in some nasty weather and this day was right up there with them however our little group of 3 finished! And that’s what we came to do.

As the front runner zigged when she should have zagged she ended up going the wrong way and with that Wendy swooped in for the win! And Best Conditioned to boot!

I’m not 100% sure how many were in the 15 or the 25 but based on the number of trailers in the Hunter Ring I think we had a decent turnout. I believe, but don’t quote me, we had 16 riders out and given the weather conditions I was pretty impressed that 3/4 of them didn’t just stay home!

Andy was our Ride Manager for the day and she did an excellent job of keeping things in order plus providing hot soup and cider to frozen bodies. I haven’t quite gotten over the fact that she had cookies and I didn’t get one but I’m trying to put that behind me and move on.

With that our riding season has come to an end. A huge thank you to all of those who have come to our events whether riding, volunteering, vetting or just out to see what the sport is about. I hope to see all of you out again next year! Ride season isn’t that far away!

Big thanks for Tammy Fontaine of Winsum Equestrian for donating Purina products for prizes at our rides!

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