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Fireworks Ride

Raquel and I took Valentina and Indy to the Fireworks Ride in Santa Cruz, CA.  We entered the 25 mile.  It was an incredible course and the ride management was superb!  The entire experience was a positive and uplifting one.  

Although we came in dead last with 2.41 hours in overtime.  I didn't mind.  We have not been able to work our horses well due to the smoke in the air from all of the forest fires.  The horses were great.  They didn't even mind the river crossing with water up to their bellies.  I think Indy was a little surprised.  I think that is the very first time he experienced that.  Valentina was head strong and couldn't wait for the challenge.  Now, this same mare, freaked out at a 2 foot wide stream with black mud holes on each side!  That was just at the beginning of the ride.  She jumped and jumped again!  Into the side of a hill dumping me onto a rock.  Thank goodness I am a true believer in HELMETS!  And I was glad that I had just picked up the newest model of the Tipperary.  It has one of the highest safety ratings.  Although I was hurt and I probably should have gone back to camp.  I didn't want Raquel to think life was all about not meeting tough challenges.  So, we continued on for the rest of the 25 miles.  

The first 7 miles of the ride were the most technical that I have ridden to date.  Lots of steep climbs, steep downhills, deep sand with steep steps in and out, the river crossing with water up to their bellies.  If you stepped over a foot there was about a 4 foot drop off.  Came out of the river with lots of kudos and GREAT JOB!   That made me wonder if this had been a difficult crossing for some.  Raquel later found out that someone went into the deep end with their horse and got hurt.  So, I felt good about Valentina making that water crossing.  We got into the Vet check which was a trot through for us.  I had to stop and check tack, us the facilities (outhouse), and see if the horses wanted to take food and water.  We had about 10 minutes there and started out on the 11 mile Wilder Loop.  

The 11 mile Wilder Loop had one two water tanks.  We were not able to sponge our horses at the stop.  Which was not good because most of the ride was out in the open sun, in the heat of the day, with very little green to graze on and get moisture into the horses.  So, it was in my estimated opinion, if we wanted to have horses under us to the finish, we better take it slower than we would have liked.  We had already lost 1.5 hours by that loop and needed the loop to make up lots of time.  I'd rather have a healthy horse than a good finish time at that rate. 

We got back into the vet check.  Valentina pulsed down to 40 within seconds!  I was AMAZED!!!!   She didn't want to drink much water and she didn't want anything to eat at first.  It took her about 10 minutes to calm down, watch other horses eating, and drinking, that she decided she could take the time to eat and drink.  Indy didn't wait he dove in right away.  I don't ever worry about if he is going to take care of himself or not.  We had a 30 minute hold time and headed back to the vet check to clear.  They said, "you can be trailered back or continue on, your horses are cleared, but you won't make the 1pm cut off."  It was 1pm at that time.  I said if the horses are okay then we will finish the last 7 miles.  

The last seven miles were the longest seven miles I have ever ridden in my life.  I wanted to get off my horse and never get back on a horse the rest of my life.  I didn't put any aspirin in my crew bag at the vet check - which was the first thing on my things to remember to do list!  It would have saved me lots of pain on the way back.  I would have not spent so much time on Valentina's back.  I couldn't post after 20 miles so I had to sit the trot.  And believe me all she wanted to do on the way back was TROT~  

We got into the finish and they thought we were some of the 50 milers coming in until they saw the color of the chalk numbers on the horses butts!  LOL!  They were like ohhh, dear, well, ahhhhh you have a 2.41 overtime - sorry!!!  I said no problem!  And the P&R people checked the horses and were like WOW!~   That made me feel good.  We finished and the horses finished very well.  The vet said Indy had some gut sounds to be cautious about but at that point no worries.  We kept a good eye on him and he ate and drank well and had no problems throughout the night.  I was glad that we had holding pens instead of having to high tie them or have them in small holding pens.  I think it helped to have the larger area for them to move around in.  

The food was great.  The awards banquet was nice.  There were lots of people there from our area.  It was the first ride that most could get to that had not been canceled due to smoke problems.  I got to see Joell there and her wonderful Sam!  I just love him.  He is a track rehab and man has Joell done the best job on this guy.  I also got to meet one of her friends, Leah, and her horse.  Another well put together muscled out TB.  I didn't get to spend much time with them and they had left before we got back.  I hope they will be at many more rides!!!

I am still a little sore.  I know that I want to continue with endurance riding.  I just need to address some smaller issues to insure the same mistakes are not duplicated that happened on this ride.  Raquel did FANTASTIC and could have done the ride all by herself if the rules had let her.  Because she is under 17 with less than 500 miles she has to ride with a sponsor.  So, I'll see if she can ride with someone else.  I will only hold her back and that might spoil the experience for her.  And she needs to learn to keep her horses safety and well being first and foremost.   The only way she will learn that is through first hand experience.  Ahh to be that young and 'know it all' would be so refreshing.

The next ride is September 20th.  If I start work I hope that I can get that weekend off.  It will be outside of San Jose.  This will be the first year for this ride.  The ride management, on the other hand, are not new.  I would suspect that it will be a very good ride. 


Aug. 5th, 2008 06:54 pm (UTC)
No, it's a brand new ride. It will be called Calero Ride. Let me know if you need any information on links to it. I don't know if it is up on AERC Calendar yet.
Aug. 5th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC)
If you'd post the link when it goes up, that would be great. I'm brand new to endurance, although my horse is not. I've been tossing around the idea of trying to find a ride for one of the fun rides or a 25 miler one of these days.
Aug. 6th, 2008 02:05 am (UTC)
I'll look for the brochure on Calero that I picked up this last weekend. They are going to have a 10 mile fun ride at that one too! I am going to have one of my students take Sammy and his Mom is going to ride her mare. I don't know if any of my other friends will be able to go but I am going to get as many as I can to support it. We need more Bay Area rides!

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