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Monday, April 19, 2010

Getting ready for AR 50

It's Monday and I'm strangely apathetic about preparing for American River this weekend.

Which is BAD. I'm super excited about it, but haven't yet managed to hoist myself off the couch and actually lift a finger to help myself prepare.

To be perfectly fair, it's not like I haven't done ANYTHING... It's just been non-endurance related.

American River Sabotage #1

Last week I had a body and mind numbing audit that had me COUNTING the days until vet school. Or at least devising alternate plans such as maternity leave (if I got pregnant RIGHT now, the timing would be perfect), a coma (not likely as Farley's mane priority seems to be to keep herself between me and the ground, even when I do something stupid like do a barrel pattern at a gallop, bareback - more on that later), or get me a sugar daddy that eliminates my need to work for 6 months and can support my horse habit, my show schedule AND pay for my dream of going to vet school.

American River Sabotage #2:

Last weekend was a civil war reenactment. I was planning on taking Farley, but after the 2 day audit at work I was in NO condition to drive a trailer or deal with an inordinate amount of stress (which is what you have when you are introducing a horse to cannon fire for the first time). Not to mention it's not exactly the smartest thing to do something insane with a horse the weekend before the toughest 50 I'll do this year. Good thing because my stable Sergent for the unit seemed intent on killing me this weekend.

Killing Melinda off idea #1:

  • My boots are rather old and delapated and as a result, leak. Fortunately this is not usually a problem as I insist on riding everywhere. Except now I'm a teamster and that involves ground driving. Lots of it. Which unfortunately gets done in the morning when the dew is heavy on the ground. My feet stayed wet in my period correct civil war Calvary boots for 48 hours. Can anyone say "ouch"?

KOMI #2:

  • The need/idea (insane) that with 2 teamsters we needed THREE different vehicles with SIX horses. A one horse cart, a 2 horse ambulance, a 4 horse wagon. One of the horses doubled as the cart horse which meant tacking and untacking a dozen times as I coaxed various people to come for rides and then later, as people finally "got" that they could use the wagons for a gazillion different tasks I was pressed into service hauling water and people. I delivered people for social calls, hauled drunk people over to embarrass the Headquarters, and hauled victims of a shooting squad over hill and dale.

KOMI #3:

  • Since everyone knows that sleep is optional for those tough individuals that call themselves teamsters, let's require them them to sleep with their charges (also called "pretend we are being nice by letting them sleep in the wagons with the horses tied to them"....). Then, just for fun, convince them to play period black jack with 10 cent minimum bets ($1 max) until 10:30pm. Since (of course) period cards are used (WITHOUT the helpful numbers that make the addition EASY), their minds will be so befuddled with trying to count to 21, when the sorry teamster finally prepares his bed in the wagon at midnight, they will do so with their head towards the BACK. This error will become immediately apparent when around 3pm a certain wagon horse named Buttercup, will realized he is very bored. To his amusement, he discovers that reaching into the wagon and dragging blankets off a certain lump will elicit a very entertaining response - an incoherent scream of "BUTTERCUP", and a grab for the blankets. Rinse and repeat every 20 minutes or so.

Needless to say, after ordering a chili cheese fries and milk shake to keep me awake on the drive home on Sunday, I crawled into bed in my nasty, sweaty, horse hair laded woolen uniform at 6pm and was dead to the world until 7am, when Jonah the cat finally insisted that a shower was in order.

Now that I have gotten my whiny excuses out of the's reality.

What I have prepared:
  • Grocery Bags of food are staged in my kitchen, full of things like pudding and jello and salads and imitation crab. At some point the jello and pudding and pasta salads need to be COOKED and placed into CONTAINERS. Maybe Thursday?
  • I have boots! Never mind the boots I wanted to use are not fitted or have actually been on Farley's feet. It's getting to the point where I'm thinking I should just use my old ones instead of trusting I can adjust and break in new ones properly in less than a week. Which means I have some serious strap replacement to do, as 100 miles in the wet sand and mud doesn't seem to give the straps extra "holding" power (just the opposite in fact), and boots that I had deemed retired will be pressed into service.
  • I am on good terms with Farley. We had a crappy ride on Thursday that was mostly my fault, so on Friday I decided we would play. I hopped on bareback and we played and cantered for 30 minutes or so. No muss, no fuss, no bucking, perfectly balanced, and no miscommunication. Ever since I started lessons, every time I ride bareback it just gets better and better. (Hurrah for dressage!). As someone that loves bareback, but never thought Farley could be my bareback pony for a variety of reasons, I would have paid DOUBLE what I have so far on lessons, just to be able to have the ride I did on Friday. All 4 gaits perfectly in control and balanced and perfectly comfortable - even when doing something silly like doing a barrel pattern or poles.
  • A decent weather report. Rain this week, but clear over the weekend, in the low 70's. HOWEVER - even if it's an INSANE 85 degrees I'm prepared. I had decent heat training this weekend (80 degrees in a woolen uniform does wonders) AND Farley has graciously gone completely bald, as for some strange reason, every year, she drops her winter coat before the summer coat overcomes it's shyness and peeks through.

What needs to be done:

  • Monday (today) - Figure out the boots. Either replace straps or fit the new ones. If using the ones from 20MT make DARN SURE all the sand is cleaned off the cables so they don't get more worn. School in the arena and either do a canal run or a canal ride. Either way put new saddle bags and water bottle holders on LOADED and do a test run. Discontinue oil.
  • Tuesday - Rain predicted. Pack my crew bag (ie - find all the parts that SHOULD be in the crew bag, make sure none of them are MOLDING from 20MT). Clean/oil my saddle. Start electrolyting in the "new" mash I'm trying. School in the arena if possible. Practice vaulting on bareback or saddle without stirrups.
  • Wednesday - See Doctor about knee. It's been 8 weeks since injury...Still hurts like a SOB *sometimes*. ie - can walk without a problem but do something like ride/drive rattling carriages and jump off wagon seats 45 gazillion feet in the air and it doesn't feel good.....Appointment scheduled with sports medicine specialist, complete with x-rays. Do dressage lesson, go to fiddle jam. Do NOT gorge on cookies.
  • Thursday - Cook all my ride food and prepare my salads. Load horse food up in trailer. Stage my gear in my apartment living room. Have farrier double check my trimming. Convince boyfriend to come watch me at the ride.
  • Friday - Leave work as early as humanly possible without taking a vacation day. Noon????

My resolutions for this ride:

Ride very conservatively and finish. (a nod to 2007 ride)

Be fair to Farley. She has pointed out recently that I need to improve in the area of patience. I hear and I obey.

If training hill is part of the course (where I crashed and burned in 2007) I will get off and walk it, no matter how long it takes. (a nod to 2007 ride)

Be nice to my crew.

Do not get eaten by a bear or cougar.

Do not panic when I get to an area where ribbon vandals have removed ribbons (a nod to the 2007 ride)

Be especially courteous and nice to other riders (this ride can be a bit stressful and you have to go in with the mind set that NO MATTER WHAT you will smile and nod. Again, this resolution is a nod to 2007).

If this ride goes to pieces, do not mentally "lose it". As long as she's sound and happy, we are still probably OK to go to Wild West and Tevis. I am convinced this ride is out to get me.


  1. Have you thought of making it easy on yourself for once by getting premade pudding cups, etc?

  2. Not sure why I didn't get the premade cups of jello/pudding (I seem to remember not being thrilled with my selection).

    My intention was to get the pre-made salads at the deli counter for rides, but didn't this time because I wasn't sure whether I was doing Buck meadows at the time (which I ended up not doing), I had PLENTY of time to cook before buck meadows, AND my budget was tight enough this month, I wanted to spend less money in the first week just in case.

    Of course, now doing AR none of the above factors are remotely true and I wish I had premade stuff....up to and including paying SOMEONE else to even buy and put together everything. *sigh*.

    Everything should go OK. My actual schedule isn't very busy this week.

  3. You stay SO busy. The reenactment sounds like fun though! Do period cards just have pictures?

    Still jealous of your dressage lessons. I need to start looking for a trainer!

  4. You had me cracking up with the line that this ride is out to get you! I think we all get into those mind sets about certain things at times. I think that making yourself go and forcing yourself to smile, even if something does go wrong, is the best thing you can do for yourself. If I lived closer I would happily prep all your food for you...too bad things don't tend to survive cross country flights very well. I have my very first show of the year on Sat and it is at the same place where I had my saddle fitting (and Phoenix lost his brain) so I can really feel your worry about the ride. I hope you have fun and that Farley has a good time!

  5. Well, I'm wishing you luck with your ride, and I'll be thinking all kinds of good thoughts for you that day (I'll be pulsing at MRRT, so I'll have plenty of "good endurance vibes" to send you.)

    May I add to your list?
    Monday - Friday : get as much sleep as humanly possible.

    Saturday (ride day): have fun on the trail with your horse.

  6. Funder - 1863 playing cards just have the pictures. Ie the 9 of hearts has 9 hearts on it.

    Other fun facts about 1863 black jack -
    You can split but not double down.

    A black jack is ONLY a black jack if it contains a BLACK JACK.

    partaking of unlimited beer refills at the gambling hall (buy their cup for $25) doesnt increase your ability to count those dang diamonds on the cards. I did not partake this year, but trust me that it does not improve your counting and addition skills.

    The period gambling hall is set up to benefit some historical site back east (lousinia???). 100% of your $$ are donated. Any $$ you "win" is given back to you in raffle tickets for donated prizes that they draw for. The beer is brewed by a volunteer and donated. I can't think of their website right now or I would share their website.

    Anyway - a really good idea to get reenactors together in the evenings and let us have a bit of fun.

  7. Ah yes. I forgot. Have fun. I certaintely will try. I will settle for not dying or killing my horse.

  8. The ride is NOT out to get you! I'm not generally a glass-is-half-full person, but in this case, believe it! I know your horse will pick up on it if you don't think you can do this ride...

    I rode about 10 miles of that trail this weekend. It is beautiful, there are wildflowers and views, you'll have to enjoy that if nothing else! Let me know if you need anything, I'm 5 minutes away from Auburn staging, I'd even show up with pudding... irishhorse at earthlink dot net

  9. I am 99% sure that training hill is no longer included in the course, at least it hasnt been for the past 2 years i have ridden it... The only bad hill is Cardiac Hill, but it isn't *that* bad. I'll be at the top taking advantage of the canal by scooping loads of water onto my horse and maybe me!

    See you their :)

  10. Mom/Dad - you are still crewing for me right????? Or do I need to call in Irish Horse for pudding reinforcements?


  11. As far as I know we are still planning on doing it.

    Check with your Mom for more details.


  12. Yes, just keep me reminded of details. You know I have so much to think about that silly things like names, dates, times and places just slide right out of my brain.

    I can bring you any food of the premade sort that you want if you let me know. I know how it is to try to mad-dash cook stuff to be ready for the last minute.

    I have some pix of last weekend that I will try to email you today.


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