This was also a desert ride, but it was the first Fire Up endurance ride held, so we wanted to go support them, check it out, and have fun. We drove together, and got there on the typical Friday evening. However, there was one big learning lesson here, we took our time a little TOO much getting there, made too many stops, and drug the drive out too long! Both horses vetted in fine, but slightly dehydrated! I could not believe that after 4 days of cramming as much wet food, wet hay, water, and electrolytes into Gallant, that he could be dehydrated, but he was! We went for a short ride to loosen them up and then went to every water bucket we could find to get them to drink, and back to camp for lots of wet soupy mashes! I kept a good eye on Gallant throughout the rest of the day, night, and morning before the ride. Although he was eating, drinking, peeing, and pooping fine, I just felt like he was a little "off". He didn't have the "Eye of the Parakeet" as Bruce Weary says. He was just sort of subdued and quiet. He passed his vet in with flying colors, so we went ahead and started the ride. I was very lucky that nothing bad happened, but my advise is if there is something "off" even if you can't put your finger on it, to listen to that little voice. I just didn't have as much horse as I normally did. Looking back, I think it could have been a combination of mild dehydration, and having recently taken him off his ulcer medication, even though he did get the full dose of Omeprazole on the days we were gone. Gallant had been on ulcer medication (either ranitadine, or omeprazole) for months by this time, so I guess I thought they were healed.
This ride was a very simple, easy, dirt road ride. The first loop was just 15 miles, and although I was hot and overheating (and dunked my head in every water trough I could find) I felt it was SO much easier, compared the the 35 miler we had just done the prior month! We got some pretty good pictures at the photographers stop (which was just a mile and a half or so into the ride), and enjoyed the cool morning start. Gallant was acting up a bit, which he normally doesn't do. He was so glommed onto Warrior that any time we got more than 5 feet away he would freak out and try to get back to him, it was really annoying, he wouldn't even drink unless his buddy was right next to him! Looking back, the other rides we started calm, cool, and collected, this one he was acting up! Again, ulcer related? The only way to know is to go back on his meds, and do another ride. And unfortunately, (because I like riding with people), Gallant seems to do MUCH better on his own, just me and him, without him worrying so much where his buddies are. I guess time and experience will tell!
We got back to the camp, and to our vet check hold. This was the first vet check I had ever done in camp, and it was pretty awesome! We vetted in fine, Maggie being efficient and quick at getting the horses cooled, watered, and in the vet line. She was so quick I was having trouble keeping up! She knew exactly what to and when! While I was still mildly confused, lol! Both boys were still showing signs of mild dehydration though, so we headed back to our camp site for our 40 minute hold and let them eat and drink, and tank up as much as possible; again, lots of really wet mashes! We were hoping to get as much water into them as possible. Gallant didn't really drink a whole lot the first half of the ride, as it was cool out. I didn't expect him to, because he usually doen't start drinking until it's hot out, and he is usually a REALLY good drinker!
After our hold we went back out for the second loop. By this time it was getting pretty warm, and I was overheating as usual. I was having fun, and though the trails weren't as pretty as 20 Mule Team, we were having a blast, it was a pretty easy trail and we cantered a lot of it! I had a quick boot malfunction as the cables snapped on one of my renegades, but I was ready with a, EZ-Boot as a backup! Quick change and we were off! Both horses were doing great and we got to ride a good portion with the guy that was ahead of us (who ended up in 1st place). His horse looked strong and amazing!
I suppose it would have been helpful to have a heart rate monitor, at this point, to monitor Gallant's heart rate, just in case anything was off or different. I had been on the lookout for one for quite a while, and finally found one this summer a couple months after this ride. It'll be great to learn all the differences and to be able to utilize it during the rides.
We finished the last loop (10 miles) in short order, and Gallant finally started drinking well. Gallant vetted though decently, but not nearly as well as the last rides, he was sore and dehydrated. He just didn't do as well this time, but I'm not sure why; ulcers? heat? dehydration?
Any who, all the riders finished, and that evening we went to the Awards Ceremony where I found out we got second place in the ride! We were pretty sure we were up there, top 5 for sure, but didn't know the gentleman we had been riding with was the ONLY one in front of us. To be fair though, there was only 8 riders entered in the LD. It was a very fast and easy ride overall, even though I was exhausted and overheating (my health issues I mentioned last blog, that have now [months after this ride] been fixed, should fix most of these problems!)
Very fun, well managed ride, that I enjoyed doing with my good friend Maggie. The trails weren't as pretty as 20 Mule Team, but given a choice, I would definitely do this ride again! I just wish there would have been a completion / top 10 prize, like a mug or t-shirt, that would have been the icing on the cake!