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About a dozen years ago….I wrote this.

Diamond Springs Station – Where “What” is Buried

I wrote this in early 2001, printed it out and put it in my binder for the ’01 XP ride and I didn’t see it again for a decade.

My grandmother is now gone, so reading that part was really hard.  Her father (my great grandfather) rode a horse from Oklahoma City to New York and back twice, and from Oklahoma City to San Francisco,

Continue reading About a dozen years ago….I wrote this.

2011 Ride Season Comes to a Close

This was how the first day of the 2011 XP started. We rode as carefully as we could and managed to get through the entire 2040 mile ride! This is Chief with Nannette's horse Wizard.

What a ride season I have had.  I was just looking back at this post from last year when I listed my goals for the 2011 ride season.

Here is an excerpt where I discuss why I was

Continue reading 2011 Ride Season Comes to a Close

Year End XP Stuff

I was good and got all of the year end results put together for XP and posted on the website.

Yay!  So without further ado, here they are:

1)  Overall Rider Results for XP & Sunrise Ranch Rides

2)  Overall Horse Results for XP  & Sunrise Ranch Rides

If anybody spots an error, let me know.

Congratulations to everyone who participated this year!

Next I’ll put together a list of the Gold, Silver and

Continue reading Year End XP Stuff

Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & Photos

2011 10 31 07 38 17 917 300x168 Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & Photos

Bo Bill Thornburgh 300x168 Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & Photos

A photo of my ride photo from day 2.

This past weekend was the 2-day Bill Thornburg endurance ride.  I rode both days of it on Pro Bono (“Bo”).  The weather was perfect, though a bit warm for those of us with horses that already have winter coats.

Ride entries have been down a lot this season and this was a fairly small ride.  The first day there were 28 or 29 in the 50 and on the second day there were only 12.  I’m not sure how many were in the LD, tho on the second day there were more than were in the 50.

Daniel Brown and wife Callie along with Jeanine Corzine and crew do a great job on the ride.  They have a lot of volunteers and do a fantastic job with everything.  The trail was expertly marked the entire way!  On the first day they had hot dogs for lunch for us, and both evenings of the ride we were served an excellent meal of tri-tip.  Awards are nice – t-shirts for completion both days and lots of other items.  I got a middle of the pack water bottle on the 2nd day – finishing 6th out of 12 :).  I also got a small flatback bucket for finishing in the top ten.

Pro Bonos feet misc. 2011 photos 085 Small Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & PhotosI’ve done this ride before when it was called Git’r'Done.  The footing for both rides is excellent, with only a very small portion having any rocks.   This time they mentioned at the ride meeting that some of the roads had been resurfaced with volcanic rock.  That caused me to put  Bo’s Renegades on in the morning because I didn’t want to take the chance of making him footsore.  As it turned out, the footing was still just as excellent as I remembered it.  Bo’s boots were removed and he completed most of the first day and all of the second day totally barefoot.

Overall I am pretty happy with Bo’s feet.  They have done a lot of work this season – more than 2,100 AERC miles including some really tough, hard footing and miles — and yet, his feet are still healthy and strong.  He can walk and trot through anything without flinching.  It’d be hard to find nicer looking feet on a horse that has done the mileage Bo has.  Well, there is Chief <g>.  His feet are looking very nice too!

On the first day of the ride I started out near the back of the pack, riding with Chris Herron and his stallion Hawk.  Hawk was really wound up and looked like a fancy parade horse.  Bo was also quite amped up but at least he was managing to go straight down the road to the start.  It was like riding Godzilla though, and it took a lot of work to keep Bo rated.

Bill Thornburgh 2011 Pro Bono 013 Small 300x225 Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & PhotosWe did a slow trot alternating with walking where the sand was deeper.  The first loop was 24 miles and took us at the upper end through a lava flow of volcanic rock.  It was really pretty and the weather was gorgeous!  Bo was drinking well and at each water stop they had plenty of hay so he was happy to be able to grab a few bites each time we stopped.

With only about 4 to 5 miles to go on the first loop and being nearly back to camp the front runners on the LD ride started blowing past us.  It was a bit scary, and it wasn’t because I was scared for me (Bo handled it quite well), but the riders themselves were running on their horses and didn’t seem to have much control, and I wasn’t quite sure they were all going to stay on and make it back to camp.  There was one kid whose horse was zigging while the kid was zagging.  I held my breath until they got out of sight, thankful that there had been no wrecks.  Bo was secretly wishing he could be one of those LD horses, start later–go faster–finish sooner — what’s not to like?

Bill Thornburgh 2011 Pro Bono 052 Small 300x225 Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & PhotosWe made it into the vetcheck, got our arrival time then walked right over to the pulse box.  They took our time and I went right in, figuring that Bo would probably be down to 60.  He was – he was at 44.  Kristen Mason was the head vet and the second vet was Fred Beasom.  They wanted everybody to wait a half an hour to vet.   We headed into the arena where all of the horses and riders were having their lunch.  It was fairly crowded.  I found where Tony had dropped off my crewbags and buckets (Thanks Tony!) and got Bo set up and eating.  Chris was having a more difficult time finding a quiet place to take Hawk too.  There was a mare running around in circles in the round pen next to us screaming, and that didn’t help matters any.  Bo didn’t care and ate well, but Hawk was distracted.

Bill Thornburgh 2011 Pro Bono 018 Small 300x225 Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & PhotosWe vetted after a half hour was up, then got ready to leave for the next loop.  We had a total of three loops with two vet checks in between.  The temps were heating up and I knew we’d probably be slowing down to accommodate the horses.  Bo has a heavy winter coat and is quite the furball.  We had an nice ride on the next loop, I think it was something around 18 miles (not sure what it was exactly), then back in for another vet check.  Bo was well down below criteria again and so we went to spend another 20 minutes letting him eat, vetting on our way out.

Bill Thornburgh 2011 Pro Bono 005 Small 300x225 Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & PhotosThe last loop was nice, horses were mellowing out though Bo knew where camp was and wanted to speed up coming into the finish.  I got into the finish and went right over to vet.  Criteria at the finish was 68, so I knew that I shouldn’t have a problem given that Bo’s recoveries had been so good all day.  I got Kristen and Chris got Fred.  She checks Bo’s pulse and tells me “44″.  Hey, Chris, I say….”44″!!!!   Had to tease him as he always points out when his horse does something better than mine.  I trotted out and while Kristen was writing on my card, Chris says “hey Karen….”32″!!!”  Really?  Wow, maybe I shouldn’t have said anything!!  lol  Just then Fred turned around and said “not even close, try “85″!   he he.  It only took a couple of minutes for Hawk to come down, but that was enough for Chris to decide not to go on the 2nd day.

Bill Thornburgh 2011 Pro Bono 038 Small 300x225 Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & PhotosI got up on the 2nd morning and was totally sore.  I don’t know if it was from holding Bo back so much the first day, or because the ride was so flat (a total elevation gain and loss of around 2100′ – that’s pretty flat!) — or was it because I didn’t sleep real well with Mr. Fidgity Bo on my trailer? He is awful by himself at a ride and is much nicer to camp with when Chief is there too.  All night long Bo zipped back and forth on the high-line, played with his rubber feed pan and buckets.  He ate so well that when he ran out of food he would then get really obnoxious, so I’d get up and go give him more feed.

Most people wouldn’t believe how much food this horse can eat overnight.  I estimate that he ate about 35 pounds of food one night, which is a lot.  I don’t like to put the soaked EGM pellets out in a large enough quantity that he won’t run out all night because I’m afraid he’ll eat too much.  He just doesn’t seem to stop eating and it makes me worry.

Bill Thornburgh 2011 Pro Bono 046 Small 300x225 Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & PhotosI headed out by myself on the second day on a much calmer horse than I’d had on the first day.  Bo was back to his normal self, and it was quite nice.  We had a good first loop and came back into the vet check area for lunch.  The vet check area is a ways from our actual camp, so we have all of our stuff there ahead of time so we won’t waste time going back and forth to our trailers.

Bo was doing really well.  His CRI at lunch was 40/40, and at the next vet check his pulse was 36.  He was handing the heat very well.  Sunday was hotter than Saturday was so I was glad that things were going so well.  I kept putting as much water on Bo to cool him down as I could at every opportunity.  That is where they really excelled at this ride – there was PLENTY of water for drinking and cooling horses.   There was even a water hose at one of the water stops out on the trail that I used to hose Bo down, boy was that nice!

At the last water stop about six miles out I stayed for quite some time letting Bo eat hay and sponging him down.  Since there were only a dozen riders and I was in the middle of the pack I knew I had plenty of time and would still top ten.  No reason to hurry up, Bo would benefit more by eating and getting cooled down than he would be hurrying up in the heat to get finished.

Bill Thornburgh 2011 Pro Bono 011 Small 300x225 Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & PhotosThe ride to the finish was nice, a very slight breeze came up that felt great.  I walked where the sand was deep and trotted the rest.  We vetted right through at the end and spent a few minutes visiting with Kristen before heading back to camp.

I spent another mostly sleepless night listening to Mr. Fidgety on the trailer.  I don’t think I’ll take Bo to a ride again by himself.  He’s too obnoxious, and really….you would think that after doing two days in the heat with a heavy coat that he’d be a better camper!  On one hand, I am glad that he moves around like he does as it keeps him from getting cold or stiff, or from having any stocking up.  I’d really like to get some sleep though.  Bo again ate like a monster.  We headed home the next morning around 8.

For those that may not know who Bill Thornburgh was or why the AERC has an award named after him, here is a writeup by daughter Callie:

Continue reading Bill Thornburgh Family & Friends Endurance Ride 50/50 2011 Ride Report & Photos

2011 Grand Canyon XP – Photos & Ride Report

Karen and Bo, Grand Canyon XP 2011. Photo by Steve Bradley.

Karen and Bo, Grand Canyon XP 2011. Photo by Steve Bradley.

I’ve been trying to get these photos posted for the last couple of weeks!  The first two at the top were taken by Steve Bradley.

You can see we had a really gorgeous ride this year.  The fall colors were spectacular and as an added bonus we even got to

Continue reading 2011 Grand Canyon XP – Photos & Ride Report

Outlaw & Virgin 2011 – 155 Mile Pioneer Ride

The 155 mile Pioneer Outlaw and Virgin ride was September 18, 19, 20, 2011. It was a point to point to point ride on the first day. We trailered from the new camp back over to the camp where the Bryce XP ride was held. From there we rode around that area before heading over for the new camp.  The ride was really nice that day with pleasant weather and moderate difficulty.

The second

Continue reading Outlaw & Virgin 2011 – 155 Mile Pioneer Ride

Bryce 2011 XP – 2 days made for 16,000 miles, yay Bo and Cheefy!

We had a most excellent ride this year at the 5 day Bryce XP.  We headed down early to help with trail, as there was a severe blow-down of trees on the trail.  It took a lot of work to get everything cleared and the trail marked so that horse’s could get through.  The FS, Dave Rabe and Dwight, Ann and Dave Nicholson all really worked hard chainsawing and clearing trails.  Kerry Redente and

Continue reading Bryce 2011 XP – 2 days made for 16,000 miles, yay Bo and Cheefy!

Eastern High Sierra Classic 26th year! 2011 Ride Report

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Continue reading Eastern High Sierra Classic 26th year! 2011 Ride Report

What I did this summer (so far)

I haven’t had time to devote much time to this blog.  I had a great time on the 2011 XP this summer.

I wrote a journal during the trip, which is here (from that link, click on my name – Karen Chaton).

I had the most amazing trip riding Granite Chief and Pro Bono 2040 miles on the Pony Express trail, from St. Joseph, MO to Virginia City, NV.

It was some adventure.  We

Continue reading What I did this summer (so far)

Cuyama Oaks XP 2011 Ride Photos

This is a mix of photos (at bottom of this post) from before the ride and during the ride.  There are trail marking photos as well as photos from all three days of the actual Cuyama ride.

The week before the scheduled date of the Cuyama ride, it rained…and rained, and rained!  Fortunately we were able to reschedule the ride to the following weekend.

Had we not been able to reschedule we would have

Continue reading Cuyama Oaks XP 2011 Ride Photos