|Coming across the bridge - we're soaking wet & cold but the photo looks great - thanks to the intrepid ride photographer Bob who braved the elements to take these shots|
None of us were riding Saturday, with Rhio & Jodi's mare getting the day off, and Gesa opting to ride Sunday with me. It was cloudy and threatening rain when we got up, so we walked horses and got them settled in with waterproof blankets, then spent some time warming & drying ourselves around the fire in the building. Gesa realized that she had forgotten to pack pantyhose, which she wears beneath her tights to prevent rubs. We had the whole day, and an extra vehicle, so off we went in search of a pair of pantyhose.
Little did we know, some 2 hours and about 70 miles round-trip later, that there are no pantyhose for sale anywhere in the town of Hinckley. The gas station sent us to the supermarket, which knew for a fact they were the last ones in town carrying them but they didn't stock them anymore. So, we hopped on the freeway and went south to the next town, which I was pretty sure had a Walmart. Yep, a huge gorilla of a Walmart, even, with aisles stretching as far as the eye could see. We found pantyhose (a plethora) as well as some funky bandanas to add to our collection (we both like bandanas either under our helmets and/or after riding to mask the helmet hair).
|Crazy fun bandanas - $1 each at Walmart!|
|Ready for our "warm-up" ride|
|Dr. Bonnie vetting Paco|
Video of Paco's pre-ride trot-out. Sorry about the poor quality (old, decrepit camera) and the shaking at the end (Rhio was nudging me for treats).
Saturday night was our potluck (nothing could have been better than the main dish of spaghetti!) and awards. I chose a pretty pink & purple polarfleece helmet liner made & donated by one of the other MN ride managers as my completion prize - which turned out to be a fortuitous choice. During dinner, the heavens opened and a major thunderstorm rolled through. We headed back to our trailer & the corrals to find the horses standing in water and looking quite soggy (luckily we'd all left the waterproof blankets on them). One more walk in the rain, and we retreated to the relative warmth & dryness of the trailer. I say relative, because by that point, so much wet stuff had come into the trailer with us (jackets, gloves, boots, Roger the rat terrier) that it was beyond damp in there. We cranked up the Mr. Buddy propane heater for awhile before bed to try to get it cozy & dry, with moderate success.
There was still rain drumming on the trailer roof when I fell asleep, so I was thrilled to hear the quiet when I awoke Sunday morning. It wasn't quite time to get up yet, so as I cuddled into my sleeping bag for a bit longer, I was dismayed to hear the rain start again. Being the last MN ride of the year, it wasn't going to deter me, and I was going to ride, but I wasn't very happy about it!
We saddled in the rain, and I dressed for the weather as best I could. I have yet to find the best outfit for riding in the rain, and opted to leave my legs uncovered (just lightly-insulated fall tights), ride in my muck boots so my feet would be dry, and use my waterproof softshell jacket with polarfleece gloves and my new helmet liner. I didn't have any waterproof gloves for my hands, anyway, and I know from experience that polarfleece stays pretty warm even when wet. The horses were sporting their polarfleece rump rugs, and we were set!
|Paco: "Who's that? Where are we going? This is fun!"|
Rhio: "Oh, man, not this stupid bridge again! Mom, it's raining. Are we there yet?"
We finished the little loop, came back across the slippery bridge (not that slippery, actually, so we stayed mounted this time), back through the water stop (didn't even offer this time), and onward down the trail. Rhio was settling in nicely, finally, as we had a little envelope of space to ourselves (briefly) and voluntarily stopped to drink at several puddles (yay, Rhio's brain was functioning again!). Paco was behaving beautifully, leading occasionally and not bucking, forward and happy. We wound through a cut-over area and were caught and passed by the group of 3 again, and suddenly our fire-breathing dragon horses were back in action. We flew down the trail hot on their heels, knowing we were once again going too fast. Coming in to the vet check, instead of walking to get those heart rates down, we were fighting and jigging and prancing and trotting and generally not having a good time of it. Boo! These are just the sorts of things we've been trying NOT to let Paco learn at a ride.
|Wow, don't they look great?!|
|"Stupid human, what are we out here in the rain and the mud for? We could be warm, dry, and eating hay back at the trailer!"|
Everyone arrived home warm & dry, and pretty proud of our weekend's accomplishments. Rhio proved that he is more than capable of what I've been asking of him so far, and I'm looking forward to moving him up to multidays (if I can get to any - still dreaming of doing Shore To Shore) and that 100 is looming on our horizon as well. Too bad our season is over, and our next ride won't be until May (yes, mostly I love living in northern Minnesota, but winter looks mighty long from this side of it...).