Jul 08 2011
It was 5:15 am. I awoke to a knock on the door and Linda asking, “Are you awake?”
“Yup, wide awake!”
I had been dead asleep, even though Linda and I had decided the night before that we would get going an hour earlier than our first day of Tevis training in order to beat the heat.
By 7:00 am, Linda and I were sitting on the side of the road near Foresthill, waiting for her friend, Dale Peterson. Dale had been Linda’s mentor when she first began endurance riding. Dale has completed Tevis three times, and every year he runs Francisco’s vet check for the ride. This year, he earned his 5,000 mile award with AERC.
The three of us started out in Foresthill, walked down Bath Road and down into Volcano Canyon. From there, we headed to Michigan Bluff. Once in Michigan Bluff, we took a break. We had originally decided we’d turn around in Michigan Bluff, but Dale suggested we head into El Dorado Canyon. Linda had planned on taking me into El Dorado Canyon on our last day of training together, but we were up for changing plans.
Dale looked at me and said, “It’s 3 and 1/2 miles down into the canyon and 3 and 1/2 miles back up. It’s a hard ride. You sure you want to do it?”
I looked at him and said, “O.K.”
Then he proceeded to tell me that it was a bit of a scary trail. “There are a few drop-offs.”
I looked at him and said, “I’m game. Let’s go.”
Linda reminded Dale that his scare tactics weren’t going to work – she had already tried them.
We headed into El Dorado Canyon. I led Asali the steep 3 and 1/2 miles down the trail. Once in the canyon, we went off the Western States Trail to find Dale and Linda’s secret swimming hole. Dale dared me to dive in, knowing I couldn’t refuse a dare (hello!, I’m training for the Tevis Cup on a dare). The water was cold, but refreshing, even though it wasn’t 100 degrees out.
Back in Michigan Bluff, we enjoyed drinks provided by Gary and Judy Hall. I untacked Asali to give her a break and we let all three horses graze on the grass. Heading back into Foresthill, all three horses were feeling good and we let them go, galloping down a wide trail. Climbing back to our starting point, I practiced tailing up with Asali.
It was a great day. I was in good company and Asali felt fine, probably because it wasn’t so hot. I took Linda’s advice and booted all 4 of her feet (Dale let me borrow one hoof boot and I used a hoof boot my son has for his horse). We never threw a single boot, even though the terrain had been rougher than the day before.
Once we returned home, Linda and I spent time in her pool, enjoyed a pizza with her sister, Teresa (also an endurance rider), and then headed over to Linda’s friend’s house. Barb Eggleston was a quite the character. She lives in a mine, owns a Missouri Fox Trotter named Cricket, and has numerous horse stories to share, which she tells with much exaggeration. I was rocking in a chair on her porch, enjoying the night air and half-asleep, when Barb insisted on showing us her MadVac before we left. As I was looking at this interesting piece of machinery, which is a combination of a yard vacuum and street sweeper, I thought I must have gone delirious from lack of exhaustion and I couldn’t help but laugh.
Today, Day 3 and our final day of training, Linda and I decided against riding the other side of El Dorado Canyon. She had originally planned to take me on a 22 mile ride starting in Michigan Bluff. We were going to ride into and out of El Dorado Canyon and across the Suspension Bridge. Since we rode 21 miles yesterday instead of our planned 14, we decided to give the horses a rest. I did not want to push Asali, especially in the heat. So, Linda took us a couple miles from her home and we did an easy 10-mile loop in Dry Creek Parkway and through Gibson Ranch Park. We waded in the creek, waved to the kids playing soccer in the park, and let the horses eat apples right off the tree. We rode past a golf course, a horse ranch, and many cows sunbathing in a field.
Thank you, Linda Straub-Boisa, for hosting me and Asali! We appreciate the Tevis Cup Training… we’re looking forward to more!