Last week, DH and I trekked down to South Carolina for the last ride of the season. It was 10F with a real feel of 2F when we pulled out at 4am - needless to say, George did not get a bath first!
We arrived late afternoon and got settled. There was some hazy sunshine which we greatly appreciated, as we haven't seen the sun in a long time. It was also in the low 50s, which felt like a heatwave.
Everyone brought various dishes, so together we had a wonderful full Friendsgiving meal. We ate until we were stuffed and there was plenty for later!
Friday morning was cool but the sun was out, which felt wonderful. We got everyone out for a pre-ride first thing.
The rest of the morning was prep time. Our group had two in the 100 (Flo & Kathy and Sarge & Rich), one in the 75 (George & DH), two in the 55 (Beryl & Dana and Fluffy & me) and one in the 30 (Brim & Lani). Other rigs started rolling in and camp got busy. Before we knew it, it was time to vet in.
Since I know there are many Brimstone fans, here we are trotting for his vet in:
Kestrel got some good quality time with her ball, not only with Katie but also with Cossie, a friend's adult border collie. Kestrel was so insulted that Cossie could outrun her!
Unfortunately, the predicted rain moved in overnight. It rained off and on from about midnight on. As everyone is well aware, I loathe being wet. I helped DH, Rich and Kathy get ready and off on trail all the while muttering about the weather, as the rain had turned steady and it was quite chilly. Next up was Lani (the LD started before the 55 due to hold flow), who also muttered about the wet as the rain never slackened.
Dana brought Beryl over to hang out with Fluffy while we waited for our start time. The rain was falling steadily as we got on and made our way to the start. There was a lot of asking "why do we do this again?!" as we warmed up.
By the time we started, I was soaked from the waist down. [I do own rain pants, but they are slick and I was afraid that I might boing right off Fluffy if she was riled up..]
The first loop was 30 miles and it was mighty wet to start with. The area has sandy footing, which luckily doesn't get slick when it's wet, but they had flooding earlier in the week so there were some places with washouts, etc.
The rain ended a bit after 9, for which we were profoundly thankful. While a lot of the trail dried out amazingly fast, the same could not be said of me!
Fluffy was feeling mighty fine, but with Beryl there as a good role model, she never got super fussy and my arms didn't get any longer. Because of the rolling terrain, we did have some nice places to canter (which I think helps a lot both from a muscle standpoint and a mental one).
We got into the first hold and I was thrilled to not see Flo or Brim there. That meant Fluffy hollered a couple times, then was content to hang out with Beryl. They both pulsed down by the time we had pulled tack and vetted through without incident. It was bliss to change into dry clothing, though thank goodness we had a long hold as it took me forever to get my damp feet into my compression socks.
I had just tacked Fluffy and given her electrolytes when she started screaming - Brim was coming in to finish! Of course I had to take her over to where Lani was pulling Brim's tack, as both were beside themselves. We got Lani completed just in time to get back out on trail on time.
The second loop was 15 miles and went out the same way as the first loop. Amazing the difference a few hours of not-rain makes to the ground there!
Both horses were a bit unenthused to begin with, but once we turned off from the morning trail they perked back up (we, too, were happy to not be doing that 30 mile loop again). We had found a nice space bubble and didn't see other horses the entire loop.
to be continued..