Monday, June 9, 2008

Fort Schellbourne

Feather completed all 5 days at Schellbourne! She was one of 11 horses total that did so. I was so, so proud of her. This was a very challenging ride - lots of mountain climbs, but that is right up her alley. We went just north of Ely, NV, and camped at the Schellbourne Pony Express station, next to the Schell Mountain range. There were wild horses all over this country, lots of stud piles, and a few wild horse sightings. Turns out, this was the White Pine HMA, and that is where Lucy, my little girl, is from. Small world. I did see a stud running out there with a similar color, I wonder if that was her sire or brother??? The most memorable days were day 3 and day 5. Day 3, we woke up to a rain storm, but at 9000' where we were heading, that means snow, and lots of it. So I bundled up as warm as I could, and started out in the rain. It quickly turned to snow at about 7000'. At lunch time, I had the opportunity to pull, but my core was okay, my toes were freezing as were my fingers, but I continued on. Feather didn't mind it too badly, she didn't go sideways or put her head down or ears back like so many horses did, she just pushed forward and got me over the pass in very windy, very cold, and snowy conditions. I don't have too many photos on that day because it was so miserable but I made sure to take at least one at the top.

Day 5 was a gorgeous trail, a new trail for the area. Dave Rabe cleared an old trail called the Ranger Trail that followed the ridge. What a magnificant trail - high up there - 10,000' elevation. Beautiful weather, but extremely windy. When we were exposed along the ridge, the wind was probably 70 mph, with gusts up to about 100 mph. No kidding. Our helmets were blowing off of our heads, and our horses were getting pushed. But the views were out of this world.

I foamed on Easyboots in the front and Bares without gaiters in the back and they stayed on the whole time. No boot issues at all. I cut out all of the heel straps, and completely cut out the back of the hind boots, but I left the lip on the front boots. I was more than pleased with their performance, I have to go out there today and try to pry them off, 10 days later.

Saddle issues - I didn't use my Freeform as I have wither clearance issues with it that I can't seem to solve. So I tried my Barefoot for the first 2 days and Feather had a slightly sore back both days. Brenda so nicely offered me a Bob Marshall to use, and that worked fantastic for Feather, and good for me! So I just ordered one for us, and I found a new home for the Barefoot.

Feather had great friends - Laney Humphrey's Dino and Feather rode together and were partners in crime - they did great together, and then Terri Tinkham's Oliver would get Dino and Feather to move faster. We had a great time on the trail together.

I have never done a ride like that before, but I will say it is a lot of strategy, organization, planning, and taking care of both your horse and yourself. Every night, I took a hot shower, I ate well, took my NCD drops and Agrigold and Joint formula from Waiora. My body felt great, I had very little stiffness and was able to get focused even in the worst of the weather conditions.

Photos can be viewed at:

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