Mika's Endurance Ride
By Mika Pitre
In April I did my first endurance ride. I have just passed my level 1 in Parelli Natural Horsemanship and my coach, Tracy Browne, invited me to be her junior partner in the Nevada Derby in Winnemucca Nevada. The Nevada Derby has a 50 and 25-mile ride. We chose to ride the 25 miler. I took my 25-year-old Appaloosa, Geraldine and Tracy brought her 23-year-old Spanish Arabian, Princess. I think they may have been the oldest horses there.
Before the ride I took out some horse spray my mom had packed for me and I sprayed my horse with it and when I tried to brush it out it turned her mane and tail purple, so the vet called her a purple roan instead of a blue roan. The first day we woke up to ice on our sleeping bags. I knew it was going to be a freezing cold morning. Before we were able to start out on the ride we had to go through vet check. There were four vet checks on this ride. The first check was in the mourning before we took off and two in the middle of the ride and one at the end when we came in. At each one the vets checked my horse’s pulse, digestion, muscle tone, anal tone, they checked her gums and I had to trot her out and back while they looked for soundness and attitude. An attitude check is where they are looking for how the horse leads. Is she moving lightly or pulling on the lead and are her ears forward and happy or not. At one check Tracy’s Princess got a B for her attitude because her head wasn’t up like most Arabians. Princess is a very calm left-brained Arabian.
Up on my horse my toes and fingers were numb and I had a hard time slowing my old gray mare down. Tracy and I were the only ones riding Savvy. Most of the Normal riders started out early and I think they wanted to race. On the 25-mile ride I saw rabbits, birds and my first Pronghorn Antelope. I even saw Stud Piles. Stud Piles are piles of wild horse poop where a wild stallion returns to poop and mark his territory. Nevada has a lot of wild horses and burros. Our pit crew was my Mom, Dad and little sister, Kiyana. They would come meet us at the checkpoint stops to feed us and check up on us. Back at camp Dad was camp cook while Kiyana and Mom kept the stalls clean and the horse groomed. I think if you are doing an endurance ride you should take a pit crew like I did. There were four vet checks on this ride. The first check was in the morning before we took off and two in middle of the ride and one at the end when we came in. We finished the ride towards the last of the group of riders because we were riding Savvy the whole time, but our horses were happy and not exhausted. That evening Tracy and I decided to do the 15-mile ride the next day. This is a fun ride for people and horses new to endurance riding.
On the 15 miler I mostly saw sagebrush and domesticated horses, burros and dogs. We rode by the Painted Mountains. These mountains look like they have streaks of reddish browns and orange painted across them. This shorter ride had only two vet checks. One check is in the morning and one when we came in at the end of the ride. On this last check the vet got very excited when Geraldine peed because this shows how well the horse is doing. My horse Geraldine got straight A’s on all her vet checks and I am very proud of her.
I am very thankful that Tracy invited me on this ride and introduced me to endurance riding. Next time I would like to try the Nevada Derby 50 miler.