To get a better feel for endurance riding I volunteered at a "local" (= 1 hour from the WD) ride. It was being held at the Lucky Pup Ranch, whose owner sold me my new saddle. Rather than being in the foothills of the Dragoon Mountains, where we are, this was in the foothills of the Rincons. The weather was absolutely perfect for the event.
I was given the opportunity to be a pulse-checker, of the horse that is, but declined because I am still slow at detecting a horse pulse and did not want to hold up any competitor. This was a 50 mile and a 25 mile ride, with a 15 mile fun ride thrown in for good measure.
So I was stationed in the outback, at a gate with a watertank and my job was to ensure the cows would not get out. I did have the opportunity to see the 50-milers leave and it was interesting to see the different horses, different tack, different ways of dress, and different attitudes toward the horses. Some people are out for the competition, others just to enjoy the scenery and have fun. After all, the motto of the AERC (American Endurance Ride Conference) is "the finish is to win".
There was only one snafu at my post, and thankfully I was not involved. A number of the 25-mile riders misread the flags and ended up at the watering hole at the same time as the 50-milers who came from the opposite direction. No harm done, everyone was soon on their way again. It was very nice sitting out there all alone in the quiet and watching the riders come over the horizon.
At lunch time, Heidi recalled me from my post as all the riders had passed by, and I spent the remaining time in base camp, watching the vet checks, the cooling down and the pulse taking. I think I can get the hang of that for next time.
In all, a fun experience. Everyone was very nice, and I got a better feel for what all the endurance riding is about. I was invited to participate in the next local event by Sonoita. They also have a 15 mile fun ride, and perhaps I will get up the nerve if I have enough time to work on Buggsy's and my conditioning.