Sunday, December 13, 2009

Year End

Well here is our team looking good after a great year of riding!  The only Duck missing is Amy Green. Guess she ducked out...(couldn't help="" it...="")

Along with second place team placment, our Team Captain, Brenda Kenley got High Point Competitive Award, and Paige got High Point Jr. Award!

Way to go Ducks!!

It is the end of our ride year, and what fun it has been!  Horses did great, we got lots of miles in and no one had too much trouble...well, Mary Lynn is still without a horse, as Wiley is still on 'time out', and Vickie's boys always seemed to have had little nagging lameness problems this year. Paige got pulled at our ride, as did Vickie, and Brenda and Amy...Bummer.  But we still did enough rides, and placed well enough and finished well enough with enough team miles to pull off a second place!!!  It was really close though, only 97 points, so we have to buckle down next year and ride, ride, ride!

We have a new Duck to add to the fun this year since we can now have 8 members per team.  And new team members will be counted as bonus riders. And, bonus riders are always counted.
Welcome Peggy Angel!!

Time to start looking at our calendars!

Quack, Quack!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Ducks do Die Hards...

What a good and fun ride we had to end our ride season...the Ducks have been head to head with the second place position with The Wild Bunch most of the year.  And this ride put us back into 2nd place just when we needed it! So it was nice to move up a slot this year.  Trying for first place is a bit beyond us Ducks I'm afraid...  But, it sure is fun to go for second...!

Mary Lynn and Brenda headed for our little ridecamp village...

None of us finished in the top ten, but we all finished our rides!!

It had been a cold clear night and there was ice on the water, and even on my step, which was a bit on the slippery side...which made for a cold saddle up on fresh horses...

Brenda rode her boy, the ever steady Elite (well, when he isn't trying to buck her off) to babysit Greg's first ride on his newbie, Buzz...and they both did terrific! Finishing in the middle of the pack on happy horses.  Mary Lynn has to get credit for Buzz's conditioning program congratulations, Mary Lynn... She stuck with him and kept him going along steady all summer long getting ready for this day. Looks like Buzz is going to be a good endurance horse for Greg, as he pulsed down good and took in all the excitment with a cool head.  What a nice surprise for Mary Lynn!
Brenda was a bit sore from one of Elite's bucking sessions earlier in the week, so rode with a sore knee...but she sucked it up and ended the year with a successful ride! Sometimes we have to slay Dragons, and Brenda got them subdued. Yes!

Vickie, Paige and I rode together starting out at the end of the pack, hoping to keep Boo's tendecy to buck under it turned out all of our boys were cold backed and we had our hands full getting them lined out on that open course. Looking at Noways ears standing straight up is disconcerting to say the least...My bones ache just remembering...I wanted to start late so as to keep Noways race brain to a low hum, but it was difficult because of always seeing the other horses moving along in the open fields...  But we did manage to finally get up a good trot without too much crow hopping... Although Sully and Paige have finished in the top ten a couple of times this year, we wanted to be sure Sully finished his last ride so she could get her much coveted 300 mile award. So the plan was to go at a steady pace without getting caught up with the raceing aspect. Paige had to dismount to take off her rump rug, which was adding to Sully's agitation...So Paige rode with that blanket under her seat for the first loop, which was 25 miles...

The course is easy with mostly good footing so we kept up a good steady pace all day at 10 mph.  Probably the fastest time that we've recorded for a fifty.  Even with that, we were a bit over an hour slower than the winner!!!  Cindy won it in a race off with Bill in 4:03!! Whew!!

Our ride was mostly uneventful, just a really pretty ride with gurgling creeks and even a waterfall that we had to pause by just to stare at it for a moment. The weather was cool but sunny, we took off a layer after each loop. The horses loved it and recovered well all day. When we rode along the top of the hills, the views were just perfect and we were able to see ride camp often, so it was easy to orient ourselves. Sully did pull off a front shoe during the second loop (15miles), but got that put back on at the VC...unfortunately that took up most of our hold time of 40 min.  The Vet lines were long and took up a lot more time that I time for the boys to eat and drink and get in some rest time.  But, we marched back to the trailers as fast as we could after the shoe job and tied them to the trailers still saddled and let them eat there.  Paige grabbed some food and I got a spoonful of peanut butter and another bite of bananna, and off we went again to finish off the ride with only 10 miles to go.  We got that done in a bit less than and hour. All three horses looked good and we got our completions!! Yeah!!! The final ride of the year and it was a good one!  We even had a little race off at the was only for 19th position, but Noways felt great, it was the last ride of the year, why not? And the other gal, who was pretty far ahead of us, was whipping her horse to make him go up the hill to the finish line.  Paige agreed to try for it, so off we took at a gallop...boy was Noways surprised that I finally let off the brakes and even applied some gas...  It was close, as the other gals' horse perked up when he heard us coming and she applied the whip with more force...(I hate that).. But we did make it over the finish line about a length ahead of her...yeah!! Sully didn't quite make it, but she had held him back a bit going down the slope so didn't have the run I did... What FUN!!  Paige and I drove home on cloud nine all the way!!

And best of all, Sully got his 300 miles (thanks to Mary Lynn doing 60 miles on him at Big South Fork) and the extra days of work Paige did for the Rerun ride. 

So, now we are going to settle into vacation time for the boys, and make plans for next years competition.
What a ride it has been!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And, the LUCKY DUCKS got to  be second place in the TEAMS Competition, this year!!!!!!!!!!!!

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Ducks ~ bush whacked...

Last year, Brenda, Amy, Paige and I did this ride.  Paige and I went so Paige could ride her new horse (Sully) in his first ride.  We did the 30 miles, starting last and getting through it just fine.  Nice weather but very cold. Had a bit of a time keeping up with the ribbons, but only lost maybe 30 - 40 min. when we couldn't find a turn.. Brenda had a good ride finishing in the top ten in the 30, and Amy finished way up front in a race off in the 55.
Noways & Sully 2008

This year ~ Mary  Lynn and Greg decided not to go even though the weather was beautiful...Zelda is out with a bad back, and Buzz isn't quite there yet...Amy has thrown in the towel for the year...being a Mommy is time consumming...I remember those days.  And Brenda suddenly had other plans. I stooped to whinning...  Vickie was going but Boo came up with a cough...bummer.  That left Paige and myself so no chance of a team. I wasn't  feeling all that great, but Paige was finally able to get to a ride, and the promised sunshine pushed me along.  So, Vickie and Biscuit, hitched a ride with us, (she couldn't stand to miss such a great weekend) and boy was she a help... and as always, great company. She can talk horses, as long as me...

The weather was as promised, just beautiful and more riders showed up for the ride. I believe there were 17 in the 55 and around 10 in the 30...can't really remember. I thought we'd have a nice enjoyable ride so as to get Paige and Sully through another 55 this year and hopefully put her back in the Jr SE region standings. So we left last so Noways wouldn't get race brain and make for a difficult ride for me and pull Sully along too fast. Sully isn't quite ready for much speed yet. Karen was to start the controlled start. We of course didn't see that, and just were looking for the orange ribbons we were to follow...never did see any turn off ribbons so went back to camp and questioned Steve. Then went back out of camp and turned in where he told us and followed the obvious ribbons...wrong trail, for a l o n g time, wrong trail. Went back yet again...Ottis pointed the way this time and there they were, way up on the next hill across the I remember this part...sigh.. already more than 30 minutes behind and we hadn't even started... Now we are paranoid about missing ribbons and continue to second guess ourselves as we wound through the woods eyes sharp.  The trail is covered with fallen leaves, so impossible to see the trail without ribbons guiding the way.  And sometimes, there weren't many... We start catching up with the 30 milers who started while we were out on the wrong trail... Not having fun yet, but getting along OK.  We hadn't intended to place up front anyway, but it made for a more stressful ride for sure.  Got back in, and Vickie was worried about us...Took us 2 1/2 hours to do the 19 miles...horses were doing great.  Went back out to do the Pink loop, another 19 miles. Guess what...we missed the turn off for the Pink while it followed the red and blue.  Blue was to be our final loop and red was the 30 miler's final loop...Went and orange. Connie suggested that Steve had got short of the pink and the trail was the same for a while...well, after a few miles we decided we missed the turn off, and we would just go on and do the blue loop out of order and just get a completion and finish with doing the pink last... Blue loop wasn't too hard to  follow, although it sure was a muddy mess with lots of ankle busting rocks to add to the difficulty. There was one gravel road though that had me second guessing...after the turn (three blue ribbons) we went and went without seeing another ribbon, except on the wrong side of the road...but they didn't look like Steve's blue...I was dreading making our boys climb back up that road looking for another turn that I missed...but alas finally there was a ribbon in the right place...what a relief.  Again, the boys vetted through fine..Sully was a bit tight in the rear, but sound.  I was getting quite tired, as much mental stress as physical.  Dreaded going out on a loop that the other riders had already done, so we would be alone out there. I studied the map and made sure it was in my pack ready to pull out, and as it turned out I had it out a LOT!
Pink loop...with explicit instructions from Steve, we found the turn off we had missed was obvious, so can only guess we got distracted about the time we got caught up with some 30 milers who happened to be Connie and her neice and a few of other riders.  So even though we were on the wrong loop at the time, we were in good company..although I'm not very good company when I'm frustrated... Paige was quiet too...just trying to get through it all at this point...she's a trooper and never whined, what a competitor! Now we are going along good, just fighting the very, very deep mud and rocks.  Occasionally we could get up a good trot and canter and went as fast as we could when we could, being careful of the ribbons...But, guess what !!!  Again we missed a turn and followed the obvious trail instead of getting the sharp turn off...I was near tears, but Granny Jan can't cry in front of such a brave and trusting granddaughter can she... I really hate getting lost and really, really hate back tracking. I flagged down a ranger on one of the paved roads we crossed and he, bless him showed me where we were on the map.  It was really tempting to take a short cut and go in, cutting off many miles of the  loop...but, no, back we went until we found the turn off.  The ribbons had blown back a bit which is why we must have missed them, as we were really keeping an eye out for them.  We were near the end of our endurance and hadn't even gotten to the out and back (password). It took us two hours to get to that... Paige was crestfallen when she saw that we had finally gotten there and were to turn back... We were not happy ridders at this point...but, onward we went, getting some better trail at this point and the boys were still game.  On and on we went following the pink ribbon without trouble at last. Then the pink joined with the orange and Paige let out such a whoop that I thought she'd fallen off...Now she knew were we were and we were close!
Finally, finally we were finished...I was beginning to worry about getting stuck out there in the dark..If I couldn't follow the trail in the day light, we'd be lost for sure in the dark... We finished at 4:30...started at 7, Lord what a long day...
I have to say that the highlight of the whole day was when Ottis turned to me (Vickie trotted Noways out for me, bless her...) and said just two words..."Good job!"  Sad isn't it... He'd probably said it all day, but it sure made the effort more worthwhile. Thanks, Ottis.
To our surprise, as we got to our trailers to unsaddle before going to the vet check, there was Brenda!! Yeah she had come up anyway!  So glad to see her.
She had decided, after going to Cave Run and riding the leatherwood loop, that she wanted to go to Cave Country, so packed up and not even stopping at home, drove on, what inspired her to do that I don't know, but there she was and we were delighted to see her.
Turned out she couldn't ride, after all that, but, she and the rest of us Ducks got to do our routine Cracker Barrel Breakfast after the ride, so as to discuss the adventure more throughly...
At least Paige got another 55 miles, and hoping to do Die Hards, and Noways also got another 55 miles for his record.  We sure missed the other Ducks, it would have taken all of them to help me see those ribbons...
Looks like Paige is going to come up only 5 miles short, for her 300 mile award, even if she getts to do Die the weather has to be 'good' before Granny Jan is willing to ride again...getting old is the pits...:-((

Lets hope good weather blesses Jim's ride this year and we all can ride that beautiful country!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Ducks do BSF

Ah ha! The Ducks certainly worked for and got some points this weekend!!

Thurs. the first day of the ride, Greg rode Zelda, Vickie rode Boo, and I rode Noways in the fifty miler. Mary Lynn rode Paige's horse, Sully, and Brenda rode her steed, Elite in the thirty. Only the first three count for points, but it is a good thing to have those extra riders in case some one of us gets a dreaded pull.

Elite and Sully at the first VC on day two, prefering the other's food ~ naturally...

This day is the toughest of the three, but it is truly beautiful with huge boulders, cool streams, and flora all along the trail. We got to cross the Cumberland river as well. What a treat. Not so fun was the long hard climbs, but our boys all came through and all five of us finished our rides. We amassed some good points too.

I finished in 6th place, Greg got 7th, Vickie finished out of the top ten, but still got us 50 points. Brenda and Mary Lynn finished their 30 miles, as back up. The trail nearly whipped us all, but we talked Mary Lynn and Brenda into going again the next day, as with Amy coming to ride the 55 it would give us another team if everyone finished. With the promise that the trail is much easier on the second day, they agreed!

Greg, Vickie and I crewed for them, which was a nice change, as Mary Lynn, Brenda and Amy have done their more than fair share of crewing for us. Other than Amy and her horse taking a fall near the start, everyone finished in fine shape again. Well, Amy did have some metabolic issues, but her horse looked great!

So again our team got points! Amy finished 8th, and once again, Mary Lynn and Brenda finished the 30 and this time their ride counted for the team!


The weather was really nice to us, and we really did have a fun time.

Vickie and Biscuit preparing for a day of crewing...>

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Abi Khan & VA Highlands ~ Aug.

The Ducks went off in two different directions this ride weekend!

Vicki, Brenda and Amy went to a Competitive ride, The Abi Khan in OH, and all finished both days, so added some much needed points to our Team! Yeah!

Seems the Ducks were a hit, and the OH group are envious enough to want to start there own teams... Not sure they can have more fun than us though...

Vicki had some trouble with interference with Poppy, but was still able to finish for the two day, 50 miles. Amy had a good ride and even got her horse to pulse down to a 44, which was a goal...and finished 3rd in her wt. division. Brenda had a really good ride it seems, as she finished 1st in her weight division, and also captured the Best Arab award! Way to go TEAM!

With over 40 horses there, quite an accomplishment!

As I understand it, Amy did provide some entertainment on the second day while mounting up. Seems she hadn't had a close up view of the dirt for a while so took the opportunity to do so then. Nothing broken, and no blood, so all is well...

150 points! Way to go!

VA Highlands, VA

Greg, Mary Lynn and Janice took off to VA for the second annual endurance ride. We knew we had no chance for team points, as only two of us were riding, but really enjoyed the ride last year...all but ML of course, who really had tough luck last year. And, this year her boy Wiley was on stall rest, so once again she had to pull crew duty. But, boy was that a much appreciated treat! Those away vet checks can be tough without a crew. There were 243 entries! for the weekend. And 76 in our 55 mile ride...whew.

Greg and I both had good rides. Greg finished in 36th position, and I finished 4th! Too bad we couldn't count points...oh well, we had a great time.

Oh yeah, I did my semi-annual close up look at the dirt also, but thankfully, I too had nothing broken nor blood...
Greg and Zelda cooling off in the New River...>

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ride Reports: Salamonie Sizzler & Ride B Rivers

Greg, Mary Lynn, Vickie and myself signed up for the 50 at Salamonie. It poured rain along with some thunder and lightening beginning at 3:30 AM the morning of our ride...

So, we saddled up and took off hoping to get The Lucky Ducks some points on this muddy ride. SS is a 17 mile lollie pop loop done three times. Fortunately, the rain was over and it didn't get too hot, but boy was it muddy and slick. VERY SLICK!

Mary Lynn got done with the mess after the first loop, so when the vet told her that Wiley was a bit stiff in the rear, she withdrew with a sigh of relief... Then Grand got pulled for lameness, so Vickie was out. That left Greg and I to try and get through it, and we did, but without Duck points...darn it.

Noways was feeling great, so we ended up in 7th place. Zelda was wisely ridden, and Greg got her another 50 miles.
Vickie rode Poppy the next day on the 25. He did great, and placed 4th!!, But alas, it was on a different day, so couldn't count the points...

Next was Ride Between the Rivers. There were only three of us riding this time, Vickie on Boo, Paige on Sully and myself on Noways.
Vickie got concerned about the way Boo was acting so dropped back to the 30. Paige and I were going to try to get another 50 in.
Camp was packed tight, as you can see...But it worked out fine and our horses had shade at least. Again at 3:30 AM, it started to shower, but lightly and no thunder and lightening to add to the stress...But, we did start out with our raincoats on...of course that was a hot mistake. The weather was good as it stayed overcast for most of the day. Didn't get too hot until the last loop, but still not bad.
Noways seems to get stronger with every ride. I guess by the end of the year, we'll be ridding with Deb and Lois...yikes! Sully was game and kept up with my little red headed monster, and we finished with a tie in 9th place! There were over 35 riders in the 50 and that many in the 30, so there was no 'pocket' to get into so I could get more it was go, go, go... Vickie had bad luck again, and Boo came up lame after the first loop...darn, no points for the Ducks again...But she sure made a great crew!
To top things off and make it a bit weird..Vickie had a blow out on her trailer on the way exactly the same place and ML and I did last year, coming home from the same ride...Fortunately, there was a 'tire changer' close by and she didn't have to wait the hours that we did...Lucky Ducks after all...

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Kentucky Stampede

Kentucky Stampede 2009 can be summarized with three words...HOT, HUMID & MUDDY !

We had been lucky for several years with the dates falling on a pleasant weekend, but made up for it with this one. Just getting parked in the swampy field, was a challenge.

Brenda and Mary Lynn decided to ride the 30 miler, while Amy G & Greg decided to tackle the 55 on Friday. Which turned out to be the hottest and most humid day to ride. But, all persevered and all finished!!! Congratulations DUCKS!

Paige and I worked on Fri. and went for the 55 on Sat. We would need Vickie's RM miles to make a team, however, poor Paige and Sully got pulled at the second VC. Sully was just too stressed to go on safely. He was fine shortly afterwards, and might have been fine if we had taken him out for the final loop...but didn't want to chance it.

As it turned out though, The LucKY Ducks were the only team that finished a team this weekend. It was a brutal undertaking for all riders, so we did well indeed.

The LucKY Ducks did most of the work of putting on the Stampede, and even with the horrid weather and trail conditions, we need a pat on the back for all the hours spent clearing trail, marking trail, shopping for awards, and a big, big pat on the back to Vickie for taking on the stressful job of ride manager!!!

Way to go DUCKS !!!

Now on to July ~ ride, ride, ride...