Last January, I logged almost 90 miles in the Distance Derby. This year… well, not so many. I am so glad that Diane agreed to take over hosting the Distance Derby and that I can continue to compete, but I have to admit, I am getting a slow start. It is fun seeing so many new and excited competitors this year and I am anxious to see where I fall among the ranks. While I am not as gung ho to be chasing miles this year, I certainly don’t like being in the bottom half of the Leader Board!
In 2003, I joined the AQHA Ride America program. Blue and Gunner, a young gelding I owned at the time, were both registered AQHA. But not long after, one or the other of the boys started riding Blue more often and Gunner died in a pasture accident. So the hours kind of fizzled out in that program. Windy is a quarter horse but does not have papers thus ineligible for the Ride America program. In order to log the hours on her, I enrolled in the AQHA “All Breed” program as well. This year, I completed that program, reaching their maximum award level of 2,000 hours. I am still about 80 hours short of reaching 500 hours in the original AQHA program and over the years, just wasn’t putting the time in on Blue. So one of the goals this year is to complete that level and having Fancy in the mix, who is registered AQHA, should be an easy task. Who knows, Blue might even make the B team this year!
We had a pretty nice weekend with temperatures nearing the fifties. The strong winds kept it from being perfect but definitely riding weather. My friend, Mary, trailered over on Friday afternoon and we rode about 10 miles around our county roads. She brought two mares; her bay Morgan, Sunny and her chestnut gaited Morgan, Rosie. She ponied one while riding the other and switched off about half-way through the ride. Mary has entered the Distance Derby this year. Her team is Merry Mares. I took Windy; it felt so good to be out and about.
Mary and I were going to do more of the same yesterday, but the wind picked up and was even worse than on Friday. So we trailered over to Two Rivers to ride instead. The dense tree lines around the park made it bearable; sometimes we didn’t even feel the wind at all. In my quest for AQHA hours; I planned to ride Fancy. I posted on Facebook that it must be Murphy’s Law that the horse I choose to ride is the dirtiest in the lot! I think she got the memo that it was her turn.
Lucky for me she cleans up well. Just don’t look too closely at the knots in her mane and tail.
The park was thawing out; there were a half dozen or so other riders also enjoying the day. A few of them caught Fancy’s attention from across the pond. Fancy does so well in group rides that I have to admit I was a little disappointed with her yesterday. Riding with just one other mare, Fancy really lacked boldness in moving out or leading. I really had to work her to get the job done; we did, but it sure wore me out. Although Windy doesn’t care to be the lead horse, if I make her she will. I am used to Windy really moving out when I ask for her to run; Fancy made me work for it. It’s just something we need to continue to work on with her; she’s still young. We have at least 80-some hours to practice.
Mary and I had a nice January ride on our red mares. While I loved the milder temperatures, the drought that we continue to experience weighs heavily on my mind. I am starting to look for additional hay sources as I worry our pastures will not sustain our herd with as little snow as we have had this winter. If you are so inclined, please say a little prayer for our state. We are in a world of hurt for moisture.