The North American Trail Ride Conference (NATRC) national convention, “Thundering into Bricktown, was held this year a short four hundred and some miles south in Oklahoma City. My CTR friend and mentor, Shari Parys, won two national awards and having caught the distance riding bug myself, it I was excited to take a road trip!
I met Shari, Mary and Sharron bright and early Thursday morning. We loaded my Durango with luggage and headed out hoping to miss the winter storm which was working its way across Nebraska. It caught us about 40 miles into our trip and stayed with us until we got to central Kansas. After that, we watched the outside temperature increase and arrived in Oklahoma City later than afternoon to a beautiful 57 degrees. And we were thrilled to find we were upgraded to a mini-suite which gave us plenty of room for the weekend. But heck, compared to trailer living quarters, we could have square danced in this room. (No, we didn’t.)
At sunset that first evening, we walked at sunset to the Oklahoma City National Memorial. It wasn’t the first time I had visited this somber sight but it was even more solemn this time of day. The chairs lit up at dusk; I had forgotten those little chairs memorializing the children lost that day. The sun appeared to be setting in the reflecting pool as we walked along its edge remembering that day.
It was hard to believe that almost 20 years have passed. There are still tokens of remembrance laid along or put in the fence along side of the memorial sight. Let us not forget those that were lost that awful day.
After a nice Mexican dinner, we meandered down Sheridan were some specialty stores were open for the evening; even offering visitors a glass of wine while we browsed through items I could only afford should my Powerball numbers hit. Another shop surprised us with cotton candy – it was not a night for dieting.
There were some great sessions over the two day event. Writer and keynote speaker, Nancy Loving, DVM provided some good information on colic with managing tips for prevention. She also gave a talk on first aid and how to tend to your horse without always calling the vet. She was easy to listen to and a great wealth of knowledge. Other sessions talked of riding goals, mentoring programs, conditioning for CTR and a fun session on “camping on any budget”.
The night of the awards, we dressed in our finest. I mean, really, how often do we get to go all out! Amazing what you can find on Facebook classifieds. Definitely fun to dress up but my sweat pants sure felt good at the end of the night.
There was a nice showing of attendees from Region 6, mostly from Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri. I was so happy to finally meet my cyber friend, Jonni, from Region 4. Some might remember her from her blog, Trot on Hank.
I was so happy that Shari was honored for nationally placing in both horsemanship and horse. She just recently started riding her foxtrotter, Mika, and they have only just begun to hit their stride.
This convention got me excited for our upcoming CTR season. This will not be the year we can go to a lot of rides as Case will be playing his last year of high school football come fall. But it will give us a better taste of the sport and an opportunity to set some future goals. If you are interested in distance riding or improving your trail riding skills, visit NATRC online for more information.
I am so grateful for a safe trip to and from Oklahoma City and being able to spend it with such good friends. A special thank you to NATRC Region 4 for hosting a fun and informative convention.
On a side note, a callout of “congrats!” to Funder and Dixie on completing their first 100 mile endurance ride this past weekend. Way to go!