1) 15 mile Ride and Tie on Gem with S: S eventually realized that running up a mountain when she hasn't run a single step since the Clemson R&T and actually never wanted to do those 8 miles in the first place was crazier than crazy and politely backed out. But she did offer up a new
2) 15 mile RnT on Bailey with S's hubby L: he doesn't ride much, so he would prefer his own mare. Bailey then came down with some hoof issues and hadn't been ridden in forever. I briefly contemplated doing it on Gem, but she typically doesn't like men and she isn't beginner friendly, so this got scrapped.
3) 15 mile RnT with a stranger I beg up on the RnT or ride site: I briefly hung to this hope, but again I didn't really trust someone else on her in the mountains on technical terrain. I guess I could ride someone else's horse in the RnT, but wanted the mileage for Gem to get ready for our 50 (which now is backed off a bit)
4) No RnT. 25 mile LD on Saturday which got quickly changed to...
5) 30 mile LD on Friday. Go up Thursday for vetting, ride Friday and be back Saturday so I only really miss a half day with W back at home (Thurs and Fri being work days where he is at daycare anyway)
6) 30 mile LD on Friday with 12 mile Intro on Saturday: a couple ladies at the new barn are super interested in getting into endurance and shot around the idea of coming, volunteering Friday and riding the intro Saturday. As long as Gem looked good, I would join them to help them out and get 42 total miles on Gemmie for the weekend. They both backed out for various reasons so I was left with the last entry idea
7) Back to the 30 mile LD Friday.
So why not keep with it? Well....there are some things I learned about the ride which really just made justifying the money and time spent too hard. In the end it just wasn't worth it anymore.
If you are bored and want the specifics as to why:
Hoof protection is mandatory and Gem is bare and hopefully always will be healthy enough to stay that way. I ordered my boots and have them to use, but the more people I talked to and the more I found out about the ride the less I want to go. Apparently the trails are notorious for pulling shoes and boots alike and veterans go in with brand new shoes, brand new boots, extra toe clips, extra straps, tape, glue etc...to get them to hopefully stay on. I would literally cry if I ended up short of boots at the end because I can't afford to buy new ones right now. I have nothing left to sell to buy new ones. (well, I do have 2 kidneys, but those are reserved for my next horse ;) I'm just not experienced enough with these to trust that they will stay in place. So that was strike one.
Strike two was the vetting being away from camp. I know it is possible to do it without crew. I just have been spoiled with all my vet checks occurring at camp. I won't have crew, so this is a little bit of a big deal. Yes, I can get the ride manager to haul my crap for me, but I don't even have a crew bag. Or feel confident enough to pack one right now.
I think I bailed before there was a strike three. Either way...I'm leaving it as an experience for another day. Next summer I will be dying for a ride to go to. Biltmore won't happen again in July (it will be moved back to its normal May date again) so really from June-September there won't be anything else in driving distance for me to hit. This makes a good one to keep on the radar for a summer ride in 2015. I also have my eyes on the Ride Between the Rivers in WV for 2015, but that is much farther trailer ride, so we will see how things are going. Hopefully W is tent camping with us by then or we hit the jackpot (or even just start playing it) and can get a three horse slant load with LQs so he can sleep in style by then.