This morning, I am sipping coffee from my favorite mug -- the black and coral one that was my completion award for last year's finish on Aaruba at Owhyee Canyonlands. I didn't know it then, but that was to be Aaruba's last race.
This year, I'm feeling both reflective and excited as I prepare to do more miles at Canyonlands than I did last year, though in smaller increments. Consolation isn't quite ready for her first 50, but we're going to try for 3 LD's, with a day off between each. The first two days are 30's and the last is a 25, so with luck, we'll make it an 85 mile week.
I frequently hear from other riders with Barbs, Spanish Mustangs, and similar types that while their horses may not be the speediest in the bunch, they do tend to show the same kind of self-possession and persistence that Consolation demonstrated last month during her first LD at Old Selam. This, they say, makes for excellent multi-day and long-distance mounts. A theory worth testing, if ever I heard one.
So, I'll spend today packing camp chairs and clothing, breeches and blankets, tack and toiletries, bales and beet pulp. I have saddle pads to wash, tubs of water to freeze for the ice chest (it lasts longer than the compressed-chip ice blocks you can buy at the Stinker Station), meals to prepare, and whiskey to sample. (It's a rough job, but...)
I'll take a quick ride on Consolation, just to be sure she's strong and loose and set to go with her new Easyboot Gloves. I'll run through safety checks on trailer and tack. And come nightfall, I'll sail to sleep on a wave of anticipation.
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