I'm behind, terribly behind, on updating on Cibolo and my adventures. But what we did on Saturday will take a few days to post about, so I hope you can be a little patient. Plus he has also indicated that he has his own post, which will be up in a few days (he's a hunt and peck typist, and it takes FOREVER).
It all started when my barn owner, Donna, suggested I volunteer for the TERA's Memorial Day Endurance Race. She's very big in endurance ... circles ... or would that be loops?... and has been enthusiastic about me getting involved.
But I've had, you know, ISSUES. Like I had a bucking maniac. Then my horse had a meltdown and practically had me giving up on the entire thing. Then I didn't know how to post. Then I was scared to canter. Then I was cantering, but was killing my horse with the wrong saddle. Then Cibolo coliced.
I'm talking major issues here.
So she was easing me into it. Sort of like a colt in training, I guess.
"Look. See? It's just a blanket. It won't eat you..."
Anyway, we both thought volunteering would give me an opportunity to see what it was about, give me a chance to see how Cibolo would do around a bunch of horses again, since I was really worried about that most of all, get him exposed to more things.
I'm all about exposing him these days. Last Sunday I exposed him to a very steep hill and he handled it very well. Then we had a dead deer surrounded by buzzards. I'm thinking of playing tapes of dressage in his stall to kind of round things out. :)
Anyway, I was very excited to just go camping with my horse. To me that was a HUGE step and I was pumped.
Then things went kablooey at work (we have a huge new workload due to CONGRESS. If you really want to know, you can go here and learn more) and I couldn't begin to cut out and get started packing in the evenings because it was ALL HANDS ON DECK until dark thirty every night.
PLUS it was the last week of school and THAT was exciting because my girl is off to middle school next year and it was just a huge juggernaut of activity with teacher gifts, parties, and just being there when it counts.
Which is to say, I couldn't really be blamed for forgetting my coggins and having to drive back 20 miles to pick it up through memorial day tourists.
Needless to say, while I was shortchanged in terms of time to get ready, I rushed out to the barn an hour late with my tent, sleeping bag and one change of clothes, along with riding gear in case I'd have time to just ride a bit in between obligations. I grabbed what amounted to snacks (because I never think of food unless I have time to hit a grocery store for a specialized "what I can eat out of a cooler" trip) and headed out to pick up my boy.
I had planned to pre pack my trailer the day before but that went out the window (see above). Fortunately I have everything in a few easy to carry boxes - except my coggins, which apparently went for a walk since the clinic. I had to drive home to print new coggins paper work - I <3 global vet, btw. And yes, now I have three copies stashed - one in the trailer, one in the truck and one in my tack box. I may duct tape it to my tack box this time.
We arrived at the Storm Ranch, where Donna had so thoughtfully set up an extra pen for Cibolo and roped off an area for me to part and pitch my tent under a beautiful live oak. I believe I was the only tent camper, everyone else in the entire place had a living quarter rig, or a friend to hang out with who had one. Or they drove in for the morning of.
I'm an old rock climber and hiker, so I was looking forward to what I think of as camping - nylon tent, sleeping bag and an eggcrate mattress. After all, I was just coming to volunteer. It's not like I'd be RIDING or anything... And, as a desert rat, I can sleep in a bit of heat with no problem.
Cibolo was pretty concerned about this camping at first, calling out to the other horses for a few minutes. Apparently they had positive things to say and with his barn buddy close by he settled right in. He dug into his hay and drank some water, and he and his BFF Amigo shot the manure for a few hours as the sun continued it's glorious golden journey behind the trees.
I looked forward to joining the circle around the lamplight, and meeting other riders who'd be braving the trails in the morning. But first, I had to check in with the volunteer coordinator.
The BO took me over to registration and to meet the ride manager, Howard, who explained that the volunteer coordinator Chris, had left for the day, having gotten sick. I could meet her in the morning and find out how I could help then.
The Storm Ranch is 6,000 acres of stunning hill country, as perfect of a setting for a Texas glory ride as I can imagine. I'm partial to the Hill Country, and it's places like this that remind me of what I love about it. One minute you are in thick scrub woods, the next you are on a hill top, watching the world ripple away from you in a million shades of green. White limestone carves it's own thread through the toes of the Live Oaks whose branches twist and turn with the same pattern as their roots do, every inch of their being taking advantage of a God given ability to adapt and a rather stubborn nature.
Both things I'd encounter within myself and my horse the very next day. Because as it turned out I wouldn't volunteer at all. I'd ride.
Cibolo, camp horse extrodinaire.