Briones at Speed

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Last Wednesday we finally got in our final big ride before Tevis.

We rode 22 miles through the park and around Briones Reservoir. ?At speed. ?Our average over the course was 7 mph, which is race pace and very good for a training ride where you tend to dawdle unconsciously. ?Actually even more impressive taking into consideration the number of gates we had to work along the route - Briones is a cattle grazing park.

We had some company, which turned out to be really great for the mares. ?Brought out their competitive spirit. ? Our friend Alyssa Weytjens (nee Radtke) joined us on her mustang mare, Dixie. ?Alyssa is a mustang trainer and has done mustang makeovers on nearly a dozen horses - she has a really cool blog here. ?Dixie is one of her protege who - because she was surprisingly hot for a mustang - Alyssa thought would make a good endurance horse. ?Dixie is little and long-backed but such a tough and fast pony. ?She gives our big, powerful race horses a run for their money. ?And doesn't take any of their Arabian lip, either.

At any rate, I took several videos of our ride. ?[Apologies but all of them seem to have a clicking in the audio from the GoPro not being completely tightened on my helmet, so be ready to kill the sound on your computer if annoys you as much as it does me.]

Here we are cantering along a ridge line on the north side of the reservoir. ?Stella is a very comfortable cantering horse, she prefers it to the trot and will typically break into an easy, lilting gait before other horses. ?Here she's really enjoying herself and pins her ears competitively at Dixie as we pass - she's really starting to exhibit a competitive side which is terrific in an endurance horse.

Crossing over the dam, the reservoir looks strikingly blue. ?It was a beautiful day. ?You can see Czoe in her race-speed trot alongside and little Dixie keeping up like it's no big deal.

Returning back down the south side of the reservoir on a really pretty little single track trail, Dixie was leading us at a really nice pace. ?On a turn she encounters some hikers and does a sliding stop. ?Alyssa rides it like the pro she is and the hikers found it pretty amusing.

Great ride. ?The girls are good to go!