Second in the series of conditioning rides for Stella and Czoe, we did the NASTR 75 mile ride. NASTR is a series of endurance rides organized by a very active club called the Nevada All State Trail Riders. Great group of humans and they put on some terrific rides.
The NASTR 75 was tougher than Jenn and I thought it was going to be. The terrain was gorgeous - everything from high desert to wooded creek washes. It wasn't so much the hills, although there certainly were some, it was the surprisingly technical nature of the trail that took a toll on all four of us.
Much of the ground we covered was already covered in rocks of various sizes, so maneuvering the horses safely through that at speed took all of our concentration. The second loop took us out into the desert along a winding single track that darted around desert shrubbery about three feet tall. Czoe is really good at that stuff and was just whipping along. Stella isn't quite as nimble, so every once in a while she and I would just completely take out a bush. But that was a lot of fun (see video here).
The hardest part was coming home through a series of creeks and washes that we'd traveled out in the morning. At first light it was gorgeous and with fresh horses the sand was nothing to us. Mid-afternoon with pooped ponies it was tedious and grinding. Still pretty, but we were ready for it to be over. Czoe finished first, her sister a nose behind and they were treated to lots of good grub and a thorough clean up.
Jenn and I did this ride 'hobo' style. We just had the truck and trailer. I cast a tent and Jenn slept in the tack room. Plus we have this cool shower that Jenn's engineer dad built - we hang it in the back of the trailer and it's just awesome.
So it was easy peasy for us to get up, pack the last couple of things and head out early early on Monday (Memorial Day - we were keen to beat the traffic headed back down from the hill) morning. As a treat, because we were the first ones to rouse and get moving, we got to see a little mustang stallion that had wandered in to check out the horses (okay, let's just say the mares) in camp. He was a beautiful little dun with a dorsal stripe and zebra markings on his legs. He let Jenn get pretty close with her phone to take some shots of him, then he casually wandered a ways away.
Great ride and the mares are really getting tuned up. Just 10 weeks to Tevis!