Tuesday, May 05, 2009

2009 Washoe - Karen Chaton

Story and Ride Photos on Karen’s Musings & Endurance Ride Stuff

Washoe was a great ride, as always! We had so much fun and thoroughly enjoyed the trail and getting to see everybody - this is one of the best run rides that I've ever been to! The trail is marked superbly too thanks to Dave Rabe. Plenty of vets, volunteers, water, hay and treats for riders and horses too along with nice awards and dinners.

I think the best part of the ride for me was on the second day on the second loop after having been rained on and wind blown for hours (but getting to change into dry gear at lunch to give it another go on loop #2) being on top of the mountain several thousand feet in the air up among the clouds (which were whizzing by at mach speed) having gigantic tumbleweeds blowing towards us at high speed and stopping to take a photo while Chief stood perfectly still while the fast flying tumbling tumbleweeds flew into us and he stood quietly. The best endurance rides are the ones where something extreme happens whether it be the weather or another situation - that's when you really get to know your horse and I can't say it without meaning it -- there is no horse that I would rather be riding in extreme conditions than Chief. I don't even mind slipping and sliding down slippery hills in the mud with him. Whereas another horse would scare me, with him it's just fun and exciting. I had the best ride ever and I'm so thankful to be able to have these experiences.

Many thanks to Connie, Gina, their family and friends and everybody that helps with this ride - great job (again, as always!). Don't miss it next year if you can help it!


Saturday, May 02, 2009

2009 Lost Padres

Images by Lynne Glazer

Moving this ride one month earlier in the year was a grand success on all counts, the gorgeous spring setting and cool weather made it a pleasure for all involved from volunteers to riders and horses. Shots are from three places on the course plus horse camping setups. The misty morning with green everywhere you looked, oak studded hillsides and an interesting rock formation that John Parke said was a must-see. I barely beat the riders up that hill, with the camera not even out of its case as they approached, I was still feeling the burn from the degree of elevation on foot. 100% coverage there, with John and Remington bringing up the rear.

Then I hustled to the meadow from last year's shots, only this year there was a huge field of lupines backed up against the hillside. I missed the frontrunners there, and struggled mightily to find a way to shoot blinding midday light and shadows at the same time, but loved sitting in the flowers and inhaling their fragrance. Many commented on how photogenic it was from their perspective looking west at me! When one rider went off course, I let her, because it was the best light in that area. Went back to camp after seeing John again.

A quick lunch thanks to Annie and volunteers and no shots, headed out to the two way trail near Pozo Road. Drove in a few miles but didn't see anything I liked better than nearby the same site I'd used last year. Shot some nice pas de deux from rider pairs who knew despite the "photog ahead" sign they didn't need to split up any more, I think some couples got their holiday card photos from this part. Missed the front runners again but wasn't trying, it's a challenge to shoot in more than one place on an endurance ride anyway, at least to get interesting terrain so that people who have lots of photos of themselves are motivated to get more of them. :D

As usual we dined grandly, had outstandingly accurate maps and a first rider/last rider gate policy on most of the gates, which made it easier for the vertically challenged and those who struggle with gates in general. I stayed until Monday but didn't shoot on the second day, made myself useful in other ways.

Hope you enjoy the pix!


2009 Torres Del Paine

Images by Steph from Chile!