From Endurance to Dressage
Saturday "Trail" Ride
I am on Christmas Vacation. It's not quite as good as summer vacation, but I am still one happy camper. To celebrate, Hubby and I drove up to our cabin on Friday afternoon for two nights of eating, drinking, and watching movies. We hoped there'd be some snow, but we were a bit surprised by how much there actually was.
We've hardly ridden the quads over the past three years because of the horrible dust that our drought has created. We have great Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) trails, but even in the forest the dust can be stifling. We really like riding in the snow, but again, thanks to the drought, we've had almost none of that.
So when we pulled in and saw that there was snow, we knew we had to fire the quads up for a trail ride. As with horses though, you can't simply saddle up after months of non-use. In our case, it wasn't frisky ponies that were the problem. Instead, we had a clogged up carburetor and 8 flat tires. All of that was easier (and quicker) to fix than ill-fitting tack and fresh horses.
While I can usually start my quad on my own, it just wasn't happening for this ride. Fortunately, my husband is as good with motorcycles as I am with horses. A few tweaks of the idling screw, some quick work with the throttle, and my bike sputtered to life. After airing up all eight tires, we were finally ready to hit the trail.
Trail riding on the quads is laugh-out-loud fun, especially in the snow, but it can also be terrifying. I can gallop a horse at 30 miles per hour, ride out a buck, and stick a drop-a-shoulder and whirl spin, but put me on a machine that can't save your butt on a snowy trail with a drop off on the side, and suddenly I am a Nervous Nellie!
My husband is a great sport, and not because he has to be. He's just that kind of a guy. Even so, I always insist that he take the lead so that I can watch how he navigates the obstacles. In the back, I can also go as slowly as I need to without holding him up. He appreciates being free to go ripping off down the trail, but he always waits for me, and if it seems as though I'm taking too long, he'll double-back to check on me.
Fortunately for me, our regular trail was blocked by a massive tree so we had to ride on the road instead. I love riding the road as it is level side to side with plenty of curves to make it fun. It's a one-lane, paved road that climbs up over the mountain, and off-highway vehicles are prohibited for most of the year. Just above our cabin however, the road is closed throughout the winter which means OHVs have it all to themselves.
We had a great time zooming over the snow-covered road and fishtailing around the corners. When the snow gets too deep, the quads will bottom out. We had perfect snow depth for riding; too deep for cars, perfect for quads and snow machines. Occasionally, we like to throw the snowshoes into our quads' packs and ride up to the edge of the deeper snow for some hiking. We didn't think to do that on Saturday, but with the arrival of a real winter, maybe we'll get a chance to do that on our next visit.
12/22/2014 10:04:13 am
You're right, Lauren - fun and terrifying! Better than a jet ski though. And you'll notice, the husband has his OWN bike! :0)
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About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
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Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
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