Straight From the Horse’s Mouth
By Kilauea Fashion
“Hot Little Mare”
(ghost writer - Kathleen Ferguson)
Last week Smooth and I traveled south to do the Sunriver 100 once again. This time we knew what a “Sunriver 100” was so we were less surprised and were able to really observe and enjoy the experience. We loaded up and headed for Bend on Thursday morning at 6am, unloading at our usual truck stop in Wapato and then again at the Mud Hollow Road barn at VanGilder Arabians to say hi to Dee and some of my old friends. My buddy, Bint Sultana, showed off her gorgeous new colt and I said howdy to some of the horses in the pasture. When we arrived at the ride camp our Charlie’s Unicorn team mates had saved us a place next to them. Kim and Kathleen were very excited because it was right across from the vet check, a water tank, an outhouse, the cook shack and right next to the dumpster. Those Unicorns know how to scope out a camp spot that’s for sure! Our camp was a very busy social stop on Thursday night. It was certainly more relaxed than usual at camp so Smooth and I were not surprised when we got to sleep in the next morning rather than starting the ride.
Vet checks were very interesting at Sunriver this year. I learned about something called a “stop and go” at vet check one and three. I didn’t like it and Smooth really thought it was a bad deal. A “stop and go” is like a regular vet check so we had a drink of water and then pulsed in and saw the nice vet. But then instead of a short break and snack Kim and Kathleen just mounted up and rode us off down the trail! Smooth was really ticked off and he told Kim about it as we trotted down the trail. When we hit the next “stop and go” at vet check three Kim and Kathleen let us stop for fifteen minutes and have a snack so Smooth wouldn’t be so grumpy.
When we arrived at vet check two the pulse taker (Robbi Pruitt) was impressed with my 48 heart rate and said it was the lowest HR for the morning. Kathleen laughed and Kim groaned but then the Robbi said “Oh, no wonder, it’s Fashion” when she looked at my card and Kathleen really laughed because I am getting a reputation! Robbi said she enjoyed my articles; it is so nice to know I have fans out there in cyber land! This was a REAL vet check, where we got to strip tack and have a snack. I was minding my own business when my fantasy crush walked into the check. He is the most handsome guy I have ever seen. He is tall and has the most STUNNING ears, tail and head. I have seen him at rides in the past and he just makes my heart stop. I am talking about “a hunk a hunk of burning love”! When he is around I am all aflutter and can’t eat or think or do anything but watch him. His name is Junior Merlich. I don’t care how much Kathleen and the other people tease me, I have fallen deeply, truly in love. Kathleen says my love is wasted because Junior is an ass but I think he has very good manners and is a real gentleman. The biggest thrill of my day was out on the trail when we caught up with Junior and his friends and I got to get a drink out of the water trough right next to Junior! I put my nose in and tanked up trying to impress him with my endurance experience and hoped he knew I was on the hundred too, just like him. Alas, he didn’t pay any attention to me but I am determined to meet him again and maybe even get to ride down the trail with him. I have written him a song.
(To the tune of “Oh Donna” with apologies to Ritchie Valens)
Oh, Junior, oh, Junior
Oh, Junior, Oh, Junior
I know a mule, Junior is his name
Since I met him, I’ve never been the same
‘Cause I love that mule
Junior, where can you be? Where can you be?
Now that you’ve gone
I'm left all alone
All by myself
To wander and roam
Cause I love that mule
Junior, oh where can you be? - Where can you be?
Well darlin’, now that you're gone
I don't know, what I'll do
All the time, and all my love for you-o-o
I met a mule
Junior is his name
Since he went up the trail
I've never been the same
Cause I love that mule
Junior, oh where can you be?
Where can you be?
Oh, Junior Oh, Junior
Oh, Junior Oh, Junior
Oh, Junior Oh, Junior
Back at camp we had vet check four. Dee and Laurie met us and brought our coolers. They pampered and fed us while Kathleen and Kim rested and ate too. This year we knew we were not done with the “Sunriver” when we hit fifty miles. We weren’t surprised when we got tacked up with fresh pads and cinches and headed back out on the trail. We were glad that Kim and Kathleen had paid better attention to the trail this year. Two years ago they missed a turn after vet check two and we did an extra six miles!
The trail was a little different this year so we ended up out at vet check three again instead of going to the river. The nice people at vet check three (our fifth stop) had hay for us and this time we got to stay and eat! With the trail change we came back to camp after only 20 miles. I like the camp checks because Dee takes such good care of me. I can tell she is proud of me and wants me to do well.
When we left camp for the last time for awhile we thought we were doing the whole fifty mile loop again. I was finally wearing my hackamore so I could eat the great grass along the trail more easily. Kathleen said if I would be more cooperative I could wear my hackamore before seventy miles but I say if she would just let me go as fast as I want I could wear my hackamore before seventy miles! After four years we still argue about pace at the start of the ride although she is getting better about letting me move out–maybe next year I will get to go even faster. At vet check one (our seventh stop) Darlene Anderson met us with our coolers and rump rugs and treats. She is such a nice lady. I remember she brought me a warm blanket two years ago when it was really freezing at the last vet check and Kathleen wasn’t prepared. This year Kim and Kathleen had warm wool blankets for us and rump rugs and they had coats and gloves for themselves. Kathleen was better prepared for the cold this year but she still screwed up and forgot her headlamp at home! Next year, she should finally get it all right! After the check we got to turn off the fifty mile loop and head back to camp. We were making great time and feeling really super and then it got very dark. Lois and Gordon came along behind us on a four wheeler hanging glow sticks. I like glow sticks, they are so cheerful and friendly and pretty at night. I was quite happy to trot along in the dark but Kathleen (the dork who left her headlamp in Okanogan) said something about vertigo and kept pulling me back to a walk after trotting for awhile. During the last few miles of the ride, three horses (whose riders remembered their headlamps) passed us! I was pretty ticked at Kathleen and let her know I could see just fine but she was still a wimp and asked me to walk. She promised to get her act together at our next hundred!
Dee met us at the finish line with our wool coolers again. This time when they took our tack off they left it off. We vetted through and got our completions. I got great vet scores which made Kathleen cry for some reason. She gets very weepy at the end of rides and says all this mushy stuff to me when all I want is to eat some real mush! After my legs were wrapped and I had on my warm blanket I finally got to go into my corral for a nice long rest and some great mush.
On the way back to the Okanogan we stopped for a slumber party at Van Gilder’s China Hollow barn where a bunch of the Van Gilder “boys” live. I think they are very cute (even though my heart belongs to Junior) and it makes Smooth JEALOUS that I pay attention to them. I spent the rest of the day and most of the night walking back and forth between my food and the spot where I could see “boys”. Kathleen said I was having trouble picking between my uterus and my stomach. On Monday morning my legs were nice and cold and tight from all that walking so she was glad I couldn’t decide between “boys” and food.
I spent all my time in the trailer on the way home soothing Smooth’s ego. He didn’t like it that I had paid attention to other men. By the time we got home I had reassured him that he is my main man. When I got home Annie told me she saw a mother BEAR with twin cubs on the Loup training ride she did with Kira while I was gone! I was glad to hear she behaved herself; we endurance Arabians have to be prepared for all kinds of things on the trail.
Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
Mentoring at the Loup
By Kilauea Fashion
AKA Hot Little Mare
(co-author - Kathleen Ferguson)
We are having a great spring in the Okanogan! I went with my friend Smooth to the Moulton Creek ride and did two fifty mile rides in one weekend! I felt great all weekend! I had my usual low 40’s heart rates and CRI’s and got my usual attention from the vets for having the lowest heart rates on the ride. Kathleen thinks they should give an award for lowest heart rate so I can win it at every ride. I managed to get Kathleen to let me go a little faster the second day. I had to pull a lot to convince her and she said something about a different bit for me. Sure enough, last weekend when we headed up to the Loup Loup Pass for an easy ride on the ski trails and I got to wear a new bit. I think I like it too. Kathleen says we will see how it works at Mt. Adams where I am headed next to do a 75 mile ride. I am so svelte and fit this spring that I bet Jenny Craig is really sorry they picked Kirstie Alley for their ad campaign instead of me. I heard Kirstie fell off the wagon; apparently she doesn’t have a personal trainer like Kathleen to keep her in shape.
Annie is doing very well and as her mother I must say I am proud of her. She went to the Loup ski trails with me the weekend before Moulton Creek and we just tip toed our way through all the mud, melting snow and ice. As part of my mentor role, I model proper trail behavior for Annie and show her how to cross water, walk past scary giant boulders and burned logs and not to jump at the grouse when they fly up (but I can’t guarantee that I won’t jump when the wild turkeys run across the road). I am also teaching her to pee on the trail, eat at the trailer, load and travel calmly. The weekend after Moulton Creek, Annie, Kendal, Kathleen and I went up to the Loup trails again and trotted through an easy training ride. Annie kept up with me even when I took her up the Fast -track double diamond trail that goes up, up, up! We went to the ski hill again the next day with our friend Kira (a pretty gray Arab mare up the road) and her rider Kathy where we started teaching Annie to go in front, go in back and go beside us on the trail. Annie is VERY SMART. She learns all her lessons very quickly. This summer Kira is bringing her daughter up to pony on the Loup trails and Kira and I have a little competition going to see whose daughter is the smartest!
Kathleen and Kendal are taking Annie and I to the ski trails four days a week now that the weather is better and all the snow and ice are gone. We have been trotting different combinations of trails every time we go up. Kendal and Annie are really having a good time learning about endurance riding and training on the Loup Loup Pass. I am enjoying being a mentor and I like having company this year. Usually Kathleen and I go by ourselves to train and sometimes Kathleen’s singing gets on my nerves. I hate it when she gets the soundtrack to the Sound of Music stuck in my head and I can’t get it out…I find myself humming “raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens” all day long! Now instead of singing, she and Kendal talk and I won’t have to worry about hearing the Carpenter’s greatest hits over and over again this spring.
Kathleen and I have a busy training schedule planned for Kendal and Annie this summer. We are getting them ready for their first fifty mile ride in the early fall. We are going to do some LD distances up and Kim and Smooth’s house as soon as Annie and Kendal have been legged up a bit more. I still have to teach Annie to drink and eat along the trail. Kathleen says she still has to teach the same lesson to Kendal too! I am having fun being a mentor with Kathleen. We make a good team; we think we were destined to be friends. Keep an eye out for me and Smooth at rides this summer; we are headed to Sunriver again this year where I am supposed to have a bigger religious experience than last time. Next fall watch for Annie at rides…she is going to be another accomplished VanGilder endurance horse!
Photos by Kendal (who is also Annies rider - How did she do that?) http://www.kendaljeanphotos.com/
Kathleen, Kim, Smooth and I went to Mt Adams and rode the 75 mile trail in May. I had a BLAST! This year Kathleen is warming me up for 30 minutes before the ride and then letting me really move out at the start! I am in horse heaven! I love being up front and really “picking them up and setting them down” on the trail! Dee and Siri showed up and pampered Smooth and I at the vet checks. It is nice having your own valet when you are on a hard, fast ride. We moved along at a steady pace all day just eating up the trail and ended the day in 4th and 5th places! Kathleen was very excited and proud of me and called me her “top ten” girl. At the finish we trotted right into camp and up to the water trough where Kathleen jumped off and handed her card to the Pulse volunteer. They told her we had an hour to pulse down and she told them to take my pulse right then. The volunteer looked at my card and said “Oh, this is that 42 to 48 horse”. Kathleen laughed and Kim groaned and said we were going to get swollen heads about my pulse rates. After I vetted through with high marks I got to eat and eat and eat! Kirstie Alley needs to get her exercise equipment back into her house; exercise IS the fountain of youth and allows us “air ferns” to be able to enjoy a good meal!
On another note, hasn’t every mom been through this? Annie cut her own hair! She was braided and rubbed her mane on the fence and got it tangled in the fence and pulled it right out! Kathleen came out and went straight to the tack shed and evened-up her mane with scissors and by pulling it. Now Annie has a 6” hunter jumper mane (Randy said she looks like a quarter horse). Kathleen tells me it will grow out by next summer. I just can’t believe she ruined her long, luxurious mane and now she has “neener- neener” bangs. Oh well, I guess every kid does something silly when they are growing up and I can have all her pictures taken on the “off” side so none of my Arab friends see her “quarter horse” mane!
See you on the trail!
Straight from the Horse’s Mouth
Winter 09 Mentoring Program
By Kilauea Fashion
AKA The Hot Little Mare
(co-author - Kathleen Ferguson)
I knew it was almost time to start riding again when a group of Kathleen and Randy’s friends came over and burned the bonfire in my pasture. They always have their Winter Solstice Party on the shortest day of the year and make toasts and talk about the return of the sun. They are being kind of silly I think, after all the sun comes up every day but they seem to like it when it comes up early and sets late. I must admit it is entertaining to watch all those people and see the fire. On that night I met a new person (Kendal) in the crowd who came to admire Annie and me. We looked especially cute this year in our matching purple turnout blankets and with our manes and tails all braided up in pink bands. By the way, Annie (MV Fashanna) is my daughter and has lived with me a couple years. You might recall she is the culprit who kicked me in the fall of ’07 and laid me up for months. Kendal seemed very interested in Annie, which annoyed me, because she doesn’t have a ride record like me and nobody has called her “hot little mare”. I will say Annie has grown into a beautiful young mare but what else could have happened with a cross between me and Mackie? (Kathleen is a biology teacher and has explained genetics to me on some of our solo conditioning rides.)
Sure enough, a couple of weeks after the Solstice party Kathleen shows up at the paddocks with Kendal and starts teaching her our routines. We did a bit of groundwork that first Saturday morning along with a winter spa beauty treatment. Annie seemed to like Kendal and behaved like her normal puppy dog self. The next day Kendal shows up again and this time we are tied at the tack room and groomed and tacked up! We worked in the deep snow in the round pen for awhile and then headed out into the pasture to go up and down the hills and plow through the deep snow. This is the start of my fourth year as an endurance horse with Kathleen so I am used to the deep snow Pilates work-outs. Annie, however, has never done the winter Pilates. I realized she was a little nervous in the deep snow so I tried to behave my very best and break trail for her and reassure her that it was safe and fun. She listened to me and settled down and followed me all over the pasture. In no time at all, Annie and Kendal were breaking their own trails and huffing and puffing up and down the hills in the pasture. Kathleen explained to me that I needed to teach Annie how to be an endurance horse so she could go on all our conditioning rides this year. I am taking this responsibility pretty seriously and trying my very hardest not to put on a “Fashion Show” while Annie is watching.
Annie, Kendal, Kathleen and I have been conditioning in the snow for a month now. We missed a few rides due to brittle cold winds but other than that we have been going out three days a week and plowing through the deep snow. I have taken Annie out of the round pen and pasture and up onto the Danker loop which is an old ripped out orchard that is being converted to an alfalfa field. Danker loop is always our early conditioning ride because there is a tractor road around the outside edge and Kathleen and I know where any hazards are under the snow so we can ride safely around the mile long loop. Annie was a little nervous the first day we headed out onto the loop but I let her know it was safe and fun by walking fast and bobbing my head in rhythm to my walk and flapping my bottom lip to make my “I’m content” noise. We have a new obstacle this year. The farmer has put a big new wheel line irrigation system on the field. We have to walk under it to get onto our track. Kathleen told me it was safe so I just went right under and Annie followed me. Kendal had never ridden Arabians before and somebody told her we were flighty! Obviously someone who hasn’t been around us! She is amazed at how calmly we handle trail hazards and new experiences. She is making jokes about a new definition of “green Arabian horse” because Kathleen told her Annie was very “green” but Kendal doesn’t think she acts green at all. Kendal’s opinion of Arabs has changed a lot since the Solstice!
This last week I knew it was “go time” because our farrier, John, came and put on our studded snow shoes and pads. Then Saturday morning Kathleen got the giant clippers out and gave me my annual trace clip which we call my “racing stripe”. Imagine my surprise when Kendal got Annie out and Kathleen gave her a “racing stripe” too! I guess Annie really is going to be an endurance horse this year. I also heard Kathleen tell Kendal she had ordered Annie a heart rate monitor and they had this long discussion about how Kathleen is hoping Annie’s heart is as big and efficient as mine. I do love all the attention I get in vet checks for low heart rates; I am a Super Star!
After we got our “racing stripes” Kathleen took us out on another first for the winter and for Annie. We rode over to Danker loop, crossed the road, rode along the irrigation ditch and up into Copple Canyon. We did hill repeats in the deep snow and found some alfalfa hay the farmer put out for the deer. Annie and I snitched some of the deer’s hay which I feel is payback because I watch them eat the birdseed out of the feeders in the yard every night! Annie got a bit scared going out into the canyon but I kept up a nice steady pace and she had to work to keep up with me and decided if I wasn’t scared she wouldn’t be either. On the way home I was so excited I forgot I am a mentor and I put on a little “Fashion show” by squealing and doing a couple of crow hops on the irrigation ditch track. Kathleen got pretty mad at me and rode me into some really deep snow and made me break new trail all the way home. That reminded me that I am supposed to be setting a good example so I settled down and quit hopping around. I don’t mean to be naughty it is just that I am so excited to start a new endurance year and I can’t wait until the snow melts and we can start trotting and cantering up those hills. I just feel so good sometimes I have to jump in the air and let everyone know how great it is to be an endurance horse!