Four members of the Pirate Nation took the dinghy SS Jeep over the mountains this weekend to help out at the Milwaukee Railroad Trail ride in Ellensburg, WA. Ride manager (and fellow-Pirate) Gail Williams put together another good early-season ride--a challenging task in the Pacific Northwest, and a terrific opportunity for me to have fun.
As a pulser-and-generally-helpful-person for the day, I saw a side of endurance riding that is fairly new to me: I listened to horses all day, and learned a lot. For the first time, I saw fatigue symptoms not only from the outside, but from the inside as well. I saw some horses who took 10 or 12 minutes to pulse down each time they entered camp, and I saw others who came into camp and pulsed down immediately at 48 bpm. Hmmm. Clearly there's something worth investigating here.
Another good thing about working for the ride instead of riding tail-end in some crazy distance is that you don't miss any of the parties! I actually attended two potlucks in the same evening. (Gary's seafood chowder gets the blue ribbon at potluck #1; the potato fixin's take "best condition" for potluck #2).
The final fun thing about working at a ride is the opportunity to actually see and talk to almost everybody in camp. I never get to do that when I'm riding!