We started getting ready very early, so the sun was rising for us on the coast. A pre-dawn departure adds to the excitement of doing something new, like riding a trail I've never been to, when I have to get up and load up in the dark. Someone had parked a black truck at the ranch right where I usually swing my trailer around, so it was a VERY difficult task to be able to drive in, swing into position, and then load up the mule... all in pitch black. I did it, under the scrutiny of Tobe and his paddock mate Zo, who watched with great interest as I inched the BrenderUp around.
with the dam very far in the distance. Here's Bob & Susan coming down into a lower arroyo, as Tobe & I watch with interest how nicely herself The Dutchess is performing.
As "novices" Bob & Susan were required to walk up the hill on the easy slope, to the right. As an "open" contender I was required to smoothly climb the steep slope on the left. Tobe, being an equine ATV, performed perfectly. Then I found out I was docked two points because I did not check my cinch before the climb. Seriously? Them's the rules. If I had to do that on real mule rides we'd never get anywhere.
This was the backing up trial.
We had to navigate between cones, take a turn, and continue on an angle. All the while in deep mud and between closely spaced trees.
Tobe and I share the ability to do things backwards, so we did just fine.
Again, I shoulda read the rule book, and would have...... if I'd known there was one.
THIS trial I aced, and thought was a really good one, useful knowledge.
In what universe is is a good idea to ask your animal to hoist something like that and then wooosh drop it suddenly? Uh, no thanks !
Back to search for the tiny pink trail markers.
We all aced walking over a bridge made out of a palate, then opening and closing a rope gate in a fence.
Then the last obstacle required us to drag a log. Somehow I've never tried to do that with Tobe, but Bob had practiced a lot for the Fiesta contest this year so he did it very well.
He was required to drag the log 50', turn around & drag it back.
Now Tobe and I, as open competitors, had to drag it 50' going backwards then walk forward and drag it back up.
No practice, but no worries.
THIS is my score card. A 2 means 2 OFF the possible 10. A zero means perfect. Lysdexic horror. So I got 14 demerits out of 100 possible, for a true score of 86. But the judge of 8 put no number, and when we got back to the parking lot the judges were arguing about the scores and talleys and hey, we didn't stick around to see if we won anything.
Later I was told by the organizers I had a score of 16 in Open which put me in 8th place.
Bob got 23 points and finished in 16th place in the Novice division.
I think had I been organizing it I'd have gone a bit more overboard with the seasonal theme.
A beautiful landscape, filled with the glorious variety that only a slow walk through the desert reveals.