Thursday, September 04, 2008

Doesn't Every Girl Love Horses?

Especially young girls. I know I did, and lunged at every chance to ride, even on those horrible near-mechanical trail rides offered by big commercial stables. It wasn't something I ever had the opportunity to pursue as much as I might have liked to, but having a horse of my own is something I still dream about.

My friend Tamara has realized the dream of owning her own horse so many girls share. Eight of them, actually. At In The Night Farm, Tamara breeds and trains horses for endurance racing: 25, 50, even 100 mile races through mountainous trails. And these horses are no ordinary horses. In addition to Aaruba, the Arabian gelding she is currently racing, Tamara owns and is training seven Barbs for the sport. The Barbs are a rare breed: hot-blooded and compact, built for distance in difficult terrain. Horse lovers don't hesitate to check out her blog - The Barb Wire - to see more of these beautiful creatures and read about the process of preparing them for endurance racing. (Cooks, gardeners, and those generally interested in healthy and sustainable living should also check out her companion blog, Nightlife.)

This weekend I volunteered to crew for Tamara on Sunday as she raced Aaruba at Old Selam, an endurance ride just outside of Idaho City. Saturday afternoon, Eric, Violet and I made a quick trip to ride camp so I could check out the location and Tamara could show me where things were before the race was underway the next morning. This was Violet's first introduction to real, live horses. Like most girls I've ever known, she fell in love at first sight:

The next morning I left Violet with her Dad and I was off to the races. Crewing wasn't complicated; I got to hang out with Aaruba while Tamara changed/ate/dosed Aaruba with electrolytes during holds. I also hauled a few buckets of water and prepared a fine dish of beet pulp for him to fill up on at one point. And of course I took pictures!

As for the race itself, I'll defer to Tamara's account over on The Barb Wire. (More photos can be found in her post there, too.) I enjoyed just being there in the midst of it all - the neighs ringing through ride camp throughout the day, the scent of horses (a distinctive medley of sweat-soaked leather, hay, and okay . . . manure) strong in the dusty atmosphere. It's another world, and one I'd like to visit again soon.

No comments: