Thursday, December 6, 2012

Team 26 - Alaska

Several years ago I was griping to my family about how I "never" got to ride. My husband suggested using my GPS to track my miles and see just how much I was getting to ride. Then I started riding with CTR Alaska where I needed the GPSed miles to set trails and timing for the Bald Mountain Butt Buster, an NATRC sanctioned Competitive Trail Ride. I was pleasantly surprised to see just how much I was riding and earned a couple of nice prizes from the APHA Ride America program. It was a blast riding in the Distance Derby in 2012 and I am looking forward to logging the miles in 2013.

My primary ride is a gray paint named DaVooshka. It means little girl in Russian. My backup is The Mare. She is a 26 year old Belgian/QH cross that was retired from an outfitter. She is the closest horse I could find to a 4 wheeler for my very non-horsey husband.

I belong to CTR Alaska, a group that puts on one of the two Competitive Trail Rides in Alaska. I don't compete but am active behind the scenes clearing trail, flagging, timing, safety rider and whatever else needs to be done. In 2013, the Fairbanks group will be hosting Challenge of the North, the most northern NATRC sanctioned ride in America. I am tentatively planning on competing and have invited Tammy Vasa (and anyone else who wants) to come ride with me.

2012 / 273.64 Miles / 38th Place


  1. I was so excited to ride in warm temps today! It was 36* above zero so I wore Mountain Horse pants, a polar fleece top, and a Carhartt vest. Hat and gloves too. So nice not to bundle up like the Michelin Man.

    The Mare and I went for a short jaunt - 1.35 miles - and followed the moose trails through the woods.The snow was only fetlock deep except for the 2' drift across the edge of the field.

    1.35 miles
    1.35 miles YTD

  2. My husband keeps trying to get me to pack up and move to Alaska. I keep telling him I couldn't have horses in Alaska. It appears as if that is incorrect. Would you mind telling me a little about how you deal with the snow and hay? I would just like some real horse owner info on how you deal with the extreme weather. Also, where in Alaska do you live?

    Thank you, and I'll be watching your progress.
    You can email me at if you would like.


  3. Briar and I decided to take advantage of the 30* temps and blue skies today and rode for a while. We dresses warm - in fact I wore too much and ended up pulling some layers. The weather is supposed to be nice so I should be able to get some more miles in this week.

    1.0 miles
    2.35 YTD

  4. Thank goodness for Mountain Horse cold weather riding gear. It was 34* when I rode out and 28* when I returned. I rode the Mare and ponied Voosh for about 3 miles along the road and through knee deep snow drifts. We all stayed nicely warm.

    3.2 miles
    5.55 YTD

  5. I am soooooo excited!!! I finally got to ride today. I rode Mare and ponied Voosh on the road for 2.24 miles. There is knee deep snow on either side of the road and ice under that. I would much rather ride the trails but I must be patient.

    2.24 miles
    6.44 YTD

  6. A very short ride to the mailbox and back yesterday evening.

    1.25 miles
    7.69 YTD

  7. A beautiful sunny, no wind Sunday meant I got to ride again! If this weather holds I will be riding just about every day. It's dusk at 10 pm. In a month the sun won't set until midnight. Lots of time in the evening to ride!!

    3.03 miles
    10.72 YTD

  8. Two good rides this week: 5/7 2.78 and 5/9 5.75. We have had a few days of clear, blue skies with temps in the low 40s. The forecast is for snow on Saturday, accumulations up to an inch. The top 8 inches of the ground is thawed but the next foot or so is frozen so the water has no place to go. My horse pens are super saturated and for the first time in ten years y horses have thrush. I believe it's going to be a cold, rainy summer.

    5/7/13 2.78 miles
    5/9/`3 5.75 miles

  9. Ponied Voosh, rode Mare at Jim Creek Recreational area on the Knik River at the base of the Knik Glacier.

    5/19/13 4.25 miles
    2.5 hours

  10. Around and around the arena, backwards, forwards, sideways.....

    5/22/13 1.25 miles

  11. Two short rides this week. The trails have not dried out enough to ride on them. We attempted to ride to the river. It was not quite shoe sucking mud but muddy enough that Voosh got concerned. She is claustrophobic and hates to have her feet trapped. Briar commented that she suddenly became a Paso Fino when we went through the mud. The second ride I took Voosh out by herself and had several schooling moments when she decided that she had had enough of being out by herself.

    5/25 3.61 miles
    5/27 2.57 miles

  12. 6/5 1.25 miles
    6/6 3.22 miles
    6/8 1.25 miles

  13. The day after solstice my friend Christy and I trailered to a parking area on the other side of the river since it was just a little too much for her 3 year old green filly to cross. We had a great ride - sunny, warm but not too warm, and enough of a breeze (and bug dope) to keep the mozzies away. We just missed our friends Stefanie and Tracy who had the pleasure (?) of finding four nekkid men in our pond!

    6/22 6.8 miles

  14. I finally got to ride with my daughter tonight. She is working two jobs and our schedules just haven't meshed for time to ride. We rode for 3.41 miles, crossed the Little Su River twice and the Beaver Pond once. The flood rearranged some of our trails so we had to bush whack around some fallen trees. The river is still running high due to the warm temps melting the snow pack. We were riding experienced horses but the swiftness and depth of the river pushed both of them around. My feet never get wet but tonight I was soaked from the knees down. Then we had to cross the Beaver Pond. I was already wet so I wasn't too upset when Voosh ended up swimming for a couple of strokes. The GPS and my daughter's new iPhone stayed dry!

    6/25 3.41 miles

  15. Today I rode with my friend Christy who has a green 3 year old she is riding as a replacement for her very good horse Poc who has been retired. Christy and I have ridden miles and miles together and our two mares got along very well. Voosh is very particular about who she rides with and we were concerned about how she would react to Christy's new ride. This is our third ride this summer. Voosh is concerned when Sugar is in the lead but otherwise the two of them act like they have ridden together for years.

    Today we rode 10.1 miles in just over 4 hours. (We walk alot.) We crossed the Little Su twice, multiple streams, a bridge, and a dead moose calf. We bushwhacked around some dead trees and chased away some barky dogs. All of that was old hat for Voosh but the first time for Sugar. I think Christy has a good replacement horse - even though Sugar is a plain ole red horse, not a matching gray like Poc.

    6/29 10.1 miles

  16. Rode both Saturday and Sunday this past weekend.

    Saturday I rode with Christy again and we bushwhacked through the river bottoms finding new ways around downed trees and washed out streambeds. CTR Alaska hosts the Bald Mountain Butt Buster next year so we really need to work on the trails.

    Sunday my daughter rode her new horse, Luna, on their first trail ride. We convinced her boyfriend to ride the Mare. Short ride but got over the first time butterflies.

    7/6 9.03 miles
    7/7 3.25 miles

  17. Another ride with Christy on Saturday. It was not the most enjoyable because Voosh was acting so unlike herself. We bushwacked another new trail then headed down to an old trail that hasn't been ridden since it flooded last fall and spring. Voosh kicked at Sugar, acted like she was going to lay down, and finally refused to go down the trail. I made her go about 10' then looked down at some tracks. Christy looked also and we made the decision that we didn't want to share the trail with what had left those tracks. Although we couldn't tell for sure, we were both pretty confident it was a bear. Voosh has been around bears before and I trust her instincts. She still wasn't acting right and Christy brought up the dreaded "c" word about halfway home. It would explain the way she was acting so we went straight home on the road instead of the trail. When we got there I fed her an extremely wet mash and gave her some banamine. We rode 8.25 miles.

    Sunday Voosh was back to her normal self so I went for a short ride by myself. Just a mile but I had my horse back.:)

    7/13 8.25
    7/14 1.00

  18. Rode on Wednesday with my friend Stephanie and her daughter Cheyenne. We rode up the mountain and back down the road. Mare stepped on a rock and was gimpy on the road so we walked almost a mile before getting back on the soft trails where she was much better.

    7/18 10.8 miles

  19. Hard to believe I haven't been on a trail ride for almost a month! We did participate in two two day clinics, pounded almost 100 t posts and strung 1000s of feet of electric fence. Today was fun, taking a friend's daughter on her first trail ride ever. We saw a momma moose and two babies and salmon jumping in the river. One of my friends told me she found a bear kill moose calf on the trail but we never saw it.

    8/13 6.85 miles

  20. When one door closes, another opens........ my daughter graduated from high school and will be headed to our local college in January. This week is her last State Fair as a participant in the 4-H Junior Market Livestock Auction. As her homeschool teacher and her 4-H leader it's my last also.

    Recently I was asked if I wanted to help form a mounted unit for our Search and Rescue team. I have lots of time now that my job as a parent is coming to an end so I jumped at the chance to participate. On Friday we went for a "get to know you" ride. Not much get to know you as two of the three riders were women I had ridden many miles with. I did get (and return) the compliment of "I'd ride into the wilderness with you" from riders I respect. We rode new to me trails at Matanuska Lake. They were good trails and I was excited to ride somewhere new.

    8/16 5.65 miles

    1. Wow, that sounds like fun! I will have to check back to read about your adventures!

  21. What an opportunity for you! Awesome.

  22. Almost a month of rain and the Alaska State Fair have prevented me from riding. So has the lack or riding buddies. Today though gave us a break in the precipitation (but not a break in the buddy department) so I figured if I was gonna ride I had to ride by myself. It wasn't as bad as I had expected. Voosh leaves the barn lot and the other horses with no problems. She willingly goes where I ask her at the speed I ask. We rode on our trails so we both were comfy with where we were. When we got back to the barn lot I spent about 20 minutes working on lateral movement and trotting in a circle. Next time won't be as scary.

    9/7 5.25 miles

  23. Congrats on getting over 100 miles! Good for you for going out alone. That can be really scarey!

  24. Last Sunday the Drivin Me Buggy Society held their annual Poker Ride. This ride was jinxed for me last year as it was raining and miserable and Voosh coliced on the trailer ride to the Matanuska Glacier. This year the weather was beautiful. Chilly but beautiful. However, the jinx followed me! Briar and Luna went with us. Both horses trailered nicely. There has been almost non stop rain for 18 days. The horses' pens are fetlock deep in mud. Voosh has front shoes, Luna has no shoes. She came up ouchy on the gravel roads. No ride and ouchy was better than ride and lame so we opted to return to ride camp after the first chip stop. The first stop was at the Glacier so we did get a great photo!!

    I took a hint from Tammy Vasa and decided to try to ride every day this week. Monday was just as pretty as Sunday so I rode Voosh by myself on the trails around the house. We did a lot of transitions and yields - as much to keep her attention on me as to keep me from freaking out about riding by myself.

    9/15 3.78 miles
    9/16 1.25 miles

    Tuesday and Wednesday it poured down rain. Today was nice but I had to work as I must on Friday. Search and Rescue ride on Saturday, maybe ride on Sunday. Snow forecast for Monday. :(

  25. Congrats on getting over 100 miles :-)

  26. Saturday 9/21 we had a practice search for MAT-SAR. Five of us showed up to learn how to conduct a hasty search and a line search using the horses. Our trainers were impressed on how much ground we could cover and how our range of vision was so much greater sitting on the horse. We didn't get much mileage in but got some good practice.

    9/21 2.47 miles

  27. Shelby Fisher, the Alaska State FFA Vice President came to spend a week with Briar (the State FFA President). One thing she wanted to do while she was here was go for a ride. HA! Don't have to ask me twice!! This afternoon we rode to the river and back. The Mare was great, Voosh needs to be ridden more, and Shelby had a great tie. Maybe we can do this again before she heads back to Delta Junction.

    10/1 3.24 miles

  28. Well, freezing temps and snow and ice have brought most of my outdoor riding to an end. We will begin riding in the area next week but that metal roof sure doesn't like GPS satellites. Any Search and Rescue rides will be outdoors as well as the occasional trail ride. NEXT year however I will be hauling to America and riding August and September in Nebraska and surrounding areas. Also CTRAlaska will be hosting the Bald Mountain Butt Buster so I will have plenty of opportunity to ride.

  29. I did get a ride in on Saturday. The Mat+SAR equine unit participated in the Colony Christmas Parade of Lights on Saturday Dec 14. We unloaded at the end of the parade route so that we could make a quick get away before the fireworks. The roads and sidewalks were icy in spots so we all walked carefully. The Mat+SAR unit won third place overall in the parade.

    12/14 2.17 miles

  30. I really didn't think I would get another ride in this year. MAT+SAR equine unit got called out with the entire team to run a search. We rode the perimeter and got into some places the dog teams and ground pounders could not access. Unfortunately the subject was not located. The horses walked on snow machine packed trails and broke through about knee deep snow at times. We ended up in several sled dog lots and had to deal with snow machines on the trails. Horses did great and the MAT+SAR management and Alaska State troopers were impressed with the contribution the horse team made.

    12/27 6.01 miles

  31. What an awesome thing you do with the MAT+SAR. Thank you for all you do!


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