I Have Found My Derby Mentor

This past weekend I got the chance to ride with former Derby competitor Sophia McKee. This was my first experience with any endurance type riding. We did 10 miles in the beautiful Taylor's Mountain state park located south of Seattle.

I got the opportunity to ride two of her horses, both were extremely well behaved and experienced endurance horses. The biggest difference between them and the horses I am used to riding is size. My horse Moose and the dressage horses I have been riding are 16.5h and bigger. These horses were closer to 14h. The Mongolian horses will be around 11h! For non horsey people h stands for hands which is appropriately 4 inches. 16h to 10h is a huge size difference! Although a smaller horse means I will be closer to the ground, it also means I will have a small and quicker animal to balance on top of.

This was also my first opportunity to test out my "derby kit"- the backpack I will be riding in and some of its contents. I learned quickly that it is very important to get all of the air out of your camel-back, the sound of sloshing water is not a good one for horses.

I finished the ride feeling more confident and excited for the race. Sophia shared some Derby tips with me that will be invaluable for the race (such as be capable of drinking warm vodka...and other more important ones). I am looking forward to another ride soon.

Thanks to all that have contributed to my efforts, please continue to share my race with friends and follow along!

Rachel Roman