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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

December 9, 2016

Stepping down from leadership role with Green Bean Endurance

It saddens me to announce that I am stepping down from my co-leadership role with Green Bean Endurance.  I SO LOVE THIS GROUP!  2016 has thrown me some curves.  Three all of a sudden laminitic horses, rehabbing, hubby with one major surgery down...but another to go, job changes, and I am pretty darn sure I have an ulcer 😔   There are other reasons as well.  I believe the groups best shot at ever being mainstream is it being in the hands of someone from a younger demographic group with a lot of energy.  My hope is that if life calms down for me, I can work with Green Bean Endurance again in some capacity.  Right now I have to take care of home, hearth, horse's, hubby and me.

Green Bean Endurance is probably the best personal success I've had in this sport.   168 new endurance riding members, over 30,000 ride miles since we started, a wonderful connected social experience.  It's a beautiful thing.  Very, very hard to step away.  I hope it flourishes, and grows, and blossoms into even greater things.

November 24, 2016

Blue Flowers

Blue Flowers acrylic 2016 (Painting with Jane)

Happy Thanksgiving All

Times have shifted for me here.  Haven't slung a leg over my horse in close to five months.  Hubby had major surgery, and looking to have another one soon.  Life feels "perilous" at the moment, but we are both still standing.  Horse's all had a concurrent case of laminitis, never did figure out "what" set that off. First Phebes, then Cree, and finally Journey.  But all are much better now.  Hoping all is well for each and every one of you out there.   Enjoy turkey day!

November 1, 2016

The Future of Green Bean Endurance Competition

That Lovin’ Green Feeling

As many of you may be already aware from the many t-shirts scattered among the regions. the Green Bean Endurance competition continued to draw new riders together, inspire, and foster belonging in the sport. Our little crew’s personal 2016 stats as of October of this year:

Total Miles Attempted: 15,330
Total Miles Completed: 12,650

Overall Completion Rate: 83%
Total Metabolic Pulls: 7
Total Lameness Pulls: 26
Total OT: 9
Total Rider Options: 27

Percent LD to Endurance: 54%
LD Completion Rate: 86%
Endurance Completion Rate: 80%

75's Attempted: 2
75's Completed: 2
Shannon Conrad - Biltmore 75
Kristen Gonyaw - Mustang Memorial

100's Attempted: 7
100's Completed: 5
Phylicia Mann - 20 Mule Team
Sara Borkosky - Biltmore Challenge
Laura Spear - Sunriver Classic
Jenny Gomez - Tevis Cup
Abigail Madden - Tevis Cup

Current TEAM leaders as of October: OTV Pony Tails, Picked The Blazin Belles, High point individuals in the TEAM competition are Debra Tibbitts, Heather Accardo, Cassandra Green and Claire Morris.

In the One Horse One Rider competition: Erin Hurley is leading in OTV and Jen Moore in the Picked/Cooked division.

Seedling Success: Leonardo Fuentes is our “out of the pod” leader.

Our group has had a few regional meet ups this season. The last was hosted by the Daniel Boone Distance Riders at Rendezvous October 8th. Nearly all of our Midwestern riders showed up for the gathering and Two Horse Tack graciously sponsored some beautiful prize give-aways to those in attendance.

2015 was our first season of competition and we had many members among AERC endurance riders at large who helped support the cause. As we segued into year two we focused more on commercial sponsorship, lower rider fees, and bringing our “brand of bean” forward to make our riders recognizable as a vital segment of the endurance riding community with t-shirts and matching splashes of lime green tack.

Deb Moe kept the technology straight, and I have worked the sponsorship end and served as emotional cheer leader for the group, while Maranda Bibb has lovingly nurtured a new small but important segment of our group called Seedling. The cuteness and effort of these kids is amazing. .

All said, we have impacted the sport. We helped to generate close to $12, 000 a year in AERC memberships. Our attendance at rides brought ride managers an estimated $30,000 plus in ride entries.  This new and younger demographic helps to build AERC strong, and bring fresh excitement to the sport. GBEcompetition is small at about 158 members, and 500 associate (interested) members.

There are in fact many independent Green Bean groups being supported by a handful of motivated people. They go quietly about, doing their work to build that early critical social connection. It is bringing results. Often the argument is thrown back that how it has been is good enough. I counter that with good enough for whom? We in the 50+ generation will be making way, for a new demographic.

TEAM competition? TEAM builds friendships. TEAM inspires completion. TEAM creates an I CAN mindset that pushes riders to grow to their personal best. TEAM offsets the disappointments. TEAM works together to find solutions. TEAM requires membership and inclusion in the larger group and in fact helps to support the bigger organization. Why can we not have Green Bean TEAM riding across our regions mainstream?

So what can you as an individual do to build momentum in the sport? We encourage your clubs to embrace the concept of TEAM riding among the Green Beans across the regions. Offer your intro riders the opportunity.  Fully embrace Green Bean movement at large and let it help support AERC.

 Get your GREEN on!

October 23, 2016

Contacting the Candidates

Last week I made it my task to contact as many of the candidates for Director at Large as I could find contact info for.   A few I did not bother as their views on a couple of issues important to me are well known, so no need.   But I did contact a good number of people and posed just a few questions (all the same questions) to them.

How will you build and maintain membership?

Are you for or against stand alone LD's?

Do you feel that how things presently are with AERC is "good enough" or if you have a vision for change...what is that vision?

What is your position on AERC being involved with FEI/the international scene?

At this point I know two I will vote for, one maybe, one nope!  Still have one in the wings going to respond and a big old bunch of non-responders.

We should have the ballots rolling in pretty soon, which should have a statement from each person running.  Hoping that will help me out a bit.

Journey for President

October 18, 2016

Who will you vote for? DAL

I spent my lunch hour today gathering up the names of folks running for the seven possible openings for DAL with AERC.   Have henceforth made it my mission to contact all whom are running and find out where they stand on a few issues near and dear to me.

So far I have contacted nine, have answers from three, and waiting on six.    Of the three one is a slam dunk  no doubt I will support them, and two probably keepers (depending on outcomes of the total group).  Which leaves me four to figure out from the rest.  A few running I have no question where they stand in the mix of what is most important to me, and have already  ruled them out and don't have to worry about the battery depletion of my buzzing old phone waiting for a response.  ☺    I encourage you to ask your questions, and to care about the answers you get.

And on that happy note:  JOURNEY FOR PRESIDENT


October 12, 2016

Green Bean Endurance

Interesting Green Bean Endurance "FACTOIDS"
Since the inception of GBE Competition our little outfit generated (or at the very least nudged in a you gotta do it way)
membership signups in 2015 at approximated $11,700 and 2016 $12,000. Calculating ride revenue generated for ride managers by the competition for 2016 (so far) if only figure LD fees (which are lower) our competition inspired $33,660 in revenue for RM's. This year our riders have turned in almost 400 competitions (more if we add in seedling). Sponsorship was up and our prize once a month drawing expanded to three prizes each month. This year we are able to provide beautiful medals for our winners with our logo on them. Ride fees were reduced and we are still going to break even at the end of the day. Those things are interesting, and they are good as we help the organization that provides rides for us. But the real beauty of Green Bean is the people connections. You find someone at a ride and shake their hand then...oh hell give me a hug And watching those new riders over the past two years go from 0 to endurance, on to Tevis, or Old Dominion, team building, awesome stuff. Two years, 168 riders, good people. Endurance riders. Am I proud? Of EVERY.SINGLE.ONE of them. They have surpassed me, my dreams, any ounce of talent I'd ever hoped I'd have in this sport and it feels good. It feels great to see our gnarly little bunch just ROCK the ride. Get your ride on people!

October 9, 2016


The weather was fabulous and that is no understatement.   High sixties, sun shining, just perfect Fall weather for DBDR's Rendezvous ride held at Hoosier Horse Camp here in Indiana.  Turn out?   PACKED.  When you run out of the alphabet for hip markings and have to double up that is a good thing.

I was there not to ride, but to just have a chance of meeting a few more of our riders (GREEN BEAN) and acted as a scribe (which I really enjoy) for the day. We had eleven Green Beans in attendance counting myself.  Which is an extremely good turnout considering the census of Midwestern Green Beans in our corner of the region.  We had a prize giveaway sponsored by Two Horse Tack that put two beautiful and complete bridles into the hands of our riders.  Also prized out were four flat backed buckets full of grooming supplies and rider care bags (green socks, chapstick, green bean bracelets), we gave out some bridle charms, and a beautiful embroidered rain sheet.

A bridle like this one  from Two Horse Tack  was won by Sharon Knight in the bitless model,  it was so pretty!

Tammi Thomas walked away with this halter bridle from Two Horse Tack.

 This little girl was so flipping cute!  She was riding LD on this pony and the pony was...well let's say all pony.   It took two adults to finally get him to trot (which he did beautifully).  I just get a kick out of the little kids.  This one has done a 50 already ☺
 Rump warming was the theme of the day as it was cool and breezy.
 I recall this woman's name was Holly as that is my oldest daughter's name.
 This was a cluster of riders coming in for the hold.
 Your's truly acting as scribe.  The lady holding the horse Sabine had ridden with me in the past back in the days of Phebes.  Her horse Leo is in his mid-twenties and still does a fabulous job at getting through the rides.

 A very pretty trot out.

 This horse shone like glass.  Coat was so pretty!
 This red horse was on fire!  Nearly glowed.
 The vet's, myself and the trusty clip board.
 This team was out and about but not pulling endurance riders!
Peaceful photo of rider waiting...

It was one of the most enjoyable days I've had at an endurance ride.  Maybe because I wasn't worries of belly-aches, boots, time clocks, eating or not eating, drinking, all those things that go into successfully finishing.  I just got to participate and observe and meet some of the Green Bean Endurance Competition peeps.  It was a wonderful day.  A big thank you to Tammi S. Thomas for helping me get the list together of the Green Bean riders present.  ☺

October 5, 2016

Very excited about the Green Bean Rendezvous October 8th

We have a meet up planned at DBDR's Rendezvous ride in the Hoosier National forest on October the 8th.   Our devoted sponsor Two Horse Tack has went all out prizes for our random drawing at the meeting that evening.  We have a box packed full of give-aways!!! Bridles and reins in all configurations of GREEN (to represent the bean), flat backed buckets and grooming tools, a waterproof rain sheet embroidered with GREEN BEAN TEAM.   So I'm very excited!

Come on down, and get your RIDE ON!!!!
One of the prizes being given away at Rendezvous, a beautiful cross under bitless bridle with matching reins from Two Horse Tack.

September 16, 2016

I have been absent and unaccounted for...

I finally hit critical mass with the lack of respect at my workplace.   Decided that I was worth "more than that" at least in a spiritual sense.  So there was the scramble for a new job, which I landed without too much effort on my part.  It is a big change in the hours though, and my horse happiness just had to be set aside at least temporarily until I find "the job" that fits my life again.  So endurance riding, in fact...riding at all is on hold.   I have a lot of rather scary upcoming events involving my spouse, and just a lot of uncertainty in regard to my immediate future.   The current plan is to amass all the $ I can between now and his surgery just in case I need to hang it up, and assist at home for awhile.  Whoever dubbed after 50 as the golden years had rocks in their head!   More like every day becomes a crap shoot, or spin the bottle let's kiss a big toad.  But at some point, things have to swing back and point in the right direction.  Right?   Right.

The job also sidelined my great progress towards a C25K plan.   I made it half-way a soft tissue injury to my calf, and the job the next day.   But I have to say I hated running and absolutely loved running.  It was excruciatingly hard for me, but really helped me push out my internal angst in a healthy way, and a nice little bump in energy after the initial exhaustion wore off.  So I'm not canning it, just waiting to get on line with it again.  When the calf feels solid, we will back track and go again. 

Do have plans to attend Rendezvous and give out some fun stuff to some of the Green Beans who show up for the ride.   Will be pooling names of riders, crew, and volunteers for a drawing with some decent little prizes.  Some donated, and some gathered by me over the course of the summer.  It is a great group of people, it really is.   Just want the chance to let them know they matter, are welcome into the sport, and appreciated.

Then on to winter and hopefully a great recovery for LSEGH.  That is the priority♥

August 9, 2016

Stuff, stuff, and more stuff...

I've worked my way through week 3 of the C25K but week 4 soundly kicked my butt, so I may have to repeat 3 again to build up stronger.  Haven't run for a few days now due to family obligations and job interviews (did I mention I'm jobless) and just being in somewhat of an unemployed "funk."  Generally I'm a happier person when I have meaningful activity and collect a paycheck.

On the work front.  I loved my job and the people that I worked with.  However a change in the company's software system really just cost me everything.   I have an eye disorder, and I function pretty well as long as I have a font size over 12.   Font smaller than that especially if it is backlit gives me issues.  The letters run together, or look doubled, and my efficiency takes a serious nose-dive.  This is especially true with back lit screens (phone, monitor).  For the most part, you wouldn't know there was a problem until you stick me in the above situation and ask for "speed."   As it takes me more time to process what I'm seeing.   This in fact is what my company wanted to do with me.  Move my work station to a walk-in clinic environment, knowing that I had issues with keeping the pace required there.    It deeply saddens me that the fact that I worked very hard for them and being an eight year employee they refused to accommodate my need even though I had supportive documentation from my eye doctor that I see halos around lights and small fonts could be problematic.   It was sad to leave.  I felt very unappreciated.   Yet, I do some things very well...I have a strong sense of customer service and take great satisfaction when I can assist someone to solve a problem.  I'm creative, and frequently have ideas that make processes more streamlined.   I'm a consistent worker and love the rather mundane jobs that some people gnash their teeth over, scanning, indexing, updating data, working off in a cubical or office somewhere plugging along and just getting things done.  I also like a puzzle at times (especially solve-able ones).   So my hope is that somebody will recognize that I can be a great employee and that my down time won't last very long.  I interviewed for one company twice this week and I have an interview scheduled with another on Thursday.

So my personal horse adventures have been set aside for the greater good of hearth and home until life reaches a level once more.        The Green Bean competition is doing it's thing and we have some real go-getters in the competition again this year.   Some of our people will max out on mileage which is awesome and bitter sweet all at the same time.   We have two riders who completed Tevis this year, and our number of hundred mile distance riders is increasing---four or five this year already, I'd have to check stats to say for sure.    But growth abounds in this group.  It makes me happy ☺

July 9, 2016

2nd C25K run

Only being able to do 5 out of 8 yesterday really bugged me.  Selecting the month of July to begin a running program probably is in the category of "you ain't smart."   But here is the thing.  I'm five foot one and my weight has gone up to 160 pounds.  I'm FAT.  Plain and simple and it is all upper body, from the top of my neck to my hip bones.  It is a horrible place to be in life.  I'm good with getting old.  Old means you've done some living and learned some things, but my body going to hell in a paper basket with a butane lighter poised under it does not resonate well.   I don't eat a lot, but often don't eat "well."  My exercise for the past seven years has been primarily on the back of my horse which is good for having a stronger core, but doesn't do much for the rest of me, and obviously does nothing for weight control.     Are the walk/runs fun?   Just to be blunt they (all two of them) have literally kicked my butt.  KICKED. IT. FLAT. 

Yesterday I did the workout a bit later in the day and it was pretty hot and the humidity was so high you felt like a fish thrown up onto the bank, sucking for oxygen.    Today I hit it a bit earlier as 70 degrees has to trump 86, right?

Since yesterday I was only able to do 5 out of 8 jogging intervals, my goal today was to shoot for 6 of 8.   So I suited Bella up in her harness (in case I needed JackRat power to pull me up a hill *LOL*) and off we went.  Unfortunately my route is uphill on the first and third interval.  That fish thing.  Yeah....but I noticed I made it farther on the away from home half this morning and was able to add another rep there at the end.  Half-way point we turn back and the 5th rep, okay I'm more and we did 6,  and I'm pointed towards home so if I die right there on the paved road my body will be found and hopefully I'll not land on the JackRat who weighs only eleven pounds,  7 reps in (fist pump *gasp* gasp* gasp*) we are both still alive though I am at times slightly dragging the JackRat and yelling go go go! As much for myself as for my little dog Bella.  8 reps WOOOT!!!

It was HORRIBLE.  I'm going to DIE doing this.  It is wonderful and challenging, and I've drafted my daughter to try it with me TOMORROW.  So I might be repeating week one again to get her caught up to my week.   Looking for a 5 K that we might attempt in September ☺

Learning lessons from this morning:

* The mental game is almost harder than the physical.  The body will do what you tell it, it has too however unpleasant that may be.

* Don't exercise in the hottest part of the day.

* Um...don't skip breakfast.

Bella Boopster is collapsed in the second office chair sound asleep ☺

July 8, 2016

C25K or Ru2Gray (aka: one foot in the grave)

I've wanted to try this for a while.  But I lack time, or I'm not very good at "managing time."  This old gal has never been able to successfully run.   I have a weird heart rate, resting 99-126 and that is all the time, for all my years.   So when I exert you can imagine how high my rate goes, which results in becoming very light headed.  I also have sudden drops in blood pressure that puts my diastolic in the 56-60 range.   So exercise is tough for me.  Let's add to this a metatarsal joint with a bone spur, intermittent sciatica (*weeeeeeeeeeeeeeee)! and a propensity for heat exhaustion.   Getting old is highly over-rated!

But if you always sit on the couch you are always going to be sitting on the couch.    So today I started the Couch to 5 K (C25K).  
A wee bit warm out there...humidity is high, and a thunderstorm is just itching to happen.

The first work out is supposed to look like this:
Brisk five-minute warmup walk. Then alternate 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for a total of 20 minutes.   This means you will have eight one and half minute jogs over the course of 20 minutes.  Piece-a-cake!

****visualize**** ROTFL!!!

I strapped the Boopster into her hiking vest, and snapped a leash on her.   Turned on my C25K app which prompts you when to walk and when to jog, but does not serve iced water, or an oxygen tent.
Bella says "screw this! I'm gonna rest with my mookie."

I picked a direction that I felt we were fairly risk free from loose marauding canines that might try to eat the eleven pound Bella Boopster.    Paved road, so had get off on the grassy edge for the sake of her little paws as often as possible.     Bella kept up the pace but quickly discovered that catching a squat at the jog wouldn't  work out too well.   Okay...I'll quit about the dog and get on with it.

We made it to the half-way point (4 of the runs), but had to shut it down to a brisk walk for the return homea nnd picked up run # 5 after that breather.   Not kidding THOUGHT I WOULD PASS OUT. 

So my road to 5 K is likely going to be a bit longer than the program indicates.   I'm going to delve around for a forum of just starting C25K oldies but goodies and see if we can find some like minded beat up but not given up comrades in this goal to help keep me motivated.

So the score today:
C25K=1     Jacke=5/8

Next trip  out will try to get it up to 6 of the jog intervals.   The program is three times a week.  Perhaps I'll have amnesia by then and it will all be good ☺

But  you know what?   I had 20 minutes of non-stop exercise, and walked the dog, AND dodged the thunderstorm which will roll in here any minute.

July 3, 2016

Now the flip side of shod

Getting to the end of the cycle and looking at the long hoof, with toe and heel migrating forward.  It ties me up in knots.  Trying to find a "match up" time with farrier vs. work schedule ***very sad face***.          I'm used to having much more control...even though booting was driving me up the wall.     My opinion for whatever it may be worth is that Journey needs a very tight shoeing cycle if she is to be a non-tripping moving out horse!

June 26, 2016

A Nurturing Place

People ask me now and then about Green Bean Endurance (the competition not to be confused with the larger Green Bean Movement).  I've seen a lot of folks dreams trampled on over the past several years.  Maybe their goals weren't "lofty" enough.  Perhaps they ride a non-arabian breed.  Maybe the rider just isn't competitive and could care less.   New endurance riders are the backbone of longevity for AERC regardless of if certain riders care to accept that fact.  Yet again, and again I've seen personal attacks by longstanding members in the sport (always via the bully network of social media).   All the excitement drains away from that new rider, and they decide they will spend their limited dollars at a "friendlier" venue.  You know, at the end of the day who wants to be around folks they perceive as having a hot poker up their keisters for some reason or other?   N-O-B-O-D-Y.

The irony in all that is that you can go to and muddle through a couple of actual distance rides and begin to relax and look around, and see that the physical world of ride-camp does have a good census of pretty darned nice people.   But first that new rider has to feel encouraged enough to attend a few rides.

Hence the competition.   The first goal is to establish a network (even if it is far flung regionally) of riders in TEAMS of five riders.   Second is to encourage a mentor.   I stress encourage, not mandate.  Because honestly the group is made up mostly of adults that have some previous background in other equestrian pursuits.  Third is to encourage camaraderie among the group at large.  Because the overall goal is to get each persons horse from the start, to the finish.  That's it!   The points the riders acquire are based on that simple principle.  Go the distance, get your completion, take satisfaction in your growth.  

In short, Green Bean Endurance encompasses a nurturing place to get people started.   We will have a good number of riders who started just a year and a half ago...mileage out (hit the 1000 combined competition miles) by the end of this season.  I'm so gratified by all of them.

June 20, 2016

Product Review Roma Fetlock Boots

We've had this intermittent interference issue on her inside fetlock.  The old brushing boots I was using would turn and she'd get scraped up.  So the search was on for a set of fetlock boots.

This set was purchased from Horse Lovers from E-Bay.  $31.95 plus shipping.   When I received them I was a little dubious, they looked big and kind of hard.   The wrap itself is a perforated neoprene, and a firmer neoprene that cups over the inner fetlock. After some squishing and shaping they wrapped her fetlock very well and they did not turn.  They have a double velcro fastener. She came in after a pretty wild gallop (whole 'nother story) no rubs, no abrasions, firmly still in position.   So I'd say this was a good purchase and I'd order them again.  (These were a gift from LSEGH)♥

Hydration Pack: Review

Fit:  not bad...the ear holes could have been slightly more narrowly spaced, and a chin strap would have proved helpful.
Function:  Empty not so bad, and filled definitely gave her a low head set.  I think we need a longer straw.  We definitely have an issue with running into trees, so the contour might need to be narrowed by the manufacturer to allow for better depth perception and frontal vision.
Form:  She looks like a platypus.

Next time I'll try it out on me.

June 13, 2016

About four weeks ago I gave up on booting

Have done the booting thing for at least seven years now, and in all honesty I'm just exhausted with the constant "checking", fit issues, awkward gait, tripping, loosing boots in competition, slithering around in with a antsy muddy horse to get another one on.    Of all the things though the tripping just sealed the deal.  

My veterinarian recommended a farrier and I'm shocked with the total improvement in movement, engagement of her hind motor, and lengthening of her stride, with all those things resulting in a better time average on conditioning runs, not to mention we have some traction in the mud and on the uphills.  

For shoeing to work for her us, her toe is going to have to be very short.  At the beginning of the cycle all her tripping disappeared.  Now that we are getting to the other end of the cycle I'm starting to see it again.  So I'm anxious to get her reset.  She's running aluminum and so far it is wearing well.

June 11, 2016

The Spotted Wonder is Learning WORK ETHIC

Doesn't seem to take a terrible amount to convince her that spooking and bolting don't interest her.  A good solid hour of maintaining endurance pace and I was able to trot home on a loose rein drama free.  Long live the sweaty work outs!

So today jumped our sustained trot to a full hour.  Next time 1:10-1:15 is the target goal.  She is required to maintain 5 mph and on our training loop that is harder to do than you might imagine because of the one big hill climb each lap cutting into our time.  We also are not doing any cantering at this point.   When an hour and a half seems easy for her, we will see about bumping up speed and "holding at an hour" for our weekly short, snappy, get it done ride.   If we utilize the the trail running next to the creek it is flat and would be a good place to stretch her out.  But I do need to take hand nippers back there and drop some little branches that are impeding my flow by smacking me in the face.

June 7, 2016

Conditioning for the next one starts today

It was very short and sweet this evening, but I kept the pep in her step.  Details are in the log on the sidebar of this blog.

We again used the Crest Ridge wool saddle pad and it again performed beautifully.  Not a mark on her back.   I honestly just like it a lot.  Longer distances will tell the bigger story, I'll do a long one in it here in a week or two ☺

Had an unplanned dismount again this evening.  I wish I knew why she spooks on our property.  I can ride her all kinds of strange places and she's fine, and we cross the boundary of our property somewhere and she'll just suddenly spin/spook back and off I go (it hurts every time).  Four times this year already.  She stands there looking at me like "what ya doin' down there?"  Uh...checking for broken bones you dip-wad.  Geez.

I have a new toy to try out and I love them already and haven't even attached them to the bridle.   A set of bubble grip reins from Two Horse Tack.    It has never occurred to me to try this style of rein.  When I got them in the mail I was sold as soon as I touched them.  Super "grippy" but very soft and flexible.  I'll post up pictures when I get them installed on her bridle.  They also have reflective overlay on the bit ends, so if I get caught out on the road at night like I did on my last 50 I won't feel quite so vulnerable to not being seen by oncoming cars.  I've been wanting to get a green crupper, and might order it reflective too, so we will be visible front and back.

We had a short snappy ride this evening and she is just really using her hind end better than she ever has before.  Climbing hills booted she never wanted to really engage her hinds, she'd kind of pull herself using her front legs and her back wouldn't round.  Since we went shod it is amazingly different!  She reaches under herself and her back rounds up, and she strides out at the trot with a lot more go ☺  It was a good decision.

My goal for Journey is to spend this summer getting our sustained trot really stretched out distance-wise, then to increase the pace by Fall until I feel she's 50 ready.

Test run our Max E Glo/Water/ Salt/Oats again this evening and she drained a couple of gallons in a bucket and cleaned up her mash.  So again she got 2 ounces of sodium, diluted with plenty of fluids.  Oh happy day!

I may be on to something to get sodium in without syringing

Still pondering over the gut sound issue I'm leaning more and more to the electrolytes given by syringe.    That is the change that I know I made, a morning dose of electrolytes prior to leaving (by several hours).    So if her stomach cannot handle the concentrated load, how do I get the non-salt eating horse, to eat her salt?    We've been experimenting with a product called Max E-Glo which is a stabalized rice bran product.   Our first few rounds I added it to her full water bucket.  She gave it a few sips and then was done with it. I added salt the next round, same result.   Last night I only half-filled the bucket, added MaxE-Glo, salt, and a cup of whole oats.   She sucked that bucket DRY.    So now I have to determine if it was a one shot deal or if I can get her hooked on it.  If we can get sodium going in diluted this way, I doubt her gut will be all wonky.  So then all she'd need is her magnesium, calcium, and potassium in the syringes and I see no reason that these should upset her system if she has been eating and drinking otherwise.

C's and D's on gut sounds scare the crap out of me.  Keeping in mind that I did not start by choice, but I'm sure the vet would have said game over as well.  But Journey is my responsibility and you just have to do what is right (even when it sucks).    

*Journey's last blood work revealed that her non salt eating (then sweating) ways had her borderline low on sodium.  
*Journey is also on a daily probiotic now to try and build a healthier gut in general per recommendation of the ride vet.

June 5, 2016

So I guess I need to set new goals...

  • First is this wonky gut thing....I've had two days to kick it around, and the more I do kick it around the more I think my per-electrolyting upset her.   She is never a great drinker (except on the two 50's she has been).   I'm going to try a lower dose with a buffer, and probably won't do it in the future until after the half on an LD or after the first loop on a 50.   I'm also kicking around that her little walnut sized brain has "figured out" what ride camp is and means, and she's internally stressing out.  If so that could be a much harder one to find a solution for.  She has bounced right back, we did a short ride today, and she had so much energy and stride I could hardly handle her, she was so ready physically to mid-pack an LD.  BIG FAT BUMMER.  Hopefully, next time.
  • So I have a good three months to work on her fitness and stretch out her distance (if work will just leave me be----please----).   I need to pick up my park pass and start riding the park. which will have her hauling more often,  and picking up our pace when the mud somewhat possibly drys up.  It is usually pretty hot by then, and I can work some more on my hydration issues, and get some try out time on my new hydration pack.  Hope to have the hang of that before we try another 50.  I always run out of fluid on the long loop...this should potentially cure that.  I can easily down 2 bottles or more an hour if it is hot.
  • We've nicked the right hind again since we've gone shod.  She flipped her brushing boot all the way around to the other side and took out a little chunk of hide.   That needs fixing.  I have the boots that totally wrap, but they have a habit of getting sloppy as well as they hold heat.   The farrier will be out in about three weeks, I'll have him look at things.  I believe she is fine as far as the shoeing, and if we can get some better balance going on between her and I when powering uphill  we'd be okay.  That will take more time and practice.  After having my horse trip and go down three different times in boots, it honestly put a lot of fear in me as far as speed is concerned.  Fear I didn't use to have.  After somersaulting off once, crashing and rolling and watching the horse rolling at me, and going down in a creek and barely hanging with it I have lost trust.   But her being shod she is stepping out so entirely better, really powering at the trot, and we've only had one minor trip in the past few weeks, and she just wasn't watching, was googling at something in the woods and clicked a hoof on a downed limb.  Last week we galloped the field at the bottom of the woods and she did well.   So as long as farrier Jim holds out we will start with that and try to build on our average speed so the wheels don't want to fly off at a ride.

Crest Ridge Saddle Pad: Product Review

I'm just going to lay it out there...I was "hesitant" to try this pad.  Journey has a very finicky top-side and is seriously prone to heat bumps.  We have had some pad disasters and I've been using a wool fleece pad for several years mostly successfully, but a long ride can still produce a few bumps from the heat.  The people at Crest Ridge Saddlery are really nice folks, but a review is not a review unless it is honest, right?   I don't like upsetting people, and I feel that my readers need the truth, and Journey has issues that could make this particular product go all kinds of "wonky."  The other reason I waited was the pad was so darned pretty, and Journey can be like a pig rooting around in the mud.  I in fact had to power hose her in order to lay it on her back, she was filthy.

This is the saddle pad pre-ride.  It had good coverage under the saddle which in fact is a Crest Ridge built on their Ovation tree (saddle has over 3000 miles on it but that is another story).  You can sort of see the vent along the spinal channel.  The picture below here shows it better.
I spread it open a bit to show how big the channel can be.  The purpose of that is to allow heat to vent up out of your saddle.  Heat naturally rises, and if it isn't trapped, cooler back.

Here is the description that Crest Ridge gave for the pad on their website:

"Our saddle pads are made from F11 grade industrial pressed wool - a 100% natural product that will wick moisture and heat away from your horse keeping you horse more comfortable while reducing saddle movement. These custom made pads feature a cut-out to provide additional clearance over the spine and are only available from Crest Ridge Saddlery. The Crest Ridge Saddle Pad is durable, designed to last for 2,000 hours of hard riding. If you are riding 5-hours a week, this pad will last over 7 years. The Crest Ridge Saddle Pad is likely the last pad you will have to purchase for your horse or mule."

The pads come in 1/2 inch thickness, 3/4 inch, and 1 inch, in black as well as a soft gray (very pretty).

So back to my finally using it.

It is rather humid out today, and Journey was over whatever funky thing has befallen her over the weekend.  So I wanted to ride.  She had been idle for almost a week and was full of snort and go.  The creek had flooded so we had no choice but to go out on the hilly part of the trail.  Journey was cranking along pretty darned good and sweating plenty.

Speaking of sweat, the claim is that these pads after a few uses conform to the shape of your horse's back.  It is like how a felt hat is steamed and shaped, the hot sweat from the back rises into the pad, and shapes it as it is vented on out.   I'll update that part at a later date.

So we did a snappy hour and a half ride and came back and with morbid curiosity (and dread) I pulled the saddle, to see what we had.

Here is a picture of the pad post ride.  You can see where the wear leather edging came in handy! Also the pad did begin to shape itself to her back.

So I pulled the pad.
Gotta love those wide flat withers huh?  With all the spots it is a little hard to see, but there was a nice even sweat pattern there, and zero dry spots.  I ran my hand across her back and it had no heat bumps, and was cooler than normal to the touch.   The pad performed as described, and I'm happy to say I'll try a longer ride next time.    So!  The Crest Ridge Wool felted saddle pad surpassed my expectation and fears and was honestly as good as they said it would be.  It was also a perfect fit to my western skirted saddle with "just enough" over hang.  If you are looking for a durable and beautiful wool felt pad, then look no more.  Hop on over to Crest Ridge Saddlery and check them out!

June 4, 2016

Thoughts and suggestions coming my way

*Bentonite Clay  known for being soothing to the gut, also not harmful in general.

*Gastro-guard expensive in the long term and can only be used at preventative dose at an endurance ride.  

*More exposure to camping among the masses...

*No pre-ride electrolytes  (her electrolytes do seem to set her off).

*Using buffered electroltyes.

I've had some weird stuff go down from time to time, but I must say this was one of the most disheartening (maybe I just wanted it too much).   But mostly the fact that it was my last shot at a ride until late in the FALL.  It seems forever away.  I don't enjoy "pleasure riding" at all.  I know that doesn't make a lot of sense.  My enjoyment with my horse is factored in goal setting (albeit ever so small).  That for me is where it is at.  No goal?  I can't drag myself out of the door.

June 3, 2016

We have some serious work to do before going to another ride.

If you recall at Indy, though we completed Journey had low calcium and ended up being treated post ride.  Not how I like to end my day, and she was plagued with poor gut sounds through the day, getting better, only to get worse again.  Fast forward to our ride at Top of the Rock.  Vetted in prior to the ride with C gut sounds.   Vet was not overly concerned, but I knowing what went down last time I was very concerned.  She was again stonewalling on drinking or eating of any significance.  Nibbling a little hay but turning down her wet mash, dry feed, and the water shunning.  So I thought I'd see how it went, tack her up, but try to find a vet prior to starting to see if the situation has improved over night with the hay nibbling.  She had a C on one side, and "pretty much nothing" going on with the other.  So I told the vet we would not be starting and handed in my card.  We had Neigh-lox on hand and I thought perhaps that might turn her around...nope.  I tried horse cookies, omeline, cool command, oats, soaked alfalfa cubes, orchard grass hay, alfalfa hay (hay was strewn all about but not eaten), water with maxi glo, even syringing it into her mouth in hopes she'd decide it was too good to pass up.  No.  Not eating.  Not drinking.   She peed, but it was not her normal gusher and was very concentrated.    We live about two hours from the ride venue and I thought it best to get her home and settled in.  Turns out to be right decision as she immediately headed to the water tank and thought she was going to suck that thing dry!  Once she was hydrated she started eating and hasn't let up.   I need to figure out if it is "away" water putting her off and bring our own?  The ride in the trailer upsetting her stomach?   But we are two for two, so must work this out somehow.    I may have to do some over night camping to try and acclimate her better.  This has not been an issue until this year.

May 22, 2016

Crest Ridge Saddle Pad

Journey is going to try out a new pad:

Crest Ridge Saddle Pad product information : "Crest Ridge Saddlery makes their own line of premium wool felt saddle pads. Each is made from F11 grade industrial pressed wool - a 100% natural product that will wick moisture and heat away from your horse keeping you horse more comfortable while reducing saddle movement. These custom made pads feature a cut-out to provide additional clearance over the spine and are only available from Crest Ridge Saddlery. The Crest Ridge Saddle Pad is durable, designed to last for 2,000 hours of hard riding. If you are riding 5-hours a week, this pad will last over 7 years. "
It arrived in the mail yesterday.   It is extremely soft and flexible and has beautiful leather to protect the pad from compression from girthing up.   It is vented along nearly the entire spine with a channel to release heat.  The wool is intended to shape to the individual horse's back in much the same was as a felt had is shaped with steam.  The heat from the horse's back actually custom fits the pad!   The pad is available in black or a lovely dove gray color. It's so very pretty I'm hesitant to put it on her!  Retail for this pad is $180 in the 1/2 inch thickness.  I'll keep you all posted☺after today's ride.

June 26th, 2016:  I still continue to use this Crest Ridge Saddlery pad, and continue to be quite impressed with the nice sweat pattern, but especially how well it vents the heat away from her back.  These are just very great quality saddle pads.

Labs are back all is GOOD♥♥♥ Changes...

Journey has been on hiatus since Indy.  Her labs came back and her "twitchy muscle" issue did not do any damage what so ever, not even residual affects of a muscle issue happening at all showed in the blood work.  All of her values were in the normal ranges with no peaks in muscle enzymes at all.  So her post ride even was the result of low calcium.   In the meantime I've purchased a drencher, oral calcium gluconate, and will add that to her electrolyte protocol at rides.   I also purchased 1000 mg TUMS in peppermint flavor and she loves them!  So these which are a different form of calcium (not calcium gluconate) carbonate, it does add another way to introduce calcium.

I have found a farrier by referral from Journey's veterinarian.   In the first time in the history of  Endurance Granny we will be trying steel shoes.  Though Journey does okay being bare, the booting thing with her has always been problematic.  Boots would be a close fit, but never a great fit.  I'm hoping with this option we will eliminate her propensity for tripping (and nearly killing us both).  So the forge, the farrier, and the shoes will be here on Tuesday.   I'm excited, disappointed, hopeful, and all kinds of mixed feelings about the change, and all I can say is we will see how it goes.  The plan right now is shoes when competing, and during the winter off season to go back to bare / booted to recover hoof wall and allow her to be natural in her off months through winter.  Cross your fingers that she will travel nicely as a shod horse.   All goes well I will have a bunch of hoof boots for sale....a bunch!

May 16, 2016

Product Review: Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite Rain Poncho

I've used Frogg Toggs product before.  Heads up...never NEVER put your Frogg Toggs accidently into the dryer.  Or you will need to purchase a new Frogg Togg and pass your shrunken one on to a troll living on one of the endurance riding forums. That said, I needed new rain gear!

Item: Frogg Toggs Ultra-Lite Rain Poncho

Price: $9.21 from an ebay vendor.

Details:  weight 8 ounces, very light!  Fabric breathes so you don't feel all hot and claustrophobic. 

Colors: green and blue.

Features: Hood with drawstring, side snaps to be as closed or as open as you like.  Waterproof.

Personal Review:   I'm glad I shrunk my jacket in the dryer.  I really liked my Frogg Togg's jacket, but I must say I like the poncho even better!  It is lighter, and airy.  My body temperature runs very hot, and I overheat easily.  The poncho cut the wind, she the rain, was easy to shake the wet off of and hang on the hook in my horse trailer.  I did not stand out in a monsoon, or ride with it in a soaking rain, but wore it to slog around camp in the rain and wind and it performed flawlessly.  I expect the same in the saddle.   Another bonus is the fabric isn't noisy like some poncho/slickers that kind of spook the horse.  I flapped it all around Journey and she was totally unimpressed with its potential horse attacking powers.   Great product and extremely reasonable price, hubby got one too.

May 15, 2016

Figuring out the possible triggers for this systemic upset

Rolling around in my head what changed at this ride versus other rides I've been to which she presented well, no tummy troubles, no calcium issues, and good vet scores.

  • Calcium:  Though I did electrolyte pre-ride, and during the ride, what I did not do is feed the handy 2 flakes of alfalfa that I've given her in the past.  Journey has mild heaves, which we've gotten totally non-symptomatic by pulling guess what? Leafy legume hays.  Leafy alfalfa can trigger it, and she will cough herself silly.  By pulling the alfalfa from her diet she has been symptom free and non-medicated for a year.  But also she would not have the calcium reserve to draw upon.   
  • Beet pulp:  See above-beet pulp is chock full of vitamins and in the past I've fed it religiously.  She can be finicky about eating it and over the past year I've moved away from the beet pulp as she is 50/50 if she will eat it.   It is going to be going back into her diet.  
  • Training:  I won't say "where" my job is, but the schedule change has just totally ruined my ability to train properly.  I am so pissed Journey and the trail are my "good" place in life, and if I can't do that, take care of my horse, enjoy my few rides (ie: happy healthy horse) then the job frankly IS NOT WORTH IT ANYMORE.  I'm going to have to do something about that.   I've held on because I have a lot of vacation time built up to use for rides, but if I can't get a good base on her, well what is the point?  So I went to the ride rather "under conditioned" and it is bit us hard (it hurt my horse).  Though I in fact was conditioning her on hills (as I had no time to haul out to get to the flats), it did not make an equal exchange for the long trotting sessions we needed.     I'd hoped it would, but it did NOT.
  • Slippery Elm:  Normally I feed some slippery elm as a stomach buffer.  It makes the gut much happier hauling.   Her gut sounds at the vet in were a B- and I've never had "that" happen before either.   
So it boils down to a lot of changes, too many changes, and my horse paid for it, and I feel like a pile of dog doo.    It was a mild tie-up as tie-ups go, but totally not acceptable.  I'm having the vet out on Friday afternoon, and we will pull blood and see if she is able to ease back into slow work.  Very much doubtful that Top of the Rock will be in the cards for us in three weeks.  If not,  we will re-group, get things back into place, spend the summer lengthening our training rides, and be fit enough late in the year to enjoy the last rides of the season as I'm a lame duck in hot weather. 

May 14, 2016

Post Competition/ Crazy Legs Tights

Well the thumb is still up for my CRAZY LEGS TIGHTS.  Having now ridden in them I'm still very happy with the result.  No rubs, they stayed up, comfortable, I like them ☺

Well it has been an interesting weekend

Trip to Indy was uneventful (yay!)  After five days of incessant rain (not counting all the wet slogging previously) the footing was just nasty.  I'd say I learned a lot at this ride. This episode I learned about low calcium. Journey was trembling and cramping post ride and in need of something to right it. She did get her completion as it wasn't evident then, but it does not make me feel good about the completion.  We have never previously had this problem and I feel it is rooted in our less than stellar preparation for the ride.   My work "tweaked" my schedule and it has just wrecked my ability to adequately get the conditioning as we have in the past.  I'm pretty upset about the change, and feel it really was unnecessary, but what are you going to do?  (Yes, I know---and I'm working on it).    So we went in with me knowing that it was marginal, and I lost the bet at the end of the day.  Bad decision.  Had the footing been good...maybe, but the muck and mire out there, bad call.   I did ride slow, came in 20th out of about 27.    So I have to work her through this, reconnoiter and figure out how to get her back on track, and if we need to miss the next one,  and if so look to the fall for another try at Spook Run & Indy.  But my pony is stiff and sore, and all I care about right now is fixing that, and learning how to avoid it in the future.

The weekend wasn't all bummer though.  Lisa Spencer graced me with her most wonderful self, and rode the course with me.   Can't explain it, but I feel kind of like I'm "home" when I spend time with her, and it was just good.    I also got to meet three of the Jolly Greens, and those ladies are great!  Tracey pulled out some stuff to help Journey, Laura gave me the best hug ever, and poor Cassie I was camped right next to her and did not figure out who she was for most of a day.   My team was mostly assembled there at Indy.  One team member's horse escaped during the night and had a cut on his leg with prompted his withdrawal.  The horse is fine but it didn't seem like a good idea to have a cut pastern and all that nasty mud.  The other three members of Appy Inc managed to bring home some points for our team.  Tammi with a seventh place finish on Driz (the wonder appy). 
Lisa captured my "good side" in this photo

So my take away, is to pay more attention to my "gut" feeling. That maybe if I have doubts as to the do-ability of something I should listen harder to that inner voice.  Also to make sure that I have adequate measures on hand to avoid head on collisions with muscle cramping (calcium ), several flakes of alfalfa (pre-ride, hold, post ride) and a tube of banamine "just in case".     Also a big thank you to ride vet Maureen for her kindness and care for my horse.   It was very appreciated.

May 8, 2016

Well...maybe *LOL*

I took her out yesterday, guessing about 9-10 miles, mostly hills.  She seemed a little hesitant on the downhills at first, perhaps in anticipation that it was going to hurt.  But after a few she loosened up and slid on down.  She was power trotting on the flat, and I could not feel anything else.  So perhaps we dodged the bullet.  Thankfully I did not medicate, and the dry lot did the trick. 

Ordered Sikaflex 227 today.  The Sika method of adhering boots is of interest. Was reading that some use this as not only a hoof pack for cushioning, but as an adhesive to glue on gloves that may have seen better days to get a good weekend of riding out of them.  I want to do a little experimentation over the summer and see if I can get a glue on regimen working.  I have an entire box of size 0 boots I probably need to sell.  Article 2 The Sik Method.

Was also reading on the Easycare site that they did indeed change out their velcro closure system, and it does appear much sturdier.  They also report they've changed the gaiter material and cushioned the area beneath the closure to reduce the risk of rubs.   So I'll be trying them out as well.  

I'm expecting an opportunity to demo a wool pad soon, so that will be fun.

Mid-month I have a semi-retired farrier coming out to look at Phebes.  Her soundness issue continues to get worse.  I'd like to see her comfortable and usable again if possible.  The grass episode this past week threw her into a tizzy as well, and she's been on Bute for several days.  She has got so fat being out of does a horse get fat on hay?  Grass hay at that?  The weight I'm sure is exacerbating the lameness issue, and I'm fearing she may perhaps be insulin resistant or at least headed that direction with her bad reaction to spring grass.  To get the weight off she needs work, and to work she needs to be sound. 

On the Green Bean Endurance front, things are gaining momentum.  Our riders this weekend had 2 first 50's, a first top ten, a BC, and a first 100 mile ride.  Scoring will go crazy from this point forward and I'm excited to see so much enthusiasm for the sport and for personal growth.   My team will gather this coming weekend for our first get together with the exception of our rider out west, who has already garnered us some points!   Our group has been able to give the competitors some great prizes so far this year.  New halters, leads, bridles, reflective brow bands, waterproof blanket, bridle tag/charms, reins, window decals, sponges, saddle bags, team rider bracelets,  the list goes on!  Two Horse Tack has gone all out for Green Bean this year.   Sponsoring t-shirts, monthly prize give-aways, and sponsoring tack for one of last year's winning TEAMS.  They even helped us design an official tack line that screams bean ☺ Please remember that they support new endurance riders in a big way! This year we have a few TEAMS already in hot contention, it is going to just be an exciting year.

May 5, 2016


Pulled the horses off grass.  Journey was showing signs of significant soreness.  24 hours off the field and she has improved enough that she can trot on hard surface "booted".   So I'll be keeping her off grass and waiting for temps to go back up.  Had been in the 70's and we've dropped back to the 40-50 degree range this week.  My thoughts are that the sugar content in the grass was too high.  Phebes was showing soreness as well.  If all continues to be well I'll throw some boots on her and see how things are this weekend and decide what we are or are not doing about INDY.