Contact information:

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

October 27, 2009

Now that the dust has settled

I have been thinking, and analyzing how we did, and giving thought on how we can take the good and make it better, and how we can shape the difficulties into better outcomes.

The negatives from our ride (I'm hoping for ideas from those of you who have been there done that) : GUT SOUNDS The "C" on gut sounds at the halfway really rattled me. We were able to turn it around to a "B" which cost me an additional 20 minutes added to my 40 minute hold. It was worth it, but of course much better to come in at the halfway with an "A" or at worst a "B", get the horse eating and drinking and move back out on the trail at the end of my hold. I'd like to see her eating better pre-ride. She ate hay Saturday morning but refused to eat her morning grain concentrate ration. She also didn't drink the first loop of fifteen miles, started drinking on the second loop.

Road riding, this horse is terror filled on the road which is not only dangerous (we had a brief bucking pirouette on the blacktop), but really cost a lot of time. I'm thinking until she finds a comfort zone there I may be better off dismounting and clipping her rein to her halter and go on foot. God knows I need to exercise, it would give her a little break, and our speed certainly would be no worse. Thoughts?

Pre-ride vet check: I was horrified. It was like a three ring circus getting her vetted in. Totally unclear what that was about except she can now "smell" a vet a mile away. She would let ME do the things the vet was doing, but sure wasn't having any of that from the vet.

The Positives:

Rating. After an initial conversation and some backing up at the start each time she broke gait, she rated very nicely. In fact she was power trotting at one point around 13 mph! Because of the terrain I had to break her gait up continuously. I allowed walk on the uphills, and steep downhills, easy trot on the flats, and power trotting on the dry gravel service roads. I felt really good about the outcome. In order to sustain it I had to find little "alone" pockets of just me, horse, and trail.

Vet checks at the halfway and final check. She was really pretty good with these. The vet was standing in a barn with a lot of stuff in there and the wind started rattling some plastic attached to the rafters. She found this upsetting and wanted out of there, but I don't think that was so unusual for a young horse to go vigilant with a weird flapping noise they can't locate the source. Otherwise her two checks went well. She stood still and tolerated the process even though it was evident her mind was really out there....with all the goings on in ride camp.

I'm really happy with our outcome. Not perfect, not even close to perfect, but signs that the hard work I've put in this summer has started to gel with my horse. One year under saddle, almost a thousand trail miles, many more miles to go. ~E.G.


  1. Hi...can you work at home on the road and vetting issues? Any idea on what is causing her to stress over those things?

    Congratulations on the finish!

  2. I think the road riding mindset in her- is in your head. Because she doesn't really know the difference between riding on the road and riding on the trail-but YOU do. You know there may be a car or other spooky things. And you know that pavement hurts when you land on it, she doesn't. But she senses that fear in you. So you need to become a good actor and be so non-chalant about riding on the road that she can't tell a difference between it and the trail.

    Same way with the vet. Watch yourself. Be "cool" about it, be relaxed yourself and hopefully she will be too. There is no excuse for being silly tell her and yourself.

    Michelle Detmer

  3. Gut sounds - neither one of my horses ever had much interest in beet pulp, grain etc. once they got to a ride. they just wanted hay and more hay. In fact, at Tevis was the FIRST time that Farley EVER ate her beet bulp/LMF at a ride. I probably wouldn't worry too much about it. If she wants hay, bury her in it and let her munch away. I don't think feeding a concentrate would improve her gut sounds much and for some reason I don't like the thought of a lot of concentrate (besides beet pulp) in my horse's stomach during rides (not sure why - maybe I read something? Maybe has to do with the carbs and blood sugar levels? don't know).

    Don't know what to say about the vet. I've been embarrased once at a vet - in. Very windy and the horses were on FIRE. She was a maniac and actually bucked, bolted, and cantered through the trot out. I apologized. Hasn't happened since.

    Roads - I would definately dismount on black top if my horse was being a spaz. I usually dno't have a problem, but if it was slick and I couldn't get on the shoulder and have her be quiet, I would get off. Ii tend to get off anytime we are going to be walking for a while - since we are walking anyways, we won't lose speed if I'm dismounted so I may as well be on the ground.

    One caveat to that. I may dismount less during some rides this year. At tevis there isn't very many opportunities to dismount and walk, so I need to condition her to carry my fat butt around for the ENTIRE ride.

  4. I don't think it is the "road" so much as everything being "new". Phebes gets sticky when "new" situations present themselves. Have found through experience that I'd better be vigilant, because the times I've not been have landed me in the dirt. Phebes is very observant. She knows if she has seen or done something before.

    Dismounting for awhile sounds like a healthy plan :)