Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Favorite Links for training, gear, and memberships!
- National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering
- HOW TO CMO
- What is CMO?
- Old Dominion Endurance Rides
- Renegade Hoof Boots
- Riding vs. Racing a discussion with the Duck.
- Trumbull Mountain's INTRO TO ENDURANCE RIDING
- Principles of Conditioning
- Conditioning the endurance horse by SERA
- Short Article: Feeding & Training the Endurance Horse
- Feeding the Endurance Horse, Swedish Author
- Preventing Dehydration In the Endurance Horse, Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association
- Jim Holland's fantastic training links here!
- South Eastern Distance Rider's Association
October 24, 2009
Spook Run October 24, 2009
October 23: Waited for a break in the great deluge of cold rain to load Phebes and head for the Clark State Forest (our nemisis). Rain had blown into the one open side of the trailer and the footing inside was slick. After getting her situated I dumped in a bale of pine shavings to give her some grip hauling down the road. We traveled west through Seymour Indiana and I'm noticing that some of the fields along the highway are flooded and creeks are running high. Doubt sets in as I continue on south to ride camp. Pulling in I worry about getting stuck in the field, as things are looking very wet, and the rain continues. I get the truck and trailer parked, go into the trailer with my homemade rain sheet and put it on Phebes who thinks I've just tossed a green alligator on her back. I wait to unload until she settles down and knows that the rain blanket is not eating horses today. She backs out, and her hind feet slide getting out, she panics thinking the rain blanket does indeed kill horses and explodes out the trailer backwards, sliding on the grass, nearly falls down. We are off to a great start!
I get Phebes tied up and set up camp, and the rain continues. While Phebes is busy with her hay bag I get us signed in, then bring her up for her pre-ride vet check. Maureen Fehrs, DVM is the ride vet. Maureen was very helpful to me after the tie up occurred in the spring. Phebes however was not grateful and presented with mare ears and attitude. Maureen was not checking her pulse, and she certainly was not looking at her gums. We got it done finally and apologizing profusely for all the misery we shuffle back to our camp site. Phebes is back to stuffing her face with hay, and I decide to kick back and read my book until Lida gets there.
The rain broke, so out we went to check out some of our neighbors. First up was Judy Saunders from Ontario. We struck up a conversation and since her husband was out looking for a truck part to get the truck alternator working I helped her with getting her two horses vetted in. Both of her horses were wearing Easyboot Glove Shells applied with GOOBER GLUE. We talked about barefooting and booting. Super nice lady!
Lida still hadn't got there so I thought Phebes should get some exercise there at ride camp and saddled her up and walked and trotted her back and forth on the gravel road. Out steps a lady from near Memphis, Tennessee named Velvet (I think her last name is Schultz). We talk about Phebes, and what ride we are doing, and the topic shifts to saddles. She says she rides a Specialized (the lightest model). She brings it out of her trailer and asks if I'd like to try it out on Phebes. Yes!!! It fit Phebes really well and I felt very balanced in it at the trot. It weighed only 12 lbs. Sadly...I had to give it back. Velvet if you stop by, just want you to know I really appreciated that. Not everyday you get to test ride a saddle that nice.
Doc and Lida arrived a couple of hours before dark. She set up her camp, and then we all headed towards the food being served and to hear about the days ride results. Lida and I talked about our strategy which was to go slow but shoot to complete. I crash with the setting sun having set the alarm for 5:30 a.m.
A.M. wake up at 4:30 and set out feed for Phebes. She eats her hay and ignores her grain ration. Hmmmm.... She is standing pastern deep in mud from all the rain so I take her out of her electric pen, towel off her front feet and put her Easyboot Gloves on the fronts, leaving her hind feet bare.
At the morning start Lida and I start dead last waiting for the pack to get well clear before setting out. Our friend Stacey has joined us at the start with her very calm horse Barney who completed the 30 mile the day before. Phebes immediately reverted to her behavior of wanting to charge ahead like she did at the Chicken Chase in the spring. So I continued doing halts and backups. Lida was having some minor issues with Doc who had also caught the excitement. Doc was also having some coughing, and seemed uncomfortable the first few miles. About four miles out Lida told me to go on as she wasn't sure Doc was going to be able to continue. She was going to settle him down and possibly shoot for the first half and call it a day. I asked her if she was sure, and she said for us to go on. So go on we did in a pocket of aloneness, no riders in front, no riders behind for a long while. Phebes totally transformed once I got her alone. She began focusing on the trail and moving forward at a nice trot. The trail was a combination of wet, very wet, muddy, and downright deep to the hock mud in places. Things went well until we caught another pocket of riders. We passed them several times but each time I'd get to a water source they would catch us and then Phebes wouldn't drink. If I let them go on ahead she still wouldn't drink because she knew they were leaving. On it went until we were walking in for the halfway check at ridecamp. Phebes pulse down took about three minutes as she was emotional about all the activity going on around her, then on to the vet check. All was good except her gut sounds had slid to a "C". The vet said to come back if she wasn't eating or drinking. Phebes started stuffing hay and wanted to graze on grass, and drank a little water. I didn't feel good about leaving without having her re-checked so I found one of the vets and asked her to check gut sounds again. She said still not good. So I took Phebes back to her hay pile, put on another blanket as it had turned wickedly cold and the wind was blowing. My husband had shown up to help out and we discussed "what to do". I told him even though it was time for me to go back out that I was waiting until we had improved gut sounds, and if she didn't improve it would be rider option. Another fifteen minutes ticked by and back to the vet again. She said Phebes was a "B" and she felt it would be fine to go back out. So on we go for the second loop of 15 miles. This loop presented some real challenges. We had to ride black top road for quite a ways and Phebes hasn't done that. She was almost stiff with fear when up behind us comes Julie Powell from Ohio with her mare. She was riding pretty much the same pace and we continued on together on the blacktop, miles and miles of gravel road, slippery steep downhills and uphills, and the most beautiful views you would ever want to see. All day I rode by my heart monitor. The acceptable range being anything lower than 145 on a hill, and 122 on the flats. Toward the end we were trotting with heart rates well below 120 bpm. The second loop seemed to go really fast even though we walked many portions of it. Back to ride camp, pulse down took about three minutes again for the same reasons as before, and she vetted in with a few "B"'s. The ride vet this time told me that all of Phebes problems are related to her reactivity. He said her pulse would jump 40 points just because someone walked by, and that for her to get better at this I have to get control of her mind. He said she is not focused on the now but rather everything going on around her. She trotted out fine, and we had completed our first 30 mile LD in 13th place even though I rode very conservatively. The Easyboot Gloves performed flawlessly in the mind boggling deep mud and the most challenging trail in Indiana.
My husband told me that Lida had resolved her worries with Doc and they had continued on for the second half (this made me so happy!!!). Lida and Doc would later complete the ride with Doc looking strong and beautiful (I'm in love with Doc).
I've learned a lot this summer, but more to learn...now to get her more relaxed-- less reactive. We need to work on road riding, and more solo riding. More work at drinking on trail. We won't do another ride this year, but I will continue to build this horse I love for next year.
My husband Doug served as our ride photographer as there was none there yesterday. He also supplied me with a new table and a heater to keep me warm while camping. I was so encouraged to see him there waiting for me at the halfway, and he brought me the best sandwich I've ever tasted. If you are a woman who loves horses, and you have a husband who though isn't as enthralled as you are, but supports you anyway, you are lucky indeed :) His hard work on Phebes hooves paid off too. The fronts now properly fitting into the gloves, and you can see that her hinds that I ran bare did not have a chip out of them after trotting miles of gravel service roads, and blacktop! If you are wondering about the green...it is dandruff shampoo which I use for the scrub prior to treating for scratches which are showing improvement. Her feet were a little muddy, but obviously NOTHING wrong from her rocky ride.