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

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 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 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.



  1. Congratulations Jacke! I think you have done a wonderful job with your mare! Just think she is only 5 years old and she is already doing a great job and getting better. So you have many great years to look forward to!

    Thanks to you and Chris and friends for all of your support! You kept Doc & I riding this summer and answered my multitude of questions. I learned a LOT this summer.

    And thanks for blogging about the ride. Now I have something to look back on and remember it. You detailed it very well!

    I'm seriously thinking about that Cave Country Canter ride. Now that I know Doc can do it and he is in shape. I'm going to wait and see what the weather looks like though. He will be 15 next year and with a weak stifle and heaves to look out for, who knows how many years he has left for this sport. So I think I need to take advantage of every opportunity.

    I really had a great time - even with the mud, the rain, worrying about his coughing the first part of the ride. I dressed warmly enough and had my rain poncho and was never uncomfortable. I really enjoyed the scenery as well.

    Please thank Doug for taking pictures of me & Doc. If it wasn't for him, I wouldn't have any. I will send you the scenery pictures I took as soon as I get them off my phone. :-)


  2. Congratulations on the finish! So happy for you and Phebes.

    Sounds like it was a really good experience for you both!

  3. It was a very emotional finish for me. We have had a long hard year trying to get there, and then get there again. I really feel with time and patience that Phebes will be a horse that motors on down the trail...but just not yet. Each ride we seem to improve little by little, but I need to seriously find someone to come down and do some road riding with me and do some more despooking with that plastic covered blanket, as well as more mind games on the ground. We are getting there, but still many more miles to go.

    I have to say I missed Chris Eickleberry in the worst way. What is ride camp without your mentor? Love Chris to pieces, but her boy was out of commission with a bad case of scratches. ~E.G.

  4. You can come here and do road rides with me. We have lots of gravel roads with out hardly any traffic on them. I LOVE riding on them. Just did this morning before church!!

    So glad to hear your ride went well. Daunna and her daughter decided not to go. Maybe Cave Country Canter they said.

    Which reminds me I need to ask you about the footing there since Daunna and I've never rode there before. I'm hoping to do my first 50 there (crossing my fingers) on Stormy. I really only need boots for the gravel road like sections of the trail. What I seen at Brown County my horses can ride on all day barefoot, just that hard packed clay. There were some spots that looked like they had some gravel added but where the horses went the rocks were pushed aside.

    So what's the footing like there? Are there any gravel roads or gravel added to the trails? How hilly is it? As hilly as Clark or what do you think?

    Thanks!!!! So happy for you!

    Michelle Detmer

  5. Michelle,

    Cave Country is nearly as tough as Henryville, but in a different sort of way. Not those long forever climbs, but more constant rolling hills, you are constantly adjusting for an up or a down. More rock than Henryville in my opinion, and when I did it a lot of gravel service roads. I did the first half booted on the front. Lost a boot midway on the first half, then went bare all around for the last half. We did come through okay, but it was the most chipped I'd ever had a bare hoof. It cleaned up with a rasp, but in honesty I'd probably boot the fronts if I were to do it again, just to have more assurance that I didn't ruin my ride because of a wrong step.
    I've done only four rides as yet, but Corydon trail was not marked the greatest the year I did it. You would go for very long stretches without seeing a ribbon and wonder am I lost? But it was also my first LD, so a lot of worries... I didn't get lost, but it kept you on your toes considering if you were lost or not. The folks that put on that ride feed you GOOD! The ride is beautiful, I got to ride a cliff edge on one trail which was a new experience (doubly so since horse was blind on one side and I hadn't figured that out yet).

    Will you be riding Stormy?

  6. Yes. I plan on riding Stormy and Laura will ride Jazz my husband's horse. It looks like Saturday's ride is a 55. I'll probably use the renegades. What I like about them is that I can take them off and put them on again very quickly. I can do it on the trail. But it sounds like I may need to leave them on the whole time.

    I've done two 50's. Last year. On Michelle Mattingley's horses. It will be even more special to do one on my own horse!


  7. YAY!! If you figure out how to get control of her mind, would you tell me so i can do it with my young one (the one who wouldn't eat at his first 50 and then crashed with 1/2 mile to go)...

  8. Michelle,

    If you ever get a chance to test ride some of the Easyboot Gloves on a muddy'll never go back to another boot. Those boots are the best that Easyboot has ever come out with. As soon as I can I hope to be going with them
    4X4 anytime I have rocky terrain.

    Hope you guys do great at Corydon! It is a beautiful trail.


  9. Zach_Rabow

    I'm thinking if I do a lot more ground work with her, play some games, and just keep exposing her to the sights and sounds of ride camp that things will get better. A 50 mile ride is a long, long, long........way off on our game plan. Until she can be truly safe, taking care of herself, the LD will be where we are at.

    Always in awe of the rider / horse teams that can do 50's and 100's.


  10. EG - Yeah! You and Phebes did it! And it wasn't an easy one either! (sorry for all the explanation marks, but I'm just so excited for you).

    Looking forward to hearing how it goes for the whole controlling the mind thing....I hate HATE in camp vet checks. I've only had to do one and she was a PAIN about it. Everything else has been single loop or point to point. Buckmeadows will probably have 3 loops out of camp and to tell you the truth I'm kind of dreading it. That's one place I wish I could control her focus. Probably it's just one of those things I just have to do until she figures it out.

  11. From the hoof pictures I see that the boots did rub Pheobe some but at least not to the point of bleeding. Or is she pink back there from the scratches? When I used Epics or Bares on Stormy she'd get bad rubs just above her heels to the point of bleeding sometimes. The Renegades don't rub her as badly. Just recently I bought a pair of pasturn wraps for Cavallo's hoof boots. And I cut back my Renegades bottoms with hoof nippers (she was pulling them off from overreaching with her hinds). I've been riding her 8 to 10 miles twice now without them coming off at a gallop or rubbing her!! So I think I've finally figured them out. Need to do more miles with them on to know for sure though. I'm hoping these pasturn wraps will work, and they seem to be so far. Jazz never did get rubbed from the gaiter on the epics. But Laura bought her a pair or renegades any ways. She's doing fine int hem so far too.

    Michelle Detmer

  12. Congratulations on your first of many successful completions on your little mare! You two have worked so hard together and that hard work is becoming evident! Way to go!

  13. Michelle,

    She wasn't booted on the back at all. The photos are of her backs, which went bare. The hairless areas are where we have been treating scratches and don't have hair growth back yet. We've been battling scratches now for about six weeks :(

    I had ZERO rubbing issues with the Gloves. In fact I can't wait to go 4X4 with them in the future. If you try the Easyboot Glove you will LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

  14. HI EG- a little late here but WOW, GREAT JOB. I am so happy things came together nicely for you, no major events. Nice to see the gloves worked out for Phebes. It's such a releif when you can set your mind at ease about equipment and just worry about your horse and yourself.. Great Job. You sure have conquered a lot this year, and you should be very proud of yourself and Phebes! Happy Trails and here's to more rides like that one!

  15. Hi EG - I'm a new visitor. I was really enjoying your ride story when I realized my husband used to work with Velvet from Memphis - what a small world!

    Anyway, great links at the top. I am going to ride an LD in 2010 (fingers crossed). Thanks for putting those links together!