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
April 17, 2010
The Chicken Chase 2010
I was up early on Thursday. Got Phebes a bath (with bucket and a pitcher to pour water). Braided up her mane with a strand of her mommy's hair in one of the braids for "luck". Her mommy was all heart and give, figure it didn't hurt to carry a little of that along for the ride. We loaded up and headed to Henryville and got Bill Wilson's place just about noon time. Set up camp, and signed in at 2 p.m. and vetted in about twenty minutes later. She vetted in with all A's and a question mark on gait. The vet thought she was a little off on her right rear, but I thought she was just acting goofy. He gave her an A and said we'd watch it, just in case. The ride meeting was set for 7:30 p.m. We got our instructions which included an 11 mile first loop, an away vet check, and then 19 miles back to ride camp. Tucked Phebes in for the night with her hay, her wet mash of beet pulp, and crashed on my cot to try and get some sleep. Caught maybe four hours of sleep as I was keyed up thinking about the next day. Phebes ate and drank well overnight, but refused her 3 a.m. morning ration of feed which really worried me. She was willing to eat some hay, and graze on grass so we did that awhile prior to our start time at 8:00 AM. I decided to try a slightly different ride strategy this time. I like riding by myself, so my preference is to start in the back, but I wondered if I could start with the front runners, stop, let them get good and gone, and go out before the middle of the pack people came along. It sort of worked, but she got incredibly worked up and was pulsing above 200 at the trot, and wanting to break gait to CATCH THE HERD. I persisted and we had a little rearing, crow hopping session. When the trail cleared out we were off at her power trot, pogo sticking down the trail. Some of the worst section of trail she was very worked up, including the dreaded double switch back (goat hill) trail. We came out onto the paved road and I was lucky in that respect because she could see a few horses ahead of us, and trotted on out the 3/4 mile to the trail head. She boogered over some trash cans and yapping dogs, but nothing too bad really. Then back onto the trail with hills that just never stopped. Hills that go up and up and up for miles, and then go up some more. There just can't be a tougher trail in Indiana than that one in my opinion. We had a rear boot failure which slowed us down, and I had real serious issues and lost time getting it off of her. The boot was intact, hanging by the gaiter on her right rear hoof. Each time I'd try to get a hold on it to pull the velcro she would spin. The boots actually fit her hinds better than her fronts, so I was shocked that it had come off. We made it into the first vet check, and she hadn't drank anything yet. She showed some interest in her hay, but nothing else. I syringed her some Gatorade first, and then later a half dose of electrolytes. She then drank out of a tub before we left for the second loop. My saddle skirt had caused me to get a nasty rub again, and I was not thinking that I would be able to finish, it hurt that bad. Every lift of impulsion wearing away at my skin. Doug ripped up his "favorite" old shirt and we tore strips that tied around my leg which helped...until all of a sudden pain again, I had lost it somewhere. I could have just stopped then, and bodily thrown myself off the nearest hillside (which was plentiful), if she trotted slow, I could stand it, if she moved out, which she invariably insisted upon, I was in agony, and we fought, and fought, and fought on who controled the pace for the next 15 miles. I was glad of the empty trail ahead of and behind us because of the string of cuss words each time she started pogo sticking down the trail with my leg getting further abrasion. We had some difficulty with the second loop where the trail markers had either been torn down, or were overlooked. We came out to a paved road and there were blue ribbons going both directions, but we were following white. We wandered down the left to see if we could spot a ribbon, uh uh....so then we wandered to the right...uh...no ribbon. I was stumped, and didn't want to cost my ride on a bad decision. About that time a rider I'd been playing leap frog with all day came along and she knew the trail direction as she'd ridden it many times. She pointed the way and we were off again. We came past a spotter and gave her our letter "D" and she pointed the way to go from that point. Later on we hit an intersection that had three splits, NO WHITE RIBBON. I took a wild guess and just walked along looking for a confidence ribbon and found one. From that point the trail was marked very well and we had no more directional issues. I was beginning to worry about her drinking, but we had enough alone space that finally she did, and then she started drinking at almost every crossing, really tanking up on water. We were now on a more familiar leg of the trail, another ten miles to go. We were alone, and I was so happy for it. She was getting tired at this point, and the pace of her gait became a little better, but I still had to do walking intervals at times for relief on my leg. The last five miles went extremely slow. She was about shot....and SO WAS I. Never was so glad to see a black top road in my life, because I knew I could dismount, and we could walk the last bit in. I started pulling grass on the road edge and giving it to her as we crawled the last little way to the final pulse gate. We went straight to the pulse checker, and she was hanging at about 74 bpm, so we left, did some sponging, pulled off our gear, and went back for a 60 bpm pulse down, on to the vet check, her scores were okay, but she did have some muscle tightness. Her CRI was 54/48. Her urine was clear, and she had a couple of small rubs from the gaiters on her boots. We were invited to stand for Best Condition which we did because I wanted to learn the process, we ended up with an overall 7th place finish. OUR FIRST TOP TEN! My girl did okay. I had hoped to ride on Sunday, but with her going a faster pace than I'd planned and the little bit of muscle tightness I felt enough was enough. Better to heed caution, to be good to ride another ride next month. ~E.G.