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

April 22, 2010

Sweetening the pot (or this case the feed pan)

WORKING ON WORKING OUT THE RIDE ISSUES:I'm trying to think of ways to inspire Phebes to eat in a ride camp setting. She is usually pretty good about eating her chow the day we get there, she eats about 80% of her ration overnight (compared to all of it when at home), and the morning of I've yet to have any luck getting her to eat even though I get up at 3 AM to give her plenty of time to work at consuming her 3 pounds of concentrated pellets. So I'm thinking of adding some sweet feed to her Cool Command in hopes that a 1/4 pound or so will entice her to eat the rest. The downside would be that she starts turning up her nose to the Cool Command which is her mainstay ration. I don't want to give her sweet feed everyday as I don't think candy is good for ANY OF US (doesn't stop me from eating it, but I don't have it every day). Phebes has at this point gained back all of her loss from the ride. She is a horse that really dumps weight when you stack up more than a ten mile ride. She looks well hydrated, a nice little divet along the spine, and her coat is shiny. If weather cooperates and I get home at a decent hour tomorrow a nice little ride is in order. If not, then shooting for Saturday again.

All I can figure on this one is more exposure and experience. She doesn't object to Doug or I handling her, and as we aren't running a boarding house there aren't any "spare" men to handle her for the purpose of desensitizing her. Thankfully Mike Habel (ride vet) was really good about it. He was firm, but kind and fair with her.

I'll be the first to admit that I "enjoyed" my ride starting at the back much more than starting in the front or middle positions. On the other hand, since Phebes keeps a pretty good average pace, though not "fast" she doesn't waste a lot of time. Being positioned near the front eliminated a lot of horses passing us through the day (at least the LD participants) and gave my horse more quiet opportunity to drink on her second loop. When starting from the back position I had a multitude of 50 mile participants passing us, and we went around many of the slow LD riders on the second half, which tended to stir her up with refusals to drink. I've emailed someone who has ridden TOR many times, and they say the trail is usually the same as the day 2 trail for CC which she has ridden several times before. I'm at a total loss as to where we will start next time. Guess I'll see what the pack looks like and who the front runners are, and guage my position then. I'm still riding for a finish, just want my own little trail pocket as much as possible.

Kicking around some ideas. But they keep adding up to more junk miles than I think she needs. Thoughts are hill intervals for 1 hour, twice a week, and a longer ride on the weekends, and leave it at that. The 30 she did should count towards training for the lesser mileage she will be doing which is 25...yes? She has had a lot of miles under saddle already for a 6 year old horse (Phebes birthday is tomorrow). ~E.G.


  1. As the ride start times gets closer, do YOU start getting tense? She may pick up on that, and stop chowing down. More rides, more you both would relax. And same with getting vetted. Practice.

  2. Less is more. I'd shoot for 2 hill sessions a week with the longer ride, as you discribe with one caveat - get the first hill session in, but then if you don't get the 2nd (because of work, fatigue, whatever), don't stress about it and go for a pleasure ride instead 30-60 minutes. You are right in thinking your 30 counts significantly toward her training for her next race.

    LD's usually start second to the 50's at the rides I do.....when you talked about 50's passing you - now I understand why you had so many people passing you when you were at the back!

  3. Lida,

    Because the line is so fine with Phebes between doing it wrong, and doing it right....NO MY MIND NEVER RESTS. I don't ever want to hurt her, but I also want to have her continue to train towards whatever her potential will be. I do have a competitive nature, but don't want to hurt my horse to BE COMPETITIVE, so I'm always rolling this stuff around in my head on how to do better for my horse. Taking the maximum amount of ride time is good, but at some point I have to know if we are improving. Our happy place seems to be at about 6 mph currently. But last ride has shown me that you can be competitive at that slow speed if you can get started in the right pocket, and hold your position. Granted, I wish the last ride would have been 25 miles. The extra 5 miles was hard on her, and hard on me. If I can't fix EVERYTHING, I try to find little fixes in hopes of a better outcome each time we ride.