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

March 29, 2011

Nothing but hills

We have really started putting an emphasis on hills.  I know I can NEVER. NO. WAY. replicate the hills at Clark State Forest which are on par with the Big South Fork I'm told.  It is difficult to prepare for it when you live in the land of flat to rolling. We do have access (so far) to a nice short network of hills.  To train on them means to repeat the hills over and over until you are bored out of your brain and the horse is huffing and puffing.  The tougher hills we trot or we walk depending.  However...we have one little hill that is gradual, and short.  We canter or gallop it a few times, then we trot, and finally we walk.  Top speed at this spot tonight was ummm....26.5 mph (and I was holding her back)!  I know that is smoking fast for a little arab.  I've never let this horse out, the very idea puts fear in my heart.  But before you all clobber me, average speed for the evening was under 5.5 mph.  I'm just trying to get more comfortable riding at the canter / gallop, have found a place that she doesn't act like her "brain has exploded", and we do a few intervals each time we are out there, then I force her back off her adrenaline rush, and we go back to walking and trotting.  I will say that my comfort zone is about 9 mph, not...26.5!

We did have a bad scare this evening.  The wild turkey are in mating season and are just popping up and flapping all over the place.  Phebes about has a heart attack each and every time one goes flapping out of a tree.  So I figured that would be my unraveling this evening.  But no...the ground caved in and she went underground to nearly her hock in a place we've been riding for years.  I think a groundhog or other critter had dug itself a tunnel there, but we were unfortunate enough to step on it, and then down until she almost sat down.  I thought OMG!  She's gonna have a broken leg.  She seemed no worse for wear other than grass stains on her fur, but it shook me up enough that I just wanted her home to look over properly.  She wasn't tender anywhere and she did her celebratory gallop in the paddock when I let her loose, so I think we missed the bullet this time.

On another note, we are making progress on eating and drinking for at least two days in a row.  I'll have to take my concoction on the road and see if she will still want it when she is under more stressful conditions.  I normally don't feed much actual grain.  Phebe's ration is heavy on beet pulp and low NSC "stuff."  It is made by Hubbard and called Cool Command.  I've been very happy with it, she maintains a good weight until work gets very heavy, then I have to give more than she's willing to eat.  But on training and competition rides, nope, she's not willing to eat it or her beet pulp mash.  So I picked up a bag of Hubbard's performance feed.  I'm only giving her about a pound of this as enticement to eat her other stuff (timothy pellets, and rolled oats) after moderate to heavy work sessions.    She loves this feed which feels tacky with molasses, so only a little of it when she's burned some calories.  We also tried horse quencher tonight and I'd have to say it was a raving success as she drank about a gallon out of her red plastic bucket which was pretty much unheard of before.  The horse quencher looks fairly uncomplicated so LSEGH is going to stir up our own homemade version and see how that goes next time out.  If we can't replicate, we will buy a bucket of it.   If I come up with a good recipe that works, I'll share.

The weather has turned off cold again.  LSEGH is working on Saturday, so if things go alright I'll do a LSD session on Saturday evening and try to pick up the pace just a little bit, (weather calling for snow on Sunday).  Winter just doesn't want to let go this year. I'm out of here until Friday.  ~E.G.


  1. The sink hole sounds scary! The only time I have ever fallen off was at a cantor when Sunny hit a hole. I was off balanced just enough that I went over the top of him. And that was just a little hole. I can only imagine what could have happened to one or both of us.

  2. Hank has been conditioned for and finished Tevis twice, living in No. TX where we have no hills. Well, I do have the leve to the dam at the smal lake we go up and down just to stretch muscles some. Rode at a NATRC ride at East South Fork, and loved the grade down into a valley where there was a cabin, and back up the other side. (not sure if you ride there) If I had just one of those, I'd not have to ride as fast on our flat trails to get the hear rate up. lol

  3. Just ordered horse quencher for my extremely picky drinker...glad to read a vote of confidence in it!

  4. oh my, we rode with a friend on her horses yesterday up this STEEP MOTHER OF A HILL. long enough, and so steep, the horses had to stop to catch their breaths (though they were huffing to hard for that). their legs were shaking, and in fact I thought one horse was going to fall over! but we made it up. and the horses are actually used to doing that hill. I know *I* am not in shape to do that hill on foot! sheesh. hills are good training.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  5. I'm back! I'm caught up!

    Tell me more about this Horse Quencher stuff. I looked up the website, but... seriously? It works? she likes it? And what's in your new special-events feed? I promised myself I'd read all my friends' blogs before I write up the Derby post, but here's your preview: She didn't drink for TWENTY FIVE MILES FFFFFF but then she drank like gangbusters. I electrolyted heavier than I ever have before, so maybe that's the key. She wanted Other People's Hay and did not want grain, soaked grain, bananas, or tangerines, and she wasn't too excited about carrots.

    Hills are dumb, but even the flattest-looking rides out here have thousands of feet of climb. I just feel so bad for my horse - I can't even hike up hills without stopping and laying down and waiting to die halfway up, and I expect her to walk briskly or trot? Heartless.