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

April 6, 2012

The One Rat Study (here)

Whew!  Whipping this little horse into shape has sure been a challenge.  Each week though I'm seeing improvement.  Small in other's eyes I'm sure, but satisfying for me just the same.  She picked up the canter each and every time I asked this evening, without bucking, zigging, zagging, or otherwise  trying to unhinge my seat.  In truth, I think on some level she was enjoying it (the work).  Now and then I'd feel a little suck back, but then she would get her motor back and off we'd go.  She still isn't to the point of maintaining that gait for any long period at all, but it seems that we can shift in and out of it pretty well now which is a start.  We are up to a half circle in the hard-packed "arena". With her breaking down to a trot on the curve.  It is a balance issue I'm sure.  This evening on our short little ride we finally FINALLY!!! broke the 5 mph average speed barrier.  Little spotted wonder has to really work to do it though.  We basically cannot walk except on really truly leg twisting deep rutted mud.   I'm practicing hustling down hills on foot and remounting.  She thinks this to be a fabulous idea.  When we reach the crest of hill pointed downward, she now shoves my foot with her nose as if saying "get the heck off."

God willing I'm off for a long ride tomorrow.  We used the wool pad tonight and so far so good, I'll know by morning I guess if we have irritation or not.  The interpads are a no go.  It made the saddle to wobbly and overall too much thickness.  Maybe I can chase down some thinner foam though to build a slight shim along the front gullet.  The saddle rides just a hair lower than I'd like in front without the foam.  I had some say that it didn't matter if your pommel clears the withers 1 inch or 3 inches, that "air is air".  I dunno...

Below are the little laps we worked on tonight.  No snakes in sight!
Moving Time
Elevation Gain
Elevation Loss
Avg Speed
Avg Moving Speed
Max Speed

12:28.2 2:29 0.27 0 0 6.6 6.5 8.0
22:20.5 2:17 0.23 0 0 5.9 6.1 6.9
32:39.5 2:31 0.29 0 0 6.6 7.0 8.9
42:33.3 2:21 0.26 0 0 6.0 6.5 7.0
53:01.6 3:03 0.35 0 0 6.9 6.8 10.0
66:33.8 6:06 0.74 0 0 6.7 7.2 9.5
719:11.8 17:21 1.41 162 222 4.4 4.9 8.9
83:22.2 3:17 0.37 22 25 6.5 6.7 10.7
93:10.4 3:10 0.39 19 17 7.3 7.3 11.9
1013:13.6 12:10 1.08 139 132 4.9 5.3 11.5
115:53.9 5:38 0.47 27 0 4.8 5.0 9.9


  1. What I wouldn't give for a long, winding, quiet country would be the perfect place to push this thing out a bit at a time.

    1. I'll be interested in hearing about the wool pad because I'm in the market for a new one.. Today I started my serious conditioning for the year, brought out my Garmin for the first time. Rode in the fields, all flat land, with the intention of 4 miles "at race speed". I did 4 miles in 28 minutes, so an avg of 8.3. Included some walking and a short canter (like you, my Morgan is incapable of cantering in a circle). I've decided that due to that one study I read, I am never going to let him trot > 10 mph, and staring at that Garmin I realized how hard that is. He is comfortable and effortless, almost slow, at 8.5 mph. However, it makes me realize just how slow (so sorry) the speeds are that you're getting out of Journey! Now that you are getting more speed, do you have to push her to get it? Or is she willing to go faster now that she's getting in shape?

  2. Grats on a good ride and some good progress!

  3. KT: The wool pad so far has been great!

    Funder if at some point you want to sell your's (wool back) let me know. I'd be interested in buying another used if I can save a little, or swapping something I have for another. I feel much closer to the horse actually, and two rides in no heat bumps or friction burn. I'll keep you all posted on that. I have two nice cool backs I'd trade for a nice wool, or one Skito, or one mesh with neoprene bars (great winter pad). I'd have to dig around to see what other trading bootie I might have if someone wants to do some swapping...I have a size o Epic, brand new I'd swap for a good used wool back. I'll have to think on my stuff!

  4. KT: On the speed issue, Journey is pretty good about moving out on really clean flat trail. What she is not good at is coordinating her booted feet over roots, rocks, ruts, it is pretty bad! She is also inherently a little bit lazy. The short canters we've been doing have really helped out a lot because now I can throw that into the mix now and then to better hold a 5 mph average.

    GOD HELP US IF IT RAINS AT MAUMEE. Journey thinks you can only walk in the mud. PERIOD.