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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Email: jackereynolds@yahoo.com


May 22, 2012

Okay...

Having taken myself to mental task, adjusted my attitude, picked up the "problem" and turned it around and around and around, we are a bit too slow on our average to finish given the possibility of trail markers being torn down, error's in instruction, as well as if we'd have an equipment failure,  need to stop for cooling like I'd like (Journey has learned already to really love the cold sponging), or any multitude of scenerios that might present themselves.  So we have to get an increase in sporadic speed to up the average without blowing out her recovery.  So I'm kicking around what type of strategy may assist me to do this without sacrificing the careful management I've attempted on this horse.
  1. The team up approach.  If some low mid-pack rider would care to team up and let us slide along with them for the first loop it would encourage Journey to pick up her pace some.  I don't want to "draft" another horse really, but it may be necessary to help her to learn the pace as we train solo all the time.  The problem here is finding a volunteer to allow you to do this and to match up with a horse that is a little faster, and not going to run you into the dirt.  It is kind of a balance.  It also requires the good graces of somebody else.
  2. Work out Journey's duration of canter and issues with canter.  We seem to have the bucking cycle broken.  I feel pretty confident riding her at the canter gait now.  Journey however is not handy in  sustaining the canter for more than a few strides.  A couple of things involved here including her inclination to interfere on the hind.  She has learned that it hurts.  I'm now putting brushing boots on the hinds and she no longer nicks herself but does clunk around back there.  She only does this booted.  Bare she does not interfere at all.  Just that small extra bulk of the boot creates the problem.  We keep making progress in this area, just need to keep hammering at it.  The other issue at the canter is Journey gets very "up."  She becomes more inclined to spook, or hammer on the brakes than she is at the trot.  Working her from the ground last night I saw that clockwise she was very willing to canter on a large circle.  Counter-clockwise she wouldn't pick it up.  So apparently she feels more balanced on her dominant side.  
  3. Splits...do we push harder on the first or last loop?  Journey has very slow recovery times no matter the gait, the weather, the whatever.  When she finally drops she drops like a rock.  But she will never be a horse that cruises in and drops to criteria on auto-pilot.   You are simply going to lose ten minutes getting her into the pulse gait.  PERIOD.  At Maumee I hand walked her in the last quarter mile of the first loop which ate time, but she did recover more quickly.  The second loop I rode her in because it was already a lost ride, and it took a full ten minutes to even approach the pulse gate.  
  4. I'm going to re-read The 4th Gear.  Journey is ready for 2nd Gear but surely I can draw something from it to her good.  Even if it cements what I already know, at least I'll feel like I'm trying.

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