Journey: is looking pretty good today. Does not seem sore, though she did seem so a little on Saturday, so I was glad in my decision to stick to single days for now. Her appetite has been very good, and there appeared to be no filling or tender spots with her legs. I used sport boots on her fronts due to the mud, and ankle boots on the hind because of her tendency to interfere. But in retrospect I think if we have a ride with that much mud ever again I'll put support boots on the hind too as there was a lot of slipping and sliding and that is just begging for an injury of some sort. Journey's early morning behavior was undesirable, but I blame myself on that as she had four days off to get the wind back into her sails and she was wound tight as a spring. Once we set to doing circles and reverses she calmed down nicely. On the trail early we had an issue with her thinking she was going to canter and I had to get into her mouth "more" than I feel happy with to get her attention by doing some fast paced one rein stops. Once we got through that she was fine, but I may need a bit that includes a curb strap or a nose band to have lighter communication for these situations. After the initial little things, she was pretty smooth sailing for the rest of the ride. We went with light contact and I corrected her three times total for breaking gait to the canter without a cue, otherwise I cannot complain. By the end we were on a loose rein. Even her up and down hills were very good, though we didn't have any seriously steep hills like we have at home due to the course being moved away from the tornado ravaged loop down there. The biggest part of the ride was on graveled service roads with single track rolling terrain in between. I was very concerned about her not drinking at all the first loop. Not at all at the half-time. I force fed her gator-aid from a squeeze bottle thinking the saltiness would perk her up to drink without upsetting her stomach with concentrated e-lytes. It worked. So carrying an extra bottle may be a good idea on the warmer rides in case I need to jump start her drinking sooner. Worth a try anyway. Used to do this with Phebes who LOVED her gator-aid. Tack fit: no rubs, no problems at all. Her woolback Toklat is worth its weight in gold. The only downfall is I really need a second one so if she's soggy I can switch them out. Electric pen: she was a trooper. She seemed to enjoy watching all of the activity going on at our little hub, even the big diesel rigs with huge trailers rattling by didn't phase her at all. She just perked her ears and watched...good girl! Her rainproof blanket: even a rainproof blanket may not withstand a repeat of the great flood. By morning she was soaked through somewhat, but she felt warm under there, so it could have been sweat. I'd say the blanket was a little wet. My plan is to treat the outer shell of her blanket with some extra water-proofing to shed water better. She needs a rain hat ...they don't make Appy rain hats, but they should! Appetite: post ride she ate like no tomorrow, but pre-ride she only nibbled. Maybe once the new wears off ride camp situations she will have more interest in her food, but in fairness, who wants that soggy stuff when everything gets saturated five minutes after you put it out. Booting: I love my dag-gone Gloves, but I've become totally exasperated with the velcro on the newer gaiters. I wrote Easycare to see if they have any of the old ones still around. The velcro on the new gaiters starts fraying after a couple of rides. The old gaiter system was tougher than nails, though more inclined to rub than the new system which has a lower profile and a silky liner. The only rubbing issues I've had with the new gaiter is on the front right where the velcro pulls the gaiter closed. I cured that by putting two wraps of vet wrap under it before snugging them up. HOPING they can help me out with some of the old model gaiters to fit my Gloves. In drier climates people probably don't have this issue as much, but we have wet, mud, clay here all winter and spring. We need an extra tough attachment for the torque the mud puts onto the boot/hoof. I'd like to work this out, but if I can't my only other choice is to try Renegade for training, or glue on's for competition. On the positive side Journey was THE ONLY booted horse out there that day. Her final trot out was an A even though we had lost a boot on the first loop and had to come back on three boots, replace it, and go back out again. So the Gloves work well for her...and I hate to switch, but it is just that stupid fraying velcro that lets go. I want some new / old style gaiters to try. Then there is the glue on issue. Do Gloves require a heat gun to dry the hoof prior to glueing? Renegades do not? Anyone using the Renegade glue on's in wet muddy conditions? Do they really stay on?
Rider: pretty sore, and fairly wiped out. It isn't that I've never done the mileage before either. Being up all night previous just kind of took it out of me, as did being wet, and clinched up as the temperatures sailed northward to the mid-fifties with intermittent rain. I was fine while we were moving, but once we stopped, my body said C-C-C-OLD. Maybe it just said OLD. *LOL*
Horse Trailer: Let's just say that I do not like my human stuff and horsey stuff co-mingled. After about six hours or so it becomes total chaos inside my horse trailer. There is much to be said of set ups that separate the human section from the horse section. I can really appreciate those tack compartments that open from the outside. I am however happy to have a trailer that though it may be heavy and looks low-rent, it is also paid for. So I'm just going to count my blessings on that overall.
Electric Pen: It is working, it sets up quickly. I'm going to switch out the tape though for rope. The tape tends to get bent and twisted, and the wind catches it and makes it flutter. Journey nailed her self on it three times as she had to stretch her nose and test it......the ground was wet. It nailed her good. Probably has made her more respectful of it though.
The Garmin: is one of the most valuable tools I have currently. I can keep an eye on her pace, how far we've gone, and how far we need to go. There were times I thought she couldn't be moving over 5-6 mph and was actually cruising around 8 mph, so it is helping me with perception and rating.
Heart-rate monitor: I rarely use it on board anymore. I find it distracting and invariably the leads will slip out of position then you start getting odd ball high readings. These days I'm only using it post ride to see how long it takes to get her pulse into the 60 bpm range. Seems like ten minutes is always the magic number, here, there, or wherever. It just takes her that long to calm herself and quit worrying about itchies, wanting grass, and being a fuss butt. When she gets all that out of her system she drops, but not one minute sooner.
Wants: the horse thing is a bottomless pit almost of wants. Over time the list gradually becomes smaller, and smaller, and smaller. The biggest want in my little brain is enough boots that have good functioning gaiters, storage, and an awning. I was red as a beet this weekend as we didn't get in early enough to grab a shady spot. Shade would be good, and if Journey could get under the awning if it rained that would be great too. Inside the trailer I'd like to get some of those rubbery plastic type cabinets bolted to the floor so that I can have vertical storage, under cot storage, and a rubbery plastic box with a lift up lid that matches to double as a sitting place and storage for my clothes and boots. So I guess storage is a big deal.
Outcome: I could not be happier with Journey's performance. Knowing last time that little girl "had done it" and yet failing was hard. I knew I'd done the right things, yet met with failure. But failure taught me some new lessons that I applied to this ride successfully. So let's just say ~E.G. is happy. Very happy ☺
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