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

October 31, 2013

Our Flight has been delayed

We have some whopping storm fronts moving through today and tonight.  Not wanting to subject Journey to a night of 40-50 mile wind gusts and driving rain, we will shoot for riding on Saturday rather than Friday.  I have a creeping feeling in my gut that trail conditions will be rather messy, limbs down, trees flopped over, widow makers and such.  If nothing else, we will have one helluva trail ride.

I had a ride buddy up until a few weeks ago.  She encountered a health issue and some unexpected financial expenses and has opted not to come to Indiana.   My next person possibility decided to run for top-ten.   Journey will be lucky if she is top turtle.  I'm holding out hope that the number three person will not ride Friday and ride with me on Saturday, but not holding my breath either.   I asked someone from the Appaloosa group that had declared they were riding turtle if I could tag along with the agreement that I not slow her down, she declined.  Posted twice on the AERC facebook page requesting a ride buddy for the ride.  Didn't happen.  I may simply be a pariah.   So Journey and I will saddle up, ride solo as we always we do.  She is conditioned enough, just not sure if she has the heart to continue when things begin to get tough if she thinks she's "the only horse out there in them woods."  We have new toe straps, new pastern straps, the saddle is stuffed with payday candy bars.  It's a beautiful world ☺


  1. Best of luck! Give you credit, I am such a "fair weather" rider that I would cancel simply because of camp/trail conditions. I think when you get into 50s, there's a whole different mindset of competitors even with those who habitually turtle it. Even the turtles are massively competitive about finishing and, IMO, less likely to take on newbies for fear it will affect them finishing. LDs, no problem, but the real endurance riders, not so willing from what I've seen. The only people who have offered to babysit me in my first 50 are people I have already ridden 25s with so they know me well.

  2. Well , not wanting baby sat. Just someone to make the hours pass more quickly and convince Journey I did not take her out there to waste away in the wilderness. I have ridden 8 of my 10 alone so far.

  3. In fairness I get it. Lot of $ to risk riding with someone who may add negatively to your ride. I guess the optimost in me likes to consider the best in people.

  4. Best of luck :). For what it's worth I would never offer to, or respond to someone requesting a partner for the ride, even if they said they wouldn't slow me down. Early on in endurance I did agree to ride with people on several different occasions and it always turned out to be very frusterating and not in my best interest. Now, I refuse to make a commitment even with friends. Instead, we have an agreement that we will ride if "it works out" on ride day, and that's what I will tell strangers that ask if they can ride with me as well. I will always say "Sure! I ride my own ride and you are welcomed to stick around as long as it's working for your horse and mine". This strategy has worked well for me and more often than not I do pair up with someone and ride a substantial portion of the ride with them. Honestly, I find that the people that would agree to ride with me if I came out and asked publically before the ride like you did are people I don't want to ride with anyways. I recommend scoping out the riders and horses the day before in ride camp and causually asking what they are planning on doing during the ride and have a handful of riders that you suspect will be at the back with you. And then, try and keep them in sight, or keep track of where they are around you. I have a handful of people I know that I have NO BUSINESS going faster than they do at a ride, so if I see them in front of me I slow down and don't pass. And then there's a handful of riders that I know usually finish near the back of the pack and behind me, and I'll reevaluate my speed if I see them catching up to me. I watched Funder do something similar in rides I've crewed for her. There were some people around her that she knew tended to ride faster, so even though she rode with them a little, when they started to speed up, she let them go. And she knew the handful of people that rode her pace, and so she sort of just alternated between them as the went her pace, depending on the part of the ride she was in. I think in your first 50 it will be key to not wait on someone (which is just as dangerous a part of asking to ride with someone as the other way around) and to follow that advice of "never hurry, never tarry" and even if you leave the vet check walking, waiting for someone to catch up, do it and don't wait at the check for them. Every minute spent moving forward on the trail, even at the walk is a moment well spent.

  5. I'm going to try and post something on getting through a "wall" but wanted to put something here just in case I dont' do it in time to help you this weekend :). You nad your horse will probably hit wall. Maybe at the same time, maybe not. It's hard to tell whether your horse is done, or if it's just a wall that they will get through. Some people are comfortable asking their horse to push through that wall, and some people have the opinion that if it isn't fun for the horse, than they don't want to ask and would rather pull. For me, asking Farley to push through the wall is a lot like asking her to go out on a conditioning ride. Farley doesn't enjoy conditioning and going away from home early on, she drags and goes SLLLOOOOWWWWW. And sometimes does a silly spook. Or flings her head. Or is just so dull I worry - is she tying up??? Is she lame????? Is she colicky????? Exactly the same things I worry about during an endurance ride when she doesn't want to be forward. I handle it much the same way. If I'm asking for forward and she's dumpy and slow and resistant I do a systems check - are her butt muscles tight? Does she feel sound? Did she eat and drink at the last check? If all the physiological systems are a go, then I insist on forward motion, even if I have to use a crop to reinforce my leg, until she knows I am REALLY serious that she continue to move off my leg. Is there a chance that something is going on that I missed that I've now made worse by my insitence that she move forward? Yes. Is it likely? No. Twice during training there were issues that manifested as slows and resistance. Once, I caught the problem, and once I missed it and didn't catch it until later. But on the one i missed I gave her every opportunity to prove to me something was going on - including lunging her in a roundpen looking for lameness - and when nothing showed, I had to conclude it was a training issue and not a lameness issue. And.....she ended up tying up at the end of that arena session. But, you do the best you can at the time with the information you have. I feel confident enough in my ability to evaluate Farley, and I have enough time with Farley that I know what is likely to be wrong, so I feel very comfortable concluding that the "wall" during an endurance ride is mental and insisting she keep moving after doing a quick "systems check". But on a new horse? I would be more cautious and while a systems check on Farley takes me ~30 seconds, I might take 1-2 minutes evaluating a resistant horse that had less experience.

  6. Mel, that is pretty much what we've done in the past. Now I have to figure out where in the pack I want to leave. Was planning on the back, but after stewing over it last night I think it might not be the best place for Journey. She finished her LD well with another horse just "sort of" on radar up ahead. If we are too far back I think she'll lose heart at some point. Regardless we will be alone at some point, as I can't fathom anyone moving as slow as we this morning's great idea is try and set a good enough pace the first half to give us a little more wiggle room the second half, without going too fast. It's a plan anyway. I'm going to touch base with my remaining ride partner if she hasn't picked today to ride (which I kind of think she will as the temps and sunshine are more optimal). If nothing else there will be some Appaloosa horses on trail, if one is slow enough I'll pick a target and hang back :)

    I've never had really high anxiety about a ride like I have for this one. Probably because I've put it off so long ...