Day 1 at Indy weekend before last went fantastic. In the vet's words "She looks great." Those are the kind of words you want to hear after a ride.
Day 2 at Indy it had poured serious rain overnight creating a slippery skim over nearly 90% of the trail, and the course was switched to a loop with a lot more climb and descent than the previous day. Journey gave it her good try, and trotted on down the yellow brick road (slippery skim from hell) with her back in moving side to side to side, hydroplaning down the steeper downhills, and it took a toll on her (and other horses as well). Her trot out after the second loop was a thumbs down..."come back in 25 minutes and see if your horse can trot." I worked her very tight hamstrings, slapped on her Renegades (I'd already pulled the Gloves) took her for the trot-out before my cut off time, and she passed. We camped overnight which gave her plenty of time to stiffen up from all that hill climbing and any type of injury to further manifest itself. By the time I hauled her home, and turned her out, she was significantly off on her right hind, even at the walk. So she had about nine days of rest, and I took her out for a ten mile loop yesterday to see how things feel. Normally I can pick up on a front end lameness in the saddle, by the feel of how the horse is moving. Not so with a hind end thing. I was having trouble yesterday distinguishing what was "lazy horse, I'm too close to home, and don't really want to go, rather be with my barn buddies" and is there something wrong on that right rear. I'm the only person I have to hand trot her, so I can't get a good look at her trotting out on a straight line. Thought I'd try the round pen, and being on the circle wasn't a great angle for me to watch symmetry of those hind legs. Journey has such a weird way of going anyway...it's just hard to tell! She has so little impulsion on a good day. Likes to barely skim the ground, and sometimes skim the ground with the toe of her hinds. WILL. NOT. PICK.THEM.UP. This gets us in trouble on trail as well since she does not feel the need to perceive that a rock or root, or tree stump is coming up, she just looks everywhere but where she is going and it is caused two rather nasty crashes over the past three years. Having said ALL THAT I'm trying to decide if I can attempt a 50 at Top of the Rock or if it would be pure blind stupid ignorance to attempt it. I rode the two day ride at Indy in preparation for doing the 50 at TOR. I've only had one 10 mile ride since, which I'm not sure is totally troubling as horses don't tend to loose their fitness in a two week span, and she needed the rest to heal whatever the underlying issue may have been with that right rear lameness. She had a fresh hoof trim ...trying to work her toes back as well. She appears sound at liberty now. I'd like to get my 50 out of the way for the year before things heat up any worse, but I'd rather have a completion of 25 for my Green Machine team points than to blow out on a 50 if she isn't healed completely from whatever that thing is. I don't know what to do.
I'm to the place that I'd like to ride multi-days as a rider, but not sure Journey is anywhere tough enough yet to continue attempting multi-day rides. Without a ride buddy, not sure she has the motivation to keep good pace alone on a 50. We've done it once...but had to really hustle the first loop in order to have extra time for dawdling the rest of the ride when she is alone and feeling "meh."
I need a second ride-able horse. One with spots on it. One registered as a foundation Appaloosa. To do that I'd have to get Phebes back to sound (we are trying), refreshed under saddle "again" and placed into a home that will use her, and be good to her (that's the hard part). But the direction I likely need to go so that I will have a back up horse / second day horse at rides and can make the most of expense of going to a ride but getting miles both days.
Now, what to do about Top of the Rock?
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