It has been a very short/incredibly long two years. In some respects the days have melded together in what seems an endless cycle of work, exhaustion, recharge, to go back at it all over again. Sometimes what we do not like is necessary to get us to a place of the living again. Big Bertha (the truck) being the first piece of my personal restoration required an investment much more expensive than suits my personal comfort level. I've been back stroking in a tidal flow for a very long time to pare down debt, but to get out of the driveway again towing a horse certainly required it. The first piece of the puzzle fell into place after almost two years of 11 hour work days to put myself in the position to be able to do it. Part one completed and she is just a glorious truck.
The neglectful period for the old trailer setting in the driveway became the next needful thing. Did it need greased? Are the floors still horse worthy? What of the tires having been placed in situ for all these months steeping in rain, ice, snow? I have so long wished for the ability to plug in a heater when it is cold, or a fan when it is hot to move some air, or to have a small little fridge to keep the cold stuff cold. The trailer went to the shop to have these things looked at two weeks ago. We brought it home today happily greased, two tires replaced, and an electrical box installed that allows me to plug in four glorious things at will! I hope to purchase a small fridge, a little plug in heater (no more worrying if the gas heater might kill me in my sleep). It was so good we had it checked though. The tires though they did not have many miles on them had two with broken belts on the passenger side....ready to blow. That is the side of the trailer that faced the elements...the tires had about rotted away. Part two is in the bag.
Most concerning is Journey. After the mystery laminitis over the winter she is pasture sound for the most part. I feel the prescription of having her shod through that was a terrible error. It got her off the ground but her heels are very under-run and contracted. Not the fault of the farrier, but rather just a bad call on how to address the issue from the get-go. So we are shoes off and trying to grow out a new hoof. We are about 1/3 along in that process. Her right front seemed to take the worst of it. She lost all of her concavity with the sole plane dropping to the ground. Rehab will be a long process I'm afraid and not sure what we will have at the end. More disturbing is not knowing what brought it on. I do not feed grain of any sort since I quit riding at 25 miles or so a week. We purchase grass hay (no clover, alfalfa). When the event happened it was very cold, four inches of snow cover on the ground, really nothing for her to get into. The only triggering event I can point to was she had got big old snowballs packed into her front hooves the day before that had to be pried out. One would see how she could have been bruised, but founder? And I fear because I don't know, it could happen to her again. Journey is my buddy, and my heart breaks to think we might not. But my hope and prayer is she will get better and we can partner up again to do something. So this is the next piece to work through and I have no solid time table.
Finally...should it all work out I need to decide what it is we will do for a sport. Endurance sport is out of the question for either of my mares. For a multitude of reasons personal and emotional I know I'm done. I will always continue to cheer on the Green Bean aspect of the sport and follow the faces of many in the sport. Help where I can, and feel proud that three women's vision changed the face of the sport for the newbies out there. That feels quite good, and Big Bertha will carry the Green Bean Endurance decal proudly on our back window until the sticky wears off! Those three years were the very best in endurance riding. I felt joyous and engaged. My other favorite sport which still is a happy thing harboring no emotional baggage is Competitive Mounted Orienteering. So that will be my first choice to hit a couple of those a year, probably riding solo. But we still need a mental and performance challenge so that Journey and I can work on little things at home with a goal to take us places. I just have not yet found that thing. Kicking around trail obstacle trials, a drill team, or just some challenging clinics. Anyone up for horse soccer teams this winter ☺
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