Thursday, November 8, 2018

Whoops We Did It Again

Shortly after the first endurance ride, J (owns the horse I ride) texted me and said she wanted to try another one.  She rider optioned at the first ride and really wanted to end the season on a positive note.  If I am 100% honest, my legs hurt like hell and I had zero desire to do another one, plus the timing was pretty crappy and it was 3.5 hours away vs the under an hour for the first ride.

I forgot to buy my pictures so they are coming in the mail

But I like J, so I stupidly said yes.  Work was totally insane the week leading up to the ride and I barely got away (despite coming in at the ass crack of dawn) in time to make it up before dark.  I had no desire to try and find ride camp and the right trailer in the dark.

At the ride meeting we got a lovely little surprise.  The 30 we were going to ride was actually bumped up to a 35.  I wasn't very excited about that, plus I discovered that I had forgotten my pommel bags and had no way to carry water with me.

The next morning we were off.  There was one vet check away from camp at about mile 18 with a 30 minute hold.  There was also a trot before the vet check.  I am not sure what it was about this trail, but it was very demoralizing.  It felt like we had been moving at a good speed, but it was a struggle to find the trail.

Endurance seems really simple.  Look at the map and then stay on the trail and follow the markers.  Unfortunately because of the last minute trail change the maps were not accurate and to top it off there were ribbons of every color all over the place.  The ride manager wasn't able to use specific colors for loops because you are hard pressed to find a ribbon color that wasn't already out there.  Our instructions were something like red to pink to red home.  Needless to say, we went off trail a couple times.  Plus I think we accidentally did a loop that was for the 50 milers.

By the time we hit the first vet check I was struggling.  I started out tired because of work, I got behind on my hydration (key to keeping me happy; I can function without food, but water is a must) because I didn't have a way to carry water with me (my own stupidity and a mistake I won't be making again), and my horse was feeling sluggish.  She wasn't drinking well and was pretty much being pulled along by J's horse.

Thankfully, the vet check had amazing volunteers.  While I was standing in line for vet check someone brought me water and refilled it for me too.  Vet check went smoothly and we let the horses eat for awhile.  It was only a 30 minute hold, so by 40 minutes we were back out on the trail.

The trail back to camp was more of the same.  Thankfully part was a repeat of the first and J's horse locked in and took us home.  My horse was essentially pulled along.  Eventually we made it back to camp and it took my horse a bit to pulse down, but she did and both horses did well at the final vet check for another completion.

J is already making winter plans, so I guess I am going to keep doing this endurance thing.  I will say one thing, it is getting me in shape and helping to improve my balance.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

We Are Back!

Poor Stinker had a very busy weekend.  I think I actually managed to make him tired for the first time ever.  For the most part he has been in no to very light work.  For a large portion of it, he wasn't self exercising as much as he typically does because his foot hurt.  He was standing around and porking out most of the time.

These birds love sitting on the horses

First we hauled up to trainer's place instead of the fancy barn where we usually lesson.  It is just under an hour to her place.  He had a bit of a meltdown on the trailer and was dripping in sweat when I pulled him off.  Thankfully that took the edge off the dragon.

Cowboy was looking for cookies, but I was playing with my phone instead

He is actually most excellent in new places.  The stallion was screaming and raising hell but Stinker calmly started eating his hay and stood like a champion.  In the ring he was all business.  Several of the problems I had been having was me.  I felt like he was leaning really heavy on his left shoulder, but in reality I was pushing him onto it with my rouge right hip.

As soon as I got my hip out of his back, he felt great.  We ended up cantering a bit and the left lead transition was beautiful.  Zero drama.  He just stepped up into it like he is an actual trained horse.  The right lead wasn't as smooth, because he was anticipating and his idea of anticipating at the moment is hollowing and trying to zoom into it.

Best fuzzy little ears

The next day I took him out on the trails.  I wanted to get him climbing, but I also wanted to keep him out of the rocks to protect the frog that is still healing up.  That left one option that has several steep climbs and very deep sand.  He wasn't entirely sold on the whole climbing thing, but I let him take his time (and he was actually taking care of himself for the most part) and made it through the four big climbs.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Success AKA OMG Can't Walk

I managed to suck it up and make it through 30 miles.  Despite doubling up on aleve, my legs paid dearly for it.  Tuesday was the first day I could go up and down stairs without wanting to cry.  That might be a tad dramatic, but my legs were so freaking sore.

Apparently I am hooked because I already agreed to do another ride.  Honestly don't ask me why.  Maybe pain induce sanity?  I guess that will be my story and I am sticking to it.

PC: Gore/Baylor Photography

Cola was fabulous and I learned a lot.  Not going to lie, waiting for the final vet check was so stressful.  You have finished, but that doesn't matter until the vet signs off on your card.  In the end we got all As and Bs on the vet card.  Some of the Bs were related to her age (20 years), but the pre ride vet check and post ride vet check grades were quite similar.  Hopefully, I can capitalize on the learning experience and do better the next time.

I did pretty well with taking care of myself, but I need to see if I can ride with longer stirrups.  I kept mine pretty short because Cola is tiny and if my stirrups get too long I can't grip with my calves and end up pinching with my knees instead.  I also really want to get caged stirrups because riding in tennis shoes and my MDC stirrups aren't the safest combination.  I have a few weeks to figure all of that out.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Status Go

It’s official. I sent in my entry for the LD ride. The first little grey mare I was going to borrow got beat up badly by a pasture mate. She is supposed to make a full recovery and the attack is going to have surgery to fix the source of hormone imbalance that is believed to be the cause of the attack. So I was offered another horse by a different person. Cola is a tiny (I keep forgetting when I hop off and slam myself into the ground) grey mare.

Cutest little mare

The best part is she is three blocks from me so it has been relatively easy to schedule several training rides. At first I was nervous that she wasn’t in good enough shape to pack me, but last weekend she really hit her stride and trucked along to keep up with the other mare when I wanted to hang back with two other horses.

Unicorn farting rainbow socks

I’m not sure how well I am going to come out of the ride, but I think she will be great. Plus it doesn’t matter if I’m unsound at the end as long as she is. This week I’m frantically trying to get myself ready. Because I also got the bright idea to take a dressage lesson Friday morning before I leave for the ride. The good news is it means Stinker is sound and I got his saddle fit fixed. I can’t believe how much he has changed. Hopefully I’ll be better about blogging next week so I can cover all my adventures.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

That Escalated Quickly

Originally I was supposed to help riders without crew at the endurance ride.  It was a short hold (20 min), so not all of the crews were coming to the hold.  When I showed up they needed an out timer, so after a few instructions I plopped down in the out timer chair.

Not a bad view for a few hours

I must say scribing for dressage tests is way more difficult than any of the jobs I have been given at endurance rides.  The hardest part was not losing papers to the wind.  Not to mention endurance riders are super friendly.  I had multiple people that drove past and stopped to thank me for the time.

There was one rider that had a mishap early on and was almost an hour behind the other riders.  I was talking with people while waiting and one lady told me she had nine horses and if I wanted to ride one I could.  I said I would think about it and immediately wondered how crazy you are to offer a horse to someone you hadn't ever seen ride.

Teeny little grey ears

I had friends point out that all horses aren't special snowflakes and some are even ok with all kinds of riders.  So after some pondering, I added her on facebook and asked if she was serious about her offer.  We met up on Sunday and I rode a fun little grey Arab mare named Cam.

She is such a steady get the job done mare.  I was cracking up when we were leading them down a fairly steep hill.  The plan was to jog down the hill, but it was steep and I am not the most coordinated person in the world.  I was kind of sort of half jogging half sliding and she was trotting next to me like a perfect lady, except she kept looking over me with mare glare.  Apparently my speed did not suit her.

Porky Little Princess

It was such a fun ride, and now I have the option of doing a 30 mile ride with her.  If I don't chicken out and I can swing it with my work schedule, I am hoping to do one in October.  I am excited but kind of terrified.  It is a bit of a toss up who ended up fluffier from Stinker's long break, so hopefully I won't die.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

No Patience

I have been waiting not so patiently for the farrier to come back out.  Because Stinker had the pad on, I couldn't see how anything was healing and it was making me crazy.  I had no way of knowing if I was keeping things clean enough or if I needed to be doing more.  I had myself half way convinced that his foot was going to fall off when the pad was removed.  #nologic #justparanoia

Thankfully, everything looked good.  It is slowly growing back, but he didn't show any sensitivity on it, so the pad was left off.  I have mixed feelings about that, because he is stepping short in the trot which means it is bothering him, but at the same time I like being able to see it.

I guess I will see how it goes.  I am still waiting on the new head plate for my saddle so I can widen it.  Once that comes in we can start doing walk rides (sadly no trail rides) to start building his fitness back up.  In the meantime I am hoping that I can sneak in a couple of rides on some borrowed horses.

It totally blows my mind that endurance riders are like SURE COME RIDE MY HORSE!!!!  I guess not everyone has particular weirdos that mind strange riders.  Either way it will be good for me to ride other horses and hopefully I don't make a fool out of myself.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Holding Steady

Stinker is mostly standing around and getting chunky, which isn't the worst thing in the world for him.  I got a new toy to help keep him in shape since he isn't really rideable, but I have been so busy with work that I haven't had time to play with it much.  Eventually I will get around to using it and write about it.

I gave up on getting the saddle fitter that comes through this area to fit my saddle.  So I sent pictures off to my old saddle fitter (she is a total wizard), because I thought I may as well do it when I am not riding in case I have to ship my saddle off.  Turns out that he just needs a different head plate in the saddle (which I am fine swapping out), so that is coming in the mail.

Shockingly, I really haven't been too much of a tack ho.  Probably because even that seems like too much effort.  I almost bought the long Kerrits coaches coat, but I have two of the shorter ones (one barn and one work).  I really need to buy some boots for winter.  My old pair have split at seam on the heel.  I haven't bothered with it because it has been dry, but eventually there will be snow so I do need to do something about that.

I am also casually looking for a trailer.  The old stock trailer gets the job done, but eventually the age will catch up to it and essentially any repairs on it would cost more than the trailer is worth.  I can't really decide between a two horse and a three horse, so it will probably end up being whatever falls into my lap.

I am helping with an endurance ride this coming weekend, so maybe I will remember to take pictures and write about that.  Life is pretty dull without lessons and riding.  Next week the farrier will be back to see how the foot is healing.  Fingers crossed that everything looks good, because I am going a little nutty not being able to see if I am doing ok at keeping it clean.