Wednesday, September 21, 2016

I have not only been lax in my blogging recently, I’ve been lax in my riding schedule as well. You- my reader friends- are not missing out on much in my silence. 

First Khaleesi got a solid 12 day break after her sore feet at the Iron Mountain Jubilee ride. Then our first two rides were walking out to my main connector trail, getting off our horses and hand walking through briars with clippers trying to do damage control on a late summer jungle of berry thickets that had taken over the last few weeks. Back in the saddle but not much to write about. 


Trail clearing- she always does her part!
Meanwhile my work year is beginning and to-do list is lengthy with my local teaching program (the Allegheny Mountain String Project) needs enrollments, letters, recruiting trips to schools and our fall creative workshop takes a ton of time and energy! Add to that my college teaching begins and scheduling that puzzle along with creating my updated syllabus with the newest verbiage in our ever updating handbook and rehearsals begin for our first faculty trio performance in early October. Have I been practicing enough??


Jamming a little twin fiddles at the workshop with Taylor
All onstage at the Masonic Amphitheater in Clifton Forge, VA
Then there are always the day to day like trying to keep up with my garden jungle and laundry, relationships, grocery shopping and eating and sleeping. 

So riding had to take a back seat fora couple weeks and that is probably not a bad thing coming off the last hard 50. K could use a little down time. I still go see her everyday and we have been catching up on groundwork here and there. 

Unfortunately though last week something went awry with my mare just as I was beginning to think I could start to ride again. On a gentle walk with a visiting cellist who used to ride  – Khaleesi began to act strangely. Shifting her rear weight- I thought she was going to kick faygo and I moved her forward to nip that idea in the butt. We were getting close to home so when I asked her to pick up a slow trot and she bucked and tossed her head I knew something was wrong. She should be wanting to get home not slow down. 

I got off and checked her for bugs and burrs. Nothing. Tried again to same result. Walking seemed ok so we walked home. Tried to trot her out 2 days later and she fell down. Yep- on all four. Very odd. 

Well we had finally gotten a good 12 mile ride in the week previous- the first real ride since IMJ 50 and that afternoon the farrier came. She could have still been sensitive and bruised a hoof… Or another easy solution would be if it were farrier related (a nail too close to a sensitive part of the hoof).


First decent ride since Iron Mountain: 12 miles up the mountain
My farrier was in the area within a few days and came to see her. 

She’s fine.

Yep. I trotted her in circles. No more head tossing. I then got on her bareback and took a spin. All systems check. 

I hate that. Mysterious lame foot pain… Gone on its own. I’d like an answer. What happened? Was it in my imagination?

No. I am sure it wasn’t. When I’d try to trot her in hand after a minute shed even nip at my elbow. Not normal for her at all. She reared up even once to tell me it hurt and stop making her run around. Something was hurting. 

At the moment I’m going to guess the 10 mile ride put her on a rock with a still sensitive foot and gave her a bruise. The week it’s taken me to sort it out healed it up. 

I’ll know better when I ride her again on Friday. But at this point the mare (and me) needs to get into work again as we near the one month to Fort Valley mark. 

The whole thing had me reflecting in my first true year in endurance riding.  People in the sport often say it’s not the ride you are enduring- it’s everything that gets you to the ride.

That’s how I’ve felt the past couple months. Sometimes finding the time to ride is easy and sometimes it’s downright impossible. Sometimes it’s the perfect day but usually there are biting flies or icy paths or slick mud or hunters and fewer available trails Sometimes your horse is healthy and happy on the trail and sometimes she’s lame or mysteriously NQR (not quite right). Sometimes your saddle doesn’t fit, your trailer has a flat and your friends are all traveling in other countries. 

But we still try. 

Lately life feels like an endurance ride. Just gotta get to the next checkpoint.  

Here on this first day of fall I sit in my hot tub with my coffee enjoying the morning light through the trees and dream of riding my horse tomorrow… Because today I have to work!


Published by JaimeHope

Violin teacher and endurance rider living in a rural mountain county - one of the least population dense and without a single stoplight.

One thought on “Endurance

  1. The time thing and those days when your horse is NQR. What endurance has taught me, more than anything else in life, is that you can make all of the plans you want to make. Go ahead, write it in your calendar, silly fool. Then watch as the Universe takes all of those well considered and thought out plans and chucks them out the window and laughs in your face.

    Laughs because usually summer is dry. Except this summer, when you now have 2 horses to condition, it shall be rainy! Oh, you have a period of dry weather, let me cause mystery lamenesses in your TWO endurance horses, shall we? Leaving you with the non-endurance horse to ride (the Universe’s way of reminding me to be grateful for my gaited horses, and to remind me that he needs saddle time too!).

    I’m now 3 weeks away from my next endurance ride. And my calendar just laughs at me with all of my plans written on it that I’ve since had to scrap and just start from scratch and do what I can to prep my greenie for her first LD. And accept that she may OT. Which is also the Universe’s way of STILL reminding me I’m not in control.

    I am glad Kahleesi’s NQR’ness is mysteriously better. That happened to my main endurance horse. Took WEEKS for a very deep stone bruise to reveal itself. I sure wish there was a way to just “know” what was ailing them beyond the “You just don’t FEEL right to me!”

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