The road to Blackwater 

Friday, March 3, 2017

All systems are go so we plan to hit the road in the morning. 

My farrier came Wednesday to put the shoe back on- turns out his schedule changed and he showed up while I was at work instead of later in the evening as we’d planned.

This always makes me a little nervous because Khaleesi doesn’t really trust him 😙.  The mare that walks right up to me in the field becomes a running, herding evader when he comes to get her. I can just hear her:

No way- my mom isn’t here so what do you think you’re doing?? Are you sure this is ok… HELP!! I’M BEING HORSE-NAPPED!!! Someone… anyone!! I am NOT going with you!!! STRANGER-DANGER!!

Luckily the farm manager was also there and though he said it wasn’t exactly easy- he was miraculously able to get a halter on her and bring her in. He wins her over in the barn from time to time as he walks by, gives her a rub and asks ‘how you doing you hateful thing you?’

Thankfully the shoe went on without a hitch and the exact text quote I got from my farrier after I asked how it went was:

When she took off running she looked good…


Took a short easy ride Friday with Wild Heart to be sure she stays sound carrying a rider, and so far so good!


​​Now for ride prep.

First I print off my checklist. 

The weather dictates a lot of the plan. 

It will be cold night/morning (low of 27) and warm in the day (high of 50). I plan to do a slight trace clip just of her neck and chest but not too invasive. I will also bring a fleece and sheet to keep her comfortable at night.

Always amazes me how good she stands to be clipped on her neck and chest when sometimes she nips and fidgets with too much brushing and grooming.
I will steal a concept from a blog I recently read (and loved- you can see it here if you’re interested: 20 Mule Team 100). She said when you’re prepping for a ride:

You just can’t think about these things too hard… to be clear, you obsess, pack and re-pack, and continually go over all the details in your head and never stop thinking about it while not really acknowledging that you’re about to do something that half way terrifies you (ok, she was doing her first 100 and I’m heading into our 4th 50 so I’m not exactly terrified but you never know what will happen so it’s always a little of the unknown…) you just do it. I call it winging it while being as overprepared as possible. 

I love that phrase: winging it while as overprepared as possible. That is exactly how I feel each ride. And I try not to visualize getting up in the dark while it’s 27 degrees to make coffee and start getting ready for 50 miles underfoot and 8-10 hours in the saddle. 

Thankfully my friend and gym trainer loaned me a tent heater so at least we’ll be toasty as long as we are inside the box!

And I’ll say a prayer of gratitude that no rain is predicted and the winds should be minimal. Nothing really is as bad as being wet!

I’ve read a few blogs and reports from fellow riders who have begun their seasons and have been taking notes of their experiences. The two biggest ones seem to be: not using a rump rug on a cold morning start and not electolying enough early enough (as cooler temps didn’t seem to call for it). 

Love the lightweight fleece and she looks so good in it!

I will keep her fleece sheet as long as possible since I gave her a trace clip and to keep those joints warm. Finally I’ll use my (still in the package) rump rug for this start. We’ve never really needed it before but this will be the earliest (in the season) ride for us so time to bust it out. 

My plan is to electrolyte early and regularly even if it’s cool. 

Susan Garlinghouse once wrote: the feeding you do Thursday becomes the fuel for the ride Saturday. So… I’ve been fueling up Thursday and Friday with spaced out meals of senior feed, beet pulp and all our antioxidants and minerals as well- making sure not to forget the salt so she’s encouraged to keep hydrated before we load up. 

I’m tossing plenty of hay twice a day and opened up an extra section of baby grass pasture they’ve been blocked out of a few weeks. 

The first event of the season always takes me longer to sort out my gear, but each year it’s a little less mayhem and nerves of forgetting that essential item- whatever it may be. 

I’ve never had a disaster of gear/packing yet, and as I told ed: I’m getting to feel part of the endurance family and they’ve always got your back in case of emergency. 

I am excited this ride to have Iva (a horse crazy teenage violin student who has come up to ride with me on occasion) as my company and crew. I know I can do this on my own but it’s always nice to have help. Bonus, she’s fun and I enjoy spending time with her! It’s great borrowing other people’s kids… 

Iva and me on a ride a few weeks ago

I suppose now I’m just stalling. There are snow flurries out there and it’s gusty. Not the kind of day I enjoy spending hours in the barn packing up, but it’s what we do!

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.

2 thoughts on “The road to Blackwater 

  1. I love your packing list! i need to get more organized, I think. Winging it while being as overprepared as possible sums up my first 100 mile experience. Turns out I was WAY over prepared, which is better than the other option. We’ll be heading down to Blackwater tomorrow, and hope to see you there! Best of luck. She looks great in the video!


  2. Good luck and safe ride this weekend!!

    Love the packing list (particularly ‘Grannies & bras’ made me laugh!). One of these days I’ll get organized enough to make a list!

    Have you used your rump rug on her yet? I bought 2 (one for each of mine should I ever find a consistent pilot for my LD horse), but I haven’t been brave enough to attach them and try them out yet to make sure we don’t have any freak outs. Looking for ideas on how to avoid freak outs!!


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