Winter Conditioning : Brought to you by Duct tape and vet wrap

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Determined to continue training despite hoofwear woes I put my broken boots back together as best I could and dug through the old chest for anything I could get on her front foot to keep on the trail while waiting for the new scoots. 

I found a long past use easyboot trail of Faygo’s whose Velcro has seen better days. With the help of a hammer I tapped the boot shell on (at least it’s not coming off easily!!) and pulled the gaiter over and did my best to put the dead Velcro in place- now we just need some duct tape (red of course) and fingers crossed it would work for the day. 


The boot is a little tight and I wondered about rubbing on her heels but didn’t think that would be a long term issue with a ride or two before the new boots come. 

Then I went back to my size 1 renegade on her other front and did a little prayer.

For her hind boots- that have begun to work well after reshaping- I found some chips in her hoof from the nail holes and that made the size 0 boot loose on her hoof so that I could twist it back and forth. 

Not good. 

So I took some vetwrap and went around the hoof to enlarge the foot only in width.  Boot too tight! At least it made a difference. I pulled a few layers off until it felt snug without being tight, then secured the boot and pulled the vetwrap down to be sure it wasn’t on her coronet band. 


Another little prayer and we were off. 

Gorgeous day even though the forecast called for high winds and a wintery mix. Instead we were blessed with sun and occasional breeze. 


Susan and I did 12 miles on decent trail and the boots withstood water crossings, mud, soft hoof-turning footing, and walk-trot-canter. We did some pretty hard fast canters occasionally and not an adjustment or lost boot the entire day. 

She’ll drink out of a mud puddle but in a stream she’s always picky about where the water is best. Usually it’s inconvenient for me… here it’s right under a grapevine.
A little muddy but still on!

I am hopeful the back boots are now a good fit but the losses on my fronts recently make me think they aren’t quite right. I may play around with the vetwrap to make sure the boot can’t move around on the hoof. That could be a good long term solution no matter what boot she’s in. 

At least we’re getting miles for now and not sidelined with no hoof protection. 

I anticipate getting the new scoot boots next week hopefully by Wednesday. 

8 feet on the ground

From Friday, August 28, 2015

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With everything loaded in we hit the road on Thursday and though my poor truck was loaded down, we made it to Ivanhoe mid-afternoon to set up camp on the New River. It was the first big weekend for my new trailer which is so nice to have! My truck heaved and hoed a little bit on the hills of I-81, but it got us there pulling two horses and all our gear (including aluminum racks piled on top!).

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It was really nice to have Kate in camp to help set up the corral and help wrangle the horses- and just to have a buddy… company… is also nice. The camp was along the New River and run by the local fire department. There was a ton of grass and big water troughs nearby with tons of scattered ports-potties as well as (HUGE bonus!) SHOWERS.

New River
New River

It was a pretty big ride with roughly one hundred horses participating each day (a few less on Friday, a few over on Saturday). Base camp is a busy place like a little town with a tack shop, vet stations, registration, ‘mess tent’, even an ice cream stand and people and horses are milling about. Lots of trucks, trailers, dogs barking, horses calling out, kids running around… until 10pm (quiet time) it’s a noisy bustling place.

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We got set up and went together to vet-in Faygo who got all A’s on her scorecard. I like having a vet look at my horse more than the once a year or so I have my vaccines and teeth done. They checked her back and the vet asked if I have trouble with her saddle rolling (yes, sometimes)- she said she’s almost “mutton withers” shaped, so kind of flat backed. Her back is healthy, no soreness (YEAH for the Imus saddle!) and she even gave her a body condition of 5 (which is ideal) though I still think she’s closer to a 6 compared to how she looked in peak shape this spring.

Headed to vet-in
Headed to vet-in

We hit the dinner & ride meeting and learned that the trail is marked with very clear signs, arrows, flags and red plates with Xs if you should NOT go that way; you’d pretty much have to be an idiot (I think that was almost verbatim) to mess up this trail. In recent memory they haven’t had anyone get lost.

We had a mellow early night though I never sleep that great when my horses are with me as I wake up at 2am… 3am… 4am…

What was that noise? Did Khaleesi get her hoof stuck in that fence? Oh no, she’s going to pull a shoe before the ride tomorrow… Are they out of water? Did they eat all the hay?

There were no issues however, and all was well in the morning.

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Kate and I headed toward the start after 8am (the 30 mile riders went out at 8, the ride & tie start was 8:15). Faygo was a handful – way out of the ordinary- and I was glad I suggested I’d ride first (the opening of the course was flatter and since I’d kind of roped Kate into this, I thought it would be nice to give her the easier run to start… I would do the infamous switchbacks everyone was talking about).

Faygo and Khaleesi were calling to each other and Faygo was determined to go back and get her:

Faygo: She can run along with us, she doesn’t NEED a rider you know! Actually- you guys ride her and let me just come along!

Me: No Way. We are not even discussing this, turn back around we’re going that way in just a minute.

Faygo: She’s gonna be mad. I’m going to tell her it’s your fault. You don’t have to be in that little pen with her all night!

Me: Ok, I know. Aren’t you glad to get a little space from her!? PAY ATTENTION you almost ran that lady over backing up like that!

Ready to go!
Ready to go!

There were only 6 or 7 teams running the ride & tie. So we all assembled at the starting line, riders and horses milling about waiting for the “go” when back toward us from the course came a galloping riderless horse at full speed. As we watched in horror frozen in place not knowing what that horse would do and which way to go, the front handful of riders at the start began to have their horses start a stampede. In that instant I wondered which way should we go (though also glad not to be on foot if there really was a stampede coming)- Faygo was already a bit wound up and this was NOT GOOD- when a woman jumped out in front stretched out her arms wide and said WHOA! And as that horse barreled right at her she grabbed his reins and he stopped.

Crisis averted… for us at least. The horse had red and green ribbons in his tail (green means “green”, like inexperienced; red means watch out, I could kick you) and I thought (oh- just like Khaleesi tomorrow!).

Thus we began the race – all just a tad more amped up than usual, and the other horses ran out at a canter. I heard myself talking to Kate the night before when we had our ‘strategerie’ meeting.

Kate: Ok, so what’s the plan, we know she likes to go- but keep her to gaiting? And how long should we go between ties? Maybe we should do time instead of mileage?

Me: That’s not a bad idea- just keep her from cantering and she should do ok. She’ll have to walk the big hills, just make her stick to her gaits and she’ll do better. Just don’t let her canter.

Race Day Reality: Right from the start line I was cantering along behind the other R&T horses trying to slow her without fighting and wasting all her energy.

Me (to myself): In an endurance ride I know better than to go with the first group- what was I thinking… just because there are only like 7 horses here- we should have held back and gone our own pace. 

Thankfully a short distance in, the rider in front of me asked to pass another rider who seemed to want to hold back a bit. As I then approached her I asked:

Are you trying to slow up a bit?

Yes, actually- you can go by if you want

Nope- I’d love to slow down and get a little control, want to ride together a bit?

That would be great.

That started a new friendship with Faygo & Miles, Kate & Cindy (who had a similar experience with the running crew), and Alison & me. We ended up riding the entire 15 miles buddied up and enjoyed the day!

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First tie up on the switchbacks

The trail was beautiful, but basically we ran from the New River up to Iron Mountain, so it was mostly uphill. The grade varied, and there were some beautiful ridge trails that were mostly flat- occasionally a downhill into the vet check (which was our finish line), but poor Faygo did a hard 15 that day.

Sometimes we all walked together up the hills (we’ll say it was for Faygo, but I was grateful not to have to try to keep up running those things! Alison is a good uphill runner!) Sometimes we did get some distance and tie off, but we were never very far from each other. I’m still amazed after trying this sport out that horses and people are not so far off from basic speeds.

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Somewhere around mile 11 or 12 we got the idea that we might have taken a wrong turn. The course was like a lollypop shape. The first 9 miles in and out of camp is one trail, then there’s a right turn that takes you into the vet check through the “rangelands” gorgeous cow fields, once you leave the vet check you go up the mountain trail to then meet up with the 9 mile in and out. We knew that the distance was about the same either way, so decided to continue on and deal with it later. When we saw the ride & tie ride manager coming toward us a couple miles out of base camp – she was headed back to camp on the 30 mile trail- we knew we were backward.

She was worried about us but we assured her we’d had a great run, and ended up sticking together- and that we’d all missed the turn. Considering at the ride meeting we were told only a complete idiot could have missed it, we did feel bad. But in our case no true harm was done because we’d still do 15 miles, and still end up at the vet-check finish line. She agreed that it was fine and we went on.

just a mile to go!
just a mile to go!

Once at the finish the AERC ride manager was more concerned because they’d been looking for us (there are radio spotters, and we’d of course never gotten to the one between the turn off and the vet check). So they were glad we were fine, but she asked us exasperatedly “Did you not see all the signs by the water trough to turn? How could you miss that?”

We told her we were sorry, and that we can’t say the signs weren’t there, but that indeed we did miss them. Thinking back- not far from that spot was a guy on a little bob-cat tractor pushing dirt around near the trail. Our horses were annoyed but not that bothered (they are used to tractors), but the runners said they tried to let the man know that horses were coming through and he was a bit rude to them and seemed to get more in the way of the trail. We have no way of knowing if these things are connected, but we did find out later that some of the signs HAD been intentionally removed, and that a rumor (that has no specific proof) is that there is a political argument going on internally with a local back country horseman chapter and some of those disgruntled members were the suspect of the ride sabotage.

Thankfully we are not complete idiots, and that turn was leaving the Alleghany Highlands trail down a dirt road that we would never have seen without signs. The following day they had volunteers at the important turns to be sure the signs were not taken down again.

End of the ride! All happy!
End of the ride! All happy!

Faygo took about 5 minutes to pulse down at the finish which isn’t terrible for jogging in the last couple of flatter miles, and then the vet-check is up on a hill, so we had to walk up to pulse in. We pulled off her tack and let her get a good drink. She hadn’t eaten much on the trail, and though she was hydrated her gut sounds were minimal. The vet said that isn’t abnormal and that he wasn’t concerned- just make sure she eats and let them know if she doesn’t seem to want to graze (that was not a problem at all). Her back wasn’t sore, but it was a little tight as was her hind. Again- not cause for concern, but just something to note. It was a tough uphill course and it had been a challenge for her. She was tired but not overworked. The 15 was a good distance for her- especially for the elevation we covered.

It was a great thing to do with her, and as I have been focused on making sure Khaleesi was ready for her first 30, Faygo just didn’t get the hard training she’d had in the spring. Now that the weather is cooling down and Khaleesi is in good shape, I will probably put more time into getting her ready to do the LD at the national championship ride. It’s only 25, and we will plan to “turtle” the ride and just finish. I am sure she is capable of that as she did a solid 30 in the spring at the No Frills.

Faygo & Miles
Faygo & Miles

After relaxing a few minutes up at the vet-check, we hitched a ride home in the “ambulance” trailer (it’s there in case horses are pulled and need a ride home). Faygo was looking good and got to ride with her new friend (Miles, Alison’s horse, who is a Rocky Mountain- so they were both gaited and made a great pair).

A few things I learned: 1) “Leaves of three, find another tree!” (don’t tie your horse to a tree covered in poison ivy.. I didn’t do this, but will try to remember the saying in the future, it’s good advice). 2) When/where to tie? Don’t stress too hard about this. It will become obvious at the time. You can practice (I’m glad we did), but in the end you will know the right distances on race day.

Unfortunately Kate had to leave that afternoon. I missed having her there, but don’t mind alone time either. I had plenty to do getting Khaleesi ready for the next day, checked in and vetted as well.

A walk to the New River after the ride with both horses
A walk to the New River after the ride with both horses

I was slightly concerned about Khaleesi as I hadn’t ridden her since Tuesday night and we were in a strange bustling place with lots of distractions. I wasn’t sure how she would be race day morning, and considering how hot-headed my solid mare had been I wanted to at least ride Khaleesi around camp a few times and be sure I had some control. Also, it couldn’t hurt to make sure my tack was all in place and working before I had to ride out in the morning.

I tacked her up, hopped on and took a walk around camp. The ENTIRE time Khaleesi and Faygo called to each other. By the way, Khaleesi is a SUPER LOUD MOUTH. She will likely be remembered by people as that really loud horse. Not kidding.

As we made one loop around Faygo was pacing and pawing in the corral. I decided to take one more loop- see if they could figure out that they weren’t going to die. It got worse. Khaleesi was ok, a little distracted, but not dangerous, but Faygo was a hot mess. I felt bad for her.

My neighbor said to me “Boy, she hasn’t been happy since you left.” It was Khaleesi I was worried about leaving in camp. But to all accounts, once we left that morning, she just settled in and ate her hay all day. I had visions of Faygo running the corral, pawing and pacing and screaming all day. Then my neighbor continued “Once a very experienced ride told me you should really never consider bringing two horses to a ride. Unless the world is coming to an end.”

That seemed a bit extreme, but I was concerned and felt a little off the rest of the afternoon. I put Khaleesi back- her tack was fine, she was safe to ride, and it wasn’t worth the stress to just ride her around a few loops. I decided to get an ice cream cone and take a walk. This was the self-doubt walk.

What are you doing here? Do you know how much work this takes to get a horse ready to do this? Your life is busy enough- you hardly have time to think straight lately with your actual work, keeping your family responsibilities together around the house, and then devoting all this time to your riding- to keep two horses fit to participate. And now you tried to juggle it all, and the horse you want to be able to include- because she’s your first love, is stressed out and going to have a breakdown tomorrow when you leave her with your new horse that you are having so much fun with. Do you think that’s fair to her? How selfish are you? And here you are alone- overwhelmed with two horses in camp who need attention and your big day is tomorrow and you just feeling like packing up the trailer and going home… 

I didn’t pack up the trailer to go home. Completely out of cell service and not able to call mom or even my husband for a pep-talk or just to talk to someone, I walked along the highlands trail above camp a bit and tried to ask myself why I felt so defeated. We’d had a good day. Faygo was sound and had a good ride, we’d made new friends… I still don’t know really why I had such a crash there, but I put my mind to working around camp. First I took a shower (that helped a lot), then organizing my ride/crew stuff for the next day, and made a plan for Faygo. She was going to have to be ok. I also said a little prayer for her- that she wouldn’t be so stressed out. After all, God loves her as one of his creatures- I suggested maybe he could give her a little comfort while we were gone.

I decided that I would take down the corral the next morning and give her a smaller enclosure connected to the trailer (for added security) with hay and water so at least she couldn’t get too much pacing, running, or hopefully trying to jump out/escape. If I knew her, she might fret a bit, but after we were out of earshot, I knew deep down she was settle down.

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Exhausted, I called it an early night. My new digs are a nice improvement over my first event weekend in the old rusty trailer. My hammock is comfortable and knowing the horses made it through the previous night with no drama, I slept a little better. I also set my alarm earlier because I always seem to run short on time, and the next morning I also had to take down and re-set my corral… alone… before riding out.

The moon was beautiful. The horses were content. It was going to be ok.

moon over the horses
moon over the horses

to be continued……..

Just… Not… feelin’ it

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

My original riding plans fell apart for a few reasons. Then I woke up to dark skies and light rain (of course. It’s rained every day this summer) and though I knew it was supposed to clear up, I seemed to have a hard time re-grouping. After stalling with PR work, grant paperwork, answering emails, cleaning the refrigerator… this may be my passion- but even when I’m not in the mood… we’ve set goals!  I put on my big girl riding tights and went to the barn.

I decided that it was too hot at this point to grab Faygo, and since I had the whole afternoon, Khaleesi is the one who needs longer miles right now. Thankfully the girls came running down to see me (I may not have had it in me to go find them). Still moving slowly, I tied Khaleesi in the shade under the apple tree and we groomed for almost an hour where she relaxed and stood quietly half asleep as I braided her mane.

Finally we got on the trail- and today I decided to try out the english spurs I picked up. I have never used spurs before, do not plan to use them forever, and they are not intended for getting speed or forward motion, but for better communication. Occasionally she needs to focus ahead, or move over, and very occasionally she still throws a mini-tantrum and doesn’t want to go forward (this happens less and less each day) but now I ask her, kick her, kick her harder, kick her even harder, then pull out the ‘popper’ and insist. What I hope is that the spurs will make it so I don’t need to kick her so hard with my heels and keep her more sensitive on her sides by having a better tool WHEN I need it. Considering I found a simple pair for $5 it seemed worth trying them out.

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What I noticed first is that I had to pay a lot more attention to making sure the spur did NOT touch her when I didn’t want it to. That wasn’t difficult, but it made me more aware of where my legs were, and I thought it’s probably good that they aren’t giving odd random signals even without a spur- a whole new awareness that I hadn’t really paid attention to before. Where are your legs & feet anyway? Seems obvious but….

I purposely used a spur on her only a handful of times in a 10 mile ride. I felt it was worthwhile yet not overbearing or harsh. More often at the beginning part of the ride than toward the end (when she’s happily moving home and doing almost whatever I ask of her). Because we rode alone I had less need to move her over and not “trail-hog”, or allow someone to pass us- and more needed to keep her focused forward and keep moving as we started out. (She sometimes lolly-gags, looks all around and still occasionally stops and tries to convince me to turn back home in the first 15 minutes or so). If she’s getting too focused in other directions I tap that side, first with just my leg, then if she doesn’t change, lightly with the spur to get her attention back in front of her. I may use it more riding with others to keep her more focused on me and what I’m asking than distracted by other horses around her.

IMG_0671Otherwise I’m still frustrated at the slushy trails because we really aren’t making the MPH I’d like to see. Footing is just not good for most of my trails. That means that we have to move when we can, and it’s just more work and less fun to have to be constantly changing up when it’s safe and not safe, sometimes only getting a few trot steps and then another muck mess to slip on through at a walk. What happened to the carefree summer riding days when the biggest concern was that your dogs can’t find water on the trail?

I’m not worried about our August ride, that we won’t finish (though that’s entirely possible). When we rode the 6 mile loop with Carrington and Abaco at camp creek we hauled pretty quickly and she had a blast trotting and cantering after already completing a 13 mile ride with the group. When there are other horses around and the excitement of an organized ride presents, I have all the confidence she’ll pick up her step and she certainly can do it. I want her fitness level to have the ability to keep up with the drive she’ll have that day by moving quicker now. For the moment we just have to do it in small spurts. We’ll just call it interval training I suppose!

On the positive side, the weather turned out beautiful for the afternoon. We added an extra section to our ride loop that took us backwards (meaning not the direction I usually ride the trail- not that I rode her backwards) up a wooded steep mountain pass without trail that was mushy, grape-viney, and harder to pick through than usual and she navigated it like a champ. I have yet to throw her a challenge she doesn’t rise to and am still pleased with how she’s turning out. I worked her hard- navigating slippery footing, then we trotted and cantered whenever we were able, and she really did well.

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Once again, the only ride I regret is the one I don’t take- and we had a great afternoon.

When I go into the field lately, sometimes I walk part way up the hill as the girls come down, and Faygo usually passes me right by and heads to the feed dishes. Khaleesi on the other hand sometimes walks at my shoulder- I stop to look at her and she stops as well. I move and she moves. I walk to the water trough (to turn off the water) instead of to the feed dishes and she follows me there first… sometimes when I leave she stands at the gate watching me go. The days when she is my shadow are incredibly special to me (then sometimes she’s the one herding faygo to the farthest corner of the field where she thinks I’ll never find them… ) though I can always walk over and catch them, they don’t always come running.

Wednesday I rode Faygo. Mostly a fast walking pace to get out and about. However much I enjoy Khaleesi, I still feel my soul mate in Faygo- for better or worse some days! This is the second time I’ve put a grazing muzzle on Faygo. I don’t leave it on more than through the day or overnight, and no, she’s not “fat” right now- but I can’t feel her ribs and I know it will be harder for her in the heat to have even a thin layer of fat over her creating insulation.

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Right now it should be easy with a once or twice a week “diet” to pull her back just a touch and she should have an easier time riding and recovering when she’s closer to a perfect 5 on the body scale as she was in April. Right now I would call her a 6 (which for a pleasure horse is absolutely healthy and fine). Khaleesi is probably a 5.8 in truth, but she’s getting ridden more, so I’m hoping she’ll come down a touch from the workload which is heavier this summer than Faygo. Also, Khaleesi doesn’t struggle in the heat the way Faygo does.

Bay and Gray… night and day… two completely different animals, completely different experiences in spending time together- both amazing in their own right. If there is one word to describe it, having two mares as good as they are… I’d have to say Lucky.

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Lucky me.

Two people. One horse. One tough race.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Today Kate and I finally made a date to practice a ride & tie. We’d been tossing the idea around since May, and we decided to make a goal of the Iron Mountain Jubilee ride weekend at the end of August- so that meant we really had to get out there and give it a go.

The basics are that ride & tie started in 1971, but is a pretty small niche sport. It’s a cross between endurance riding and running. I spoke to some R&T folks at the Old Dominion ride and found that there are few rules in the sport- and really we just have to try it to see what works.

So with more questions than answers between us, we met at the Hidden Valley horse parking lot with Faygo in tow and tried to devise at least some kind of loose plan of action.

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Ok.. um… so… one of us will start running and one will start riding…

I’ll ride first because I think I know roughly where the first mile marker is…

Oh good because I was hoping you’d ride first…

So I’ll tie Faygo up at the end of the second field where the shale road starts…

Then when I get on her, I’ll pass you…

I hope you pass me… if you don’t pass me, don’t tie her up because…

Right…

So if we get to the swinging bridge and come back that should be just over 3 miles…

Probably not far enough- so let’s see if we’re doing ok and if we are we’ll loop around the campground too…

That will be closer to 5 miles…

Great.

I guess we should ride at an easy canter or a fast gait…

I would think so…

Watch for cyclists- Faygo is afraid of bikes, kind of… I’m sure it’ll be fine… just talk to them as they pass…

Ok… this is so new, I’m kind of nervous…

It’ll be great- we should never be too far apart so yell if you need help…

Right.

Right.

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Kate takes off jogging while I hop on and ride Faygo out. We start with a fast walk to warm up and then I let her gait a bit. I’m surprised at how long it takes me to catch her. Kate is fast! We pass and continue on to the spot I know is just about a mile in and I tie Faygo to a tree and start running. The dogs seem a bit confused, but they go with me anyway. At some point Kate passes me on the way to the swinging bridge and so on and so forth.

It was GREAT fun. Just about anyone can jog a mile. Then you hop on the horse and get a break.

What I was surprised to learn is that we are just about as fast as she is!

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When I caught up to her after my first running turn, I could see Kate heading off. Faygo was breathing kind of hard and had JUST gotten tied. I had thought she’d be waiting at a tree, bored. We had planning to ride her not at a canter, but at a good fast pace because she’d have rest breaks. So when I caught up to her I walked her a bit to let her catch her breath… meanwhile Kate was running on ahead and I had an idea of where we’d try to tie next and I passed right by it without having caught her yet!  So with Faygo having ‘walked it out’ and doing ok I pushed her on to a fast gait then a slow canter to catch Kate… who had been running over a mile with no sign of us and started to worry.

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I handed over Faygo to Kate and we had a quick conference. We decided that we had plenty of energy to add the campground loop, and that Faygo is working harder than we thought she would- so Kate walked her a bit again to give her a chance to recover. I headed out running toward the campground. She passed me at the main parking lot and we agreed not to tie IN the campground (where technically horses aren’t allowed), but outside it.

When I got to the campground I saw the shoe prints, but no sign of Kate or Faygo. The dogs and I went around the loop and as I was coming back out I started to wonder where on earth she was planning to tie her? This has to be at least a mile right? Then I started wondering if I might have missed Faygo before entering the campground? Is it possible to not see a horse tied to a tree? When that is all you are looking for? I’m out of the campground, slowing my pace and looking harder off the road in the trees… it was like a treasure hunt- only the treasure is my horse… Then ahead I see Kate. On foot.

Ok, if I don’t see Faygo by the time I get where I saw her on foot, then I’d better turn around and start looking again.

How can you miss a horse? Could she have gotten loose and is heading back to the trailer without us?

THERE SHE IS! Woohoo!

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At this point we are only about 1/2 mile from the trailer and she’s worked harder than I’d anticipated, so I hand walked her for a while, and then rode her at a walk. Kate made it back then started walking out to meet us.

We got back to the trailer and talked over how it went and what we learned. We all had fun and did great! Faygo is great at this (as I’d suspected) and is fine with being tied. Kate and I are pretty comparable for stirrup length and pace- I think the 3 of us are a perfect team. We were both surprised to see that Faygo isn’t going to have quite as much down time as originally thought. She did fine, but it was a pretty rigorous ride for her. We chose Hidden Valley to find somewhere kind of flat to start and Ed mentioned to me that the terrain probably makes a big difference. We are pretty fast there, but with more hills we might find ourselves slower on foot. The good thing is that this will keep us all in better shape.

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In the end we did almost 5 1/2 miles and somewhere around 5-6 mph on average.

As for Faygo, considering her pasture is endless, and her activity is down a bit this year, I put the grazing muzzle on her when we got home today. I’m going to try to start dropping her weight a touch. If she struggles in summer heat it can’t help to have an extra layer of insulating fat, and dropping a few pounds means less for her to carry too. She won’t like it, but I’d like to see her body condition back at what it was in the spring. On the body condition scale she was a perfect 5 (out of 10) in April, she still looks good, but she has definitely moved up to a 6 this summer. Kate and I are dedicated to doing this at least once a week now, so her workload should go up a bit as well.

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I’m beyond excited that we had so much fun, and that we’re going to do the event in August. My body condition has lapsed a bit as well this summer and the motivation to work hard just hasn’t been there as much as it has in years past. This is just what I need as well to kick it up a notch and have a new goal.

I’m also excited that Kate is enjoying Faygo, and I now have a good way to include Faygo in some events even if she’s not doing true endurance riding. And it’ll be fun to have Kate for the night to camp out and hang in ride camp.

IMG_0524For anyone out there who might like to try ride & tie, you don’t need a horse of your own. Lots of riders need a running partner and they will help connect you. For more information you can check them out on the web at: www.rideandtie.org

We’ll keep you posted as I get two horses and myself (and Kate!) ready for the Iron Mountain Jubilee.