August 4, 2013

Draw-o-Rama: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Overall it definitely could have gone worse. I knew so little and was so unprepared and still managed to finish with a sound and relatively happy horse. She was tired when we got back and slept the whole next day, but was otherwise fine.

So what went well?

  1. Stalling the horses. We were woefully unprepared to camp. We aren't completely stupid though and spent time spying on other people's set up to figure out what we would do
  2. Riding with the ladies. Like I said before, I do believe I would have finished, but it would have been stressful and no where near as fun or as educational
  3. Pre riding part of the trail the day before. Gem knew the trail and I had a decent idea of what to expect and the distance for at least half of it
  4. She drank extremely well. She even stopped at puddles to drink when she was thirsty. She definitely takes care of herself in this regard
  5. No lameness and no sores from tack for Gem
  6. Having the hubs to crew. The check was in camp so technically I had everything I needed, but having him there to hold her and help figure out the vetting process was a big bonus
  7. Her pulses were awesome. Half way she was 48 and at the very end she was 50, well below the required 64 and 60.

So what went poorly?

  1. Gem didn't eat much. She would graze on the trail when given a chance and munched on her hay at the trailer at the hold and end, but didn't touch much of her grain
  2. The bridle had to go. While it didn't rub, it was a royal pain in the rear to take it all the way off and exchange it for her halter so I could vet her
  3. The saddle was ok for her, but my left knee ached from mile 20 to the end and put me in a horrible position
  4. She rode up the horses butt in front of her annoying both that horse and rider and myself throughout most of the ride.
  5. The photographer took pictures Sunday, but never posted them so I missed out on getting a ride photo
  6. We felt like complete outcasts and besides the ladies during the ride, nobody gave us a second glance even when we tried to start a conversation. This was a big bummer since the rides cost quite a bit not including the gas to get there and time. We figured it would take time and this wouldn't scare us off just yet
  7. She refused to trot out on the lead line because I had never bothered to teach her to do it. It almost cost us the ride

Gear used:

  • Wintec AP English saddle with regular English stirrups. Fit Gem, but hurt my knee and put me in a bad riding position
  • Fleece lined square cotton saddle pad with pockets in red and black - loved this pad
  • Leather bridle with full cheek French link snaffle bit. Pain in the rear
  • Regular cotton riding pants, leather half chaps and Ariat tennis style riding shoes. Ok, but not great
  • Hay from the barn grown on the property, her regular Strategy grain, carrots
  • Barefoot. I did get a bunch of comments about how terrible it was to ride her barefoot and a lot more glares. She does very well barefoot, wasn't foot sore at all and I'd do it again barefoot in a heartbeat

I had a serious post ride high that lasted 3 solid days. I'm not sure Gemmie felt the same, but I gave her the week off entirely and then light work the week after. I wanted to do another one and knew the season ended at the end of the month. I found a ride 5 hours away in Illinois on Halloween weekend and the hubs okayed it so I signed us up again :)

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