October 15, 2013

Winner! And Ride Recap

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
- William Arthur Ward
And the winner is......... Stephanie! She guessed 1 hr 47 minutes which was only 4 minutes faster than what we came in at :) Way to go!! Thank you so so so much for all who placed a guess. I wish I could send you all a prize, but you will just have to wait until the next give away. Stephanie - your book will be heading your way soon. Thanks for playing!!!
Now for the boring recap :)
Considering how little training we have actually done she did super well. I can't remember the last time we did 9 miles, let alone at a "race" pace. She finished with energy to spare and was happy and sound.
She wasn't acting tired at all until about mile 6.5, but a little of that was just plain boredom too. She isn't your typical endurance horse who just loves the trail so much. She gets bored. I like the stops in an endurance ride because it gives her something to refocus on and then when we move out again she is back to the task at hand. Better fitness will help this too.
I don't know why, but she really has upped her bravery. She led quite a bit and even trotted out front a ways.
She quickly reminded me just how competitive she truly is. Each time we saw a horse in front of us, she would lock on and was not happy until we passed them. She would pull and pull and try to gallop on by and then was content to go back to a trot once we left them behind. Silly mare!
Her back was not sore at all afterward which was a big relief. Her legs were solid with no swelling. I had meant to go to the barn last night to check on her, but I was hungry and decided to eat dinner instead. I can't remember the last time I actually ate dinner. Usually it is just a bowl of cereal at 9 pm.
I'm glad she is barefoot. I let her pick her footing and even on the gravel roads when Pete would hug the shoulder, she would just walk on down the middle without a care. Her feet are so solid. I do want to get some boots for her, but I have put them on the back burner for now.
She ate every chance she could along the trail. Greedy mare. There was a creek crossing and she ate the ferns instead of drinking. She didn't drink back at the trailer at the end. Once we were back to the barn, she went straight to the pond and had a big, long drink. She has never had a drinking issue before and will even drink out of a puddle if she is thirsty, so I am guessing she just wasn't thirsty enough.
Same as listed on my gear page. I have given up on crossing the billets because it did not seem to help. I have figured out that I have been tightening her girth too much. Think of a rubber band stretched over a can. The more you stretch it, the more likely it is to go boinging off the skinny top of the can. I loosened it one hole on either side. We had some short, but seriously steep hills both up and down and the saddle only moved a little forward in the 7th mile when she was super sweaty. I think I can tweak this saddle enough to make it work :)
I also lengthened my stirrups a half a hole. More in the "me" section.
The halter/bridle rocks. It is so great to be able to slip the bit out of her mouth quickly without removing the entire headstall and risk her running off.
My knee didn't hurt!! I was really worried about that at the start since our 5 mile ride at Fant's grove made it kill. I did lengthen the stirrups a half a hole and while they felt too long, my knee thanked me. I just need to adapt to the longer leg. I think I may move endurance stirrups up on my "want list".
I felt in control the majority of the time. The only time she felt really borderline not listening at all was when either that gelding was galloping up on us from behind or she had locked onto a horse in front. I had to circle her sharply once in the first mile to get her focused again, but overall she walked when I asked.
At mile 7 my legs started to hurt. Right where your thigh meets your butt in the back (your "thass"). I'm not sure if it was more muscle fatigue or if I was landing and rubbing. I will monitor that and see if I might want to add a fleece seat cover to help. It wasn't my underwear. I know a lot of distance riders have issues with underwear and go without, but this wasn't from that.
My shoulders were pretty sore yesterday from her pulling on my arms at times. I don't know how to really fix that beyond going to more rides. I understand the importance of being able to control your horse at all times, but there is only so much you can do in an arena or on a trail alone. You just can't simulate the competitive atmosphere at a ride.
I am very happy with how everything went!! It was a ton of fun and I think these are a great way to condition. The results are not up yet, so I don't know how we did overall. I will let you know once they are up.
There is a Halloween ride at the end of the month but with this ride and the hubs flying off for a marathon this weekend, our fun budget is eaten up for October. There is a ride November 10th that we are aiming for. Can't wait!


  1. Glad to hear that their were no real issues for either you or Gem. How about Dusty and Pete? Hope they did well too! Totally enjoyed this ride!!! A.J.