April 4, 2014


Aren't my post titles just so stimulating? I bet everyone wants to read one titled "Data". My brain is on overdrive though and so that is all you get. I close on the new practice in just 1 week and officially open it the week after that and I have so much to do and so little time to do it all. I work at my current practice, full time, right up until the Thursday before I open the new one. I need to get carpet, paint the entire 1700 sq foot building, and go through all the inventory. Oh and train my employee. Don't ask me how on earth I am going to get it all done by myself. The hubs will be of minimal help because he too is working full time and someone has to watch W. My parents were going to come down the week before it opens and help take down the old wallpaper and paint, but something came up and they can't anymore. So that just leaves me. I see a lot of super late nights and early mornings in my future.

I have been good at remembering the Garmin on my last 3 rides. Unfortunately I forgot to reset it between trail rides, but it still gives a decent idea of what we have been up to.

Trail ride # 1 (solo) was our usual 6 mile loop. My goal is to get her moving at an average 5 mph pace. Why? You have 12 hours to complete the 50 miles. Figure on 2 hours of hold time and that brings the actual riding time to 10 hours. 5 mph will get you there in just barely enough time as long as nothing goes wrong along the way. Unfortunately for us Gem has an incredibly slow walk. So while other horses that power down at a 4 mph walking pace and 10 mph trot have plenty of time to dawdle and can walk a lot of it and still finish, we need to keep our butts moving.

We averaged 3 mph on this solo trip which stinks, but is an improvement on the typical 2.5 mph pace we have. Slow but steady progress is the name of the game.

Trail ride #2 (with S) was just over 8 miles per the Garmin. I think it ends up dropping 0.5-1 mile along the way as it loses satellite connection and just connects the last known spot to the current one. But it is close enough. We managed a 3.5 mph pace on this ride which I am happy with because it had a lot of hills.

Looking at my map with the two trail rides combined we had a total 1,818 feet of elevation gain and just under that in loss (still have no clue how that works when you start and stop at the exact same spot) which is quite a bit for my mare. Up north we travelled on mostly flat trails and of course the arena is flat, so this much is a lot for her.

Our max pace was 15.5 mph which was when she went crashing through the woods to get away from the speed boat.

Her average trotting pace is creeping up to the 7 mph range which is awesome. If we could keep up a nice steady 7 mph trot and just bump the walk up from 2 mph to 3.5 - 4 mph I think we would be in business.

I also find it really interesting to look at the pace map in conjunction with the elevation map. While I am out on the trail I ask her to trot what I view as flat sections or easy hills. I don't ask her to trot downhill ever and I don't ask her to trot up the longer and steeper hills. Yet. When looking a the two maps, apparently either I am asking her to trot or she naturally goes faster up every single hill. Seriously. Every time there is a spike in her pace, there is a spike in the elevation. I know I am not that mean to her, so I believe at least some of those times she is doing it herself. And then it drops way slow every downhill which I am fine with.

I do think that part of our slow pace is that these trails are basically all up and down hills. There are practically no true flat sections. If we head off to a flat 50 miler I think we would do great. The 50 I am planning for is not this hilly, but still has some hills to it.

Arena ride: We kept our 5 mph average pace!! :) Actually our average total pace was 5 mph, but our average moving pace was 5.2 mph.  Of course we only went for 22 minutes and covered just over 2 miles, but that is exactly what I want to use the arena for. Speed work. Slowly increasing the length of time spent at the faster pace should correlate to an overall faster pace out on the trails. She was breathing pretty hard after the canter sets, but she kept asking for more.

I am really happy with the way the last 3 rides have gone. I am hoping to get back on her Friday night for another arena work out. This weekend is going to be spent with trailer loading so no trail ride.

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