Tuesday, June 18, 2013
Vet's comment at the end was "well there was enough sound steps there to call it good!"
If you are the impatient type, skip ahead to 1:05 or so.....
Monday, June 17, 2013
Ha!!!! Apparently don't invite me along unless you want a blog-able adventure.
Ummm.....I don’t think I’m going to need to bore you with the various things I forgot (contact lens case, anything that would prepare me for weather in the low 30s, deodorant, yada yada yada).
Similarly the list of various REALLY REALLY good restaurants that we discovered along our route (Dill’s Deli at 5132 Caterpillar road off of I-5 on the north side of redding, CA and Baldy’s BBQ in Bend OR are both absolutely incredible. Baldy’s is only doable without a trailer, but Dill’s is an excellent rest stop) are only going to get the barest mention.
This is going to be a tough post to write. I’m mad, disappointed, sad, angry, frustrated and probably too tired to write this right now. My goal is to not say anything I’ll regret once this emotional hangover is over, and not tell anyone’s story but my own (ie - what I saw and heard, not what I got second hand). I’m currently on lunch, so if this post goes on longer than it should, I’ll have to break it off at some point and continue the story at a later time.
Most of my rides take place in the western region, within CA state, so I’m always excited to visit a new state or region. This was the third region I’ve ridden or crewed in. Endurance is a national organization with oversight of all the regions, but each region has it’s own flavor and style. I know people from the pacific northwest and have heard really good things about the PNER regional organization and their rides and I can’t tell you how happy I was to finally get a chance to see it in person. We travelled all the way from San Fransisco CA to Bend OR, a 12 hour drive each way because after a ton of research and talking to people and looking at previous years’ ride results, Funder thought this was THE best first 100 for her TN Walker mare, Dixie. Mild weather, a trail that wasn’t all hills and rocks on the side of cliffs, and a region and ride that (we thought) has a reputation for being supportive of non-arabs and first time 100’s.
And I agreed with her. When I still thought Minx might be my 100 mile horse, I too did a bunch of research and had settled on Sunriver, even though it was at the limit of how far I thought I could travel for a ride.
On Thursday morning we headed out. We didn’t have any particular plan for travel except to do at least one longer stop where Dixie could get out of the trailer, and multiple other small stops.
There are 2 things that stand out to me when I think of that drive to the ride.
1. We peed. It seemed like we couldn’t get 20 miles down the road before we had to stop and pee again. And again. And again.
2. Dixie looked incredible. She travelled well. She ate and drank and ate some more. She came out of that trailer at the end of a 12 hour drive looking as if she could start the ride the next morning. Which wasn’t necessary because she was going to get an entire day to lounge around and eat some more!!!!!!!
That night it was cold. Really really effing cold. We hundled in the back seat of the truck with the heater running, watching Supernatural for HOURS until we crawled into our respective tents/nests/sleeping bags at 12:30a.
The next morning Funder tacked up and went for a very short little trail ride to see how the boots were working and see how Dixie felt. She looked GOOD. I have video. At some point I’ll organize and post pics and videos of the ride. Not now. Right now we need to move along to the inevitable train wreck you know is coming with this kind of lead in.
Funder signed up for the ride and we went to the ride meeting. So far so good. The camp was the dustiest thing I’ve ever seen in my LIFE, and I was not prepared for such cold temperatures in OR, but so far the people have been friendly, there are people recognizing both me and Funder from our blogs, and one of my favorite tack vendors, American Trail Gear is there with a full lay out with everything I had on my list to buy before Tevis.
At this point there is a couple of red flags.
1. No food vendor at the ride because the ride manager forgot until the last minute to find someone.
2. No trail maps.
3. No crew directions to the checks except the ones written on poster board at the ride HQ because they forgot to print and put them into the packets.
4. Expectation that everyone would be in camp at the 80 mile point before dark.
You knew I couldn't get through this post without at least one bullet list....
I didn’t realize at the time that #4 was a red flag. I knew the day was longer than I was used to up where we were, but if I had stopped to actually do the math, I would have realized that a 9:30p 80 mile was a 16 hour 30 min TOTAL time into the ride, with 2 hours 15 minutes of holds. Which means to get into the 80 mile mark by dark, you have to do 80 miles in 14 hours and 15 minutes of ride time. Which is a 5.5 mph. Which is about 1mph faster than the actual pace to finish the ride. And I was predicting a 20 hour ride time with 3 hours of holds, for an overall pace of 5mph. Which meant that Funder was absolutely going to come in after dark, on a loop that was new trail, after dark. And (what I didn’t know at the time) - on a trail with especially shitty footing.
For those of you that aren’t endurance riders, that aren’t following the calculations, here is the bottom line: For Funder and Dixie to be on track to finish comfortably in front of the 24 hour cut off, in a conservative 20 hour ride time, they would be coming into the 80 mile vet check at 10:45pm. Over an hour after dark.
Crew fail #1: Instead of actually running the numbers and making sure we would be ok, I just assumed that the ride management was familiar with the trail and based on their history with riders finishing in the same time as I expected Funder to finish, that their predictions were correct. Especially because they had a 100% completion rate the year before and were really proud of it.
I asked for some clarification on trail markings and vetting in (how are the turns marked? Can you vet in at anytime during the checks?) and thought it was pretty cool that everyone seemed pretty laid back. It reminded me of the NV ride I’ve done. There were way more non-arabs in camp than I’m used to seeing at west region rides (and way more portable corrals) and overall I was feeling pretty good about the decision to drive all the way up there for a 100.
The riders were informed that all the trail was new with some exceptions so whatever trail they remembered from previous years should be forgotten and to pay attention to trail markings - which is a good sign because I’ve ridden those rides that have been established “forever” and sometimes it isn’t clear to a new rider who HASN’T ridden the trail before where it goes.
I told Funder at this point that I really felt Dixie was ready for this 100 and if they didn’t finish the next day, it wasn’t because Dixie couldn’t do a 100 or wasn’t ready for it - it would be because of bad luck.
Oh fateful words......
In case you don't get to the end of the post, or are distracted by all the apparent wonderful things I'm saying about this ride, I'm going to be very direct and to the point. The management at this ride cost Funder and Dixie their completion. Period. I was completely blindsided by what happened and the attitudes and circumstances are still a bit unbelievable to me as I sit here writing this. I love endurance. I love 100's. Managing rides is not easy and I give the benefit of the doubt when I can. I didn't go into this ride with a chip on my shoulder. But what happened to Funder and Dixie was IMO completely unacceptable.
Saturday (ride day), the horses started out. After milling around for 10 minutes and then finally going to wake up someone to take their numbers.
We would see Funder approximately every 12 to 20 miles. There were 4 vet checks before the 80 mile vet checks with holds ranging from 30 to 45 minutes. Amanda and I made every single one of them, while simulataneously running to the store to pick up whatever she was craving that she didn’t have at the last check, getting gas, and feeding ourselves.
Crewing is absolutely as tiring as riding the distance and I naively didn’t take care of myself as well as we were taking care of Funder, and I got to confirm that my afternoon migraines at rides are ABSOLUTELY an electrolyte issue and I *think* with what I tried on Saturday SUCCESSFULLY will work if I get into a bad spot in Tevis with that issue. If you are a reader of Funder’s blog you will remember her revelation at the Tevis ed ride, that when she gets too hot she makes really bad decisions like “I should get off my horse and walk because she must be really hot” when in reality she should stay on the effing the horse because it’s HER that is getting into trouble. (I told her if she came into an afternoon vet check leading off her horse, delirious with the heat and her horse looked fine I would literally kill her and she was to stay on the gosh darned horse if she started to feel too hot and not make stupid decisions. I am such a helpful crew member). Apparently my MO when my electrolytes get out of balance is to decide that I’ve been drinking too much water and the solution is to stop drinking and everything will magically correct itself. And yes, I do have a tendancy to over hydrate, but the answer to correcting the imbalance is to continue to drink and ADD electrolytes.
One more note about crewing, and then I’ll probably save the rest for another post. I got to see an up close look at a crew that took a slightly “different” approach to the crewing experience and the toll it took on the rider. It’s not my story to tell right now, although I think it would be an interesting post in the future to discuss some of my observations, but it is sufficient to leave it at this point: having a crew that has been properly instructed and trained that is focusing on the rider and horse and supporting them through a 100 can make all the difference, not only between finishing and not finishing, but also in the safety and well being of that rider if the trail goes to shit.
Anyways, I digress.
Funder kept a VERY respectable pace. 6mph on the first loop which is perfect because it was cool and put some miles in the bank. 5mph on the next couple loops, which was the target pace for a 20 hour finish. 4 mph on the hottest afternoon loop, which was perfect since Dixie looked really good and hydrated and looked like she could easily pick it up to 5mph again once it cooled off.
At 10 hours she had 50 miles in the bag and Dixie still looked great. WE SO GOT THIS.
At 62 miles, after the hottest part of the day, they were still on track for a 2am finish, which was a full 2 hours faster than I had expected. The horses coming in before them looked tired and hot, and several of them were pulled. Dixie by contrast was hydrated, eating, and never once did that “stare into the distance” thing and looked down right perky.
Funder had requested an “adult beverage” and after finishing that, a red bull, and other not-to-be-named-if-we-give-you-this-will-you-get-back-on-the-horse “supplements” they left the last out vet check at 6:30am with 15 miles to camp. It was rapidly cooling off and we decided that we would probably see them in about 3 hours (5mph) and because they went out of the check at a good non-walk pace, at the most 3 hour, 20 min. That meant that I expected them anywhere from 9:30 to 10p.
Crew mistake #2: Maybe a mistake, maybe not. We took Funder’s GPS to charge it for the last loop because based on how Dixie and Funder looked, this was really going to happen, so that she would have a GPS for the entire last 20 miles. On retrospect, it probably would have lost juice for the last half of this 15 miles and she wouldn’t have had it anyways - but I’m not sure. I should have brought/borrowed an extra so she had a GPS on her at all times, since they were turtle with no one coming up behind them.
After helping clean up the vet check, we took off and prepped the camp for Funder’s arrival at 80 miles, and for when she finished sometime between 2 and 4 am. :). We prepared her back of the truck “nest” and then agreed to lock the doors and not let her see it until she finished.
The art of crewing is how to bribe and manipulate your rider into getting back on their horse at 80 miles when they are already in camp and are faced with 20 miles in the dark and cold either by themselves or with their buddy (they had been riding with another TWH all day that was also a first 100) as turtles with no one in behind them and everyone within 3 hours of them having been pulled. :)
At 8:30 Amanda went up to wait for Funder to come in in case the trail was short and she came in early.
At 9pm I finished boiling the water for her shower and headed up as well.
At 9:30 it was dark and we were anxiously awaiting her return. I heard rumors that a quad with ride management had gone out to pull ribbons on that loop and had to their surprise met them on the trail. The in timer definitely knew they were out there, but apparently poor communication? Anyways, at least I knew they were still mounted and moving and not injuried somewhere. The comments around the fire started at this point.
Of course they are going to pull when they get to camp.
They are going too slowly.
I wouldn’t want to ride that loop in the dark. The footing is terrible.
It’s way too late for them to go on.
I felt like screaming as I politely smiled and I tried to explain that as long as they came in before midnight, they could WALK the entire last loop and STILL FINISH before cutoff.
This statement was met with unbelieving stares and puzzled astonishment. As if it was an entirely foreign concept that a 100 might take place in the wee hours of the morning.
What were these peoples' PROBLEM???????????
I had this conversation over and over and over. More than a dozen times. I bullied my way into conversations when I overheard them talking about how slow they were. I smiled, introduced myself as their crew and exclaimed how proud I was that they were taking care of their horses, and how good Dixie looked, and how a 20 hour first hundred is a worthy and good goal.
As the minutes and hour ticked by I finally gave up and me and Amanda sat, looking into the darkness, overhearing the whispered and quiet murmurings of the other riders still having the same “can you believe they are still out there?” conversation.
At 10:00p I was pretty anxious. Amanda and I agreed that if Funder wanted to pull, even if Dixie looked great, we would reaffirm her decision. I told Amanda that if I was riding the ride, even if my horse looked great, I would probably RO at this point too.
At 10:15p I knew something had gone wrong. Where I was sitting I could only see one glow stick marking the trail. Based on my experience, when you reach one glowstick, you should be able to see the next. I told Amanda that I was going to walk up the trail a bit and see if I could verify that there were glow sticks marking the trail in a way that made sense. I would be gone no more than 10 minutes up the trail and 10 minutes back. If they weren’t back at that point, and the trail seemed like it was properly marked, it was time to start talking to ride management about my concerns. I headed to camp to grab a headlamp, and some food and water.
At 10:30 I had gotten back to the HQ ready to head down the trail and Funder and her riding buddy came in. Funder proclaimed that she was done. We immediately vetted Dixie in which was a requirement for a rider option. She looked great. Really really good. Better than 80% of the horses that I saw vetting in at that point. Better than the horses doing their exit CRI’s to go back out on the last loop. Better than Farley has looked at any of her 100‘s at that point. The vet said that he couldn’t pull and it would be a rider option.
The ride manager assured Funder that there were glow bars on the last loop, but I believe Funder responded something along the lines of it wouldn’t matter if it was an effing runway, there was no way she was going back out by herself, in the dark, with no confidence in ride management that they had adequately glow bar marked the loop, or with any assurances that they would come looking for her if something happened and she was stuck out there.
I agreed with Funder 100%
If you want to hear Funder’s account of what that last loop was like, with no moon, overcast skies, an average of 1 glowbar per mile, being forgotten, with a very tired riding buddy and her horse, shitty footing, no ride map, and one crappy flashlight between the 2 riders, read her blog. If anything she completely understates the experience.
I was desperately afraid that Funder was going to proclaim she was done with 100’s after this experience. This isn’t how it’s suppose to be. You aren’t suppose to get into a vet check with a horse that’s ready for more, feeling good because you took care of yourself, hours before cut off, and rider option because you are afraid that no one is going to be there for you. You get through the heat of the day because of that dream that you are going to ride under the night time sky, glow bar to glow bar, on your incredible horse, in just a couple of hours. But she’s willing to try again and I’m glad.
We eventually went to bed (Crew fail #3: I asked Funder if she wanted Dixie’s boots off, and didn’t argue when she said nah. I should have insisted on at least unvelcroing them. In the morning we found 2 small rubs. Did I mention that the crew is as tired as the rider and doesn’t make the best decisions? Make a protocol for the ride BEFORE the ride and stick to it. If the boots need to come off after the ride, DO IT. Don’t try and make that decision at 11p after a long day).
We collectively as a group decided to pack up and leave as soon as it was practical. It was going to be a 12 hour drive home, and doing an 8am awards meeting would put us back really late.
Additionally, none of us were in the mood to be social. I had taken Dixie for a walk around camp in the morning and had to have yet another inane conversation that ended with me wanting to punch someone in the face (I didn’t because that would have been crew fail #4) as they expressed concern with how slowly they were going and it was a really good idea that they had pulled because they were so “late” and making excuses for RM lack of trail marking, and how it’s so easy to “second guess” yourself in the morning and that the horse was probably too tired to go on last night after such a long 80 miles etc etc.
Funder took pity on her crew and didn’t make up go to the HQ to pick up the $5 Walmart folding chairs we had left up there the night before.
We found a truck stop and paid for 3 glorious showers. I’ve never been so dirty and filthy in my life. It was a glorious shower, yet slightly unsatifying. Even with scrubbing and multiple soakings and rinsing I still felt I was only able to get about 50% of the grime off my body. What I needed was a hot bath and about 3 hours to nap in it until I was all wrinkly.
I drove part way home and then handed the wheel over to Funder. It was a long drive. We ate some good food, some crappy food, and laughed hysterically until we were in danger of peeing our pants. We stopped less to pee, had incredibly conversations about stuff and life and endurance and beyond. It was the most incredibly road trip. We were drained, exhausted, and yet still pretending to be sane when we got to Funder’s place and then ordered tacos. It was pretty clear how far gone we were as we wrapped up our night, eating tacos, and trying to explain to the husbands waiting for us some aspect of the ride, but all three of us laughing and crying and only squeezing 2 words out at a time, none of which made sense.
I climbed into my car sometime after 10pm and drove home, arriving sometime around 12:30am. My eyes didn’t close until sometime after 2am, thinking and rethinking about the good, the bad, and the ugly. And trying to find the words to express the conflicting emotions - how proud I am of Funder and Dixie for keeping it together when it all went to crap. Which was because she ate and drank and made good decisions. The ride cannot be counted as a success, but there is one thing that there is no doubt about: Funder did good by her horse. And that is always a success story.
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
What we won't tell Funder is that it's my first time crewing. Ever. Never mind a 100.
I'm so excited.
My car is packed absolutely full (did I remember my crazy creek chair? mmm......)
My Horse kit
Because my trailer gets even hotter than the place I keep my tack, and because I don't use my trailer more than a handful of times in a year, I keep my first aid kit in a box that travels between my tack area and to the trailer when I take a trip.
In the box (which is a plastic file box) I have:
- various sizes of towels/dishcloths (in the blue bag/secondary container)
- Feminine pads for bandages
- Ziplock of cotton balls
- Bute tablets
- Betadine scrub (the alcohol based one)
- Surpass in a plastic bag (bag is needed for application)
- dosing syringes (not pictured)
- polo wraps
- ice boots (I have the kind that I can insert any frozen pack into - ziplocks of ice, frozen peas etc.)
- standing wraps
At the barn in a drawer lives additional supplies. The 2 containers above that go to the trailer hang out with these additional supplies when we aren't traveling. These are things that I think are worth having around, but I don't bring with me on trips.
Other items in the first aid drawer are:
- rubbing alcohol
- betadine, soap based
-Wound coat spray (tends to dry out wounds, while the antibiotic ointment tends to keep them moist. Depending on location and type of wound, one may be better than the other)
- weight tape
- box with pen, paper, safetypins, marker
There are 2 things would greatly enhance the usability of my kit while not making it significantly more cumbersome or high maintenance
2. Clot pack
The situations that I designed my kit to cover are (along with my what changes I need to make):
1. Stabalize a major bleed (would need a clot pack, and possibly a roll of gauze cotton to complete this goal).
2. Provide care for a tendon injury
3. Manage mild musculoskeletal pain
4. Manage a colic until I get to the vet (would need to add Banamine to the kit to complete this goal)
5. Treat minor skin wounds and infections (would like to add tree tea oil so that I'm able to treat thrush)
Overall I have a very basic, very limited kit. However, most things that happen outside of these scenerios I would not likely be able to address outside of a fully stocked vet hospital anyways.....so the focus remains on being able to treat the minor and stabalize the major. When I'm a vet and if I have supply to additional medications, I would love to keep xylazine, banamine, and bute on hand. However, for now, I think what I have is sufficient.
Feel free to stop reading here.....but just in case you wanted yet ANOTHER example of a very different type of first aid kit with different considerations, here is yet another example of a first aid kit currently in use.
"another" horse kit
I thought it might be useful to see some of the stuff and considerations and reasons behind a kit beyond my own. I'm not necessarily presenting any of this as "ideal" (in fact, none of these kits presented in this blog are "ideal"), but just more information for you to consider as you put together your own kit.
I'm helping some people put together a horse first aid kit for a group that will be going on a cross country trip to an event back east. There are multiple horses being served by the kit. The information below is based on email correspondence as we discussed what was currently in the kit, what should be added, and the reasoning behind each item.
Limitations: Limited space. Likely the kit will be used by someone with limited skills in the field where nothing is going to be truly clean. Kit is carried on horseback and is likely to get hot in the sun (bag is a black leather), and squished.
Goals of the kit/scenarios addressed:
a. treat minor cuts on the legs and body
b. an emergency bandage for a major injury that is able to stabilize it until you can get to a vet hospital or make other decisions.
c. Stop a major bleed. Maybe. Horses have a lot of blood. :)
I was given the current contents of the kit, and asked what my thoughts were:
- Container of corona tubed ointment: good. Can deal with a bunch of different bumps and scrapes
- Scarlex spray coating for skin: good, although if you want to eliminate something take this out. I like corona for keeping dry wounds moist and I'll use sprays (they are all about the same) for wounds on the legs that need to stay drier, however bentadyne will do exactly the same job and will be more versitile.
- 2 blue wraps: assuming vetwrap? Good. Realize that vet wrap tends to degrade in the heat so check it often. Also, it doesn't store well once it is out of it's nice plastic packaging.
- Scissors: assuming these are bandage sissors that have a blunt end? If not (if they are pointy on both ends, discard them and replace them with bandage sisscors that can be used to cut bandages off without the risk of damaging tissue underneath.
- water and bentadyne mixed in a container: Would recommend carrying an bottle of undiluted bentadyne scrub (it's alcohol based, NOT the soap based stuff). The water is taking up room and there's always water available to dilute.
- some weavy cotton for cuts (4x4): Good. This is what you will use with the betadine. If there's a whole package in there, Put a handful into a ziplock to save room. You won't need the whole package.
- one brown stretchy tape for leg or whatever: Assuming this is an ace bandage type bandage. This will be a life saver if your vet wrap melts.
- rubber gloves: Good......but may or may not be a necessity if you are trying to save space. Gloves tend to make people think that their hands are cleaner than they actually are.
- cotton wrap in package: Excellent. Is this the rolled cotton that has a paper backing? Or the thinner stuff that is on a roll? Both can make a good stabilization bandage.
- a few more cotton small pads: throw out and replace with a couple of feminine pads. They stay cleaner, take up less room and are a lot more useful for dealing with wounds that need to stay clean, and the adhesive side will help keep it in place over a bandage material.
- nothing more will fit in the container
OK.......so taking the above into consideration, I had a couple of recommendations for what else might be squeezed into the container and provide substantial benefit for the effort and cost :)
1. A roll of gauze cotton (is used over the rolled cotton to compress it, and then vet wrap is placed over this layer to form a robert jones bandage or modified robert jones bandage or something like these).
2. A package of quickclot. This doesn't necessary need to be kept on the pack but should at least be with the trailer, where major injuries tend to occur. These packs are expensive - the human ones are good but kind of small, they make bigger horse sized ones. They are the only way you are going to be able to stop an arterial bleed. They have a shelf life of a couple of years, even in the heat.
A more general kit for the trailer
Specific concerns listed for the trip were:
- Tying up
- Sore muscles and joints (horses are older)
- Dehydration (horses come from a coastal climate and are performing in a hot, humid one.
- Foot soreness (horses are all barefoot)
What can be added to the first aid kit, to expand it to make it applicable to these scenarios (and is it even possible to expand your kit to address these scenerios)??????????
Banamine: Good for visceral pain (ie colics). It's an NSAID and will cause the same issues as Bute if given to a dehydrated horse. Also realize that adding this drug to your kit doesn't mean that you have necessarily expanded your kit to include a colic scenario. You have expanded your kit to include pain management for a colic until you have gotten it to a vet
Elyte paste -Leaving the hydration discussion and how/what/when to administer elytes to support your hydration efforts aside....I'm not convinced the addition of a tube of electrolytes expands your kit to include the additional scenerios.
Some Absorbine rub for cooling and stiffness?
An boot or two for hoof and sole injuries?
Monday, June 10, 2013
Sunday, June 9, 2013
Actually, contrary to the title, there is NOT going to be a bullet list of reasons Farley wasn't going to be able to canter. Mostly because:
a. I relented at the end of the ride and she got to canter
b. I WILL break my habit of turning everything into a neat bulleted list of 10 categories.
So. Went for a ride the other day. Tess, Farley and me riding along on an afternoon that was heat training just standing in it.
When did Farley stop traveling forward? In a straight line?
And by forward I don't mean that she is not forward in speed, attitude but rather the "forward" as the nebulous "in front of the leg" and thus can remain connected from back to front.
A horse that is not connected can do all sorts of naughty, unexpected things. So yes, it's a bit disconcerting that Farley has decided to be both energetic and fast, yet refuse to be in front of my leg and "forward".
The energy bleeds out in all directions. There were a couple of unexpected "downward transitions". There were sideways spooks that while didn't unseat me let me know exactly how little her walnut sized brain was focused on the task at hand.
And the fact that she moves differently on different diagnols and this is even more apparent when she's not travelling correctly ANNOYS THE HECK OUT OF ME.
As an OCD person I like things to be even and equal. You know when you smash your finger against something and you have the impulse to smash your other finger so they can be equal? Yeah.....exactly like that. So....let's review things Farley was doing that drive me nuts
1. not traveling straight
2. Inverting when asking for a half halt
3. Ignoring my leg
4. Behind my leg
5. Not traveling evenly
NO WAY was she going to get to canter with this behavior.
Yes, I know that she wasn't bucking, rearing, stopping, backing, or doing all sorts of "dangerous" behaviors. So what's the big deal? So....in my world letting a broke horse engage in the above behaviors is just as bad as a rearing or a bucking problem. It's just more insidious. The above problems not addressed are why you progress to bucking, rearing, stopping, and falls. The above problems not addressed can lead to unevenness, lameness, being off, funky muscle development, and poor position in the saddle. The above problems not addressed leads to a horse that isn't fun to ride, and a sense that you aren't in control, even though you can't "put your finger on it" - because technically they are going to speed and gait you are asking.
Oh, and by the way...
...while "chase the white dog" is a great game to play normally......"catch and chomp the white dog" is NOT, and that's the feeling that was emanating from Farley that the game was going to rapidly turn into.
I thought all sorts of nasty thoughts at Farley
1. This is why I can't do a ride and tie practice with you right now - I can't be certain you will behave yourself.
2. This is why you are going to end up with an ugly muscle underneck
3. Half halts and leg doesn't mean throw a hissy fit.
4. Horses that refuse to go forward at the beginning of the ride, and have to be thumped do NOT get to canter home.
5. I swear I'm going to start carrying a crop on our trail rides.
6. If you eat my dog I will sell you to Canada
EEk! Couldn't help myself and a bulleted list snuck its way in. Actually more than one.......
I should probably check myself into "bulleted list overuser anonymous".
Any hoo...the three of us managed to finish the ride intact, even though Tess needed serious cooling at the end.
Last afternoon ride for Tess unless I clip her, and considering that she has degenerated into barking and spinning circles as I mount up at the start of the ride in excitement, she is NOT going to be a happy dog about this policy change for the rest of the summer. She may LOVE food and our runs, but she LIVES for our horse rides.
Why not clip her? I'm worried about the sun. She has very pink skin, very white hair and spends a substantial amount in the sun. It's fairly common to see skin cancer on dog's stomachs who lay on their backs and sunbathe, especially if they have a lighter coat color and pink skin. The skin is more sparse on the stomach which is why it's common to see the cancer there. Shaving Tess would expose her body to a similar risk. I thought about giving her a modified "trace" clip and shave everything that wasn't on the top of her body......but the issue is that she tears through, under, and over the brush on the trail and the combination of her thick, loose-ish skin that is a breed characteristic, and the hair is protective. This is less concerning than the sun issue but still needs thinking about. Tess already has a short-ish coat that isn't excessive - and like clipping horses I tend to be conservative about clipping a "working" dog that has a "normal" coat. In most cases I feel that hair is protective and there has to be a demonstrated need to cut it off my dogs or horses. If it was the golden retriever? I would clip. They've been bred for excessively long coats and his job is to longe around the house and yard, and the coat would grow back in before hunting season this fall/winter. The German Shepherd whose job it is to stay and home and be a companion? She has conservative coat, but if she got hot I would shave it since she doesn't really have a job that requires the hair for protection. The Brittany? Not sure clipping is the greatest idea. The Endurance Arab? The nominal cooling effect I might get from clipping IMO isnt worth the loss of protection or functional effects of the various types and areas of hair that are cut off.
Dogs are so inefficient at cooling in hot weather I'm not sure I could take enough hair off of her to let her go on our afternoon rides anyways, unless we were riding by the river.
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
It was not for the lack of trying.
Thursday I put in a nice ride in the wintec, complete with putting on the crupper for the first time in the arena with lunging.
Friday, as planned, I left for Redding to do some backpacking and did not see the horse......
Ditto for Saturday, Sunday, Monday.
Tuesday I intended to see Farley. What I did instead was to run errands like searching thrift stores for a food saver (one of those heat sealer gadgets) to put my bear bait (the renamed "spackle") in, since I think making up custom packets is the ticket....and doing an oil change on my car WAY more miles over than I will admit to here (but far enough over that when I called my boyfriend to announce that I had changed my car's oil and instead of the metaphorical "good girl" pat on the head, I instead recieved a lecture on timely oil changes. But really, Tuesday was a day of rest after a backpacking trip and catching up on life after exiting school on Friday. Certainly there is time to see Farley in the remainder of the week?
Wednesday. Cat died, had to take my practical comprehensive. "nuff said.
Thursday. Still wallowing in "my cat died", boot fittings/deliveries, preparing for camping trip the next weekend. Intended to see Farley, but just didn't happen. Too much icecream, grief, anger, and supernatural episodes. But there is still hope!!!!!! Comp on Friday shouldn't last past noon! I can see Farley before I go! Consolation prize: mailed my Wild West entry for 2 days of 50's.
Friday. The last straw on a very long, very bad week. Did the written comprehensive. Probably a 50/50 chance I passed (or failed). Driving home I needed gas, so I stopped at a gas station, and.......my car wouldn't start. AND the car alarm randomly started going off and wouldn't stop by doing all the normal things you are supposed to do. AND it was parked in the sun. AND I couldn't get it out of park into neutral so I could push it. AND my phone was almost dead.
Verdict after hours spent waiting for tow truck driver + tow truck driver trying to charge my battery + stopping my alarm (at the end involved ripping random wires out of places) + starting my car = my battery is totally done for and I need a new one......BUT the nice driver did NOT want to sell me one and install because we FINALLY got my alarm silenced and the car started and we were afriad it was going to be another 40 minutes to do the same after repalcing the battery in some random parking lot. My alarm is doing weird things because it's being reset by the battery. So, I was to drive home, do not pass go, do not collect $200, do not run the air conditioning/radio/lights/windows/phone charger, and most importantly, DO NOT STOP AND SEE MY HORSE. Tess and I had a very hot 100 degree drive home, in which, if I'm being honest, was a bit heart wrenching to see the stable passing by.
Not that there was time anyways.....time to go on a camping trip.
Saturday/Sunday: Camping!!!!!! Again. But this time less walking and more eating and sitting. Which is the very definition of the difference between camping and backpacking.
Monday: New job. Weird hours. Good intentions. Compromise was to stop, drop off the board check, and kiss the pony nose with promises of a brand new tomorrow.
Tuesday (today): I rode!!!! And it was glorious!!!! And my horse, if not necessarily good was at least tolerant :).
I almost didn't ride with a crupper. Arguments against: 10 days since I rode, this will be the first ride with the crupper, and I'm short of time - no time for bad things to happen this morning. Argument for: I only have so many rides between now and Wild West.
So of course I rode with it.
And again, no drama (besides her insistence that she will. not. unclamp. her. tail.)
During the ride I reached behind me periodically to tug on it - no reaction.
There are 2 down hills - short but steep - on this route and each time I gave it a little tug before the down hill to remind her it was there, but she didn't even seem to notice.
I declare her crupper trained.
Here are some atrocious pics of my current crupper set up.
Remind me never to photograph Farley from *this* angle again. "ugh".
I put a ziptie on each D ring on the back/side of the saddle, leaving enough space to form a ring.
Then I took this piece from my dressage bridle - which I have never used - the only thing that Farley would hate my guts more than the slightly tight cavasson on that bridle, is if I put this little band thingy on that fits below the bit is designed to hold her mouth shut. The name escapes me. Anyways. Never used and when I was digging through my ends and pieces, I decided this would work. I strapped it between the 2 zipties, and then attached the crupper to the leather piece. Voila!!!!!
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
So, I've decided to post something easy that doesn't require a lot of thought.......an update on my runamocs and how much I love them.
I have a newer pair of Runamocs (generation 3) that are pink and have very thin soles, but for hiking and trail stuff, I still prefer my original pair of black runamocs. They don't see a lot of use beyond hiking and backpacking these days, but I gave them another thorough work out last weekend. Here's some shots of them doing a fabulous job on a rather technical trail:
Here's a short video of me going down the trail in them.
The rest of the trip is more relevant to Tess's blog than this one, so I'll be posting more of the story and pics over there.