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Monday, April 16, 2012

Let's Go!

Hopped on Farley for a 2 hour ride yesterday.

It's poured here for a week and I was feeling lazy, so I got on bareback to do some dressage in the arena - but she made it clear it was a trail weekend.  On the bit, forward, and just a wee bit on the side of almost naughty.  She was in the mode for something longer and more physically demanding/less mentally demanding than dressage. 

So we saddled up and hit the trails with some other riders.  I got a tour of some new trails and let me tell you - they are GORGEOUS.  Wild flowers, turkeys, moss hanging off of trees, birds, water, beaches, trees......All of it trot-able, 50% of it canter-able.  We walked yesterday.  Walking uses FAR more muscles on *MY* body and I really need to do more of it.  I tried to keep her up above 4 mph so that she was really moving out and stretching.  I would rather keep her moving out, and then stop for a snack break than encourage that wretched 2 mph walk that she sometimes insists is her max during a ride (she cannot POSSIBLY go faster without jigging or walking - yeah right....). 

Let's get to the exciting stuff - the nuts and bolts of the lessons tried and learned during this conditioning ride (and yes, even though this was a 2 hour WALK - there's still plenty to learn and apply to an endurance ride).

1.  It's definitely summer - I got a sunburn on the top of my thumbs.  As always I forgot a nice swathe of skin from my wrist to my thumb.  Lesson - wear gloves or learn how to apply sunscreen better than a 3rd grader.

2.  Elytes in food - Farley does NOT take elytes in her food during a ride.  After sitting through Garlinghouse's seminar at the convention, I now know it's probably because I'm not consistently adding salt or elytes to her food or water at home.  I tossed in 1 tsp in her mash and she sucked it down just fine. 

3.  Elytes in water - I prepared a bucket of water that I have determined will be the elyte bucket (it looks different than my others) with 2 pinches of elytes.  She didn't go for it - but I think it's because she really didn't get hot enough and wouldn't have gone to it regardless of what I did or didn't put on it.  Will continue to do this - especially after longer, hotter rides.

4.  Milk shakes - I premade the mash before I left on the ride and it's AMAZING how much water a pelleted feed will hold.  Susan G is right - you can really get a good quantity of water down a horse just in a mash - excellent for trailers.  The important thing is to make it and then let it set - add more water and let it set - add more water and let is set.  Chances are when you get back to from riding you you'll have to add a bit more water to make it truly milkshake like. 

5.  A new feed - I picked up some triple crown low starch samples at the convention and have been feeding it to Farley.  I still love and use my Elk Grove Stable Mix - but I believe it's good to have options.  Not every feed store carry's every feed, and I find that having a minimum of 3 choices at a long ride like a 100 encourages my horse to eat more wet sloppy mash. 

6.  Elytes for the human - I didn't take water on my ride (My only excuse is I was only planning on being out for 30 mintues, AND it's the first ride of the I'm allowed to be stupid once right?).  I was really really thirst at night and really tired even after drinking a ton of water.  Then I remembered my elytes!!!!!!  I dragged them out of the cupboard where they had resided since last summer and mixed up a glass of acculytes.  I felt so much better, and today feel totally normal.  Since it's that time of the year, I put the 3 elytes I use in my carry bag so I'll have them with me and there's no excuse to not use them when I need them. 

7.  Shedding - Farley is shedding like CRAZY.  I got out as much hair as I could in the tack areas, but I knew with the amount of shedding hair, the sweat, and the brisk walking I'd probably end up with little hair balls under the saddle near the cantle.  Yep - I did.  She was a little reactive (she's a wimp) over those spots where there was accumulated hair, but fine.  BUT.....if it had been an endurance ride she wouldn't have been fine.  If I was competing in a ride during this season, I would probably clip, or do anything I could the expedite the shedding process.  I used my Haf pad for this ride, knowing that she was going to shed a bunch of hair and I wanted clean up to be easy......but for a ride I probably would have used a woolback or an equipedic and while the pad would have been dirtier, I may have not had the "hair balls".  Lesson?  Be very observant and proactive during shedding season if you are racking up the miles. 

8.  Feet - Farley has been standing in mud for a week.  I was almost positive I would be booting up for this ride, as there are some stretches of gravel.  However, she didn't seem reactive and didn't seem to notice, so I decided to just go with it.  Lesson learned - standing in less than ideal conditions for a while isn't necessarily the death knell for the barefoot horse.  A fully transitioned horse should be able to take a few knocks without it crippling it.  If small events DO start to adversely affect my horse's comfort, it's probably time to reevaluate my management and see what ELSE is contributing to hoof sensitivity. 

That's it for now!  I'm one happy camper.  Saturday night I took out my piercing studs for the first time, put in some pretty dangly pearl things, put on a flirty dress with some awesome (affordable) accessories and went to the big city (San Fransisco) for the symphony with a friend.  And dinner.  And drinks.  And then Sunday was spent on the back of my horse.  And Tess had an awesome session on the weave poles (and we have our first agility lesson today).  Could life be better?  I didn't think so either.


  1. Yeah, I've been religiously salting Dixie's mash since I started giving it to her. It doesn't come in any other flavor - "salty" only. If I fling too much in she glares and picks at it, but if it's just a three-finger pinch of salt she'll eat it. I give oral applesauce elytes so I'm not relying on the mash.

    Hey, so where are you storing all these different feeds? Obviously I have all the room in the world right now, but I'll be boarding soon :( - do you use rubbermades? Or trash bins? What about for rides - do you premix portions or bring tubs with you or what?

    Your horse doesn't like hairballs under the saddle? LOL Arabs ;)

    1. Yes - trashcans.....but now that I have a mobile tack coroll(a), I've had to modify my system slightly. The trashcans are in my trailer (which is at my parents currently) or anywhere else convienent and vermin/moisture free and I refill these cute little 1-2 gallon buckets that I have laying around. I think at one point a dried oil I used to feed came in them. That usually lasts me a week or more depending on how many times I feed my horse. The trashcans of feed can even live in your garage. At rides, a little bucket of feed was fine for a 50, but for multi days or a 100 I usually bring 5 gallon buckets. If I had the money I would buy the stackable pet food containers that Karen uses. There's a lot of wasted space in a trash can since 50 pounds of feed only fills half of it, and they aren't stackable. For my car and travelling to vet checks, the little buckets still work well. I hope this made sense!

    2. Another benefit to using the little buckets for day to day traveling feeding/brinign to rides is I find I have less feed spoilage. Invariably at a ride I accidentally spill something in the bucket/leave the lid off etc. I don't lose the entire trashcan of feed - just the bucket.

    3. Yup, I have a fine collection of 2 gallon sand-clear buckets and Kilz buckets that hold all my "trailer food." I've got BP and EGM in something like this, but they're kind of cheap and I might upgrade the quality. 18 gallons holds 40/50 lbs of food perfectly though.

      I used to have one of those things Karen uses, a million years ago when I fed dog kibble. The kind I had was "stackable" with the screw-on lid on the side, so you couldn't fill it all the way up, and I thought it was annoying to get my hand in there. It'd be ok for pellets but horrible for BP shreds. If I had enough floor space in my trailer to stack them three high and bolt them to the wall, I'd learn to love it, but I don't have that much room.

    4. If any one has the perfect solution to feed storage is that compact and usable I'd LOVE to hear it.

  2. Sounds like a GREAT weekend! I thought we were being really smart keeping feed in a Rubbermaid trash can in our 'hay shed' (really a roof with wire fencing around it to keep out the elk), but your know, those really cute little ground squirrel-type rodents can eat the bottom out them as quick as you can fill them!
    Bionic Cowgirl

  3. P.S. Guess what I found under the old hay in the plastic bin in Farley's pasture? Hint; it is small, round, and black.

  4. Black widows? I found a ton of them when I moved her to your place and the bin had sat in the same place for a couple of months. That's why I tried to move it every month or so - keep the numbers of widows down.

    BTW - I want that bin!!!!!! It's going with me, so odn't get any ideas....


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