Last thoughts before I leave for my Cache Creek!
I rode on Wednesday. As I trotted down the back stretch of my loop concentrated on really trying to live in that moment. I took a picture in my mind. A picture complete with all 5 senses that I've hopefully etched into my mind permenantly. No matter what happens on Saturday, I wanted to capture THIS moment. Of perfect happiness and soundness. Of perfect ride on the horse with the dog by my side (actually in front.....). Of a loose rein and balance and a willing attitude. The future is unknown.
I think the difference between now and then, was 2 years ago I didn't take the time to live in the moment enough. That changed during 20 MT 2011 when Farley started having muscle cramping issues early in the ride. I took a LOT of time to just live in the moment on that ride, because I was never sure whether we were going to make it through the next vet check. I would just take a moment unfocus, take a deep breath, and FEEL my horse beneath me. I didn't know at that time that I would be in vet school that fall and that would be our last endurance ride for almost 2 years. However I did know that aside from what I was already doing (keeping her rump warm and trying to ride conservatively) that I had very little control over whether we would finish and that wasn't the important thing on this ride. I had finished Tevis, I had achieved my 1000 miles, and I had achieved my bronze level 100 mile achievement. Farley and I were at that ride not to accomplish any particular long term goal - we were out there because we loved 100's, and to enjoy the trail and the company. On that ride I was reminded of Minx, and reminded that the future is uncertain, and that's why even now I have a hard time remembering that ride as a failure even with the pull at mile 92. Because we had a beautiful ride and I learned a beautiful lesson.
Is this my first ride?
My brain apparently thinks so. I can't sleep, have been obsissively posting here, making lists, and making last minute decisions of what I need to take to the ride.
Case in point. My dressage saddle is now joining my other 2 saddles in the trailer becauase after the ride on Wednesday I was reminded how balanced I am in that saddle and what a great sweat pattern Farley has in it. Let's completely ignore the fact that I don't think I actually have a vet check back in camp (something I discovered Thursday) - I might change my mind Saturday morning and want to ride in it!
And then this morning I thought of THE perfect way to carry elyte syringes on my saddle. Which requires me to find/buy velcro and electrical tape, and find the containers that my feeding syringes were packaged in.
I have 30 starts (not counting the ride and tie) and over a 1000 endurance miles. I really need to get a hold of myself!
Gluing boots is a pain.
It was a pain when I did it for a Wild West multi day.
It was a pain when I did it for Tevis.
It was MORE of a pain yesterday when I did it for a 50. Mostly because I knew that I was going through this process for "just" a 50.
Am I glad this option exists for situations like this one when I don't have a good boot fit on Farley right now, and I don't want to put shoes on? Yes.
However, the idea of doing this on anything approaching a regular basis makes me want to run screaming towards my strap ons.
After taking 1 1/2 FREAKIN' HOURS to glue on 4 boots, including hoof prep, I've decided that the worse part of the process for me is:
1. The fact I have to do and concentrate on 1 thing for 1 1/2 hours (and that was WITH a fresh trim - ie I did NOT have to trim her). Pure torture with someone with shiny object squirrel disease. At the end of the 1 1/2 hours me and Farley pretty much hated each other. She was a snit and I was a bitch.
2. Being reminded of how much hoof modification has to occur in order to make the glue ons work.
3. I lose an entire day of prep for the ride. After doing this process I was in NO MOOD to do ANYTHING else. I drove home, devoured the entirety of left over "Beijing Wings", and watched a Supernatural episode. And then lay in bed too excited to go to sleep.
People who glue on boots are probably going to look at my pictures and tell me I should have sanded a heck of a lot more than I did. But I just couldn't. For better or worse, I just couldn't take off any more wall. :(
Published steps: how to glue on boots
1. Assemble your crap
2. Make sure your horse has a fresh trim and refresh if necessary
3. Prep the hoof with sandpaper.
4. Clean hoof
5. Prep the boot for glueing
6. Place glue in boot
7. Place boot on hoof
8. Spend a few moments insuring the bond between hoof and boot, touching up with more glue as necessary.
9. Cut the back of the boot back for length if necessary (I'm using Renegade Pro-comp Glue on boots which have a flat back and can be cut back to exact length with a pair of nippers)
10. Repeat with the other hooves.
Actual steps: how to glue on boots
1. Assemble your crap. Experience tells you to make sure you have a place to put trash because you will generate a lot of it.
2. Put on leather gloves.
3. Refresh the trim and roll with a rasp (I did just enough to knock the dirt off and I could see the hoof - her trim was only a couple days old).
4. With the smooth side of the rasp clean up the outside of the hoof - should be nice and pretty! Experience tells you this is not as easy as it sounds.
5. Use sand paper to to take off any semblance of shiny cuticle on the outside of the hoof wall. Experience tells you this takes much longer than it sounds. Hoof should be a perfectly amorphous, sanded texture. You will come closer to this "ideal" depending on how much "modification" you can stomach on your horse's hoof. My prep yesterday fell somewhere between what I did for WW and Tevis (not enough) and what the professionals did at Tevis (ideal).
6. Size hoof to boot. Realize that the sizes are slightly different than expected and thus instead of 4 fabulously clad bronze feet, you will have 3 fabulously clad bronze feet and one in......yellow. Fortuantely, experience tells you that having more sizes and boots than you think is necessary will allow the best fitting boot for that day to go on the hoof......
7. Spray the hoof and wall with denatured alcohol. Stick hoof into a clean, spare glue on and threaten horse with immediate death if she moves the hoof out of the boot.
8. Prep boot by sanding inside phalage, cutting V notches if necessary (made more challenging if you left your tin snips at home and are working with woefully sub par wire cutters.....), and then clean inside of boot with denatured alcohol.
9. Take off gloves. Put on pair of disposable gloves. Insert new tip on glue gun.
10. Put glue into boot. Hope your horse doesn't take this moment to move her hoof out of the spare glue on and get it dirty because the clock is ticking on the glue setting. Experience tells you that if you try and force glue out of the gun after it starts to set in the tip to fill that "one more space" half way through the gluing process, the pressure generated at the base of the tip will explode the nasty glue all over everything when you remove the tip, so you get one shot at getting all the glue you are going to need onto that boot. Experience tells you that you will need 6 tips - 1 for each boot, and 2 to fill any last minute gaps.
11. Manipulate the hoof into various positions to get a good boot set. God help you if you have an uncooperative horse.
12. Realize at this point that you will indeed need a new pair of disposable gloves for every single hoof because the glue gets all over them and makes them essentially useless. In fact, experience told you this would probably be the case, but since you were in a hurry leaving school, you just grabbed "a handful". Thus you will be a glove short for the last boot and then have to deal with a film of glue all over your hands. Something that has happened every single freakin' time you glue on boots.
13. Gently set down the hoof in boot and threaten the horse with death if she makes any sudden moves.
14. Change back into leather gloves. Discard tip. Discard disposable gloves. Realize that you have just finished 1 out of 4.
Convincing the Brittany that she doesn't get to go is THE most heart wrenching thing about the ride prep. Tess would be immensely unhappy to be left in the horse trailer while I was out riding, and since the ride is going to be quite warm, I would be worried about her and whether she had enough water. Plus, the thought of 2am puppy full-moon rituals does NOT amuse me since I'm already way stressed about this ride and whether it's going to go well.
Two days of heavy rains, flash flood warnings
13 hours ago