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Monday, July 6, 2009

Continuing on Lessons Learned

So yesterday's post had three lessons learned. Shall we review?

Lesson 1: When riding with a group of people, (not during a ride), discuss what happens if the group breaks up. Ideally the 2 people in the group that know where they are going are not the ones to break off from the group....

Lesson 2: Be as polite as possible and as firm as necessary to ride your own ride (sometimes not practical during conditioning rides, but you can try....)

Lesson 3: Don't try anything new on a ride, test it on a conditioning ride.

Continuing on that theme, here's some other "discoveries/lessons".

Lesson 4: Carry plain water on the trail, plan on eating my electrolytes. I experimented with both Gatorade and propel on the trail on Friday and neither one worked. I did managed to drink the propel but I had to make an effort. The Gatorade (watered down) just tasted chemically to me and I only drank ~8 oz. In contrast, I drank two camalbak bladders of plain water and ate at least four nature valley granola bars. The granola bars are a little salty and I found I could balance my need for fluids and my need for electrolytes better if I consumed separately. The granola bars sat very well in my stomach and never felt like my blood sugar dipped. Tamera over at the Night Farm (see blog on right hand side) has been doing a great series on rider fitness and health (eating) and I've found her advice very helpful. I think that the Nature Valley granola bars are one of the "simpler" bars on the market, made with lots of oats (and sugar unfortunately) and while they aren't ideal, they are working well for me on the trail.

Lesson 5: Carry a baggie of grain on the trail to feed right before the checks. Even Farley, who usually eats well, benefited from being fed a couple of handfuls of grain, prior to stopping. Her appetite surged afterwards. Stimulating her appetite prior to getting to a check could save us precious time at the check because she can immediately start eating.

Thought of the Day
I'd think it would be useful if everyone could share one tip about riding, endurance, 100 milers or Tevis. I'm not talking the generic advice of "ride your own ride", or "pace yourself", or "don't try anything new". I'm talking specific advice about the "little" things that make a huge difference. Here's some tips I've been given so far.

1. Wear wool or wool blend socks from Foresthill onward so that your feet dry out after the water crossing.

2. At Franscico's, stop for 10 minutes and let the horse eat.

Here's my tip for everyone: If it is a hot, sunny day and you're trying to decide where to walk and where to trot on the trail because it's all good footing - trot in the sun and walk in the shade. It seems to keep the horse cooler.


  1. Here's my advice for you: share those Nature Valley granola bars with your horse!

    For years I rode an arab gelding who was a good eater, but had low gut SOUNDS (function was fine but noise wasn't big), and it would always take him a few minutes to settle down and eat at a check. I solved both problems by hopping off 1/4 mile before the vet check and hand-feeding him a NV granola bar (he preferred the green-wrapper flavor)as we walked in. This was his cue to power down and get ready to rest as we came into the check, and also amplified his gut sounds.

    Unfortunately, that kind of bar has too much sugar for ME, so I've switched to Kashi--much lower sugar.

    Good luck!!!!!

  2. Oh ArenaX - that is so funny! Farley LOVES NV granola bars and the green wrapper ones are her favorites too! Whenever I eat one we split it 50/50 and I feed it to her from the saddle. I don't endorse feeding people food to I was too embarassed to post it. LOL! Now we HAVE to go riding some day together. Who knows, it may happen some day.

  3. Looks like I need to pack even more NV bars. They are really light and comparatively small, so I don't think that will be a problem. She'll probably think she's died and gone to heaven - a whole one all by herself!

  4. Here are some specific Tevis tips:
    1. Don't forget to put your sunscreen on in the DARK at Robie Park. It will be about 6 hours before you get to your crew at Robinsons. Get a small bottle to clip on your saddle if you don't have one already. Don't forget other "daylight" items such as sunglasses either (or regular glasses, like I did in 2007 - thankfully I'm not TOTALLY blind, but doing the technical part without being able to see very well was... interesting). =P

    2. Don't forget to put BUG/FLY SPRAY on your horse in the morning and at EVERY major checkpoint. I also carried a washcloth soaked in spray in a ziploc baggie and a small bottle that I put on at the quick trot-by stop at Lyon Ridge. The horse flies can be FEROCIOUS between LR and Robinsons, the horses are very sweaty and dirty by then and a fresh coat saved us from any bites. Others I was with had problems. It's worth the 2 minutes at Lyon Ridge to do this!!!

  5. Here's another tip I was given:

    Use three glowbars on the breast collar, not two.

  6. Be very careful about stopping too long at either Francisco's or Lower Quarry - it's cool down by the river and the horses get stiff easily, so vet through first (I plan on taking a rump rug and using it).

  7. I have had GREAT results with the S Caps e'lytes from this company. I was told of them by some Ultra runners. I carry them in my pack, and take them with water. No more heat headaches, and I handle the heat much better

    And don't waste any time at the pulse checks at Tevis. You can add up a huge amount of time by kind of zoning out, and not pushing yourself to keep going. They have a lot of volunteers. So if there is a vet line, get in it, and ask someone to bring you what you need. Food, drink etc. Don't stop at the food table to graze your way along, when you could be eating in line, or your horse eating too. Also, I have grabbed a flake of hay, and headed down the road, leaving the vet check, leading my horse as I hand feed him. You are making some forward progress, while they eat. If you have to pee, and there is a line for the porta potty, don't be shy, go use that tall grass, or bushes. lol You get the idea. You never know ehen you might need that few min. lost at a cut off, or at the end.

  8. Be specific with your crews instructions - such as "don't mix up (add water to) the mash until after I arrive"....hand me a wet wash rag to clean up my raccoon eyes with. If I get pulled make sure I am sent off with food/drink (horse too) since it might be several hours before I end up anywhere that I can get that stuff again. Always let your crew know you appreciate them, no matter how tired and grouchy you are.

  9. Mel,

    Though I've never done anything this incredible I do have one little tip. I use the people bug repellant on my horse, those little wipes that pop through a slotted lid. The container is just a little bigger than a deck of cards, but so handy! These are great for rubbing on the face, ears, under the belly, and poll area. When flies are really troublesome I tie two of these on the poll strap of the bridle and it really helps keep the biting flies off the head. Don't forget to put some on yourself. Horse flies don't mind sinking their fangs into we humans either. ~E.G.

  10. Hahahah....I want to hear about this having to "firmly keep it your own ride"


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