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Friday, April 9, 2010

In which events conspire to keep Mel from overriding her pony

Over the last couple of years I've learned that if all of my conditioning and training rides go according to schedule, I have an overridden horse.  That's the reason I don't stress when life goes haywire and I'm not able to follow my "plan".
Melinda's plan + life's mayhem = sound, happy, capable horse
Melinda's plan - life's mayhem = overriden, tired, not-so-happy horse
So I form my plans and schedules, tack them on the fridge, buy myself a package of gold stars to mark my progress and then wait for life to happen to see what parts of the plan get weeded out.
Shall we take this weekend as an example?
Plan:  2-3 hour conditioning ride in the hills of Livermore's Del Valle, after a 1 hour jump lesson (mostly poles).  Then 2 weeks of sulking around until American River.
Plan after mayhem gets done with it:  Arena schooling a 5-10 miles trot (maybe some canter) on the canal banks around the stable.  Continue for 2 weeks until American River. 
And you know what?  It's probably going to be OK.  Just like when it rained and rained and rained and rained and rained.......and rained and rained and rained here in January and February and I was only able to get 1-2 good rides in....that was probably perfect for bringing a fit, capable horse to the 100.  If I had my way she would have gotten at LEAST double that and probably would have been more tired and no more in shape.  For this 50 in 2 weeks, she probably doesn't NEED another heavy conditioning ride, but of course I WANT do one.  Good thing my decision was made for me.  Not to mention that you can't build fitness in the last 2 weeks before a ride anyways.....
(Truck should be out of the shop next week - waiting for parts.  As mentioned in a previous post, they were going to give me a truck without allowing me to pull anything, so I insisted on a good gas mileage car.  Boy is it zippy!  It will be a miracle if I escape this weekend without a speeding ticket!  The last time I drove a car this zippy I was in my teens driving a corolla - and this little thing is tinier AND zippier!)
BTW I am STRICTLY forbidding myself to post more than once a day.  Has anyone looked at my stats in Google Reader lately?  Over 11 posts a week average!!!!!  And that's without posting on the weekends (usually)!!!!  I feel the need to establish some rules:
Rule 1:  I shall exercise self control - not EVERY thing comes into my brain needs to be vomited onto a post. 
Rule 2:  I do not need to constantly pester my commenters with e-mails, even though I am in dire need of entertainment. 


  1. In case you were bored... here is something to research/think about:

    Have you heard of the Epona shoe? It is a flexable, polyurethane, nail-on shoe. Know anyone who has used them or other plastic shoes? Know anyone who nails on non-steel shoes? Is it just an expensive (~$25/pair) gimmick to make me feel good (better?) about nailing a shoe on? They say that you can glue it on, but pretty much say that it doesn't stay on without at least 2-4 nails. They also say that Steffen Peters (swoon) uses them while competing and that someone has used them two years in a row in Tevis and completed both times. So... What do you think?

  2. Hi Heather,

    I'm using "sneakers" on my mare during ride season and she's barefoot during "mud season" (ca. November until end of March.)
    It's not a plastic shoe but a thin aluminum shoe with a polyurethane tread.
    The farrier who invented them and puts them on is Kirk Adkins in Vacaville, CA. Here's the website:

  3. Heather - a friend of mine uses the plastic shoes (don't know the brand) for her appy endurance mare. The horse is awesome in all areas EXCEPT she has crummy feet--prone to abcesses, and just generally crumbly feet despite a good diet + biotin supplementation. Barefoot is not an option, and steel shoes didn't flex enough, so the rider went with plastic shoes. They are working well for that horse, but steel is a better option in our region for most horses.

    So I guess the answer is : sure, sometimes. >g<

    Mel: I know what you mean. Ideally, I ride 2-3 times each week in winter, 4-5 times each week in summer. In real life, it never happens that way. And yet, it all works out fine, mostly. Glad to hear that your truck is making progress towards fixedness!

  4. Don't you DARE cut off my emails!


  5. Heather - I *think* Karen Chaton has used them in the past. There was a phase where she couldn't get the boots to work, so used these shoes until she tried boots again (I think). I've never used them personnally. In fact, I don't think I've ever seen them used in person. Still - if I couldn't use boots and could find a farrier willing to work with them, I would give them a chance.

    EG - LOL. As long as you enjoy them, I'll keep sending them. I'm WAY passionate about this sport (as you can probably tell) and it's so hard to keep my mouth shut! so as long as you promise not to get a retraining order against me when I send too many, we can continue our delightful conversations! :) I love that we can all share our experiences and stories both on our blogs and offline in e-mails.

    So yesterday, in leiu of a training ride, I had a jump lesson on one of my trainers horses, then went to the stable and schooled dressage for ~30 minutes with Farley. A STORM was coming in and she was HIGH, so we went out to the canal banks for a 5 mile run......she felt AWESOME so we WENT! Cantered for most of that 5 miles. A wonderful, strong, IN CONTROL canter. She was barely even sweaty and she had FUN. I still have a smile on my face. It took us a long time to get here, but I finally have a horse that is fit AND has a brain and so I can have FUN.

  6. ok, i'm chiming in here for the first time: don't stop the "crazy" obsessive posts, I can relate to all of them and love it! They're inspiring, showing how real-world riders (endurance or otherwise) cope with life, work, home matters, stabling, riding decisions, etc.

    You last update in the comments was the most thoughtful to me (about fit, fun and a brain)...I have a 6-year-old arab, we have fit and sometimes fun, but very little brain. I often forget that so many people start out like that, you just don't hear about it until success.

    On a side note, if you need anything during American River 50, I live about 5 minutes from the Auburn fairgounds. I'd be happy to do any crew work, or just be on call! I rode the trail between Granite Bay and Rattlesnake Bar a couple days ago, overgrown, watch for poison oak!

  7. Whoo hoo! A yes vote for OCD Posts! I'm pretty sure even if i tried NOT to post during a crisis situation my head would explode so I can talk the big talk when push comes to shove, the OCD posts are probably here to stay.

    I'm so glad that you are finding my blog useful! I felt like when I started all these people were doing endurance and I couldn't figure out how they got there ! My intention is to honestly portray that journey- no holds barred. Thanks for the compliment :)

    I will keep you in the loop for ar. Ithink my parents are coming which would mean I'm covered for crewing, but if something happens it's great to have a backup plan. If you want to come by and say hi, please do. It's always interesting to meet people in person that I "meet" on the Internet.


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