This blog has MOVED!

Please visit for the most updated content. All these posts and more can be found over at the new URL.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tevis Issues

It’s now 10 days post-Tevis and (in my opinion, which since it’s my blog, only makes sense…..) the perfect time to talk about whether I need to do any problem solving before our next 100 in 5 weeks.

I’ve noticed it takes a week or so before more minor issues can appear, and sometimes I really don’t know how I really felt about something until I have some time to think, so I try to hold off doing this type of post until 10-14 days after a major ride.

Items I need help with!!!! Please give me some advice!

Issue #1
After 100’s or multidays I’m starting to notice “scruffiness” or dark “sticky” dandruff in the saddle area and girth area. It seems to be a symptom of either something rubbing or a combination of pressure and rubbing. It appears ~3-5 days after a ride, and is gone by 14 days. This is probably the 3rd time I’ve seen it. It appears with both types of saddle pads (equipedic and Haf) and is more of a “gummy” dandruff than a “dry” one. Any ideas?

Issue #2
I’m currently using a 100% mohair wool string girth. I do ride with a fairly loose girth (the advantages of having a huge-withered horse) and I’m wondering if that’s doing more harm than good. In addition to the scruffiness mentioned above, in the girth area from bottom of saddle pad to armpit had edema under the skin right after I finished the race. It wasn’t there when I left Foresthill, and it was gone within 24-48 hours after completing. I’ve gotten some good input from the wonderful yahoo group, new100milers on this issue but wanted to throw it out here to see if anyone else had an opinion. So far I’m thinking that I may need to: ride with a tight girth, change to a clean, dry girth at vet checks if I can’t clean the girth in-use well enough, ride with an elastic type girth (with a fuzzy fluffy cover????) to get it tighter. What does everyone use for a girth here? Do you ride with a loose or tight girth? Someone also mentioned that the edge of my pad could be the culprit too so I’ll make sure that is clean and not sweat encrusted as well and apply lube there if necessary. I’m leery about making any huge changes for a one time issue (so far) since my “system” has worked for so long, but would love to see if there’s something obvious I’m missing. I was careful to clean my girth last year at Tevis, but not this year so that may be the culprit… anyone??????

Issue #3 I have GOT to get some more weight on that horse!!!!! Right after the race I couldn’t see any significant weight loss, but now, a week later she seems skinnier to me. I want MORE RESERVES. I screwed up and went to Alabama the week after without making arrangements for her to get her daily mash, and as a result only had hay the week after. It was unlimited hay, but I know from experience that she NEEDS extras at this point. I’ve been really good about not obsessing over her weight the last couple months and I’ve gotten compliments on how good she looks, but now, I need her to gain some weight before I’m comfortable asking her to do Virgina city in mid September. She’s back on her beet pulp/stable mix/dried fat/ration balancer routine so I’ll reevaluate in a week or two or three and make sure she’s gaining nicely. My plan is to have her teeth checked again in late September after VC100. That will be ~8 months since her last float. I waited 12 months last year and she REALLY needed to be done again, so I want to catch it earlier this year. This was less of a “ask for advice” issue, and more of a “let me rant”. Sorry.

Overall, I’m very pleased. I felt like Tevis would bring out any weaknesses in my “system” but so far I haven’t noticed anything that would prevent me from trying VC100 on September 18th.

In case you are interested, here are some things that I felt went really really well:

If one is very wise (which I do not claim to be….) one does NOT DO ANYTHING NEW ON THE EVE OF A 100!!!!!! That being said, I did make some minor changes to my routine that I felt really helped and I want to share some of those items:

1. I showsheen-ed her legs before applying the front and hind leg boots. Farley has very thin skin and has a tendancy to rub in boots unless they are meticulously clean. In the winter time I don’t have issues because her thicker winter coat protects her skin, but by July she has nice, soft, silky, insubstantial hair. She always has hind boots on during a ride, but on 100’s I add the protection of front boots. At the one hour holds the boots are scrubbed and allowed to dry before reapplying, but because of the dust and dirt I was afraid that she would still rub, so I applied showsheen to her lower legs and voila! Zero rubs.

2. Saddle bags!!!!! I finally found an arrangement I’m totally happy with. I’ve struggled with saddle bags since I started this sport and have tried most options out there and been unhappy with all for some reason. At Tevis I rode with 2 boot bags (Renegade bags made by Snug pax I think?), a converted fanny pack, and a modified water bottle holder. I know it looks unconventional, but it works for me and Farley. For the first time, I stayed very hydrated all day and night, and actually ATE on the trail most of the time (except during the California loop, but I have a plan for that…..). Farley did not get sore and did not have rubs from them, and I had access to everything I needed, when I needed it.

3. Battery operated glow bars, and a red headlamp – I confirmed at Tevis I absolutely hate riding with glow bars – that being said I loved that I had the option of turning them on or off as I felt necessary. If I was riding on a trail where horses were traveling both directions I would have definitely reached down and turned on a glow bar for safety. I rode with 2 different colors – a blue and a green – depending on what “brightness” I wanted. A third, unsnapped traditional glow bar was also on the collar in case I felt like I needed that option. What I found was that in most circumstances the red headlamp setting was sufficient when I needed extra light to read my cut off times or check out something weird on the trail.

4. Having the stirrups moved back during my saddle fitting – absolutely no rub marks on the back on my legs! Unlike the scars I still have from 20 MT, the only marks this year are 2 little scabs on the inside of my right knee, letting me know I’m STILL gripping. It’s amazing how one little change can really help rider position.

5. Using my bra as a sunglasses holder – perfect! Especially with that LONG zipper my FITS shirt had in front for easy access.


  1. Scruffy spots seem common on many horses after Tevis. Hank has a couple on his back, and one where a breastcollar strap broke, and my temp fix had been my caribiener snap. Slight rub I am guessing. Friend who used to do Tevis every year always had some sort of scruff, hair loss, dandruff issues some where on the horse. For the most part, I have just washed Hank, and then left them alone. New hair coming in, lifting the scruffy scabs things off him.

    I show sheened his arm pits, and no rubs during the ride, but some flakes after.

    Weight thing??? They are all so different.... no one feed to fix things. Hank likes his timothy pellets, so he gets that along with pasture. Weight looks pretty good

  2. This is what I used on Bo, and he had no scurfing after Tevis - yay! the reason why Chief didn't get to do Tevis was due to armpit heat rash/swelling on the pre-ride. I have since moved the rigging around and that has been working GREAT! I'd also recommend using Bickmore's Gall Salve in the pits post-ride as a preventative. It won't hurt, and will help if there is heat or friction burns which is entirely possible after doing a ride like Tevis. Welcome to the world of sensitive endurance horses and how to manage them, lol!

  3. I find that if I 1. rarely use soap to bathe my horse, and 2. hose or at least sponge and lightly scrub their girth area immediately after a ride they don't develop that gunky flakey dermatitis.
    I really like neoprene girths as well. Mohair girths are great, but I imagine all the crud and bacteria that can be living in there. With neoprene I can disinfect in a flash.
    Depending on what type of saddle and girth you use it might help alleviate the rubbing by changing the length of your girth so that the buckles are contacting the saddle in a different place.
    I have a hard keeper too. I feel your pain.

  4. Showsheen is clever! Thanks.

    I ride with a loose neoprene girth, but I've never done more than 30 miles, and Dixie isn't very thin-skinned, so that's not much help. ;) They ARE amazingly easy to keep clean, and no need for buckle protectors. One less piece of tack to find and clean.

  5. From your comments I think that I need to be more meticulous about keeping the girth and armpit area clean before and after the ride. It's nice to know that other horses do this after Tevis and it's not necessarily a huge red flag.

    Unfortunately neoprene is OUT for Farley. The one time I let a neoprene girth be used (I wasn't riding, I let my sister ride her) we came back from a hot 14 mile ride and she had open girth galls from the heat that built up. It's too "sticky" for her skin. I've started using a PVC girth for dressage and love the cleanability though...unfortunatley I think it's a bit "hard" for distance?

    Good idea about moving the buckles.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.