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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Endurance - a different look pt. 3

Continuing from where we left off - more ways that endurance season 2012 and beyond will look different.  Tess is being a terrorist this morning and I slept in, in a desprete attempt to make some physical issues go away (didn't work).  If you thought eating salad as finger food was difficult - just try typing a blog post with a ricocheting puppy who is brining you toys to throw (which I am doing because it took me MONTHS to foster her retrieval instincts), who completely "gets" when she has your full attention or not - and would much prefer to HAVE your full attention. 

3.  I will be more consistent and will riding MY ride.  It isn't necessarily other people that get me in trouble - it's Farley.  She'll want to go a little bit faster through a section and I'll go "OK" because it would be a lot of work to school her through half halts and insist that we do things exactly my way.  I probably compromised more than I should have.  I've always had the philosophy of not micro managing an endurance horse on the trail, and I believe fighting a horse for 50 miles makes for a worse ride than if I compromised on some points.  Now - I'm not talking about compromising to the point where we were riding faster than we conditioned, or doing something at a speed or gait that was unsafe.  It was smaller and more subtle than that.  Farley would offer something and I would shrug and go "why not"?  That's OK to do some of the time - but I did it too often and I think the accumulation of letting her go through the rocky sections a bit faster than I would like (She's amazingly "catty" and just floats through the most technical sections), or we trotted down one too many hills (again - she just floats downhill so it's hard to resist).  Those little things add up over the seasons, and if I want her to stay sound and healthy through the next seasons, and retire a sound and healthy horse at the end of her career, I need to be better about riding MY ride and being consistent.  Twenty Mule Team 2010 is an example of a ride where I thought I did an excellent job at riding MY ride - but not the point where I compromised Farley being able to do her job.  

4.  More listening to my gut.  I did several rides with Farley that in my gut I was uncertain about - but I plowed ahead.  In fact, I stated as much at the beginning of my 2009 Tevis video.  Twenty mule team was no exception.  I couldn't put my finger on it, but I was a little apprehensive about it.  I did things like replace the tires on my truck at the last minute because they needed replacing and unconsciously I was probably trying to erase some nagging doubt that something was going to happen.  When I talked to people about the upcoming ride, I talked about how statistically it was time for a pull, considering how many 100's Farley and I had done successfully.  I kept looking for a clear sign that I should pull, or that I was asking too much.  In the dressage lesson ~ 2 weeks prior to the ride, Farley took a couple of "funny" steps.  It wasn't real obvious, and it wasn't repeated during the remainder of the lesson (~30 minutes).  I did a couple more rides on her (short hacks on the canal bank) and couldn't find anything.  I trailered to the ride knowing that I would probably pull because of the weather, but the morning dawned cold but clear.  There was no reason not to ride. 

My point is, that in the future, instead of looking for clear reasons NOT to go, I will be looking for clear signs that I SHOULD go.  I've never regretted not riding a ride. 

Stay tuned for pt. 4.  It's 8:15 and I'm off to school.  Today's topics?  Channelopathies, radiology positioning and a histo lab concerning nerve tissue! 

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