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Monday, May 28, 2012

Mel's on vacation and Farley's not skinny

I'm off for a lovely 4 day backpacking trip!  As this is a highly anticipated trip, I must admit I've deviated from my usual ultra light style and packed a few luxuries.  I've hiked this trail before and know that it is mostly flat and easy and for 3 nights, and I'll sleep better with my travel pillow (and I sacrificed extra clothing in order to have the pillow and not sleep with a lumpy mash of spare clothing). 

As I looked at the pack that took my 2 hours to assemble, I am reminded that just because it fits doesn't mean you should take it. 

Any whoo....

I went riding today.  It was a bit windy and Farley was just a *bit* snorty (actually VERY snorty) and had been off for a week, and I felt in the mood to go at a slower pace.  So we checked out a new trail, went down to the river, and had a lovely 2 hour ride at a walk. 

As I stood there, gazing at my saddled horse, I was impressed at how good she looks.  No, there's no muscle mass there.  But she's sleek, shiny, and has an incredible athletic "air" about her. 

She doesn't look skinny.

I even took a weight tape to her and compared it against measurements that I had when we were still competing and she's about right.  I'd say she was about a 5/9 BCS, which is just about right for a horse going back into work in the spring.  I'd probably want another 30-50 pounds on her going into a 100 for reserves (ignoring the extra weight that comes with increased muscle mass), but that isn't necessary right now.

Just 10 days ago I was trying to shut down obsessive cycles in my brain that she was too skinny.  What happened? 

I think this goes to show that with any subjective measurement, like a Body Score Condition (BSC), it is prudent to make several observations over a couple of days before making any radical changes. 

Probably, I was shocked because she had shed out of her fuzzy (and mass illusion) winter coat and for the first time I REALLY saw the loss of muscle.  Maybe she was a bit dehydrated for some reason.  Maybe she was standing funny.  Maybe I trusted my eyes more than my hands as I felt her topline and ribs.  Maybe I was stressed out from school, or maybe I was unconsciously comparing her to my clients quarter horses that I had seen all day. 

Whatever it was, I think it's a reminder to me that with something as subjective as weight, it's prudent to watch and observe and NOT freak out.

In fact, I'm hard pressed to think of anything that is solved through freaking out.....but I digress. 

I think one reason a horse that suddenly looks skinny to me sets off all sorts of alarm bells, is Minx.  One of the things that happened the week before she colicked is that she seemed to drop 50 pounds over night.  I'm a more experienced horseman now and would like to think I could pick up whether there was a medical emergency occurring and there's no reason to think that Farley won't live a long and healthy life.  I need to remember my own advice that I posted on the new100milers yahoo list: Ask me what went wrong for each and every one of my pulls on my record and I'll tell you I did too much, not too little.

See everyone at the end of the week!


  1. Hope you're having a blast!

    Glad Farley's not skinny. A little freaking out never hurt anything - as long as you're just worrying while you observe. ;)


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