I rode Chief 1 day, and Bo 3 days. It looks like Chief may be a little sensitive until his feet grow the rest of the way out from the stress he’s been through in the last few months from all of the eyelid surgeries. He got a little ouchy over the rocks on the second loop which is totally not normal for him. Wahhhhh, what a bummer! I was worried that something was really wrong (and you never know, with the work he’s done there could be) but the good news is that there was never any heat or swelling and his legs stayed tight and cool and no reaction to hoof testers. He was able to trot out okay at the finish, and felt good in the good footing but sore is sore – so that was it for Chief.
The vet said she didn’t see anything on Chief when he was trotted in a tight circle both ways when we were at Ballarat, but I chose to ride Bo for the remaining days of the ride. This was actually a great opportunity for Bo to get to do his first three days in a row at a ride. He and I had FUN–he’s turning into a real endurance horse! I think we finished 11th on the first day, and 8th on the 2nd and 3rd days that I rode him. There were around 70 riders the first day and it dwindled down to around 32 by the 4th day. There were a few times that I let Bo move out in a canter. He’s strong and fit right now (esp. after doing two 2-day rides at the end of last season plus the DV Warmup ride) and capable of going a lot faster if I’d let him but since he may be moving up to Plan A status I need to be somewhat conservative. That’s why I have two horses, so that I can let minor things go away and not turn into something more serious.
Plus, with the heavy coats my horses have there was no need to go any faster than we did. The finish criteria was 60 pulse within 30 minutes of finishing. I don’t think that anybody had a problem with that. Most of the riders didn’t even know that was the criteria, because of course they don’t bother to read the ride literature before the ride starts! (lol…seriously guys….READ THAT STUFF, it’s not made up for the amusement of ride management because they have nothing better to do)
I rode all 4 days with my new Garmin GPS that I got for Christmas. It was a lot of fun! It takes photos and geo tags them even! I had fun taking photos of our rig in camp then when I was out of the trail and wanted to know where camp was I could simply go to the photo viewer, select that photo and the big “GO” button and it would show me on the topo map where camp was. It did take me awhile to learn how to use the camera and the best way to attach the GPS to a lanyard so that I could slip it in and out of my shirt pocket and not have to worry about losing it. I think the best part is that I rode all four days with gloves on and didn’t have any trouble at all getting the touchscreen to work. I could even see the screen well in different outside light conditions. Now that I’m home I can view my tracks and photos in Google Earth and see where we went! I love how technology like this has advanced, it’s great! The only feature I didn’t get around to using was the HRM (yes, it does that too!) on the horse. We’ll hook’er up on the next ride!
Check out this NASA photo along with info on the Searles Lake bed that we rode through. Cool, huh? Now you know that trona is an evaporative mineral! Trona’s major use is in glass manufacture, but it is also used in many applications ranging from animal feed, chemical manufacture, to medicine.
During the ride I checked the GPS often enough to know that most of the time I kept the horses trot speeds at 9 mph or under. Canter was probably 13 or 14 mph. I think that where I did make some good time was when we walked fast through the rocky sections. I kept the horses Renegade boots on when I was in the rocks, and with Bo I took them off for the nice footing parts. That was fun! He’s really getting tough footed.
A few riders hung out till after midnight at the clubhouse on New Year’s. We had a delicious steak dinner earlier in the evening. I thought the ride was overall really nice this year. The motorcycle riders we encountered on the trails were all really polite, and nobody tampered with the trail ribbons. The weather was cooler than the year before, so for me it felt like the ride was a lot easier than the year before. Part of that is that I am a lot stronger and healthier now than I was a year ago. A year ago I still had trouble with my balance and equilibrium and had trouble staying upright on a horse! Now it feels second nature, just like it should.
On the 3rd day that I rode Bo, we went all day in a S-hack with NO MARTINGALE! Not a single head toss either, which is good or he might have poked my eye out with his party hat since it was New Year’s Eve! Not sure I’d start him sans martingale on the first day or first loop of a ride but I think that we are making some progress. It would be great to not have to need the martingale, or at least reduce it’s use as I really want a better trained horse than that and I know he can do it. After all, he’s turning into a real endurance horse now after having done his first multiday longer than a couple of days!
If you look close in the photo gallery you may catch a glimpse or two of the wild burros. They were so cute and we saw lots of them out there. I didn’t get everything covered that I wanted to in this post so will stop now and finish later.