Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Bare Bones Recap

Since I've been meaning to update the blog since Sunday, but couldn't quite get around to transferring my pictures over- I'm just going to do the update w/o photos.

Just imagine several blurry shots of Cartman's ears, framed by blurry bright green foliage.  That's pretty much what I saw for five hours on the LD!

I finally started feeling better on Thursday night and started the packing up process.

My horse trailer was set up to haul racehorses to and from the track.  When you haul racehorses, you don't really need much tack.  Usually a bridle, possibly a yoke (running martingale), and a channel ( the black rubber piece that goes underneath the jockey's girth).

Consequently, my trailer has no tackroom!!!  You can imagine how this complicates the packing process for an endurance ride- pretty much the polar opposite to a trip to the track.  I need to take everything and anything I might possible need over the course of a weekend.... and a spare!

It took a whole evening after work just to get everything packed into the totes and carriers so that I could then pack all of the containers into the bed of the truck on Friday.

I had to work Friday, but managed to skate out about 3pm.  I raced home.  Grabbed C out of the pasture and set him up with a flake of alfalfa (our pre-trailering routine).  After I baked some vegetable and Todd grilled me some steak (have I mentioned my new "primal" diet/lifestyle?  I love it, but it does take a little more preparation than my previous diet of quesadillas and Ruffles chips.

We pulled out of Castle Rock at 5pm.  Exactly one hour past my target 4pm.

The trip was easy, light traffic heading North on Friday afternoon.

We pulled into the Gun Club at 6:06pm.

I found Glen and Flo and parked next door, then started the unloading process.

Cartman is set up first.  Two buckets of water, a large hay bag and his Hi Tie.  Good to go.

I then swept out  the pine chips, set up my cot and hung the battery operated camp lantern.  By this time my friend Michelle had pulled in and parked on the other side of Glen and Flo. 

I checked in, delivered my check and a large roll of TP (yes, the Bare Bones entry fee includes a roll of TP).

Cartman vetted in all A's and a pulse of 44.   Now I could relax!

I visited a little, walked Cartman and got all our stuff packed up for an early morning depart.  The ride meeting went quickly and we were set for a 6:30am start.

I slept great and woke up before my wake up call at 5:15am.  It was actually starting to get light and the 50's were getting ready to go. 

Before I knew it M and I were saddled up and heading down the trail.

We got into a little traffic jam right off the bat.  C was a coiled spring.  Strangely enough I did not get nervous at all.  I think th at was a first.  He was all springy and had the arched neck going- but did nothing with it :)

We took off at a good clip and were cruising until stopped by a rider in the middle of the trail, on the ground, trying to find or reapply a hoof boot.  We stopped.  The lady was on the trail ride.  As soon as she had the boot on she lept back on her horse and took off like a bat-outta-hell.  Oh my.

This scenario was repeated multiple times.  M and I rolled our eyes.  We actually ended up leap frogging with this rider for at least an hour.  The final straw was when she came blasting up behind us on a narrow trail, actually bumping into M's horse. 

I told her to pass and go on. 

From then on we rode with a few other nice riders and were really enjoying the cool morning air in these thick woods.  The trails were almost exclusively single track.  A lot of winding, some roots, and a lot of ups and downs.  I don't think there was a half mile of level trail on the whole LD!  It was awesome.

It took us 2 hours to do the first 9 miles, this was curious- seemed pretty slow.  It didn't feel slow on the trail however.  We had done a bit of walking but hadn't really dilly dallied due to the fact we were expecting it to get quite hot.  I do believe this was the hottest day of  the year so far.

Our vet check was in camp.  We both vetted through no problem and headed to the trailers for a break. Michelle noted that while this is better for us (no need to pack an out-check bag) it is not necessarily as easy on our horses.   When we did go back out they were really dragging their feet for the first half mile or so.

It was still relatively cool.  M's horse Tucker  really tanked up at the first water stop, but C wouldn't touch a drop.  He just wanted to eat grass.  The horse flies were out so we headed back down the trail pretty quickly.

During this half of the ride were leap frogging with a very polite rider, unfortunately her horse was wearing loud bells.  It was totally freaking Tucker out and he was cruising down the trail, and trying to turn his head back constantly to see what kind of sleigh was following us!  After a while the jingling started to get to me too. 

We found a good section of trail and let the horses roll.  Finally we were jingle free.

Dr Root was mentioning at the ride meeting that letting your horse trot, can work as a cooling technique.  I don't usually do hmuch, if any, downhill trotting.  I see horses flying downhill and I'm amazed at how the "light on their feet" Arabs can do this.  My TBs seem to be a little too heavy for much speed work downhill, plus I'm paranoid about those front legs.

But,  interestingly enough, while we were fleeing the bells- we ended up jogging down some mild hills.  Cartman stayed balanced over hiis hindquarters and I swear he was rolling his shoulders like a Walking horse.  He cooled off enough to actually have a dry neck by the time we pulled up to a walk again due to rough trail.  Hmmmm. 

Another example of how there are new things to learn at every ride.  Its so easy to live by absolutes sometimes.  For instance  Friday I would have said "I never trot downhill"
but now I see that there may be times when it is appropriate.  The horse world keeps trying to teach me this lesson, over and over, but it never fails but to sneak up on me again when I find another of my absolutes, is not.
We were watching the clock towards the end of the ride.  Almost got off trail when some people were sitting at a cross roads area, in front of the sign that told us which way the Orange/yellow loop In went.

Then again, I tried to go off trail when I was confused by a directional sign that said Or/Y Vet check 1 mile.  I think I might have been getting a little too hot by this time as I took that to mean an out vet check.  I know, how could there be an out check so close when we had to be so close to camp.  Yikes.  Luckily Michelle convinced me to go that way and we quickly spotted a ribbon around the first turn.

We were soon back at camp.  Our horses were quite pissy about having to circle the field.  C was pretty insistent that he could SEE the trailer right OVER THERE!

It was hot now, 12:20pm.  Cartman usually walks in to camp and pulses down immediately.  Not this time.  He was at 70.  I pulled his saddle, sponged him, tried again.  This time 66. 

Now I know that I was getting too hot.  At the time, I couldn't quite figure out why I was a little agitated.  I wasn't snappy or anything to the pulse lady, but I was thinking to myself that she must be wrong.  I was irritable.

The third time, after sponging some more, drinking a little and grazing C pulsed in at 60.  The whole experience took probably 6-10 minutes but it seemed like it took forever.

I headed to the vet.  He gave C a good once over and told me to trot out.  C is really good about this, he has a nice forward trot and I have to really stretch out to keep up.  He jogged well.  While the vet was checking him over I started to feel really icky.  My
heart would not quit pounding after the little jog.  And I got that weird vision thing where the edges of your vision start going black.  Ugh oh.  I leaned forward and put my hands on my knees for a minute.  The vet was still checking C and didn't notice me acting strangely (thank goodness). 

He vetted in- all A's except a B on gut sounds!   Yeah!!!!

We headed straight away to the trailer where I tucked C in with some hay and I sat in the shade for a minute.  After a few minutes I managed to peel off the tights and got more comfortable in shorts and a tank top. 

This ride had a working hose!  I got to hose C off and clean him up, that was really nice.  He hates being sponged, but will tolerate the hose.  It was really nice to get my horse cleaned up- almost as good as getting a shower for me!

We hung out for a couple of hours, letting the horses eat, drink, and rest.  Finally about 4pm I loaded up and headed back to Castle Rock.  It was a great ride.

When I turned C out he took off at a trot across the pasture:)


HHmstead said...

So did the heat, after just recovering from being sick get to you? Love your diet change - I made some major changes over a year ago now & wish I'd kept the routines of my "youth" & not have to re-learn them!
Congratulations on the super vet scores! Cartman had to be one of the few that scored that high - it was a tough ride! (We too were confused at that sign!)
P.S. I've had experience with the "Bell Lady" - drives me nuts! Like some poor Bear would be out with all those horses on the trails! :-)

AareneX said...

Sounds like the heat got to YOU girl...were you drinking water AND consuming some kind of electrolyte?

If you like the taste of V-8, it's a good choice. If not, there are plenty of sports drinks that will prevent "finish-line boinking" (try to find one with minimal sugar).

Glad you got your completion. Fee took a long time to pulse down b/c of the heat/humidity, but since she kept eating while we cooled her, she got excellent vet scores at the finish...sounds like C was on the same plan!

CG said...

Connie- I have a theory that the bells are more helpful to maintaining a space bubble than scaring bears, when used during a ride like that anyway. I highly doubt many bears would be out on the trail when there are 75 horses going by!

Aarene- V-8 is exactly what I forced myself to drink when I got back to the trailer, next time I better take one along on trail, or perhaps some of that electrolyte powder if I can find one w/o all the sugars.

I think we get a little spoiled in our area, we rarely have too much heat and humidity to deal with.

AareneX said...

I can't digest the elyte mixes and powders, so on hot/humid ride I drink a big can of V-8 at every check and take a "shorty" can in my saddle bag. Saves my butt...!

irish horse said...

I hate bells. Seriously, bears can hear you coming anyway! But it showed you can trot downhill, which is great! I had a hard time overcoming that too, but when the horse is nice and balanced its pretty neat. Glad Cartman did so well, I think we spend a lot of time worrying about our horses and forget about ourselves! I haven't figured it out yet, and really can't stand the electrolyte drinks. I like smart water lemonade, and I saw some jelly-bean electrolyte treats at Tevis this weekend that looked interesting.

Funder said...

Great story! Grats on a good finish - and what a nice short trip!

Here's two non-sugary electrolyte choices that I've used:

Nuun naturals are stevia-sweetened tabs that drop into water bottles. They fizz as they dissolve, and they taste a little weird but they work.

Hammer endurolytes are capsules of electrolytes. You just swallow some with water while you're out there sweating. If you don't have issues swallowing big gelcaps and you're really taste-sensitive they're the way to go!