Sunday, May 18, 2014

Mt Adams

Photos by Jessica R. Anderson
Mt. Adams was a blast!!!  It threatened to rain but held off just long enough to get through the ride and the awards Sunday morning:)
I headed over Friday morning and made it into camp about 1pm.  The camp was already pretty full and I ended up parking way down by the last water tank and porta potty.  Cartman hauled well and we managed to get in a little warm up ride after vetting in.
I wandered around a little and let him graze on the wonderful grass they had in camp.
As usual he was a little restless Friday night and after being woke up for about the 50th time in 2 hours I started thinking one of those Hold Your Horses corrals might be really nice!
In all seriousness I am considering trying one.  I think he would be able to move around more and I wouldn't have to listen to the "springing" of the hi-tie all night long.  Not to mention it's only a matter of time before someone dents up the trailer with a misplaced foot or an itchy halter clad face!
Saturday morning I was up before my alarm.  For once I felt somewhat prepared!  I had packed the saddle with snacks, water, and my vet card.  We did more handwalking and grazing and then I downed a protein shake with peanut butter and saddled up.
I was not aware until ride meeting Friday night that we were actually doing a 30miler this year.  So we had 7hours and 15 minutes to complete. 
Since I haven't gotten as much hill conditioning in as I would have liked I decided to hang back and actually see the front runners leave camp before we ambled over to the start.  I did not want him to get all amped up and want to chase them.  Cartman was relaxed and he snacked his way across the field to the start.
Thankfully this attitude lasted for the first mile or so.  Then he went through a bit of a bratty phase when we had a little disagreement about whether we really should be trying to pace a mule going downhill.  He thought so, I thought not!
I ended up having to circle him a few times and at one point he actually have a few tantrum-like jumps up and down.  I felt like I was riding a coiled spring...
Thankfully his good nature took back over pretty quickly and we settled into a good pace. 
Since one of the two items I forgot to pack was.... my GPS/HRM (dingbat) I had no idea how far we had gone or how high his heart rate was.  I know this ride is a bit deceptive, lots and lots of climbing and dropping in elevation.  I had no care as to where we "placed" as my goal is not racing, so we just carried on at a good clip and walked through any rocky areas or steep declines.
We ended up hanging with a very nice lady on a big beautiful bay TB and a junior on a lovely grey registered Paint.  It was the Paint's first time out and he was a rock star- acting like he'd been at this for ever.
Cartman really liked the pair of horses and called to them like they were his own herd when we parted ways at the vet check.
Before I knew it we back in camp after completing 16miles.  Cartman pulsed right in and went to dragging me around for grass bites while we waited in the vet line.  He got all A's but B on gut sounds.
I had packed a bag and taken it over to the check, since I ended up in the vet line almost through an entire hold at this ride once.  This year we got lucky and had enough time to sneak back to the trailer for a few minutes.
As always, I was 10 minutes late leaving out on our last loop.   Cartman actually broke into his big trot as we left camp this time!  So proud of him:)   
The last loop was about 13 miles and again was lots of down, down, down.  The footing was SO good on this ride, as close to perfect as it gets for a mountain ride I think.  I ended up riding with a lady named M. that I was actually bringing a saddle to swap with from my riding buddy Michelle.
We cruised along chatting and enjoying the beauty of the trail.  Before I knew it we had hit a common trail from the morning and we were headed back up a LONG steady climb back to camp.  It had started to warm up and I am really aware that Cartman does not pulse/cool down as quickly as he could once the temperature starts climbing. 
I decided to walk in the last 1/4 mile while M. went on at a little jog.  I couldn't believe it, we were right back to the brattitude I had at the start of the ride.  When his "buddy" got out of sight Cartman was bouncing, bunching up his neck and basically being a little shit head! 
This didn't last long though and once they were out of sight he settled right back down.  By that time I had hopped off to loosen his girth and he was trying to inhale as much grass as possible, while I tried to steer him back towards the trail and the finish.
We tried a pulse in but he was at 68.  I led him over to a tiny shady spot and he grabbed two huge mouthfuls of grass and then stretched out and (sorry non-horse people) "pee'd like a  racehorse".  Whew.
I drug him back over to the pulse area and he was at 60bpm. 
About this time he started stomping and jumping around and I was thinking "what the heck is going on????"
We got in the vet line and about every 2 minutes he would flail around and act like a nutball.  It was a large horse fly causing all this commotion.  But they ladies behind me did give him a wide berth.  So embarrassing.
We vetted through with A's and again one B on gut sounds! Yeah, first ride of the year in the bag:)
 Following photos are by me

Friday night

perfect footing

we got to ride through the burn area, don't get off trail!!!!!!

It was eerie, I kept feeling like I was riding through a Lord of the Rings movie.

Mt Adams above

post-ride snack

view from our camp site

caught almost napping post-ride

Mt Adams in clouds above ride camp

Sunday morning graze-about.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Making a List, Checking it Twice

The frantic list making has begun in earnest.  I am packing and prepping for Mt Adams this coming weekend.

Since I thoroughly cleaned the trailer last fall I had to pretty much completely replace everything I take with to rides.  Agh. 

To compound things, I've been taking my German Shedder with me a lot on training rides and he has to ride in the trailer tackroom, so..... I got to re-vacuum the tack room to remove all the dog hair.  Sigh.

I had pulled all the actual trailer mats and washed the back of the trailer about a month ago, so I had intended to just add some clean pine shavings to it and be good to go.  Unfortunately both geldings decided to pee on the way home from our ride on Sunday. 

So, I spent another hour dragging the mats in and out, and washing the floor of the trailer.  I can't complain though it was really nice to have a friend to ride with at last!  Looking back on our training rides this spring they have all been solo.

We did a nice 11.5 mile ride, the same trail I did last weekend with C.  We got some good hills in and some long trot/canter sets.  Not in a hurry this day we also spent quite a bit of time grazing and enjoying the sunshine :)

Today I went by the feed store and picked up some more Weed Free Timothy (I've been feeding it to C off and on for a month or so in anticipation of going to rides that require WF hay) and also an Orchard/Alfalfa mix.  I usually take some WF local hay but have been unable to find any this time.  I really detest the WF rule, it makes me nervous to switch hays so haphazardly.   My boy is usually on pasture pretty much full time but I do attempt to sneak some hay in there when I can.

Tomorrow I'm off to purchase a watch or alarm clock.  I always depend on M. to provide the alarm with her smartphone and I realized yesterday I could potentially oversleep and miss the ride completely. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

Nothing to see Here

Got another short 5 mile ride in tonight after work. 

Today I concentrated on flexing, and leg yielding and lots of turns on the haunches and forehand. 

Also, instead of doing our long canter stretch one direction on the right lead and back on the left, I switched it up- integrating some of my work out patterns from the gym by counting out 5 strides on the left, then break to trot, switch to the right count out 5 strides.  The next set was 10, and so on until we were up to about 20 on each lead.

C tends to get  a little "strong" in the bridle when we turn and head back towards the trailer, so today we did more canter/halt transitions on the way back.  By the end of a half mile he was halting a lot better.

I decided to ask for a halt to canter transition and got the most lovely one!  On the right lead no less.  He is definitely getting better and better at this stuff.  A year ago I couldn't reliably get the right lead and now he gets it 99% of the time.

A good ride:)

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Looks like I've fallen off the wagon, again.

Photos at bottom of post

I've been so busy on my new "schedule" I didn't notice I only blogged two times last month!

Quick recap. 

I've been riding 2-3 times a week, mostly on the local jogging path.  Cartman has started to get into acceptable condition despite our lack of good "trail miles".  I've kinda used the sand as a substitute for hill climbing.

I started going to "Team Training" 2-3 times a week at the gym- Three Rivers Athletic Club.  Originally I planned on just going in and working out on my own, but I somehow didn't quite get around to that after that first "killer" workout.

So, I called and found that their T. Training program might be just the ticket for me!  I met with one of the fitness instructors and got weighed (gag) and callipered (again, gag)!  Let's just say there is plenty of room for improvement :) 

I got a manual to read that covers some basic fitness principles and physiology stuff- being schooled in the biology field I eat that stuff up. 

I also had to come up with some 30 day goals- since I wasn't really prepared for that in the meeting I only came up with a few, kinda lame ones.

1) lose 6 pounds
2) Be able to do 30 real push ups (real, not the cheater knee push ups!)

Afterwards I realized I have TONS of goals!  Since I'm committed this time I'm gonna put them in print:

3) Be able to see the muscles in my arms (don't laugh!)
4) Be able to physically complete a 50 mile Endurance ride- and still walk the next morning.
5) Look good in my gym clothes/breeches.
6) Be able to run without feeling like I am dying, or wanting to!
7) Feel comfortable walking into the gym.
8) Be and feel strong.
9) Learn to use the weight lifting equiptment.

So, now I'm getting up at 4:30am to get to the gym two days a week.  The work outs are HARD.  Knowing that, I am really careful to get to bed at a decent time on the nights before T. Training. 

I wasn't really expecting this side effect, but I am sleeping really really well.  I'm not waking up at night and am actually waking BEFORE the alarm- for the first time in my entire life:)

I love it.

I think it's spilling over into other parts of my life as I feel really strong mentally.  At work I've been able to let all the stress/panic/drama just kinda slide off my back. Not that I really get too worked up about that stuff anyway but I feel more "in control". (That's actually kind of funny, because in reality I have absolutely NO control over what happens in the lab.  Oh well...)

So, enough about my new hobby...

Friday I took Cartman up to Red Rock for a longer, hillier ride.  He did awesome.  Although he was somewhat hesitant starting out he really picked up the pace once he realized we weren't turning around.

We did a lot of long trot sets and some long canter sets as well.  I made sure to stop for breaks and grass several times, since he hasn't really been out on anything like this since last fall.  Our jogging path is great, but it's like a groomed path.  No holes, lumps, bumps, or even real long hills.

This trail is deceptively up, up, up and then down pretty quick right at the end.

We completed the ride in 2 hours and its about 9 miles total.

Just as we were getting back it started to sprinkle, booooooo!!!!

The saddle did great!  Unfortunately we are now having some saddle pad issues.  The test pad I had was a Matte's wool pad.  Definitely used but still pretty fluffy.  It worked perfectly.

The new Skito I got with the saddle is so thin, it totally doesn't work for us.  I got bad sweat patterns from it and felt the saddle was slipping off  to the right again:(  Celena Pentrack (awesome RP saddle fitter- and TB rider!) lent me an Equipedic to try.

The Equipedic is definitely better than the Skito.  The saddle doesn't move with it- the pad does though.  Sigh.  I used it for a quick 1 hour ride last week and it slipped back a little.  Yesterday it slipped back and caused an odd sweat pattern.  I cinched down the billet keepers as tight as I could, but still it slipped back.

I think I'm going to need a pad made for the RP- they have "pockets" that you pull onto the panels, so the pad stays in place.  I'm going to call and ask about the RP Toklat pads on Monday.  I only have 14 days until Mt. Adams!!!


Saddle stays put.