I first want to start out this weekend update by informing you how Las Cienegas went. I was really excited that this was a convenient ride for us to attend to. It took place in Sonoita, AZ (the same organizer who puts on the Old Pueblo Pioneer in March) and was a quick three hour drive.
I was planning on riding with my friend Andrea and her friend-who is now my friend, Britteny. The ride started off great as we rode through cattle country but about 8 miles into the ride we were trotting along a dirt path when both Annabel and I observed at the same time that there was a cattle guard. We both slammed on the brakes to avoid it causing Andrea to run into us and Britteny to run into Andrea in which her gelding ended up crushing Andrea’s ankle. She ended up with a fracture. The cattle guard came out of nowhere and none of us saw it. There were a couple of reasons why it caught us off guard. One being that the ribbons were hanging on a tree to the left of the cattle guard which is what caught our eye. For the previous miles of the ride if there was a cattle guard the ribbons would have been tied to the gate we needed to go through. There was also a large tree branch of the cattle guard, and it was hidden in some really tall grass much like the photo I posted above. I have the whole thing on video and will eventually post it. We stayed together and walked as much as Andrea needed to. She occasionally attempted to trot without stirrups but it still put Britteny and I behind at the control check. I had to lead Britteny for the rest of the ride without Andrea who remained at the control check. The afternoon was surprisingly hot for an October day and even though I started walking and hopped off as I approached the final vet check Annabel was really hot. I have no crew and they did not have any kind of water bucket/sponge combination back at camp. I threw off my saddle to the ground as soon as I got back and started sponging her off back at my trailer. The vets were concerned about Annabel not cooling down as well. After about twenty minutes of attempting to get her pulse down one of the veterinarians finally lead me to a hose that was supposed to be used for horse drinking water and started aggressively hosing off Annabel. I was grateful that someone was finally able to help me. Annabel and I ended up getting over-time and did not complete. This was the first time we did not complete a ride. I was not the only one though. There were 25 starters in the LD only 18 completed; the rest of the horses struggled to cool down as well. I wouldn’t have changed the way I rode though. I knew we were pushing our luck with the time after walking a lot in the first half but it was either do a quick trot the last five miles and risk her not pulsing down or going slower and still not completing. The veterinarians were also noting that she seemed a bit off in her left front and left hind along with some muscle soreness in her left hindquarter. I asked what it could be from and they said anything from a calcium deficiency, to overexerting uphill.
I am putting Annabel on Total Blood Fluids Muscle which is designed for replenishing the nutrients lost in extreme exercise. We are also working on maintaining a speed of 5.0-6.5 mph. I tend to let her trot at a lot faster of a pace on long, flat roads. Her trot can reach up to 12mph so I want to work on having her not overexert herself. I did a short 5 mile ride today at Estrella and checked my Endomondo every time I hit another mile to see what our pace was (and to drink water). We finished with with a pace of 5.3mph which is suitable considering the amount of walking I actually have to do because of the terrain there. Over the past year, I’m learning to enjoy endurance mile by mile. Next year, I plan on doing all LD’s again, but want to mentally start preparing myself for 50’s. I don’t know if Annabel can be successful in 50’s because she is a bigger girl (16hh), but it is a goal of mine to eventually do.
The ride at Sonoita was still a great way to hit the trails and I always love camping with Annabel. It was a ride that had it’s teachable moments.
On Monday, I was heart broken though to find out a friend of mine, an older lady I have ridden with a couple of times lost her beloved mare. I don’t think I’ve ever met ANYONE who loves their horse as much as this woman did. Her mare developed some type of toxin in her intestine months ago that had been eating away at her. She had no idea and her mare never showed any kinds of signs. She attempted the 100 on Saturday but pulled as she finally started showing signs of what she came down with. I did not expect the mare to not pull through. I thought she would have gotten better with treatment but was shocked to go on Facebook and find out she had passed away. My heart broke for Carol. I remember what that heartbreak feels like when I lost my gelding to colon cancer. Take time to give your horse an extra hug or kiss today, you just never know.