No riding for me this weekend as I have my family members slowly making their way out to Arizona for Thanksgiving. I can’t relax and go ride knowing I have family members who could be waiting on me.
Last weekend was the Lead, Follow, or Get Out of My Way ride at McDowell Regional park where I did the 30 mile LD. This ride was monumental because it was the first ride I did that got me interested in Endurance. About a year ago, I did the 12 mile fun ride and met my good friend Katherine. We did this ride together once again, but in the LD.
When I did Las Cienegas last month, Annabel did not pulse down in time and we did not get a completion. I was more then prepared this time on how to handle her with the heat and I’ve also been working on keeping a pace between 5-6.5 miles per hour.
The preparation and the pacing had paid off and we were able to complete the ride without too much trouble. The vet check was a bit heart-breaking for me though. The vet noticed she had some swelling in her rear right hock. I asked what the possible cause was, and he considered her many years as a show jumper, along with her age that she was just getting older and that I may need to look for a new horse soon. I even tried to convince myself to start looking for a young Arabian (but I’m not really an Arabian person). This wasn’t just one vet’s opinion that broke my heart, it was the result of the last three rides the control vets have noticed soreness on every different leg. For now, I plan on competing her at least one more year and I am putting her on a new supplement that the vet recommended.
Early on in the ride at about mile 8, Annabel had gotten so frustrated with allowing horses to pass us that she turned into a hot mess. I checked my Endomondo and noticed our average page was about 6.9mph, so I decided to stop and let her walk the next 1.5 miles. This helped both Annabel, and Katherine’s hot mare out. It gave them the opportunity to chill out. It’s no fun riding a hot horse with so many miles to go; it really just wears yourself and your horse out. I had been sponging Annabel’s neck at every opportunity to keep her cool. As I came into the vet hold, she pulsed down fairly quickly in about 2-3 minutes as I drenched her with cool water. I was worried though because she wasn’t drinking. I eventually convinced her to drink some sweet water after she had eaten some hay and gave her electrolytes. On the second loop she was drinking more which brought me some relief.
During the second loop, I started talking to this older woman on a pretty little black and white pinto mare with two blue eyes who was gaited. I asked her what kind of mare it was and she said a Spotted Saddle Horse. I mentioned how I had been looking for a Tennessee Walking Horse. Later in the ride she informed me that her mare was for sale. I started to strongly get interested and told her I would come ride the mare as soon as I had a weekend to do so. I still have my heart set on a Rocky Mountain or TWH though because of their specific gait and don’t know how Spotted Saddle Horses do in endurance. This mare didn’t seem to have a problem but I like different gaits of the TWHs.
We made such great time on the second loop we took a lot more walk breaks as the temperature started to increase. I was super pleased that I had FINALLY completed a ride (this was LD #7) without being uncomfortable or in pain. I honestly probably could have done a 50 based on how I was feeling, but I wouldn’t put Annabel through that yet. It only took me 7 rides to finally figure out how to stay comfortable and the secret was… walk breaks. After about 10 miles and once the pack had spread out, I started taking quick 30 second walk breaks to kick my feet out of my stirrups, roll my ankles, sip some water, and check our average pace.
Annabel had no problems completing and got all A’s and B’s on her vet card. All I wanted was a completion and I got it! Katherine also got a completion on her mare as well and I was happy for her.
Annabel gets her 6th completion at the final ride of the season.
I’m trying to plan a camping and trail riding trip around New Year’s out in the mountains near Tucson. As of right now, that is my next ride away from the usual local outings.
On another completely random note; I am going to start selling Pampered Chef products. What does this have to do with riding? Well, everyone who knows me knows I love cooking and someday would like to come out with a camping cookbook for stove tops, grills, and campfires. Equestrians typically don’t spend a lot of time in the kitchen because they’d rather be out riding. I will be selling products that promote my healthy eating habits, save time, and save money. I can’t wait to get started on that!