I have a much more informative post in the works. Sadly blogging has taken a back seat lately as life has taken over. (I have been working 50+ hrs a week at my day job, plus 3 nights and a couple mornings a week at my barn).
However today I took a little time for me, and met a new friend for a conditioning ride at Cedarock Park. A had posted on the AERC facebook group a couple weeks back and I reached out to her, seeing as she is from the next town over and we are both considering attending the same ride this fall. She is new to endurance as well and also rides a non-arab (her gelding, Primo is an ottb).
I opted to take Siesta as I have been working her the most and am giving Justice the winter off. However I was slightly concerned the night before as I noticed she seemed a little quieter than normal. It’s hard to tell much simply from the short walk to the pasture during turnout, but she just seemed unusually placid. However I couldn’t pinpoint anything specifically wrong with her so I decided not to worry.
This morning I headed out as soon as my boyfriend got home from work. I hooked up the trailer by myself (I’m getting quite good at that by the way!) and fed all the horses at the barn before loading Siesta. I wasn’t entirely sure how that would go as I haven’t trailered her solo since I brought her home but she hopped right on for me like a good girl.
We made it to the park by 8:45. A and Primo were already there. I quickly got Siesta saddled and mounted from the truck bumper. I was afraid she might act up and transfer her anxiety to Primo but she surprised me by being amazingly good. She actually stood tied at the trailer without weaving and kept the wild gaiting to a minimum after I mounted.
I was hoping to get Siesta to drink as Cedarock has a pretty good creek crossing but we were shocked to discover that the creek bed was bone dry. We did end up finding a few puddles along the way but Siesta showed no interest, despite the fact that I’d given her a syringe of electrolytes at the barn prior to leaving.
All in all it was a great ride. A and I had a great conversation and were pleased that our horses got along well. We took turns leading and dealt well with minor mishaps on the trail (this included startling a small herd of deer, Siesta tripping over a root and falling to her knees going down a hill, Primo getting a good sized stick tangled in his tail and then later ripping out a good chunk of his tail on a tree). I tracked our ride on Endomondo and A used MyTracks and we were pleased to find that our distances came out the same (despite losing gps signal several times). Because we were conversing pretty much the whole time I didn’t get any video and the few pics I have are rather blurry, but here they are.
We ended up doing 5.26 miles at just over 4mph. So a little slower than I’d anticipated but to be fair the trail was riddled with enough roots and stones to slow anyone down. A horse has to be extremely sure footed to travel at any kind of speed over that kind of terrain and I thought both of ours did extremely well in that respect.
In the end, however, I still found myself somewhat (perhaps unreasonably) concerned. I was worried because Siesta had not drank, and also because she seemed just a bit slower than normal. Again I couldn’t put my finger on it. She is usually so hot and forward but today I had to actually ask her to gait/trot a number of times, whether it be while leading, or to keep up with Primo. I tried to tell myself that I was overthinking things. I do that. A lot. It’s a major fault of mine.
I took a nap in the afternoon and went back to the barn at 5 to check on her. Whereupon I was very pleased to find that Siesta had drank almost her whole bucket of water (which she never does!) I checked her all over and nothing seemed amiss. In the end I can only conclude that I must be overthinking things, or maybe she was just having a quiet day. I did start her on SmartPak’s SmartPituitary this week as well so maybe that has something to do with it? Who knows.
For some reason while I was at the barn I decided to ride Pokey. He actually hasn’t been out a lot this summer, so I wasn’t sure how he’d do. The one thing I can count on with Pokey though – he WILL let me know how he’s feeling, and he will take care of himself.
Pokey ended up surprising the hell out of me and we actually did 5.8 miles at an average pace of 5.2mph. That is probably the fastest we’ve ever ridden! I wasn’t even pushing him. I was just putting feelers out to see what he could/would do and he blew me away!
The next few weeks should be interesting. With my work schedule and personal life being what it is, I have very little free time. I have learned not to plan on anything so I can’t reveal any goals or aspirations here but I do have a few in mind, and I will be working toward them as best I can. 🙂