Saturday, January 2, 2010

Epic win!

We had about the best first endurance ride possible!

The good: Dixie loaded, ate, peed, pooped, and kept her cool remarkably well. Diego did the same, and they got to be trail buddies - but not so BFF4LYFE that we couldn't leapfrog each other. The horses saw NEDA driving carts for the first time - they're like homemade chariots. They were a little snorty but didn't come unglued!

The bad: Iffy footing. No drinking. I led that horse to water no less than four times - two different types of water - and she just wouldn't drink. I definitely have to work on that - I think I'll try offering her flavored water at home (ACV? apple juice?) so when I offer her flavored water at a ride, she won't think it's unusual. And I think I'll give her some salty food first thing in the morning before a ride, so hopefully she'll be a bit thirsty when she steps off the trailer. Thoughts? Suggestions?

I talked ~C into signing up for the 20, but we should've just signed up for the 10 mile. Woops. It was one 10 mile loop, ridden once or twice - all roads, and all covered in about 4-6" of snow. The snowy bits were excellent, but there were miles of that slippy ice you get from traffic on snow. The iffy footing was one of the main reasons we decided to stop at 10 miles.

The horses got all big-eyed about the carts heading out, but we just hung out for a few minutes extra at the trailer til most of the riders headed out. Then I mounted up and ~C led Diego and off we went. Diego was doing his best snorty bug-eyed tail-up wild Arab impersonation, and Dixie kept wanting to rush off faster and faster, so we both made lots of circles on the side of the trail. Every time Dixie got tense and rushed, I pulled her into a big dressage circle and rode the circle til she focused on me again. Diego got to run in a circle once, but otherwise he just gradually calmed down on his own.

We walked probably the first three miles, before the horses had settled in enough to pick up the pace a bit. I asked Dixie to gait a few times, but the footing wasn't good for it - she'd start to rack, slip a bit, and trot instead. So we trotted. Dig's slowest trot is faster than Dixie's fastest flat walk, and Dixie does not believe she can trot any slower than she does, so we started leapfrogging. I'd trot ahead a bit, then drop to a walk, and Diego would jog past, then we'd repeat.

Amazingly, we passed a group of three riders. They'd started out a bit faster, but we caught up and passed them some time after the halfway mark. One guy on a green horse stayed behind us the whole time, so we came in 5th and 6th from last (on the first loop) - pretty respectable. I think most of the greenies only did 10 miles.

Dixie worked up a good sweat on the last half of the loop, but I really haven't conditioned her to trot for miles. She wasn't exhausted, and she seemed to have a good time. We came back to camp, offered them water, pulsed in (58, then she got mad about the stethoscope and went up to 60), let them eat for a few minutes, and went back out for about a mile, just so they'd get used to ride -> eat -> ride. I think we did the 10 mile loop in 1:45 - not record breaking, but not embarrassing.

Next official ride I'm planning on is the LD at Rides of March. I've got plenty of time to put some speed on her, and if she's still yaklike I'll clip the underside of her neck in early March.


  1. Way to go Funder and Dixie! As well as Crysta and Digs!

    yes, those carts are a bit intimidating at first, and the RACE! at least they did when i rode the neda rides last year :)

    I think you'll like Rides of March, their are a few good hills but very doable, that was my first ride with Sassy and our ride time was 5 hours and 27 minutes, i ended up going through 4 sponsors to get through that ride!! That also slowed us sown a bit and if my sponsors horse didn't go through a barb wire fence we would have saved an hour!

    I will be their as a volunteer, can't wait to see you and dixie out their!!

  2. Congratulations - big milestone accomplished with style and verve!

  3. woo! so glad you did one!

    my horse never drank the first 20 miles, as much as i wanted him to.


  4. Hey, big congratulations! Just getting to the start line shows how hard you've been working. Getting to the finish line shows you've been working correctly! was a 20-mile ride? Not 25?

  5. Zach, we actually worried we'd get passed by the carts on their second lap before we finished the first! It was pretty close too. Those carts look totally fun and totally dangerous.

    I'll see you at Rides of March! And I'll keep an eye out for the fences ;)

    I'm glad to hear that some horses just don't drink early in a ride. I kept telling myself that she is not suicidal or dumb as a box of rocks, and she's not too picky, and if she was thirsty she would drink. It was still hard!

    Aarene, yep, it was a 20 mile ride. Here's the NEDA site - it looks like they mostly do rides in NV and CA. (And that they don't update their site too often!)

  6. Congrats!!! I'm excited for you guys, that sounds like a super experience for Ms. Dixie. :) I was so glad to hear that not just everything went well, but that you had a nice horse to ride for the ten miles.

    I've had some luck with the tubes of electrolytes for Key. After a major colic + New Bolton + minor laminitis episode, and small colic incidents afterward, I've been paranoid about keeping him hydrated, especially at shows. When he doesn't drink and I think he should, I shoot him up with a tube of electrolytes. So far, it's worked. And the tubes are cheap (1-2 dollars) and easy to keep on hand. I've heard that horse shippers use beer... lol! But have not tested it out myself.

    For science? hehe!

  7. Congrats!!! How exciting for you! I probably would have opted for the 10 miler, too, with the snow/ice on the roads.

  8. Congrats on your maiden journey! 10 miles and your time wasn't half bad either :) Way to go ladies. ~E.G.

  9. congratulations! It sounds like you had fun.

  10. Congratulations! A good time was had by all. Here's to many more!

  11. Some friends in New Zealand swear by adding molasses to water. they give offer the horses plain water, and water with molasses. also might try throwing a few oats in a bucket of water so they float on the top, that sometimes gets them interested.

    and congratulations!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  12. For flavoring water I use a handful of grain, or if you don't feed grain you can try Horse Quencher-more expensive than grain, but basically the same thing!


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