Monday, June 14, 2010

Gratuitous goat

I didn't end up competing at the 4H show on Saturday. It was a big show, and none of the Western classes started before noon, and I just didn't want to sit on the ground for 4 hours. I packed Dixie's saddlebags with hay and let her eat and hang out in the commotion until the brand inspector arrived, then got her inspected and headed back home.

Her goat, Billy, was very glad to see us. He spent the whole time we were gone lounging in the other horses' pen, but as soon as he saw us approaching he leapt up and ran over to Dixie's pen and started chowing down on her hay. He is a very funny fellow. They were pretty cute eating together, so I wanted to get a picture. As soon as I walked up with the camera, I got a bunch of these shots:

You sure it's not food?

I was patient and eventually he got bored and went back to the hay with Dixie.


I was thinking about going to volunteer at the NASTR ride, but my husband wanted to spend time with me. Awww :) We ended up going shopping and had a nice day together.

Yesterday I took Dixie on a big ride - 20 miles in just under 4:30. I booted up and tried stashing my water in the pommel bag - I think I like it, but it needs some modifications. Some friends called when I got out to her barn, so we met up with them for part of the ride. It slowed us down considerably, but it was fun for me and good for Dixie.

We headed out at a fast clip for the first 7 miles to meet up with my friends who were trailering in. It was my first time riding with them. They're normal trail riders, and the woman's a little timid, so we just walked. Walking is fun for a change but it sucks after an hour or so! But the conversation was good.

We headed up into the hills. I was looking for a trail over to Antelope Valley to take me back home by a different route, but the BLM fence is actually in good shape along that section. There was one dirt road, but it had a cattle guard. The scenery in the hills is fantastic right now - lots of wildflowers, lots of different species of grass. Some dirt bikers zipped by and Dixie was unfazed, yay!

After the others headed back down to their trailer, I tried to work my way south along the ridge to head home, but my trail didn't work out. We headed back down to the foothills and gradually back into the valley. Dixie acted like she could care less about the two other horses while we were riding with them, but once they peeled off away from us, she was somewhat distraught. She screamed a few times, spent too much time looking for them, and wanted to head back down to their trailer, instead of home. At one point she was looking off toward where they'd gone and stumbled hard, to her knees. Before I decided to leap off, she lurched back up and walked out fine. Kind of scary, but she did a slightly better job of paying attention to the trail after that. And as far as "don't leave me!" panic goes, hers wasn't bad at all.

Our only other encounter was some people out shooting cans. When they saw us coming, they stopped shooting, and I talked to them briefly. Dixie was fine with them once she realized they were people, and the (distant) shooting didn't upset her.


I think I like the new pad. It didn't get sweat logged like I feared it would, and it didn't rub. When I stripped her tack, her back was evenly sweaty and all the hair was laying correctly. The boots all stayed on, but the left rear had a lot of grass seeds and dirt in it. I think I didn't get it aligned right when I put it on - I'll have to pay closer attention.

Getting the water bag tube out of the pommel bag, drinking from it, and stuffing it back in securely was impossible at the trot and annoying at the walk. I think I'll sew a tube hook on the other side of the pommel bag and let the tube ride across the pommel and hang off the far side. My backpack has a compartment for a camelbak, and the right strap has a hook for the tube. I never use the backpack as a camelbak - I have a real camelbak bag for when I want to use it. The hook on the strap does an amazingly good job of snagging securely to spaghetti strap tops when you take the backpack off, so I'm looking forward to removing it. I am very tired of my backpack trying to disrobe me! If I mod something up, I'll take some pics to share.

I took pecans for a snack and they were great. Dixie liked her De-Lyte Bites. I took one serving to see how she'd like them, and she thought they were good. I brought an electrolyte goo thing for me, and I really needed it at about 15 miles when I got the "don't care if I die in the desert" blahs. Some goo perked me right up and got me home.

My poor knees were the weak link. I am toying with the idea of switching riding footwear again - I think padded hiking boots plus padded enduro stirrups is too much squishy. I love the stirrups so I might try some very thin soled tennis shoes.


So we should be good to do the LD at Moonshine on the 26th, right? It's just under 2 weeks out, and we just did our big training ride, so now I can just bomb around if I want and have fun again?

Shoe/stirrup recommendations? Or I guess more precisely, knee recommendations? Yesterday I would've paid a vet tech to inject me with Adequan behind the barn!

Any thoughts about one Renegade full of dirt when the rest were self-cleaning?


  1. First, you and Dixie are going to ROCK at Moonshine! You guys will do awesome, except for the part where she thinks she's going "home" on the very last loop, and she's not. ;) I'll have my trailer there, empty, so feel free to bring your crew stuff by earlier in the day and crew out of my trailer. I'm assuming you'll just ride her over before the ride?

    For knees, first, WHERE does it hurt? The front, the side (which side), above or below the knee cap, etc. Different sore spots can mean different solutions. You might try taking your stirrups up or down a notch, or even 1/2 a hole if you can punch some in between. Also, personally, my knees CANNOT handle western fenders at all after several hours, it just makes them too sore. When I had my western saddle, I switched out to 2" biothane "leathers" and it was a big help, nearly eliminated the pain. I like the biothane leathers advertised here:
    2" and highly adjustable with the cam lock buckles instead of having punched holes. A lot of the Orthoflex and plantation type saddles have leathers like these.

  2. What a face on Billy! My!

    I love your map and graphs on your link. How did you do that? Very impressive.

    As far as your knees go, you ride so much I'm sure your stirrups are just where you want them, but that was the key for me. When I did the hunter/jumper thing in my 20s, my knees ached. I'm in my late 50s now and ride dressage, and I never even think about my knees. It's the difference in stirrup length for me.

  3. I found I just can't do the squishy stirrups. I ride in an aussie stirrup now with a leather, slightly padded insert in them, and then try to use use with nice padding.

    I do switch back and forth though. During a long ride (100) or a mutli day I bring both sets of stirrups so that I can change part way through for something "different" if needed, but the majority of the time (and all my conditioning) I use the aussie stirrups.

    I find that my ankes and knees appreciate the stability of a non-squishy stirrup.

    Regarding the boot not self cleaning....sometimes I have found that this is caused by the foot fit inside the boot and, sometimes when I think it isn't cleaning, it turns out that if I just left it on for a while, it does eventually clean it's self out.

    I say do moonshine! And yes, you can just plunk around for the next 2 weeks to do it... :)

  4. Yay, you!

    I don't have anything original to add to the wisdom already here: monkey around with your stirrups and see if that helps. I do like a biothane stirrup "leather" personally, but many people don't. I also like squishy stirrups, but Mel doesn't. Also, don't forget ibuprofen!!!

    And...have fun!!!

  5. I'm not an endurance rider, but my knees and sometimes ankles get stiff/sore in certain saddles. I agree with everyone else, fiddle with the stirrup length. I also agree that western fenders, for me at least, are way to restricting for getting a comfortable angle to hang my leg and therefore, knees and ankles get stiff. I just bought an aussie saddle and love the stirrups and fenders.

    Here's one more thing that I have found as I get older. Try taking a joint supplement. Since I have starting taking Jointhealth, which is a NEM product and Hyaluronic acid, my hip, knees and ankles are extremely better. I use the HA from NSI which also has a collagen component. All this is great for joint fluid, ligaments, and such. My skin looks better too! Good side effect.
    HA also helps with hydration. You can google these if your interested in learning more. I give both my 27yr old horse and my 7 year old HA. The older one for joint relief, the younger for repair of wear and tear.
    Big difference in the older horse when isn't on the HA.

  6. you and Dixie will be great at the LD !

    How cute is that Goat? I amy have to get my horse a goat when we move to Alaska!

    What sucks about stirrup length is that too long you can post, too short and your knees hurt! GAH!

  7. ~C, yeah, I was planning on bringing a big box of Essential Junk over in the afternoon when you get there, then parking the truck at Dixie's and riding her over. I'm hoping the sand pit loop will "pull" her on through - I think she will be tired by then, but hopefully not as wiped out as the last 10 miles of ROM!

    I am really bad at describing pain. My knees, especially the right one, hurt on the inside! Right behind the kneecap. I will try moving them up another notch I think - if I move them down it'll be really hard to post.

    If I switch to Aussie or English leathers, I'll have to get and wear chaps, right? Ugh! The fenders just hang loose on the saddle tree, so I can switch. I might try that later... I think the cordura fenders are flexible enough that they're not bothering me, but no way to know but to try!

    Jill, I take a MSM/glucosamine supplement, but I hadn't thought about trying HA. Surely I'll remember to pack ibuprofin in the crew box... I am quite good at overpacking!

  8. haha - I love goats. although I might change my mind if I actually had one.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond

  9. Who knew goats could be such hams!

    Sounds like your knees hurt the same place mine do when I take long rides. I hope you can get a solution figured out. I wouldn't wish that pain on anyone.


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