Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I've been thinking about our ride for almost a week. I think we have a lot of little issues to work out and one big one.

The little ones:
* more hill work
* better electrolyte protocol
* put the damn boots on the night before
* get up earlier because there's something else I forgot I guarantee it
* learn to pace better

The big one:
DRINKING. I think the heart of the not-drinking problem is that Dixie only goes on short trips. The trailer is like a mobile tie rack, not a home away from home. She knows that pretty soon now we'll load up and go home, and home water is evidently way better than away water, so ugh, why drink gross away water?

I've had a couple people suggest that we do 2 25s in a row. I know she can power through the first day in good shape even if she just drinks a minimum amount, and the second day might really impress on her that she should conserve some strength and drink when she gets the chance. I've also thought about just trying another 50 - the weather sucked, but we made it further than we've ever gone before. With better weather she might finish fine.

But I think I'll just wait. I think the heart of the problem is that the trailer isn't home, and it can't be home til we have one of our very own. It's a hole in our training and I think I should back up and fill it in the right way. I'll just wait til I can get a trailer, and then I'll start hauling Dixie for short trips. There's at least 4 different places I can go within 20 miles. I'll take her for a couple hours' ride, tie her to the trailer with a water bucket (of glorious home water), and sit down and read a book til she drinks. I can haul her to local AERC rides and local NEDA rides, and either ride her or just leave her tied while I volunteer... then sit down and read a book til she drinks. I don't think it'll take forever to get her trained to drink at the trailer if she's remotely thirsty. If Dixie would just tank up at the trailer, I wouldn't mind if she didn't want to drink on the trail - 20 miles without a drink isn't ideal but it's acceptable to start.

So until then I guess we'll do a longer ride once a week to keep her in shape, then work on hill cardio stuff or flat dressage stuff the other times I ride. I'll go back to applesaucing her at night, to cut down on the snarly-face giraffe-neck at the sight of the syringe. She trotted-out well (well, aside from both trotting and pacing) so I can drop that to once a week or so, just to keep the concept alive. I don't have any other plan or timeline for the year. :)

Anyway, as a reward for reading this far, here is Banders being weird on the fence.

FenceCat from Funder on Vimeo.


  1. True to form, Lilly doesn't like drinking away water either... like Dixie she just waits until she gets home and then dives into the water there. I ended up buying one of those 15 gallon (I think) stand up water tanks for the trailer. Again, I'm catering to her highness by doing that, but that way I can take home water with me. Maybe you could just load up a few cans of home water when you're going away?

    I'm also uninformed, so I'm not sure how the endurance rides work, but does she have to drink out of a community trough? I guess that would make it more difficult for her to drink home water...

    Either way, sounds like a good plan! :)

  2. Glad to know we are not the only ones with a strange cat. Banders really, really wanted to figure out a way to walk on the top of the fence. LOL

    I really don't have any advice on the drinking thing. I've only ever had one horse that refused to drink away from home, thankfully he belonged to my ex-husband and when that hubby went bye-bye, so did the problem horse. :-P
    I think you are on to some solutions and hopefully in time things will work themselves out. At least you are open to trying multiple things. Something has to click right?

  3. I can't say I have any advice on drinking away water either. I've gotten Rose into the habit of drinking after every session by simply walking her to the water trough and standing there for a moment. Now she's to the point that after we've ridden she's pulling me to the water because she wants to drink. Maybe you could try something like that?

    And your cat made me laugh. Our cat here has just provided us with new entertainment via laser pointer and we've got various rounds of the cat Olympics going on here. He won't walk on high surfaces yet though.

  4. That can is a goof ball. My sister has a black/white long hair that also seem just not right in the head.

    I think I have an idea about the drinking thing but it might not be something you want to try. so here it goes. clicker train for drinking! My idea is to take her water source away and offer her a bucket every few hours and when she drinks click or click/treat. make it a game by using different buckets and troughs (go to tsc or similar buy a bunch use them and return them) Just an idea but at this hour i think it's a great one.

  5. i love the white tip on his black tail - i've never seen that before on a cat. oh and i like his pink ears too, and long legs. he's adorable on that fence. what a personality he must have.

    you mentioned that dixie hates wet food and i have my own analogy for that. it's like someone gives you a bag of potato chips and then soaks them in water "for your health" and of course that just ruins them!

    i think the weather conspired against you that day. it was so cold and nasty your horse didn't think about drinking and it sounds like a lot of other riders had that problem too.

    once i tried to "train" a horse to drink and she'd go up to the trough, put her mouth in and pretend to drink for me. nice!

    wv: truck. yes, i miss mine.

  6. My experience with snarly nose non-drinker has can lead a horse to, but you can't make them drink. The best success I've had is to let her hover in a quiet area over a water tank, not a bucket. She has only drank from a bucket one time over the course of a bazillion rides. When we ride at our park which is fifteen minutes away she won't drink until we go 18 miles. To be Endurance Granny.

  7. Hi!, my mare never drank until she had completed more than 20 miles. Even then, she only wanted to wash her mouth out! But what I can say from personal experience is this. Endurance Granny has it off pat!

    Some horses are just not interested in water, until they really need the stuff!
    I carried about 30 gallons of water to our rides for years! She never drank a bloody drop!! But then! I watched a lady entering one of our local rides, she offered her horse water, and then took it away. I asked her: She replied, "Maizy" doesnt do water, but loves soaking wet Beet pulp! The one with Molasses NOT removed!!

  8. Thanks for the Banders video - it made me smile.

    My $0.02 for getting Dixie to drink - my friend Fuzzypony always leads her boy to the trough before going for a ride, and then immediately when she's done. Took him a while, but 9 times out of 10 he drinks before she rides and again after. Of course, you could also try the flavored water option - apple juice, gatorade, beer (don't ask). I've seen it really work for some horses and not at all for others.

  9. I figured it out - Banders is part squirrel! It explains everything! But mostly it explains the tail.

    No kidding, the squirrels at my house do the exact same thing on my fence. For hours.

  10. Is Banders the goon kitten all grown up?

    I have no advice. Peanut drinks and drinks and drinks. I can lead that horse to water and make him drink. If I offer him hay, he'll stop eating and seem disinterested in it. That's just the signal for the biped to fetch him a bucket. He'll drink and go back to the hay. He even licks the puddles that form on the mounting block steps as I groom him.

  11. When we were planning on having Casey shipped from Oregon, our shipper suggested putting orange Gatorade or Powerade in his water starting 2 weeks early. Just one bottle per 50 gallons or so, enough to flavor it slightly. That way, drinking wouldn't be an issue on his 5 day cross-country trip. She'd keep putting Gatorade in his water, and we were to put some in his new trough here in GA to help him adjust for a week after his arrival. Know what? It worked like a charm!

    Is there anyways you can accustom Dixie to orange-flavored water? Perhaps you can carry some of the Gatorade powder with and mix it in for her? Then, she'd probably be willing to drink whatever water there is, because it would be similar to what she's used to!

  12. When I was a kid we had really bad sulfur water...and it didn't just smell horrible but it fizzed too! My poor old gelding, to him, that was water. Every time we hauled anywhere he wouldn't drink unless we brought his stinky horrible water from home.

    Ok, I know nothing about this distance riding stuff but is the applesauce syringe for administering electrolytes? There is a blogger who makes electrolyte cookies, making it both easier to carry and feed electrolytes on the trail.

  13. OMG, I love this cat. the more I see, the more I love! I am so in to goofy cats.

    The drinking this is always a chore for any of us who go distances. I don't ride mine, I haul them and need my horses to drink from a bucket while in the trailer. Seems like each horse has its own idiosyncrasy when it comes to teach it. Good luck.


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