Sunday, April 17, 2011

High Desert post-ride

Like EG said, this is the first ride where I really felt like I belonged. Not because I finished a 50, just because I've finally been to enough rides that I'm not a stranger in a sea of people who all know each other. When we did finish, it was even better, of course - people were so happy for us.

Loot: I got a brush with a cool hair-on leather handhold with the ride logo stamped on it. It's in a box. When I open the boxes I'll get a picture of it :)

I ate a ton - some of the quiche (it was too cold!), a couple of Clif Bars, all the potato salad and steak at lunch, and BBQ tri-tip and bratwurst at dinner. I drank FIVE LITERS of electrolyted water. I must really be an endurance rider because I'd stop and pee behind a foot-high sagebrush whenever I needed to.

Dixie ate and drank adequately. I'd love to see her pig out even harder, but I really think she's getting the hang of it now. She has gotten very adept at spitting out elyted applesauce, but I got enough in her.

Her Renegades stayed on once they were on right. After I stuck the front left back on, I didn't have a boot so much as twist. She stumbled over rocks a couple of times in the last five miles, but she was pretty tired and just wasn't picking her feet up high enough to clear them. After two stumbles, she put her game face back on and started watching her feet again.

No tack galls, no sore back. I still can't quite believe that my $300 saddle still works but it does. I mean, yall, I bought that saddle before I even bought Dixie. When I decided to buy her, I sorta eyeballed her back and thought my saddle would fit ok, but that was the extent of it.

Dixie's tired but fine today. Her legs look exactly like they always look, not even a bit of fill. She's napping and eating, and she's not mad at me. After our first 30, she was very tired for a few days then rebounded to a previously unheard of level of fitness, so I'm hoping that happens again. :)

I can't believe how much we've both changed. I was completely cool about so many things that would've been impossible 18 months ago and would've worried me silly a year ago. Like when the boot fell off - ok, I'll ride back and get it then hop off and stick it back on then get on and go again. That all sounds very simple, but it would've been completely impossible in 2009. She did the (very pleasant) gaited horse jigging pulling thing for three miles at the start, and all I thought was "I hope she's this fresh for the whole ride." It didn't even occur to me that she'd win the fight or that I'd overstress her little brain and send her into a meltdown. Just check her to a walk, let her try again, feel her gather up and start to go too fast, repeat.

I didn't even really worry about me. When I got back on after lunch and realized how bruised my thighs were, I did worry a bit that I'd ride poorly and sore her back. But Dixie's trot and pace are so gentle and daisy-cutter that it takes just the tiniest effort to post, so I just ignored the pain and forced myself to go with her.

My thighs are bruised and everything between my knees and neck is a little sore today, but it's not very bad. I managed to injure myself after the final vet check - I was using Dixie's reins as a lead rope and I somehow smacked myself in the lip with the scissor snap on the end of it, and that still hurts! I am, of course, woefully sunburned. Lots of people at the ride got totally burned - we were all so excited to see the sun again.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to take 2 minutes and put on CLEAN DRY SOCKS at lunch. Endurance is one of those things that makes everything else feel so fucking amazing - when you stop to eat, eating is so wonderful! When you sit down post ride, sitting is magical! When you collapse into your own bed again, it's the best bed in the universe! Clean socks at lunch are just as important as anything else.

I need a new overall plan. I've been so focused on Completing a Fifty that I have no idea what to do now. I will hopefully go back for the next two High Desert rides in October and get a cool horse blanket - but I am not sure how to get there from here. I have read literally everything online about how to get started in endurance - but I never bothered to read any further than the "your first 50" section. How do I keep conditioning her? How much time off between rides is optimal? I don't even know what kind of conditioning rides to do - it's been years of "a little faster or a little longer but not both at once."

You know what's the most disappointing thing about this weekend? No ride photographer. There were so few entries it wouldn't have been worth his time to come.


  1. Congrats on finishing your first 50! That is so great!!! I have some friends that do endurance and CTRs and they are starting to rub off on me... I even attended an intro to endurance clinic last week.

    One thing that stuck in my mind was that they recommended one day of rest for each 10 miles covered... Just a general suggestion, I'm sure, but it might give you a baseline.

  2. WOOO HOOO!!! I was so excited to see you guys made it thru your first 50. Congratulations!!!

  3. Very Cool. Love reading about a sport that I don't participate in and don't know the ins and outs. If she is not drinking enough you might try Horse Quencher. I used to do the PR for them and the AERC endorses the product and sometimes gives it out at some of the longer rides. It is not an electrolyte so do whatever you normally do with the electrolytes.
    Keep writing :-) and congrats on finishing the 50.

  4. My farrier has been getting into endurance after many years as a dressage rider. She just did her first 50 two weeks ago and was 4th - she was so excited it was crazy. She said she felt like she had conquered the world. Your line about endurance making everything feel so amazing reminded me of how she talks about it. She keeps trying to talk me into it and actually I love the idea of it. But I'm thinking one needs to actually RIDE their horse regularly, lol! My girls are pretty sure they are retired at this point.

  5. I read through all your ride posts. Sounds like it went great. I'm glad you got to ride with someone experienced enough to know you were ok for time and who was taking it easy on his horse. Great combination for your first 50. Way to go. Both you and Dixie did awesome.

    OK, I'm going to show how dumb I am. What is turtling?

  6. Rider's High! Congratulations, girl!

  7. I know what you mean about the litle things. Clean socks. I'll remember that! :)

  8. Thanks guys!

    Laura - the 1 day / 10 miles thing is, I think, more of a training guideline. There are experienced horses who cruise through 5 50s in a row, and there are plenty of people who think one 100 per month is more than enough, but we're neither of those cases.

    Barbara - I want her to drink from cow troughs, horse troughs, streams, and puddles out on the trail! I've thought about the Horse Quencher, but it doesn't teach her to drink any water she sees if she's at all thirsty.

    Melissa - oh, just train a little and go do a slow 25. They're easy. Just try a taste! :evil grin:

    MiKael - it's the tortoise and the hare! Turtles come in last but they finish, dammit! ;)

  9. Congrats! So proud of you both :) I hear you on finally belonging. I'm finally starting to see friends and getting recognized. People remember my horse and ask about his heart. It's a nice feeling.

  10. I'm just so proud of both of you.


  11. Oh!!!! I totally missed you guys were going for the 50! I'm so freaking proud of you and Dixie! Awesome :)

    Someday...I'll get brave and try it.

    Hugs. (and the happy dance for our problem ponies)


  12. Congrats!!! So awesome!

    For us, we did a 50 mile ride per month and that was all the conditioning we needed other than 2-3 rides per week in the arena working on dressage. We did our first 2 day 50 after only three other rides that season.
    I recommend looking up completion records of people you admire and seeing how often they compete and finish.

    I always give a day off for every 10 miles, plus a day off for travel- so 7 days off for a 50.

    Way to go!!!

  13. Congrats on your first 50, thanks so exciting!! I think I was laughing at the truth of how long rides make everything amazing. Your comment about me soon being able to start officially on our own LDs and such is pretty true, just waiting on a truck and we're mobile.

    Still, excitement!

  14. I have been away from the computer for a bit, so I'm just seeing these.

    CONGRATS! Well done! :)

    You have both come such a long way!!!! Compare this to your old posts of just trying to get her to actually be mounted without running off, or getting her to understand the concept of turning. :)

  15. Congratulations, Funder! I've enjoyed reading about your progress to achieve this goal. The longest rides I've ever done (on mountain pack trips years ago) were somewhere between twenty and thirty miles, and I was plenty sore after that. I can't imagine riding fifty miles (!)

  16. I'm finally back and catching up. Congrats on the 50 !!!!

    No way my big girl Rosie would last that. She'd just stop and not budge once she decided she'd had enough, I'm sure.

  17. Congratulations! You're an inspiration!

    someday, someday... :)

  18. Dang! I woulda come and photographed the ride!
    And I loved loved loved the dry socks and effing amazing feeling of every thing we don't think about...until we don't have it!

    Big Congrats to you both!!
    What Aarene said.

  19. Dang! I woulda come and photographed the ride!
    And I loved loved loved the dry socks and effing amazing feeling of every thing we don't think about...until we don't have it!

    Big Congrats to you both!!
    What Aarene said.

  20. Girl, invest in some arnica gel- it will make all the difference for that soreness.

    I used to do 25 mile competitive trail rides when I was a little'un- it sure is fun to read about your success and think about those rides years ago.

  21. Jane, I'm sure a ride manager would love to have you out. Well, I can't speak for CA yet, but NV rides are very fun and relaxed. :)

    S, do you recommend any brands / where to find some? I meant to look at whole foods but havent remembered!

  22. what to do next?? I would say (just guessing since I still haven't ridden a 50) you could just coast, and enjoy riding Dixie without having to be on some schedule.. enjoy each other. Remember, it all about the journey..

  23. I can't even pretend to know anything about endurance, but I gotta say one more time... CONGRATULATIONS!!

    And hell, I change my socks in the middle of the day at a horse show, so I can imagine how awesome a fresh pair of socks is after 25 miles!

  24. HAHA!! You sound like us when we go on 3-4 day camp/ride trips. We eat sooo GOOD! Too funny on the weight..sure it is not more muscle?>!!
    About the sage brush spot..I've no shame sometimes, out on the trail, but it's fast and done and on with it!

    Glad that the renagades are working for you! I've never gotten to try those..there is absolutly NO-ONE reliable to service us. I am not sure they would work though, as my mare has round hooves and not longer than wide.

    CRAZY what that saddle is for you and she!AMAZING!I am trying to sell my last years $300 saddle right now. I love DIXIE's back.

    Sounds like the distance rides are subduing some of the attitude/action stresses that Dixie comes up with- What a wonderful thing!

    Hey..if you look in my profile, my E-mail is there..I want your address to send you something that I use on long(not near as long as yours) feels so great on your muscles. I use it on my lower back, knees. But I can imagine on thighs and feet would be soothing too. AND ARNICA gel, justt the highest concentration you can + carry a vile of the Homepathic can give it to Dixie as well! "Rescue Remedy" too,
    for the both of you!! Like I said..send me your add please..will send a package for the most amazing-self taught endurance gal I know!!

    Totally bummed ride photographer?! there a
    new career in that for me?

    YOU ARE FREAKING AWESOME..really enjoyed hearing ALl the details!

  25. Sent you an email, Kacy!

    This morning I'm back down to what I weighed before the ride. It was just inflammation from all the exercise. No actual bruises (except one shin where I kept running into the trailer hitch).

    I think no ride photographer was super disappointing, too, but it just means I'll have to go do it again, right? ;)


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