Sunday, September 2, 2012

Moving, rides, reviews

This weekend I moved Dixie to a "stall" at the same stable she's been at. What everybody out here calls a stall is what I'd call a tiny paddock with a run-in shelter. So, ugh, my horse is in a stall, but it's not like a 10x12 no-turnout stall inside a barn.

Yes, there was a tiny bit of drama, but you know rehashing drama is not my thing. Let's just say that the other owners in the field - all of whom had been there longer - wanted to feed alfalfa, and Dixie's allergic to alfalfa. A stall costs $120 more a month (with cleaning), but at least I can set up a slow feeder (like irish horse's!) and she can nibble 24/7. And she IS a super lazy horse who prefers to stand around all day - she wasn't doing a very good job of utilizing a traditional pasture setup.

So here's the view through the feeding window at the back of the run-in. You can see that even though she's plumped back up from her dehydrated post-ride state, she's still a little thin - hopefully I can fix that in September.

Kinda artsy :) Since then, I've printed and laminated a better stall sign, but all I had to work with that day was a manilla envelope, a sharpie, and some duct tape.

From the front.

Next ride: I think I'm going to do Tami's new ride, the Red Rocks Rumble (pdf ride flyer). It's October 6th, so that'll give Miss Dee six weeks off. I know the whole Red Rocks area, and I've ridden the first 30 mile loop with ~C earlier this year. God willing it don't snow early, I'm going to my home stomping grounds!

Before that: I'm hoping to do an LD with a newbie at Ride Bear (pdf flyer). It's super-local - if M can't make it, I think I will go volunteer anyway. I feel kinda guilty, because Red Rock Rumble is the same weekend as Quicksilver Fall Classic. But I get so excited when I think about Red Rocks!

Tack Review: This endurance thing is getting easier and easier, and I don't think my tack musings deserve their own post-ride blog anymore. :o

  • Cooling: I forgot my $2 helmet liner cooler in the trailer, but luckily the trailer followed me to the vet check.  ;)  The ride was far from hot, but the helmet cooler works great and it was nice to have.  Sadly, I left my cheapo cooling vest at Foresthill, and I thought I ordered another vest but perhaps I have dreamt it?  Anyway, I didn't really need extra cooling on that ride.  
  • Boots: I taped them on because they're getting pretty easy to apply, but then because I'd taped them on I couldn't pull them on the trail to check for gravel.  I had to fold down the gaiters and scrape the gravel out with my fingers - if they hadn't been taped, I could've pulled the whole boot off, banged the junk out on a rock, then reapplied the boot.  I don't know!  Like stall vs. pasture, it's another question with no easy answer.  But the bottom line is:  the Gloves continue to work perfectly.
  • Accommodations:  I slept on an eggcrate and two sleeping bags in the back seat of the truck.  I have become a camping minimalist and who needs fancy-schmancy shit like tents?  Just give me somewhere mostly flat to lay a bag.
  • Chow:  Miss Thing hates beet pulp again.  Also, she eats more than one half-bale-bag full of hay on a one-day ride.  I need to call Henry and get another half-bale-bag before he runs out!
  • People Chow:  I think most of my pre- and post-lunch "why did I pay money to do this to myself" blahs are carb related.  I actually don't eat super low carb day-to-day, but when I'm out volunteering or riding a ride, I have noticed that when I eat a lot of carbs all at once (sandwich, sugary energy bar, handful of fruit) I get the sugar crash a lot more frequently.  So this time I tried a smoothie made from coconut milk, whey protein powder, and a little hot chocolate mix.  Surprisingly not vile, tons of calories of fat and protein, worked GREAT.  I couldn't find my other can of coconut milk at the second check so I just drank beer instead.  This may be the silliest substitution in the history of the sport.

In other n=1 personal experimentation news: I gave up dairy and had no zits. Then on the way to Tahoe Rim I drank a Starbucks, and another on the way home from the ride. I got three zits that weekend. A week back on the no-dairy bandwagon and I have no zits again. I can't say that I'll never drink milk again - a really good latte is totally worth it - but my daily coffee is lightened with coconut milk these days.


  1. "mostly flat", no milk = no zits, and "n=1" experiments = me cracking the F up. This post is brilliant.

  2. "the silliest substitution in the history of the sport" is what gets me! Flippin' hilarious!
    Dixie's new house looks fine. I'm guessing she won't miss the extra leg-stretch space with the regular long distance rides you do anyway.

  3. hi funder. when i had no choice about turnout in a boarding barn, and they told me that baasha was always grouchy after a ride, i was able to convince them to let me leave him in the arena at night. it wasn't optimal, but it was better than the stall. i hope she moves around enough to stay loose in her paddock. it sure is roomy!

  4. I loved the n=1 experiment comment too! Funny stuff in this post. I'm working on getting some weight and muscle back on my horse too. He's been confined in a paddock with less hay than I'd like him to get...missing out on grazing due to....barn drama. Yay. I think I've finally convinced the barn manager of a set up that will allow him grazing (partly because I demanded free choice hay if he stays in the paddock...and I think she saw $$$...) anyway I also added a weight builder supplement that's 40% vegetable fat. All of this to lead up to asking, do you have any specific supplements that you feed/plan to feed Dixie to help with her weight? My guy is also getting some rice bran, but I'm curious what others do to put on weight (hopefully quickly with WI winter coming), without turning their horse into a "hot" nut!

  5. You are such a good writer! I love your "silliest substitution" line. I would have had the beer, too.

  6. A really good post Funder! Loved it!

  7. Subbing beer makes sense to me - calories + relaxation! And what about soy milk for the lattes? Froths and tastes better than moo milk. ;)

    I hope Dixie enjoys her new digs. She doesn't need to hang out with those alfalfa eating ho's anyway. Alfalfa scares me. Val isn't allergic, but he acts like alfalfa is crack. If he even catches a whiff of it coming by in a hay cart, nothing else will do - immediate hay strike. I save it for trailering snacks.

  8. It's a real challenge to train others not to feed a sweet animal things to which said animal is allergic - the number of times I have to practically arm wrestle someone to prevent them feeding grainy treats to grain-allergic dogs! You may need to get Dixie a fly mask or blanket embroidered with 'NO ALFALFA!'. Ahh, but most people don't seem to read, either.
    As for the carbs - I am super sensitive to overloading on carbs - makes me feel hungover. Protein is my best friend. :)

  9. Gloves? You're not using Renegades anymore? I liked the Gloves until they took off the top layer of the backs of Peanut's hooves, but ever since I heard about the wides they have now I have been considering them (yeah, the semi-custom ones that I got give me heartburn).

    That sucks about the drama and the alfalfa.

  10. I'm sure Dixie will enjoy her 24/7 hay set-up!

  11. As regards the no milk dealio - have you tried almond milk? I just discovered it and it's awesome. I'm not gonna deny I "discovered" the chocolate almond milk first, LOL. I drink soy and normal milk, too, but I know some folks are leery of the whole hormone-thing in soy milk, so thought I'd let you know about alternatives. :)
    Also, I have been reading your blog for ages and hadn't bothered posting at all, but you've got me all fired up about getting into CTR! Not that I'm uber competitive, and my drafty-cross may not be all that great at it, but it still sounds so fun! :)
    Good luck with the new pasture / stall set-up.


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