Tuesday, September 29, 2015

First 50: lessons learned

Confetti still does best with a buddy, and I am extraordinarily grateful to Cyd and Bugsy for hanging out with us all day.

Sponging while on the horse: non-issue.  I'd never really tried this before, since most of my rides haven't had enough river crossings for it to come up.  Per usual, she acted as if we'd been doing this forever.  This horse spoils me.

Electrolytes via DelyteBytes cookies: success in that she ate them and ate/drank well.  It's hard to say how much of a difference the cookies made.  I planned to give her approximately one every hour or whenever I thought of it, packed 10-12 cookies in a bag for the trail, went through 9 of them.  We'll do the same thing at our next ride.

Race brain never kicked in (see: we had a buddy!) and she treated the whole ride like a conditioning ride, complete with asking to quit when her heart rate hit 150.  I am happy to see that she is capable of keeping her brain and not running herself to death.

Good fallen log mounting block, photo by Cyd
Mounting: needs work again.  This is my issue more than hers.  I haven't been practicing much since May and my anxiety is back up again, especially in the Thorowgood where there's less saddle to hang on to.

what are my elbows doing?! photo by Boots n Bloomers, used with purchase
My posture: needs work.  Drop my shoulders.  Drop my shoulders!  That'll fix the elbow/wrist issues I see in photos.  But I am happy that I am relaxed and smiling, riding on a loose rein (which is where I lose some of the good posture - also needs work).

Trailering: she wasn't bad, but she wasn't perfect. I've never had an issue loading her before and it took a couple minutes for all three loads.  I finally pulled out the dressage whip when we were loading up at camp to head home.  Two light taps 'no really I'm serious' and she went in.  It's not a fear issue, it's a 'not sure I want to' reaction.  In fairness, we haven't been trailering out from home much over the past year, and the last time we trailered was in June up to Wild West... another long haul in both directions.  My plan is to bring the dressage whip with me the next time I'm loading her, and escalate promptly to that rather than trying to coddle and convince her into the trailer.

swooshy tail. photo by Boots n Bloomers, used with purchase
Boots: if you know the boot doesn't seem to go on right, rasp the damn hoof.  I even packed the rasp.  I have zero excuses for this one and one lost boot shell to show for it.

Migraines: I did not have a migraine.  This ride was mostly in the trees - enough such that the new visor was plenty of shade even without my forever-worn sunglasses! - and I am confident that was a huge factor.  No migraine day before, no migraine post-ride, no migraine day after.  

Hour holds go by fast.  I can see where having crew would be useful!  A few minutes to pull tack and sponge sweat, a few minutes to let her eat, find spare boot & apply to hoof (thankfully the boot was pre-adjusted for the RF, which was normally the larger and more finicky foot, so it was Good Enough to go on the LF without fiddling at cables), vet in, switch out Camelbak bladders, braid my hair quick, grab food for me, realize I have 20 minutes left and should start tacking up, fight with electrodes and gel, run to portapotty, throw last of tack on, jog over to out-timer to find Cyd, who was starting to wonder if I'd left already (3-4 min past my out time).  Oops.

Lots to work on, but nothing spectacularly awful, and generally all workable issues!


  1. Congrats on doing your first 50, sounds like a good time was had by all! The one sure thing about this sport is that lessons will be learned every ride, without fail.

  2. My mare loads quite consistently these days but I always have a dressage whip in hand just in case. I would rather be prepared to immediately reinforce the ask than to have to mess around with it. Might also be bc I think trailering issues are the worst lol. Also yay no migraine!

  3. Sounds like it was a success! Congrats to both of you :)

  4. Congrats on the 50! I really want these electrolyte cookies. I wish I'd known about them before. I wonder if I could make my own somehow...

    1. I'll bring extras! I read about them a few years ago (okay, looks like it was 2010 - yikes) and just followed up on finding them this year.

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