Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Wild West 2018

I've been pretty leery about attending any endurance events, as Major finds ways to go lame for the day, then I get discouraged, and he gets better, but I'm still discouraged. But this ride was in my backyard, had a new manager (the old ones were great, just new trails and ideas are fun), and Major was in shape.

But I wasn't brave enough to do the 50. In hindsight: Major totally should have done the 50. But the 30 it is!

the tough life at ridecamp with never-ending mash

The first thing you should do before attending your first endurance event in awhile is get a nasty summer cold. And be so sick that you lay down in the back of the trailer just while waiting for the farrier the day before. Fun times. But with the help of awesome SO (who took a day off of work (because I probably should not be driving) we got to the ridecamp. It's always a tight fit, but all the more fun!

even you can make your shiny horse look awkward!

We vetted in no issues. I was a little disappointed to see the vet forgot to note Major's body condition scoring…but I put him at a 6. His intro pulse at 48 is way higher than at home, but he's just so excited! I did a very brief pre-ride, just to check and make sure I had all my tack, then took some cold medicine and a nap. Major just munched his way through the day.

Skillman trails are lovely, but this is the only evidence!

life is hard on a high-tie
The next morning came too early, even though our ride start at 7:30. I waited to start a little late, as I really thought we'd take it a bit easier. Major had other plans. Major did better than I did at being calm at the beginning, but once he saw a few horses ahead, it was game on.

a calm ride morning

on accident SO took a slow-mo video, I think it looks epic! (and needs Rocky music)
I took a total of zero photos during the ride, both hands on the reins at all times! We passed a few horses on the road, a reasonable trot. Then caught up to some groups after being alone a bit, and ended up passing them too. He wasn't actually going too fast, he was going Major speed. So I let him, as it wasn't too stupid, he was watching his footing, and the trails were great.

Trying to slow down for the photo! (used with purchase)

I was also exhausted, my cold was catching up with me. At one point I just let Major go, and he chose to trot at some god-awful speed, but I could almost just rest. I know, "great" horsemanship there, but luckily he was none the worse for it.

Coming into the first hold, still smiling/grimacing

We came back into camp after the first loop, and I got thoroughly annoyed at Major because he was pulling and being worse than when ridden! He trotted out great, and was a bit pushy for the vet, but stood still. Then I started to worry when she asked about cardiac arrhythmia! She called another vet over, but he did not hear it, and she didn't seem worried for this ride, just made a note. (Major did have this noted one other time, years ago, and my regular vet checked it out then and didn't find anything, but I'll follow up again).

first vetting, a little scare!
This hold was only a way-too-short half-hour hold, so a brief mash, snack, drink refill it was back on trail. We ended up in an awesome bubble by ourselves, for about 8 miles. It was great. There was some super twisty single track that was tricky, as Major is a big moving horse, a horse with smaller strides would have done better, but we careened though without bashing my knees on any trees, so I judged that a success.

We caught up to a rider, I did not even care to go ahead. We were in second and third places, which was far faster than I'd wanted, so slowing down, and having people pass, were fine options to me. Major would have preferred to pass, and was naturally faster than the horse ahead, but I was done. No need for speed.

The last few miles were very nice, actually slowing down and having a conversation with the other rider, M. Coming into the finish we dismounted and walked in, Major's pulse was down almost immediately, so he got second. Crazy.

2nd and 3rd place finishers!
still sassy (Major, not me!)

I just wanted to clean him up, vet and lay down. But I had to take off the tack, then weigh for Best Condition. I really did not care, but with helpful SO lugging my saddle, and my the dancing horse, I weighed in at 175 (my tack weighs 40 pounds! I know the saddle is about 25, so the rest is water bottles, bag, extra boot, etc). Cleaned Major up, and I was worrying about the final check. What lameness would they find (though I'd felt nothing all day)?

final vetting

Nothing, he was perfect! Great final CRI, we had a completion. And Major looked like he could go out again. I was wiped out. Helpful SO let Major roll in the dust, because good endurance horses can do what they want when the ride is over!

successful ride card

dusty horse is now filthy (luckily the dust comes off easy!)

I'm so happy that Major was so strong and vetted well, despite my sometimes less-than-optimum riding. I'm not sure I could have done a 50, but Major sure could have! The ride was really well managed, great trail marking and fun new single-track. I really wanted to ride the next day, and Major was game, but I did not have the strength, damn summer cold!

resting after, not so shabby!

Maybe next time, though I have no upcoming plans. Major wants to make plans, but I think it's just because he wants to keep eating all the mashes!

the end (used with purchase)

Monday, June 11, 2018

monday moment

While wandering the fabric store (why do I always leave with something I never went in for?) I saw these fabric panels. One of them caught my attention:

I don't really know why people would want a pillow of Major, but if you do, the fabric was on sale!

Thursday, June 7, 2018


Last weekend provided two contrasting rides, and reminded me why I love having a versatile horse. Major was an all-star!

alone, together (Major is wearing bored ears, we are not going fast enough and he has to deal with it!)

Ride 1: Fast Conditioning Ride, by ourselves
Ride 2: Sweeps Qualifying Ride, 6 other riders

similar: blue skies

Ride 1: 14 miles, 2 hours
Ride 2: 7 miles, 2 hours

similar: forever views

Ride 1 highlights: speeding along empty singletrack, rocks and trees, fast and fun, trying to find lake access but the water is too high, walking home though the blooming meadow
Ride 2 highlights: showing our skills (and being a good boy!), including leapfrog game, backing up hills, offside mounting/dismounting, ponying a naughty horse, tailing, tight quarters manuevering and behaving yourself at the trailer. (and we qualified, yeah!)

Then Major got to rest after a 21 mile weekend, and I got to…clean the trailer! Another contrast: why is it so much more satisfying to clean the trailer than the house?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018


If your state votes today, do it. If you don’t vote today, do so at your next opportunity. Primaries, special elections, I don’t care...make your voice be heard.