Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Online Endurance 101 Clinic...or "How Can I Improve on What I Know?"

If you are in AERC (or even if you're not!) and are living under and rock and are unaware, Patti Stedman has an online "Endurance 101" course for about $30.  I've been meaning to take it for a month or two now, and recently it was just time for me to get signed up to take it.

If you go to "Horse Learning Online" it takes you to the page you need to go to to sign up.

Direct from the webpage:
"In short, Endurance Essentials is for aspiring and new (and maybe not so new) distance riders who prefer to take a self-paced online course, or who do not have a live local Endurance 101 clinic happening in their neighborhood, it would provide an opportunity get both INSPIRED and EDUCATED about what it takes to successfully prepare for that first competition.
As anyone knows in our sport, there can be a steep learning curve to success.
Our vision for the course was to keep the content fundamental, to focus on the basics for assisting you in preparing to make it to your first competition — whether it be an AERC ride, or a Competitive Trail Ride, or a Ride and Tie — with the building blocks in place to have a successful ride.
But we also know that sometimes learners like to delve deeper, so along with the training comes a Resources PDF, with links to in-depth information — everything from blogs to books to endurance tack websites to more information about balanced hooves and electrolytes."

There are 5 Modules:
Endurance Essentials Module 1
Duration:  46 minutes
This module contains: You Can Do This, The Different Distance Riding Sports and The Horse
Duration:  57 minutes
This module contains: The Rider and The Stuff
Duration: 52 minutes
This module contains: The Feed, The Conditioning and Camping
Duration:  42 minutes
This module contains: The First Competition, Getting to Ride Camp and Vetting In 
Duration: 53 minutes
This module contains: On Ride Day, After the Ride and Mentors and Resources 
I do not plan on giving any more details than this (maybe a brief mention of each module, but we'll see).  There is a great resource Patti has included with URLs related to each module.

If you haven't already read Patti's blog, I HIGHLY recommend it.  It shouldn't take you very long to go through the entire blog itself (I believe it took me a week and a half).

In fact, here you go, just start here; Endurance Introspection 

That takes you to the very first page of Patti's blog posts.  You can glean a LOT of useful information from there, but I am very optimistic that I will learn even more from her online resource as well.

I am looking forward to getting started, and with the length of each module being about the length of my lunch hour, I plan on going through them during that period of time each day.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Work it girl!!!...or "How all the ponies modeled new tack"

Forewarning.

Photo heavy post.

So, a week or so before our endurance ride, I ordered a trail halter/bridle, breast collar and hackamore noseband for Dakini from Janet Grimes Stoltz of Trail Blazer Tack.  Earlier this year (maybe late last year?) she had posted this gorgeous set of wine/reflective silver and I saved it because I KNEW it would look good on Dakini.

I finally took the plunge and went all out on this set.  I upgraded everything and did what I wanted.  Because, how often do I order such things for my horses?

Padded noseband and breast collar.  Diamond cut.  Bling!  Upgraded hardware. 

And the final result looks FANTASTIC!!

I put just the halter/bridle and breastcollar on all 3 horses.  Really, looks the best on Dakini, is okay on Strider and just isn't my thing on Socks.  But, push comes to shove and someone needs to wear it, they'll wear it!!












(PS-Sorry she's so filthy!!)

And then, I tossed it on Socks!!








He didn't look over impressed with the whole thing.  And is so chill that he didn't care that I was jumping up and down and hollaring in an attempt to get his ears forward.  Crazy Arab?  No.  Not even close.

And then, Strider's turn!!



















In his, I snapped more photos of the detail that Janet does which, for me, puts her stuff over the top.

Bling on the keeper loops.  Beautiful buckles.  Bling on the strap that attaches to the cinch for goodness sake!! 

And she was easy to work with.  I had the set in my hands in a little over a week from the day I ordered it to delivery to my box. 

HIGHLY recommend Trail Blazers Tack (Janet Grimes Stoltz) on Facebook!!

Thursday, May 18, 2017

So, what's next....or "Let's Keep on Riding Because...WHY NOT?!"

At this point in this season, all I can do is laugh about the mishaps and non-completions.

I have learned.

I have learned shoes are NOT a failure as I once posted.

I have learned a Rider Option of ANY type is not a failure. 

I have learned a new method of hydration for my horse.

This season has been about learning, for me.  It has humbled me.  Beaten me down.  Scared me half to death.  And taught me to never EVER say "Never will I ever...."  Because, those endurance gremlins will have the last laugh.

Anyway, what's next on the horizon?

I was slated to take Dakini and Socks to "Old Glory".  I've signed up.  Mailed my check.  Except, my heart isn't REALLY in that ride.  The heat.  A trotting horse.  And then having to load up in a day or two to drive up to Amarillo.  I was going to go, but I wasn't exactly "WAHOO LET'S DO THIS THING!" enthusiastic.

Joe asked if I would stay home.  I know he didn't believe I would, but I said "Sure!  I'll stay home."

So, I'm staying home.

I'm going to TRY and get in a ride that weekend.  But, if I don't...then I just don't.

So, that just leaves Llano Estacado left to do.  I'm sticking with the original plan; Strider/Dakini/Strider.  LDs. 

Both are completely capable.  Both are good ponies. 

I just...might seek to leave more middle of the pack with each of them on their respective days. 

Just in case.  ;)

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Last Hoorah!....or "My Last Hoorah at Attempting a 50 at this ride..."

Well, it was a Rider Option kind of Saturday.

And, honestly, had NOTHING to do with my horse (well, he had the afternoon doldrums because he was COMPLETELY alone, though, when I would ask it of him [firmly with a waved crop by his head] he had energy to give...and he gave it) and EVERYTHING to do with my stomach.

Strider did 30 miles, and while he looked a little tired when we came back to the vet check area, down his vet card, all A's, except B on gut sounds.

I have a very VERY solid LD horse in him.  25 miles, even 30 miles, isn't a struggle for him any longer. 

Let me back this all up.

Thursday night, everything normal except for the brief storm that hit while I was feeding.  Strider didn't eat all of his smush.  Dakini, my wonderful little rock star, DID though.  And took her electrolytes.  Strider gets a little fussy about the syringe shoved into his mouth and he slings it around as best as he can, but I know most of it's going into his belly (as evidenced by his vet card I feel). 

So, I hustled through and raced home after a hug and a kiss on his nose.  A warning to behave, don't hurt himself, and I'd see him in the morning.

I had the truck (except for the food and what Kaylee needed) loaded up and I was ready for bed by 10:30.  This worries me.  Makes me think I've forgotten something.  But, as always, if I forget something, SOMEONE at ride camp will help me out.  So, I went to bed later than planned (hard to make my mind stop racing).  And, while I gave myself permission to sleep in until 6:30...that wasn't to be.  Apparently one of my dogs got left in the back yard after their morning ablations, so he kept barking at the back door to come back inside.  *sigh*

Okay, okay...fine...I shouldn't sleep in anyway.

Got up, loaded everything I possibly could into the truck, hitch up to the trailer, got Kaylee up and loaded, then off to WalMart to buy her diapers to take to my parents house, get me chapstick (I'm neurotic about this..I have tubes stashed EVERYWHERE) and get us hash browns for breakfast.  She and I then hit the road to the barn.

We're chit chatting...she's telling the sun to "Stoppit Sun!" (it kept shining in her eyes).  So, I told her to put on her sunglasses, and, amazingly, the sun stopped doing that!

Took some time at the barn to get ALL of the water I wanted to take.  I filled up my 35 gallon tank and then filled up both 18 gallon totes with water.  Spoiler alert; I think that the totes are going to work GREAT for me to haul water.  They do take up more room in the bed of the truck, but, they're low profile and I can use them for other stuff if I need to. 

Anyway, get Strider in the trailer (after a dose of electrolytes and his smush prepped in the trailer) and away we go to my parent's house so I can drop Kaylee off.

Hung out for a while (about 30 or 40 minutes).  I checked, Strider hadn't finished his morning smush in the trailer, so we hit the road again.

The drive up was really very pleasant.  Traffic was light on the roads, and the directions I had printed were flawless.  Not sure what time I pulled into ride camp (early afternoon?), but quickly found a place in the open field to park that was near the potties (hey, strategic parking is EVERYTHING!), but not TOOOOOO far from where vet check was.  Got him unloaded and put his (still left over) smush back in front of him and a big bucket of water while I got his pen set up.  And, gave him more electrolytes (I was committed to making sure he got them!) before putting him in his pen and starting to get my own camp set up.

My one-person easy up IS easier to set up alone, but figuring out the location as it needs to be relative to my trailer is a little baffling for me still.  Ultimately where it ended up was PERFECT because I could open and close my trailer door, but it still provided me some shade.  I didn't scatter myself all over the place with QUITE as much chaos as normal.  I kept it MOSTLY contained.  Baby steps forward, right?  :)

Let me say, I LOVE rides where when it's time to get your registration packet, it's in a box if you've completed it.  I don't need to bother anyone or wait.  I can just grab my stuff and go.  Any ride managers out there, for ME, it seems like this is a great way to go!!

Anyway, back to the trailer after I grab my ride packet, gave him a good brush down and then off to go vet in.

All A's down the board!!  The boy didn't dance around as much as normal (he was still rude, don't misunderstand, but NOT as horrible as he CAN be; my guess?  No other horse for him to panic and fret about).  I'm grateful because I always worry when Doc Baldwin is vetting in my horse that he's going to hurt the vet (he's a very wonderful older gentleman who has NEVER said anything harsh to me about my horse, even when he's acting up.  He just gently asks me to please "Can you do *this*?" And every time, without fail when he has us do our trot out, always tells me it must be a smooth ride.  I love this guy!).

Anyway, get all that done, head back and relax for a little while.  Shift my saddle pack on my saddle.  Pack it.  Prepare the next day's electrolytes, haul over hay and alfalfa and water buckets and my saddle stand to the vet check area.  Go and talk to TC and her awesome husband and super star horse Leo.  Help MM get her fence set up after she arrives.  Go to the ride meeting.  And when that was done, realized I needed to get him braided up before I lost all of the sun light.

That all went normal.  Got him in his pen and took a few quick photos of his pen lit up.

My awesome "fairy" lights!

Hey.  What you doing Ma?

Look at the lights!!  So pretty!  Also, for the record, look at just how GOOD he looks!
People are always asking about how to do a red ribbon in a horses tail.  Simple.  Stockpile the day after Christmas.  I do a small braid and then twist tie this BIG ribbon to his tail.  People NEVER miss it.  Do they still charge up on us?  Yes.  But they usually back off quickly. 

At this point I was starting to get tired.  I still had a few last minute things to get done, but got that all quickly squared away and settled into bed with a wine cooler, a bottle of water and a few handfuls of chips.

I had my alarm set for 2:30 am to give him another dose of electrolytes and toss some fresh hay.  That went smoothly.  And then up again at 5:30.

Well, the alarm went OFF at 5:30, I didn't exactly leap out of bed.  I was operating on a sleep deficit, and while eager to get going, I'm always either saddled up to early and he gets impatient, or I wait too long and then am scrambling at the last moment. 

But for Last Hoorah, I found my happy medium.  He was saddled in time, got another dose of electrolytes, I mounted up, and we started to slowly warm up.  He was relaxed.  Calm.  Listening.  NOT bucking around or acting dumb.  He felt fantastic.  I felt fantastic.  The day offered hope and good feelings.

I saw TC on Leo and asked if we could ride out with her.  She said that was fine. 

Finally, one of the happiest of phrases; "Trails Open!"  And away the group charges.  We leave at a more sedate walk before picking up the pace.  It's exactly as I remember from last year.  I pointed out to TC where I had to leave her and JL because of my boot issues.  We passed by the same place where Strider zigged right and I went left.  I couldn't stop smiling.  He wasn't racing.  He was easily rateable and listening to me and just overall a dream to ride.  People around us were polite and asking for permission to pass.  And the terrain....have I mentioned how much I enjoy riding at this ranch?

At about 6 or 7 miles in we come to the watermill tank and Strider takes a good, long drink.  I was VERY proud of him.  Usually it takes 10 or more miles for him to drink.  Back of my mind; "Electrolytes I bet!"

We handily get through the first 12 miles (only missed 1 turn, but thankfully we didn't go TOO far past it), see the vets sitting at the gate for our trot by, so we both hop off.  TC's husband is there with water for her. 

Now, at this moment I realize I was foolish because I had assumed the trot by was back in camp.  So, I'd left my small container of electrolytes and syringe with my hay and water buckets.  Crap.  Not life ending, but, a lesson for me to remember to carry some in my saddle packs with me.

Trotted him out and back.  Just fine.  Got back on.  Let TC finish some water and then we headed on down the trail.  Somehow while on this trail, we totally blow a turn, go a little further than we should, but we backtrack, see where we missed it, and then get back to it.

We go around this good sized lake and as we're coming up to the "dam" portion, we see a rider on foot being followed by 2 trucks.  Not good.

So, we fall in behind them.  Realize as one of the trucks leaves that one of the trucks carries the RM's husband and TC's husband.  And I recognize the rider and horse as MM's new-to-her horse and NaughtyPony's mom who was riding Luna.  TC and I tell her we'll wait.  I take the opportunity to go pee and take off my long sleeve shirt.  TC's husband says he'll take it back to camp for me, what a godsend!!  We wait a few minutes for Luna to try and calm down, but realize we can't hold forever.  NaughtyPony's mommy says for us to go on, so we do, and head down the trail, feeling guilty at leaving her behind.

The miles go by.  Strider acts weird a few times.  Paws the ground and, while he'll eat grass, he's just a little funky.  I realize, I'm sure he needs to pee.  He actually had pee'd more than I'd ever seen before.  Twice in camp that I noticed.  Once when he got off the trailer.  So, I knew the pawing was him trying to find a fluffy patch of grass to pee on.  But, I wasn't going to stop and wait.  Told TC what was going on, and said let's keep going.  He'll either learn to take the opportunity or he won't.


We're less than 3 miles from vet check, so we kept on going, rather than standing around waiting.

We come in to vet check, and, here's where the minor mistakes started adding up.  I left the tack on, just loosened the cinch. 

Lesson learned; I can get away with that in cooler temps.  Temps were probably already in the 80's by this point (it was around 11:30ish when we finished the first two loops).  So, suffice to say, it was warm.  I knew my horse had to pee.  But I left the tack on.

Bo Parrish pulsed my horse, but he hung at 18.  Dangit.  I saw TC was already through.  I took him over to our hay, stripped tack, tried to make a pile of hay for him to pee on.  Sponged him and scraped him, then took him back.

Pulse down.  Took 6 minutes. 

Got him through and then took him back to the trailer where he promptly pee'd.  Yep.  I knew he had to go.  Diva.

But, that 6 minutes cost us our riding partner, thus our motivation, and I knew it. 

I relaxed for a few moments after making sure he had hay and water and everything he needed.  Went back to vet check and grabbed our tack and headed back to camp.  Realized at this point that all I've eaten since yesterday morning was 2 hash browns, 1 Clif Bar and a few chips that I'd had last night.  Mentally run through what's in my cooler, realize I'm just hot and not very hungry, so I slam more water and electrolytes.  Realize time is running out, so I start tacking back up again.

Get him ready and head over to the out timer where I have 30 seconds to wait.  And not a single horse in sight.  

And he begins the "Quarter Horse death march" out of camp.  I cannot get him to move out to save my soul.  So we do the long and slow trudge down the side of the road.  Make the turn.  Loop around the lake.  And keep slogging.  I know he's faking me out.  Flick the crop by his head and he takes off.  Then I have to slow him over the rocks.  An LD rider comes out and he briefly chases them, but he realizes he can't keep up (and I won't allow him to even try).  We get to a large hill and he finally does what he did at River Run and just stops.  I can't get him to take another step to save my life.

So I hop off, and it happens.  My intestines say "Lady, we need to pull off trail."  For the next 15 minutes we pull off trail.  And I realize "I can't ask him to make this up.  He's already not motivated.  I don't feel well.  This is awful.  My fault for not actually EATING.  UGHHHHHH...."

I decide then and there, I'm going to rider option.  I finally manage to get back in the saddle and onwards we trudge until we get to the windmill water tank.  Some 50's on their last loop come up and mention if I just turn and follow the orange ribbons and keep them to my left, I can be back in camp in a mile.  I thank them, and away we plod.

I'm falling asleep in the saddle and it's a struggle for me to stay awake.  I am continued to be assured that this is the right decision as we do so.

When we get in, I see TC right in front of us, and I tell the volunteers and the RM I'm RO'ing.  I didn't feel well, which they all understood. 

I manage to trot him out (he looks and acts great) and then we head back to our camp.  I get him settled in as quickly as possible as I'm feeling so awful.  I fill up my little camp shower (which I normally don't bring, but remembered to toss in this time), crawl into the back of my trailer and sluice off the worst of the grime, change into clean clothes and then, I pass out in my trailer for about 2 or so hours. 

So, here's my take aways:

I feel that the new system of 3 days prior to ride with beet pulp and electrolytes helped immensely.  Strider drank sooner into this ride than normal.  Usually it takes us 10+ miles.  This time, he drank from the first tank we came upon (5 or 6 miles in?).  And he took a good, long drink.

Shoes and pads are NOT magic.  Strider is still flinchy over large rocks.  Still great, but I need to slow him down.

I have GOT to eat.  I have NEVER had that problem EVER on trail.  Usually there's a dinner or I eat something the night before, but I was so focused on him, I didn't make myself eat.  I MUST EAT!!!

Pack toilet paper in your saddle bag.  Seriously.

Next year; LD.  While I enjoy seeing as much of this ranch as I possibly can, I can see a GOOD portion of it in 25 miles.  And, the heat starts to come in to play here.  Mid-May temps in Texas start to rise and we're just not hot weather riders.  End of story.  May rides=LD rides for us.

So, we're 0 for 2 at the Six O Ranch.  But, I had a fantastic time.  My horse did great.  I feel confident in the new protocol.  We'll get the LD next year!!!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

All the Other Ponies With the Pumped Up Kicks...or "How Strider Got Shoes; Round 2"

So, shoes and pads are set.  I was a little later than I wanted to get to the barn, but I got there around 4:30.  I'm supposed to have the horse off all food for an hour, but I gave him 40 minutes as the shoer was supposed to be there at 5:30.  And he was pawing and pawing his impatience, so I finally just gave him his dose of Dormosedan gel and let it do it's thing. 

Actually took him longer to settle down on it than previously.  Maybe the remnants of food in his tummy?  Or that I kept telling him to "STOPPIT!" when he'd start pawing.  Not sure.

Anyway, we got our shoes and pads set on with relative ease.  I forgot to take pictures at all last night.  The setting seemed to go smoothly, and the shoer says I should be able to re-use these pads another time or two.  Good to know.  And as I'm new to shoes and pads, I asked what, if anything, should I squirt in there to prevent problems.  "Thrush Buster".  Okay then.  I can do that.

Strider on Dormosedan is a funny creature.  He gets real relaxed (note to self, give him some so we can get that sheath cleaned sometime in the near future!).  I noticed at one point when he coughed, he kind of lost a little control of his bladder and splattered the mats beneath him.

And then, as the shoer was working on his left rear, Strider just couldn't hold it anymore.

So he peed.  And peed.  And kept on peeing.  It was a river of pee and the shoer just kept doing his thing, despite the splash back (sorry, but he's a better man that I. I would have let the horse have his foot so I could get away from the stream of piss).

He, of course, had to wipe off the right rear foot to get it done. 

So, once most of the dope wore off, I started walking him back to his pen, letting him get used to his new kicks.

Now, I will say as I was walking up the alley towards my pen I had an "Oh SHIT!" moment.

I had spaced out on the drug list for AERC.  Now, I BELIEVE I had looked it up in the past, and my brain seemed to recall that Dormosedan has a 48 hour (Australia/FEI) to 72 hour withdrawal period (Canada).  I did verify that this morning, so we should be in the clear Saturday afternoon, even with the 72 hour period in play. 

I also noticed he had a small (about a dime size) bare spot on his back.  It's scabbed and not raw or irritated, but it caused another moment of "Oh come ON please don't be hurt."

But, the more I looked at it, the more I realized, the saddle won't make any contact with it.  I verified this with MM from the barn this morning.  Sometimes just hearing it from someone else sets your mildly spiraling panic at ease.

Day 2 of electrolytes and smush went smoothly.  I had left the big baggies of beet pulp out in the bed of the truck from when I left work all through the shoeing appointment.  Still big blocks of ice.  I think that because it's such a LARGE bag it does a great job staying cold thus doesn't melt well.

So, I prepped up both buckets, worked on catching Dakini again (approach, rub, retreat...she actually took off once, so I just kept my energy up and followed her and kept her feet moving until she finally stopped, then I stopped...and retreated).  We were much quicker to get caught tonight, even with Socks loose in the pen. 

Electrolytes went down smoothly again (well, as always, as smoothly as cramming a tube into a horses mouth and plunging down the contents can go).  Withheld water and promptly placed their buckets of smush before them both.

Dakini went to town on hers again.  She literally licked the bucket clean.  And that's after I drizzled what little bit from my electrolyte container that I couldn't syringe up onto her feed.  Mareface is amazing.

Strider also did very well.  He left much less last night (maybe a handful and a half) which I split between him and Socks.  Strider gets greedy if you go to share his food, and it renews his interest in eating.  So, Socks got 3 fist sized servings of smush from my hand and Strider ate the rest.

Also of interesting note.  When I went out Tuesday, they had filled both large water troughs to the tippy top.  Actually, overflowing them some. 

When I went out yesterday, one of the tanks was over half empty.  I am going with my gut suspicion and saying that the electrolytes are really encouraging Strider and Dakini to tank up on water.

Tonight I head out again (I remembered my change of clothes!) and it will be a quick trip.  I have to stop on the way to get a bale of hay.  Feed.  Make sure he's still looking good.  I BADLY want to give him a bath.  A large part of me wants to quickly bathe him before I throw him in the trailer tomorrow so I can clip his neck and rump.  But, I'll have Kaylee in the truck.  Maybe I can distract her with a video while I give him a fast bath before his electrolytes and bucket of smush in the trailer.

I have one last quick stop at a store to make (which I can actually do once I've dropped Kaylee off tomorrow). 

Once I get home, it's a quick load and pack the truck, make sure both coolers are ready to go (one for food and one for beet pulp [it's extra water when the ice melts]).

I'm anxious.  I'm nervous.  I'm scared.  And yet, I feel confident.  If we don't get it done, it's not for lack of preparation, that's for sure.

T-Minus 1 day.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Well, that went smoothly....or "How easy was that?! Almost TOO easy."

So, while I have a few hiccups to work out with frozen beet pulp (namely, getting it out of the freezer with enough time for it to thaw when I get to the barn), overall I would say the beet pulp/grain smush is a success!  As is the kaolin pectin/enduramax mix.

As I left work, I grabbed my 2 baggies of beet pulp and my Rubbermaid container of electrolytes and headed out.  Threw the baggies into the bed of the truck in the hopes any sun might help melt and thaw the ice.

Well, since there was a massive clap of thunder as I exited the building at work and a few scattered sprinkles as I drove to the barn, guess how well THAT plan worked?  *sigh* 

Pull into the barn, change into my barn clothes, and into Strider's bucket goes a scoop of his grain and his hoof supplement.  And into Dakini's bucket, just a single scoop of grain.

I had texted the gentleman who feeds the horses to please skip the afternoon feed this week for my horse as I'd be taking care of it this week.  So, when I pulled up to the pen, Strider assumed (correctly) I was there to stuff his face with food.

Now, lately I've been having some issues catching Dakini.  So, I put Socks and Strider into the feeding pen in an attempt to catch Dakini.

After having her scramble away from me 4 different times, I left the halter on the fence and with just the rope wandered around.  I would weave, pause, look at ANYTHING but her.  Made sure to keep my energy low.  Get near her and then leave (as long as she stood still and didn't move her feet).  Go up, pet Strider, and then repeat the process, getting closer and closer to her.

After about the 3rd time, I was able to step up to her and pet her without her moving her feet.  Retreat again, go pet Strider.  And weave my way back to her.  Repeat.  Retreat. 

I did this a few times until I finally looped the lead rope around her neck and led her to the front of the pen, haltered her and lead her out.

I got this feeling from her when I did that of "Dammit, I've been fooled.  Now I'm going to have to work."

So, I'd had her bucket soaking in water and the massive frozen chunk of beet pulp.  Poured some water over it, which helped to thaw some of the ice.  Spent about 5 minutes breaking it up.  Honestly, I think on a hot day, a frozen beet pulp/grain smush would probably taste divine to a horse.

Time for the electrolytes! 

I actually LOVE this blend.  It's smooth and flows easily AND doesn't gunk up my syringe like the applesauce/enduramax blend does.  Neither was super impressed, but, I got it done. 

Haltered and tied Socks off (so he wouldn't try and steal food) and then gave them both their buckets.

Dakini DIVED into hers and wolfed it down like a champ.  And THEN she licked the bucket CLEAN!!

Now, I hadn't gotten ALL of her beet pulp melted and into her original smush (maybe 2 or 3 handfuls didn't make it in there?), so I tossed some water on it and put just straight beet pulp in front of her, which she worked on with a little less gusto, but still ate a good quantity of.  I swear, she makes a better endurance horse than Strider does.  EDPP on trail and devours anything I put in front of her.  Really need to start working her up the distances as I'd planned.  And then find a light or middleweight rider to pilot her.

Strider actually seemed to enjoy this combo with beet pulp in as compared to times in the past where he wouldn't eat if I dared foul his grain with beet pulp.  I'm not sure if the rinsing helped (just seeing the amount of grit and dirt that comes off my SpeediBeet, that would perhaps explain his disdain for the regular beet pulp that I didn't rinse, just soaked) or if it was because he wanted to clear his palate of the electrolytes (I didn't rinse their mouths, just put their smush in front of them almost immediately).  Either way, he didn't leave much smush in his bucket.  What little was left I gave to Socks.  And what little was left of Dakini's beet pulp he also got.

My overall impressions were that if it's always this way, I'm VERY happy with the end result.  Both horses ate very well (truth be told, in one sitting, that was an entire DAYS worth of beet pulp, which they recommend be stretched out into 2 or 3 feedings; so I anticipated there being some left) and both horses took their electrolytes pretty well.

After I was done at the barn, I headed home and got started up on making up more baggies of frozen beet pulp.

I'm planning on taking 10 servings of beet pulp with me for this weekend, broken up.

I've broken down the current 1 gallon baggies I'm taking to the barn into 3 quart sized baggies.  So, I'll be stretching out a single day's (actually, he'll be getting more than a single day's feeding) and then some over the course of one day.

1 stepping on the trailer.
1 at a stop.
1 when he gets off the trailer.
1 as a late afternoon meal.
1 as a bedtime meal.
At holds.
Post-ride.
1 stepping on the trailer.
1 at a stop.

So, with all of that in mind, I got to serious work last night.  And got 24 quart sized baggies ready and labeled (1/3, 2/3, 3/3) and tossed them into the freezer last night.  I got started at about quarter to 8 and wrapped up around 10:30 or so.  Grateful that this SpeediBeet soaks so quickly!!

While soaking and rinsing, I quickly, again, made up today's batch of electrolytes and tossed it into the fridge.  I'm not sure I need to refrigerate it, but, no harm in doing it, right?

Had a mild freak out that I should just keep working on rinsing and prepping since, in about 2 weeks after I get home, I'll need to have prepped enough beet pulp to run 2 on.  And then I'll literally have 2 nights to wash and clean everything and get repacked to head out again and maintain 2.  Might as well just rinse and prep this entire bag of beet pulp!  And, while I'm at it, go ahead and order more kaolin pectin since each horse is getting about 8-9 oz of it a day right now to pre-load.  And I'll be going through it quickly and won't have the time to wait for it.  Also should just go ahead and order more Enduramax too.  Because it would be AWFUL to run out.  And, while I'm not running dangerously low, I think it'll go pretty quick.

Actually...*scampers off and just orders off Amazon*  Done and done!!  One less thing to fret over.

Tonight Strider's shoes and pads go on.  I had laid out my jeans and sneakers to wear to the barn; and then realized I left them at home when I was halfway to work.  ARGH!!  Thankfully I keep a pair of sneakers in my desk at work, so I'll dart into Dollar General and look for a pair of pants and a shirt I can wear to the barn tonight.

Glad his feet are getting done.  We've got some ugly toes and chipping happening.  So, hoping that this shoeing goes well for him.  I need them to last through this trim cycle.  Douglas is free to pull them off when Strider shows up for training, but I need at LEAST a GOOD 4 weeks out of them.

T-Minus 2 days.

Tuesday, May 09, 2017

Rains...Pours...Torrential Floods....or "Can't I Catch a Break?"

So, I stopped last night on the way home to grab a few things for this weekend.

Two totes to haul water in (we'll see how this goes.  I opted to skip the trash can for this option...for half the price I can haul more water...I guess we'll see!).

Some quick links to hang my bucket from (should have taken a picture.  Again, looks like this will work...but time will tell!)

A few snacks.

Stencils to get his glittery number on his butt (this was a pure vanity move).

Cheesecloth to help squeeze excess water from the beet pulp.

A large container to carry electrolytes in and smaller ones to throw in the saddle packs.

I grabbed all of that, then ran to go get money to pay the lady who watches Kaylee.  Was heading home when "POP!" beneath the hood of my car.  And...no acceleration.  *sigh*

I manage to strong arm the car into a parking lot and call Joe to come get me.  Again.

We're hoping it's the starter.  And, if it is, that's something Joe can fix in our driveway.  As I'm out of town this weekend, and he has to work at his volunteer gig and it's Josh's birthday on Monday, car isn't getting fixed this weekend.  Hopefully next weekend though.

So, I had to drive the truck into town.  I genuinely hate driving it into downtown Austin.  Lanes feel narrow and people ride the lines.  UGH!! 

But, on the flipside, grateful we have a spare vehicle for me to drive.

Anyway, Joe rescued me from the parking lot where we left my car, Sparky (oh yeah...I name vehicles too).  Thankfully, the lady who watches Kaylee, her husband works for a repo company, so they have a tow truck 24/7.  So, within the hour he had grabbed Sparky from the parking lot and dropped him off in our driveway.  They frequently save us this way.  Eternally grateful for friends like that.

So, with disgust and annoyance, I decide I need to attempt to hang the bucket, straighten up my tack room, attempt to set up my new awning and then get to work on soaking out more beet pulp and prepping some electrolytes for Strider and Dakini.

I get the bucket figured out.

I pull out the necessary items from my tack compartment to restore some semblance of organization.  Realize I still have a full bucket of grain in there (yay!) and my rice bran.  I then just straighten those things up and call that "Good enough".

Then I wrestle with my new awning.  It IS easy to put up for one person.  Once you really and truly stake down the opposite foot.  So, I've practiced setting that up.

With all of the outside things handled, I head inside and begin with the beet pulp.

I had gotten through probably two bags when I realized that I had the ability to soak 2 bundles at a time.  So, in about an hour and 45 minutes, I got 5 bags done (with breaks for other things).

I quickly mixed up electrolytes and my kaolin-pectin with a splash of CMPK.  Tossed that in the fridge.

And at this point it was about 9:45.  I'd been busy. 

Tonight begins my jaunts to the barn to electrolyte the two horses then put their beet pulp smushes in front of them so they'll eat it up.  I have big buckets, brought my beet pulp baggies to work (sorry co-workers for the 2 weird bags in the freezer here!!  Oh, and the Rubbermaid container with the pink stuff in it!), remembered to pack syringes and a change of clothes for the barn.

Since I'm now in the truck, I'll stop for hay on Thursday on the way to the barn. 

Tonight begins the laundry so that's one less thing I'll have to get done on Sunday when I get home.

I was feeling really stressed out yesterday and Sunday.  Honestly, I'm feeling better now. 

Now that I am starting to get a rhythm down to prepping my beet pulp, I know I can get it done faster.  Now that I see how simple the electrolytes are to get ready, I'm feeling better.  Trailer is basically ready to go. 

So, while my car is broken...I refuse to feel freaked out any more. 

T-Minus 3 day.

Online Endurance 101 Clinic...or "How Can I Improve on What I Know?"

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