going the distance - my endurance adventures - Page 263 - The Horse Forum
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post #2621 of 2684 Old 05-02-2020, 08:22 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
Posts: 6,980
• Horses: 5
Wednesday was supposed to be rainy, so I was very surprised to wake up and see some blue sky! A quick check of the weather showed the rain was slower coming than expected. The wind was still unpleasant, but that seems to be normal any more.

I started with Iggy. We went out Spaulding's and then over to climb the Sugarloaf.

Then we went down the other side, did the out and back, and then climbed again. Iggy was not very enthused and fussed now and again, but no tantrums.

Then we went back to collect Kestrel. We went across Alimar and then over to do part of the creek trail. Iggy was not impressed about leaving again, but I was able to shut down the fussing before it became a tantrum.

12.6 miles, 1583 feet of climb, 5.2 mph average pace, 50F real feel

I was just tacking George up when Gina called and asked if I wanted to go out with her and Nik. Apparently Windsor had a tantrum at the end of their ride the day before and dumped Nik. So they were going out again before the rain to hopefully make the last ride before the rain a good one.

It was crazy windy out in the fields, but not too bad climbing the Sugarloaf. We did a lot of moseying and then some standing still pointing towards home, but Windsor was on his best behavior.

Luckily, the ride went without incident and we got back just before the rain started.

10.6 miles, 1309 feet of climb, 3.5 mph average pace, 55F real feel
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There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #2622 of 2684 Old 05-04-2020, 02:14 PM
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: MD
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So glad you got some lovely rides in. I'm glad Windsor behaved himself this time, whew! Never know how they are gonna be some days.

Sounds like Iggy is doing well!

Ride more, worry less.
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post #2623 of 2684 Old 05-05-2020, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
Posts: 6,980
• Horses: 5
Saturday, DH and I got Iggy and Phin out. After getting almost 3 inches of rain Thursday and Friday, it was so nice to see the sun we almost didn't mind the wind. Knowing we would be riding in water world, we stuck to places with solid footing.

We went over to the Tomhicken and did the creek loop. The quantity of water running places was impressive. Iggy had to deal with getting his feet wet a lot.

I was surprised that we didn't encounter any kids on quads, but I sure wasn't complaining. Phin was on his best behavior.

Iggy did have a tantrum on the way home when he wanted to canter up the orchard road and DH wanted him to trot. It was the first full tantrum DH has experienced and it was hard to keep a straight face when he expressed his surprise afterwards. I guess I had been making it up when it happened to me?!

After we got back, we grabbed the dogs and took a walk around Alimar with them to cool out the horses. The dogs had a blast, especially splashing in the puddles. The wind helped everyone dry out though.

14.9 miles, 1804 feet of climb, 5.2 mph average pace, 60F real feel

Sunday, DH and I got George and Phin out. The weather was glorious as we left the barn and only got warmer. We went over to that set of trails we had been exploring. This time, we took the right fork in the trail..

And reality matched the satellite pictures I had looked at, as the trail stayed a trail and worked its way around the way I had hoped.

The biggest question was how steep the decent was going to be and we were pleased to find it was gradual for the most part and the footing was pretty good.

And it DID connect to trails I knew - woohoo!! That gives me a nice longer loop as an option, which is nicer than having to repeat a lot of trail to get the longer distance.

On the way home, we used the new trail I made last week on the Sugarloaf. One place was a bit narrow (at the very start), but it rode ok. There is one place I need to go back and clear some branches though.

When we got home, it was so warm I was able to hose off the horses for the first time since fall. At least now they will be covered in fresh dirt!

23.5 miles, 2204 feet of climb, 6.1 mph average pace, 72F real feel

Yesterday, I was finally able to work Link. It's been almost a month since the ground was dry enough to use the paddock and/or there wasn't insane winds.

The weather wasn't exactly calm, but some wind seems to be normal here now. The temperature had dropped dramatically overnight and the wind had a bite to it. I decided to go back to the round pen. Link was pretty enthusiastic during the longe work, giving me some nice canter on both leads almost all the way around the pen. Once he settled a bit, I got on.

We needed a bit of review about steering and there was some head flipping, but there were some nice moments too. And nothing naughty.

0.7 miles, 36 feet of climb, 3.7 mph average pace, 52F real feel
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There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #2624 of 2684 Old 05-07-2020, 09:40 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2015
Posts: 3,054
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Lol. I think sometimes husbands only believe it once itís happened to them...

Am I not your own donkey, which you have always ridden, to this day? Have I been in the habit of doing this to you? - Balaamís Donkey
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post #2625 of 2684 Old 05-08-2020, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
Posts: 6,980
• Horses: 5
Tuesday, I intended to work with Link in the morning as its spring turkey season so I am trying not to ride until noon (when the hunters have to be done for now). However, Keith and Brad were in the fields with various equipment getting the ground ready for planting, so I decided to wait until later. Instead, I got on the tractor and brush hogged the field roads - its amazing how much the grass has been growing despite the cool temperatures.

I got Iggy ready and left the barn a bit before noon, knowing nobody was hunting on Alimar or Spaulding's. It was back to cooler weather and of course wind is constant, which at least helps dry things out. We went out across the fields and then up the Sugarloaf.

Iggy was pretty good in terms of his work ethic, chugging along as requested. He didn't bat an eye when we came around a corner and found some friends:

There were several more just off trail and they didn't run, just moseyed a few steps sideways and watched us go by. Sometimes I swear they are making faces at the horses.

We went down and did the out and back, which was dry enough to ride one of my fav pieces of trail:

We headed for home to collect Kestrel. Iggy got slightly fussy heading for home and then was less than enthusiastic leaving home, but never progressed beyond chomping on the bit. We went around Alimar and along part of the creek trail. Kestrel had a blast.

12.6 miles, 1640 feet of climb, 5.4 mph average pace, 53F real feel

After dinner, I mistakenly assumed Keith would be done for the day. I was just finishing tacking up Link when I could hear the tractor returning. At that point I figured I would just work him in the pen and see how things went.

I was pleasantly surprised that he didn't care about the tractor at all. It was the big one, so the engine is always loud and the potato planter makes lots of random clanks and bangs. It was also coming into sight and then disappearing behind hills, but Link didn't care.

Link did so well working in the pen I decided to hop on. He is still fussy about his face, but I suspect that is going to take a long time to subside. But we do get some nice moments at times:

0.95 miles, 10 feet of climb, 3.6 mph average pace, 55F real feel

Wednesday, I worked with Link first as rain was on the way. The temperature had dropped overnight and it was fairly breezy, so no surprise he was a bit antsy in the barn tacking up. I did a bit of extra canter work in the pen to help get him focused. He is now able to maintain the canter for a whole lap of the pen! I took him into the middle paddock, which was a bit more protected from the wind, and hopped on. It was so cold the battery in the camera died despite showing half a charge to start with.

We continued to work in the paddock calmly. He still fussed about his head at times, but overall he was calm to the point of lethargic.

We then walked down to the next paddock. That seemed to be going fine until he suddenly locked on to something in the far side of the yard.

I didn't see anything out of the ordinary, but he got increasingly upset, trying to spin away. I could feel his heart hammering against my leg, so he was sincerely frightened. I got Link to take a couple steps closer, him shaking head to toe. I praised him mightily, then got off before things really went sideways.

Even on the ground, Link was worked up like I have never seen him before. I spent the next 15 minutes doing groundwork and while he was trying really hard to behave, he was obviously upset and laser focused on one specific spot. If I asked him to move, it was all he could do to restrain from bolting away. If I asked him to stand, he stood with his eyes bugging out and his sides heaving. After 5 minutes with no change in his demeanor, I began to suspect one of the spirits that haunts the old house had come out to 'help.'

To test the theory I took Link away from the house.. which was also away from the herd. Once a certain distance away, Link calmed down completely. I went out of the paddock to do some work in the yard, and again as soon as he got within a certain distance of that specific spot, he was back on high alert. I didn't want to get him ramped up again, so we went back away from the house and came back to the barn from the opposite side. Link was fine with that and moseyed along calmly, then stood quietly in the barn to be untacked.

0.62 miles, 26 feet of climb, 2.6 mph average pace, 38F real feel

After a quick check of the radar showed me the rain wasn't far off, I decided to just hop on George bareback and take Kestrel for a walk around Alimar. We moseyed around the perimeter of the property. George snacked while the dog played and we made use of the places I had mowed.

We surprised this guy in a patch of woods and he took off across the field. That is the first coyote I have seen nearby in a couple years at least.

2.0 miles, 229 feet of climb, 3.0 mph average pace, 38F real feel
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post #2626 of 2684 Old 05-08-2020, 12:06 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
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Originally Posted by Knave View Post
I think sometimes husbands only believe it once itís happened to them...
This seems to be a very common male trait.

There is no joy equal to that found on the back of a horse.
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post #2627 of 2684 Old 05-08-2020, 12:20 PM
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Vermont
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That deer picture is so cool. I've never had them stand around to check me out, they always go crashing away.
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post #2628 of 2684 Old 05-08-2020, 12:36 PM Thread Starter
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Location: NE Pa
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Originally Posted by egrogan View Post
That deer picture is so cool. I've never had them stand around to check me out, they always go crashing away.
This one group I come into contact with a lot. They have slowly figured out that I am not a threat, so we can get pretty close now. That is great for pictures (as long as I am not riding Phin!).

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post #2629 of 2684 Old 05-09-2020, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2011
Location: NE Pa
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Thursday, I got George out first as I wanted to give the grass a chance to dry at home. The sun was out but it was still quite breezy. I didn't think George needed a big workout so we just went around Spauldings and then over to the bottom of the Sugarloaf.

George was a spooky nut. He was either lagging behind my leg (going away from home) or trying to spook and bolt heading towards home. He is lucky Kestrel was along or we would have been doing a LOT of climbing. [I am trying to work Kestrel's exercise level back up gradually as to not aggravate her old injury.]

5.33 miles, 715 feet of climb, 5.1 mph average pace, 45F real feel

Next up was Link. Before I brought him into the barn to tack up, I walked him around the places he had been so worried about yesterday. He was totally unconcerned. He stood quietly in the barn to be tacked and was his normal self for the initial longeing and ground work.

I hopped on in the paddock. Link was very fussy about his face and was very stiff to the right, so we worked on that.

Since Link was pretty chill overall, I decided to see if he would let me take the helmetcam off the round pen and put it on before we went to walk around in the other paddock. He didn't care about me leaning over or jiggling the pen, even when it made noise. He was a bit more concerned about my making noise above him, but after a few taps on my helmet he decided life was good and I got the camera on.

Initially, I had just planned to walk around a bit in the other paddock and then get off, as I knew his quarter would be running out. But when he eyeballed a patch of waving grass, I couldn't just quit:

1.53 miles, 52 feet of climb, 3.2 mph average pace, 50F real feel

Even though Link shouldn't have been concerned about the grass to begin with, how he handled himself being worried really pleased me. After I got off, I pulled all his tack with him still standing on that spot. I then pulled the halter, gathered everything up, and headed towards the barn. I was surprised and pleased that instead of heading for the fence where the other horses were, Link followed me instead!

Next it was Iggy's turn. We went around Spaulding's, up the second tier of the Sugarloaf, and then around it.

I realized I forgot to take the helmetcam off after riding Link, so here is some video of parts of the ride:

Overall Iggy was very good, with only that small tantrum. I was really pleased.

11.2 miles, 1424 feet of climb, 5.7 mph average pace, 52F real feel

Yesterday, I got Phin out first thing to try to beat the weather. It was damp, cold and windy. We went out around Spaulding's and then did the normal loop around the Sugarloaf as I could make the best time that way.

It did spit rain on us several times, but luckily nothing serious. Phin was full of beans, but he did try to behave himself as best he could.

We got back to the barn just in time to beat the serious rain.

10.0 miles, 1443 feet of climb, 5.7 mph average pace, 40 F real feel

I put blankets back on all the horses, as temperatures plummeted all day yesterday. Overnight we even got some snow! It was 27F with a real feel of 18F when I fed this morning. The sun was out until lunchtime, so the snow melted quickly, but the winds picked up and are now raging with gusts over 40 mph.

Tomorrow it's supposed to be 55 and only "breezy" so I hope to get some saddle time with DH.
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post #2630 of 2684 Old 05-11-2020, 05:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2011
Posts: 5,151
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I was trying to remember if you'd said what mouthpiece you were using on Link. You have very soft hands and he is so fussy about the bit. You are thinking work in progress, but I am wondering if he will get over it. Even really green horses "usually" get quiet and accepting fairly quick.

He reminds me of Amore who never did get over her dislike of bits. I am guessing you want the initial training to be in a snaffle, but Amore never really learned to not be fussy in most bits. I remember I had her in a pleasure class and the judge told me a pleasure horse should not be chomping on the bit. I was wondering if you might get further ahead by assuming there is something he really doesn't like there, and trying to find something he can tolerate better. I've just had such opinionated horses, with Hero only liking a low port mullen mouthpiece, and Amore doing best in a sidepull. The only bit she did OK in was a not too thick double-jointed lozenge snaffle. It had to be D ring too.

You don't need my advice, but just throwing it out there anyway. For Hero it was finding the parts of his mouth to avoid - especially the tongue. Amore had many more issues - weight (light was better), thin vs thick (thin was better, she has a fat tongue and small mouth), sloppy movement vs fixed (she liked the mouthpiece to move but the rings to stay stable). The difference in finding the bit that worked well enough for her was having her accept some rein pressure versus always chomping, tossing, or nose-thrusting when it was applied. In a sidepull all of that was way better even. She'd accept nose pressure very well.
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