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Discussion Starter · #3,102 ·
Time to start catching up.. can't believe its been 3 months since I could post!

Back in the end of September, we went to a ride. We left Virginia Wednesday afternoon with Lapco, Flo, Lito and Fuji to head for the Biltmore Estate in North Carolina for a ride. We knew it was going to be a very long day of driving, but momma nature added to the fun with off and on rain the majority of the trip. Thankfully, the rain had stopped and the sun even was out by the time we arrived at camp about 5pm. There was some discussion with the parking attendant about where to put 2wd Guido so we didn’t get stuck, which resulted in us parking quite close to the vetting and crewing area. We got the horses unloaded and settled, then got ourselves fed and settled in for the evening.

Thursday morning, we fed the horses and ourselves and then started the fun of picking a crew spot. Kathy is very particular about where she likes the spot to be in relation to the in timer and the vet area. That isn’t a big deal when we are at rides where we know the lay out, but this ride was not one we were familiar with. We marked out two potential spots, hoping someone from management would arrive who could tell us the layout. Little did we know that management was actually back at our trailer because they didn’t like where we had been parked - we had to pick up everything and move!

Kathy was not happy when we got back to the trailer and learned of our ousting. The parking attendant was very apologetic but it was out of her hands. I spent the next 30 minutes or so trailing around after Kathy as she looked to find another spot she didn’t think the rig would get stuck in. When we wandered back to the trailer from the very back of camp, we found the parking attendant had talked to the ride manager and gotten permission to put us around the corner from where we started. It was still less than ideal to have to move at all, but around the corner meant we could cart all the stuff that was out versus have to reload it. And it kept us close to the vetting and crew area.
Plant Sky Vehicle Plant community Wheel

By the time we got moved, the flow of the crew and vet area had been figured out so we were able to decide on one spot. I carted a couple loads of stuff over to mark our final place (as well as moving the buckets from the second spot we no longer wanted). By then it was heading for lunchtime and Kathy suddenly wanted to get the pre-ride done, so Lani and I dropped what we ere doing to get horses tacked up. Lani rode Lito, I was on Lapco, and Kathy rode Flo and ponied Fuji.

Lapco was agitated from the moment I got on. She was tossing her head and didn’t want to stand still. The atmosphere around the trailer had been somewhat tense all morning after the move, so I wasn’t sure if she was reacting to that or was just too fit and feeling silly. Flo was also pretty agitated and that did not improve Kathy’s mood. She started in the lead but Fuji was doing a lot of spooking which got Flo looking at things (which did not go over well with Kathy). Next we tried Lito in the lead but he did not want to listen to Lani and kept trotting away, which lead to Fuji dancing on the line and then Lapco having fits because he was canter so she felt she needed to be, too.

We put Lapco out in the front as apparently that has been what the lesson kids who ride her do if she fusses about being behind. That helped a bit, but she still felt very squirrely and not herself. The first bit we rode was flat with a lot of things to look at, but we soon turned to an uphill section. That seemed to settle Lapco a bit and we got our first look at the famous estate house:
Plant Sky Ecoregion Leg People in nature

The trail continued on into the woods but we didn’t want to do the entire loop so at a place where another trail crossed, Kathy called for me to stop. I tried, though Lapco wouldn’t stand still for more than a second. As we walked around the other horses, I was surprised to see Flo in a full lather. While the day wasn’t cold, it wasn’t hot either and we had only gone about 4 miles. As Lani and I consulted our maps to make sure the intersecting trail would take us back to camp, Kathy started cursing – Flo was starting to tie up!

Kathy always carries some vet supplies with her, so she had banamine to give Flo. Then, she took the tack off Flo and put it on Fugi. I got off to hold Fugi, giving Lapco to Lani to pony as Lapco still refused to stand and her pacing with Lito was not helping Fugi to be still. We finally got the tack moved over and Kathy up on Fugi. I got back on Lapco and we started the trudge back to the trailer. Thankfully, the banamine helped a lot and Flo did not require further treatment.

That, however, changed the whole plan for the weekend. Originally, Flo and Lito were going to do the 50 on Friday and Lapco and Fugi the 50 on Saturday. Since Flo wasn’t going to compete, Kathy decided we would all ride Friday. I went to register and got things changed around (and the secretary didn’t even say any bad words), then we got the horses vetted in. By the time we got the crew area set up, it was time for dinner and then bed. What a day!

Friday morning was cool and a bit foggy. The horses were on their toes and even tacking up with a bit of a challenge as all the horses needed to be held while someone else put on the saddle! Lani had decided to wait to get on until the main pack had left camp (much to Kathy’s displeasure) and I was glad as Lapco certainly felt wound up when I got on. I was nice to be able to just walk out of camp without having to do endless circles or have too many other excited horses around us.
Plant Dog Natural landscape Carnivore Vegetation

The first loop was 18 miles. was in the lead the vast majority of it, as any time another horse passed her she started doing acrobatics. I was very glad the first 5 miles or so was in the wood as that made it harder for Lito to pass when Lani didn’t want him to. The trail system is permanently marked, so that made it pretty easy for us to find our way around.
Plant Plant community Ecoregion Tree Wood

The footing was a lot drier than I expected considering all the rain, but there were some parts that were wet or technical. The sun eventually burned off the fog and the dew which made the conditions even better. Lapco was manageable if she was in front with nobody else in sight, but she never did settle down. The loop went across camp and we had our timing exactly wrong as we arrived just as the LD started! 😖 Lapco was very agitated but she didn’t actually do anything bad beyond a lot of head tossing and tail wringing. I was very thankful when the LD trail turned one way and we went the other, on the trail we had pre-ridden so it was somewhat familiar.
Plant Plant community Ecoregion Leaf Tree

We got into an open field as we headed back to camp, so Lito went charging past and Kathy followed with Fugi. No surprise that Lapco set off, though with fairly minor acrobatics by that point. We passed the photog and it says a lot that this was the best picture she got:
Horse Horse tack Plant Working animal Bridle

We got back into camp for the first hold. We untacked, Lito needed a bit of sponging, then we went in to vet. Lapco was a bit squirmy for the exam, not even wanting to focus on the carrots I was offering her, but she passed and then was happy to dig into her food. We had a friend who wasn’t riding that day offer to help and it was so nice to have an extra hand with the horses so we could all take turns taking care of ourselves, too. I had done a terrible job drinking on that loop as I was always worried about what might happen next, so I made sure to drink a lot during the hold as well as eat my tuna crackers and choke down half of a pb&j sandwich.
Horse Plant Ecoregion Horse tack Halter

In no time, it was time to tack up and head out on the second loop. It was 17 miles and went out and across a different part of the estate. We came upon some goats, which Lapco was a bit suspicious of to start, but when they moved away from the fence at our approach, she was brave enough to go past. We eventually crossed the river and got to some trail that opened up. Of course, that meant Lito went flying by.
Plant People in nature Tree Working animal Grass

The majority of that loop was gravel road, which made for some very pretty views. However, Lapco was always tense as the other horses moved around her. Lito was either loitering behind or else rushing out ahead so it was very hard to get into a rhythm.
Horse Sky Plant Ecoregion People in nature

I was not sorry to get back to the river crossing, knowing that meant we only had a few miles left until we got back to camp for the next hold. Lapco was brave enough to go first after having only been across it once before – I think she knew we were heading back to camp, too!
Sky Water Dog Plant Leg

To be continued..
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,103 ·
Part 2:

Thankfully, Lito had tired enough that he was content to stay behind for the last stretch back to camp. Lapco didn’t mind the other park users as she led the way, bravely going by people on bikes or walking pushing strollers without a concern. She was still a bit unsettled in her movement, but at least she stopped trying to do acrobatics. We saw the photog for the last time that day:
Horse Vertebrate Sports gear Equestrian helmet Horse tack

We got into the hold and untacked. The day had warmed up so all the horses got a bit of sponging and then we headed into the vet. Lapco had pulsed and trotted without issue, but when the vet went to run her hand down her hind leg, the filly leapt into the air and kicked out with both hind legs!! :oops: It was hard to know who was more startled as the vet jumped back and I jumped forward to shank Lapco and yell. I expected trouble when she hit the ground, but she just stood there looking calmly back at me. Lani, who was finishing vetting in the lane beside us, exclaimed, “what the h#ll?!” which was my exact thought. I apologized profusely to the vet, saying she had never done anything like that before. The vet stepped beside her and ran her hand down her back without issue, but her tail lashed as she started down the rump so she smartly stepped away as I growled at Lapco. By that point, Lani had come over and she took Lapco’s head so I could investigate further.

As I ran my hand down Lapco’s rump, her head shot into the air and she tensed up. I stopped moving with my hand just below the level of her tail. After a moment, she took a breath so I dropped my hand a bit lower and she got super tense again, lashing her tail as her skin twitched frantically under my hand. The skin felt hot, though there was no apparent wound. By now, Kathy had also finished vetting and come over to see what was going on. Seeing where the filly was reactive, she casually said, “oh I guess the breeching is bothering her. All her hair fell out after the last ride so I wanted to see what happened at this one.” I was simply horrified. :eek: :mad:

Thank goodness the vet was fine about passing Lapco with the understanding that we would not be using the breeching for the final loop. I felt horrible for the filly and was pretty darn mad at Kathy for not even mentioning the breeching might be an issue! It certainly explained why the filly had been so tense and her gaits didn’t feel quite right – I would move oddly too if something was rubbing my legs with every step. I am lucky the filly didn’t just buck me off!!

We were lucky to have help again at the hold, so I was able to take care of myself while Lapco chowed down. I ate some tuna on crackers and a half a pb&j sandwich and drank some elyte water since yet again I hadn’t done a very good job drinking during the loop. I was very aware of anywhere tack touched as I got Lapco ready, but she was totally unconcerned about the pad, saddle and breastcollar. Whew.
Horse Plant Ecoregion Sky Working animal

We headed out for the last 16 mile loop. The loop headed out to the far side of the park the same way the previous loop had, but it was a totally different experience for us. Lapco was relaxed and happy and never even thought about acrobatics. We opened up into a lovely hand gallop in one of the fields and Lito coming up beside her didn’t phase her in the slightest. Even when another group of horses passed us at a canter on a gravel road by the previously-worrisome corn, Lapco barely flicked an ear.
Horse Plant Sky Plant community Ecoregion

We stopped at the water tank just before the bridge crossing and the horses tanked up. Lapco left the tank first and moved happily towards the bridge instead of wanting to head back to camp.
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Horse Working animal Horse tack Halter Bit

The last loop was mostly gravel or dirt road and I was thrilled when Lapco wanted to move out in a calm way. We led some, we followed some, we went side by side some and she just went down the trail without issue. Lapco only looked with interest when we got to a small bridge crossing with some kayaks and canoes going by.
Plant Plant community Water Natural landscape Road surface

Lapco was, however, concerned the first time she came across pigs in pens beside the road. Lito was fairly certain we could not go past such creatures. However, Fuji has seen such monsters before so calmly led the way, showing the others that they would survive.
Sky Plant Cloud Horse Natural environment

Before long, we were back at the main bridge crossing. The horses enjoyed a drink at the tank, then headed down the last couple miles of trail with purpose. Lito had found his second wind and as we came into the field where the finish line was, he broke into a canter. Guess he wanted to show everyone he was going to finish his first 50 asking for more! The burst of speed didn’t last long though as we easily caught him before the line. I was expecting to tie, but I guess Kathy was sick of us cramping her style, as she let Fuji move out to take the lead as we approached the line.

We had a ½ mile between the finish line and camp, so we let the horses walk in and relax. We dropped tack as soon as we were back and went right to vet. Lapco pulsed down without issue and trotted out strong. I explained to the vet about the breeching soreness and she was fine with only palpating her back since her trot out had been fine. I then vetted Lito for Lani. Completions all around!
Rectangle Font Material property Parallel Pattern

We let the horses graze for a few minutes after the vetting and they were happy to chow down. Lapco looked great:
Hair Horse Plant Sky Working animal

Then, it was time to get things cleaned up. Lani took the horses off to graze while I got the crew spot cleaned up and Kathy started getting the trailer organized. We took a brief break from packing for some food and I went to pick up our completion awards. We placed 11, 12 & 13 and I won the middle of the pack award! A nice ending to what had been a pretty stressful experience for me.

We finished packing up, loaded the horses, and got on the road for home as the sun was starting to set:
Flowerpot Agriculture Wood Tints and shades Hay

It was a long drive home, but the weather was much more agreeable and traffic was light. Lani and Kathy took turns driving and napping while I held down the passenger seat and kept whoever was driving awake. We got back to their farm in Virginia as the horizon started to lighten. The horses went running and bucking away as we turned them out, looking none the worse for wear (including Flo). I took a brief nap and then drove the rest of the way home.
 

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I was really wondering what was wrong with Lapco when you finally solved the mystery. Poor girl, no wonder she was so upset.
It's crazy you had to pass so close to those pigs. For a lot of horses I think the ride might have ended right there. Even the cows would be a challenge for some horses.
The scenery on the ride looks so beautiful!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,105 ·
I think it was a huge testament to Lapco's temperament that she was willing to put up with that when I was so oblivious to her attempts to communicate that something was wrong. I still feel terrible when I think about it.

I was very surprised about the pigs too and wondered how many people wound up having to get off and hand walk their horses past them. The farm was nice and put signs warning well ahead of their pens (imagine trotting or cantering along and them just suddenly being there?!).
 

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Uh yeah I would have been walking past the pigs for sure. Or crawling..... Or flying through the air past them.

Our vets don't touch the horses legs or anything (except for CTR or if they think there's an issue) so if that was the case I wouldn't have even have known something was wrong there! Poor girl!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,107 ·
Sept 26, I got Phin out for his rehab walk with both dogs. It was a little windy.. 🤣
Cloud Sky Plant Light Natural environment

1.01 miles, 59 feet of climb, 3.1 mph average pace, 68F real feel

Oct 1, I got Phin out for his rehab walk:
Plant Plant community Vertebrate Leg People in nature

1.02 miles, 56 feet of climb, 2.9 mph average pace, 67F real feel

Oct 3, I rode George with Nik on Amish. We went over and did Big Square:
Horse Plant Sky Working animal Horse tack

Horse Cloud Sky Plant Working animal

6.63 miles, 682 feet of climb, 4.9 mph average pace, 76F real feel

Then, I got Phin out for his rehab walk:
Cloud Plant Sky Dog Plant community

1.0 miles, 59 feet of climb, 3.1 mph average pace, 72F real feel

Oct 5, I got Phin out for his rehab walk:
Horse Plant Sky Ecoregion Working animal

1.01 miles, 52 feet of climb, 2.9 mph average pace, 65F real feel

Oct 6, I got George out. We went over to the Tomhicken and did the yellow gate loop.
Plant Tire Wheel Sky Cloud

Plant Plant community Ecoregion Tree Natural landscape

10.04 miles, 1522 feet of climb, 4.7 mph average pace, 74F real feel

Oct 7, I got Phin out for his rehab walk:
Plant Daytime People in nature Ecoregion Sky

1.01 miles, 56 feet of climb, 3.1 mph average pace, 72F real feel

Oct 8, I got George out bareback to walk the dogs:
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2.8 miles, 269 feet of climb, 5.0 mph average pace, 73F real feel
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,109 ·
Oct 10, I rode with Gina. She rode Giselle and I rode Amish. We did the Sugarloaf loop.
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Plant Plant community Ecoregion People in nature Tree

6.91 miles, 1042 feet of climb, 4.2 mph average pace, 68F real feel

Oct 11, I got Phin out for his rehab walk:
Plant Dog People in nature Tree Natural landscape

1.01 miles, 56 feet of climb, 3.0 mph average pace, 70F real feel

Oct 13th, I got George out and ponied Link. Link was introduced to the muzzle, as I knew he would be biting George once he got bored. Link was not a fan to start, but he was resigned to his fate by the time I was done grooming him.
Plant Horse Plant community Ecoregion People in nature

Link seemed to do well, moving along nicely and showing no back soreness when we were done.
3.03 miles, 322 feet of climb, 4.3 mph average pace, 72F real feel

Oct 14, I started with Phin for his rehab walk:
Sky Plant Cloud Working animal Natural environment

We stopped to chat with Gina as we came around Alimar:
Sky Plant Horse Dog Equestrian helmet

1.05 miles, 62 feet of climb, 3.0 mph average pace, 68F real feel


Then, I went over to ride with Gina and Nik. We did the Space Needle loop. I rode Amish:
Plant Plant community Ecoregion People in nature Tree

Plant Plant community Sky Dog Pumpkin

10.25 miles, 1250 feet of climb, 4.4 mph average pace, 81F real feel


Oct 15, I got George out and ponied Link again. We did a loop around Ziesloft's.
Horse Plant Ecoregion People in nature Working animal

Again, Link did well, with no soreness after working.
4.58 miles, 469 feet of climb, 4.6 mph average pace, 88F real feel

Oct 16, I got George out to take the dogs for a walk:
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2.78 miles, 299 feet of climb, 4.4 mph average pace, 80F real feel
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,110 ·
Oct 17, I got Honey out with Gina on Giselle. We did the Sugarloaf loop.
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5.0 miles, 722 feet of climb, 3.6 mph average pace, 46F real feel

Oct 18, I got Phin out for his rehab walk. It was a bit windy. 🤣
Cloud Sky Plant Light Horse

1.01 miles, 59 feet of climb, 3.1 mph average pace, 40F real feel

Oct 19, I got George out. We did the Tomhicken lake loop.
Water Sky Plant Azure Natural landscape

Plant Sky Plant community Dog Grass

9.10 miles, 1490 feet of climb, 4.9 mph average pace, 60F real feel

Oct 20, I worked with Link. He was pretty chill to tack up, but he was a bit worried when we went out to the round pen and the herd had wandered to the far paddock (out of sight). Link was a bit silly to start:
Horse Sky Plant Tree Working animal

:rolleyes: :oops: :rolleyes:
But he soon decided that was a lot of work and settled down:
Sky Horse Plant Tree Fence

Link was calm enough after a bit of groundwork that I decided to climb on. I did so from the side of the pen and was pleased that the clanking and shaking didn't phase him at all.
Horse Plant Ecoregion Sky People in nature

He felt a bit tense to start with, and there was much bit chomping. After a few circles and turns, he calmed to the point he was barely creeping around at a walk. I got off at that point, thrilled he worked out of his nerves instead of getting more and more worked up.
0.37 miles, 12 feet of climb, 2.7 mph average pace, 52F real feel

Next, I got George out. We did Big Square.
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6.03 miles, 689 feet of climb, 4.6 mph average pace, 70F real feel
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,111 ·
Oct 21, I got Phin out for his rehab walk:
Sky Plant Leg Cloud Ecoregion

1.02 miles, 59 feet of climb, 3.1 mph average pace, 46F real feel

Oct 23, I got George out with both dogs. We did a loop around Spaulding's:
Plant Plant community Ecoregion Tree Grass

3.04 miles, 276 feet of climb, 5.6 mph average pace, 54F real feel

Oct 24, I met a friend to ride her horse Bee, a lovely Arab/Appy cross mare. We were planning for me to ride the mare in an upcoming ride as Dodie was having some knee issues and didn't think she would be able to ride 50 miles.
Footwear Plant Leg Ecoregion People in nature

I met Dodie and another friend at some new-to-me trails, so I got to ride a new horse and see new sights!
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Bee was a rockstar, happily going down the trail first, in the middle, or in the rear. She was a lot of fun to ride.
Horse Plant Vertebrate Working animal Natural environment

Horse Plant Plant community Ecoregion Vertebrate

10.59 miles, 548 feet of climb, 5.7 mph average pace, 52F real feel

Oct 25, I got Phin out for his rehab walk:
Plant Dog Plant community Ecoregion Leg

1.02 miles, 56 feet of climb, 2.8 mph average pace, 64F real feel

Then, I got George out to walk Kestrel. We did a loop around Ziesloft's:
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4.07 miles, 459 feet of climb, 5.0 mph average pace, 75F real feel
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,112 ·
Oct 28, I started with George. We did the yellow gate loop.
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9.20 miles, 1302 feet of climb, 5.0 mph average pace, 64F real feel

Then, I got Phin out with both dogs for his rehab walk:
Cloud Sky Plant Atmosphere Dog

Cloud Sky Atmosphere Dog Plant

1.07 miles, 59 feet of climb, 3.4 mph average pace, 52F real feel

On Halloween, I met with Dodie again and rode Bee while she drove her mare Willow. The 50 we had hoped to get Bee to wound up happening during a horrible coastal storm, so we didn't go. Instead, we set our sights on accompanying Willow on her first competitive driving event! We went to another new-to-me place to train.
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Bee led the way while Willow and Dodie trucked along behind us.
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8.76 miles, 1362 feet of climb, 5.0 mph average pace, 53F real feel

Nov 1, I got Phin out for his rehab walk. We added an additional 10 minutes (which is about 1/2 mile):
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1.51 miles, 98 feet of climb, 3.0 mph average pace, 38F real feel

Nov 2, I got George out. We climbed the Sugarloaf to look at the leaves.
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5.02 miles, 978 feet of climb, 3.9 mph average pace, 41F real feel
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,113 ·
Nov 3, I got Phin out for his rehab walk:
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1.58 miles, 121 feet of climb, 3.1 mph average pace, 36F real feel

Nov 4, I got George out. We did the Tomhicken lake loop.
Cloud Water Plant Sky Water resources

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Cloud Sky Plant Plant community Natural landscape

9.08 miles, 1549 feet of climb, 4.6 mph average pace, 50F real feel

Nov 5, I started with Phin's rehab walk:
Plant Sky Cloud Ecoregion Dog

1.58 miles, 135 feet of climb, 2.8 mph average pace, 33F real feel

Then, I worked with Link. He was quiet in the barn to tack up, so I took him out to one of the paddocks and hopped on.
Sky Horse Plant Plant community Leg

Link was a bit tense to start with, but did settle down after a bit of work. We stayed at a walk, doing circles and figure 8s around various parts of the paddock. He wanted to drift towards the other paddock where the rest of the herd was, but he stayed reasonable with his reactions to unexpected noises, etc.
1.08 miles, 43 feet of climb, 3.0 mph average pace, 45F real feel

Later that evening, I was finishing some yard work and realized I had an audience:
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:love:
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,114 ·
Nov 7, Dodie and I went over to New Jersey for the Jersey Devil competitive trail ride. We were entered in the 15 mile CDR as it would be Willow's first competitive event. Willow is a 7 year old Hackey pony who had been a broodmare before Dodie bought and started her driving and under saddle last year. Bee, Dodie's endurance mare, was going to be Willow's babysitter.

We left Dodie's barn before the sun was up to be at ridecamp by 6:30. We found out we would be going out first instead of last as we had expected, so that made for a bit of excitement as we needed to get vetted in, listen to the ride briefing, and tack up in half the time we had planned!
Wheel Horse Tire Vertebrate Vehicle

We managed to be ready when we needed to be to allow enough time to warm the horses up.
Horse Sky Working animal Equestrian helmet Horse tack

Bee was raring to go and didn't understand why we needed to plod around at the sedate pace her sister needed to go.
Horse Plant Tree Working animal Horse tack

It was quickly time to head out on trail and Bee enthusiastically led the way.
Horse Wheel Working animal Tree Plant

Jersey is all sand and pine trees, but the footing was great for the cart.
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Willow did well the first time someone came up from behind to pass, though we did pull over and stop to make sure it was as uneventful as possible.
Plant Horse Plant community Sky Working animal

Willow also got to learn about water stops. She wasn't sure at first but Bee was a good example by drinking at every opportunity.
Vertebrate Natural environment Working animal Mammal Grass

Bee got a bit rammy as the loop went on and she knew we were heading back to camp, but I insisted she maintain the steady pace that Willow needed.
Cloud Plant Sky People in nature Tree

Soon enough we were done and back at camp. We got the horses untacked and went over for the final vetting.
Horse Working animal Tree Tire Plant

Bee sweet-talked the lay judge, so no surprise she passed the exam with flying colors. Willow did as well.
We hung out in camp for a couple hours to let the horses eat and drink, then packed up and headed for home. Both girls ran around their paddock with great glee upon their release. Successful day!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3,115 ·
Nov 8, I started with Link. He was well behaved to tack up, so I went out into the yard and did a bit of groundwork. He was calm, so I hopped on and we moseyed around the yard a bit. Link looked around a bit as it was a touch breezy, but he didn't feel explosive or over react. And he remembered that standing on stumps earns him cookies!
Dog Dog breed Working animal Carnivore Liver

0.42 miles, 13 feet of climb, 2.2 mph average pace, 54F real feel

Then, I got Phin out for his rehab walk.
Sky Plant Dog Light People in nature

1.63 miles, 92 feet of climb, 3.0 mph average pace, 64F real feel

Nov 9, I started with Link. He was quiet to tack up and fine with the groundwork in the yard despite the breeze. I hopped on and we worked a bit in the yard. He was quiet, so we headed out of the yard. He was a bit more alert but didn't feel explosive, so we continued a bit away from the house down the swale and around the fields.
Sky Plant Plant community Ecoregion People in nature

When we got to the turn down by the trees, Link got worried. I wasn't sure exactly what he was concerned about, but his head came up and he was chomping the bit nervously. His demeanor improved a bit as we continued on and then turned to head for home, but he still felt tense even back in the yard.
1.03 miles, 59 feet of climb, 2.9 mph average pace, 51F real feel

Next, I got George out to walk Kestrel. We went out to Shuman's and then did a small loop around the fields and headed back.
Sky Plant Horse Dog People in nature

Plant Sky Plant community People in nature Natural landscape

5.26 miles, 614 feet of climb, 4.7 mph average pace, 61F real feel

Nov 10th, I started with Link. There wasn't too much wind, but he was a bit agitated for grooming and tacking. We did some groundwork in the yard, which seemed to settle him down. The first time I lined him up to the mounting block, he walked a couple steps as I put my foot in the stirrup. I asked him to line up again and that time he stood just fine. I got on and did some walk work in the yard and his focus seemed to be on me. We wandered to the edge of the fields to appreciate the view:
Cloud Sky Plant Horse Nature

Link seemed settled and was more interested in eating than anything else, so I decided to do the same field loop we had the day before. I should have known when he left the yard without needing encouragement that it was because he was nervous, but I mistakenly thought he was just enthused about going out. We hadn't even made it halfway down the swale before his head came up and I could feel his tension rising. I stopped to let him graze several times, but that didn't help to relax him. When we got to the corner down by the trees, he leapt like someone had bitten him on the rump and wanted to rush forward. When I held him to a walk, he was tossing his head and jigging sideways.

We made our way around the next corner and again he wanted to leap around the turn. I worked him in the field a bit, doing circles and figure 8s to try to get his brain focused on me. It would work for a few moments, then he was back to head tossing and jigging. We got about halfway down the field road by the church when he started fixating on the shed beside the road. I tried more circles but nothing really distracted him for long. I got him to stand for a moment and got off. Even in hand, he was jigging and nervously looking all around.

Eventually we made it to the shed and past it without a total breakdown, but Link was never exactly calm, even with the rest of the herd grazing in sight. But as upset as he was, he never put any pressure on the reins or tried to barge past me or away. We got back into the yard and I did a bit more groundwork before taking him into the barn to untack.

1.64 miles, 92 feet of climb, 2.9 mph average pace, 44F real feel

A couple hours later, I went out to get Phin for his rehab walk. Link came right over to me and then tagged along behind me as I caught Phin and walked him to the barn. Link seemed insulted when I took Phin in and left him outside looking in.
Cloud Sky Plant Flower Ecoregion

1.59 miles, 90 feet of climb, 2.9 mph average pace, 46F real feel


The next day, I went out to work with Link first thing. I hadn't planned to ride him, just to tack him up and then walk him out to the mounting block to practice standing, as I hadn't liked how the day before had gone at all. My the time I was done tacking him, it was very windy so that cemented that I would not be riding. Link was antsy in the stall, but I was hard to know if that was from the saddle or from the wind. We walked out to the yard and went over to the mounting block. As soon as we were within about 5 feet of it, Link got very tense. I lined him up and gave him a cookie, then just stood there waiting for him to relax. Instead of relaxing, he suddenly leapt into the air and jumped sideways, pulling me off the block and yanking the reins out of my hands. I expected him to go running towards the other horses (who were grazing in sight in the paddock), but he stood where he had landed, shaking nose to tail.

I was able to get a hand on the reins and stood stroking and talking to him. His shaking didn't change, so I asked him to walk forward, intending to take him back to the barn. He willingly came along beside me, but after the first step he suddenly jumped straight up in the air and kicked out with both back feet. I was shocked and looked to see what had caused such a reaction, but I didn't see a thing. He did that 3 more times as we walked along, never putting even a bit of tension on the reins or trying to rush forward or away - he acted like a horse being stung by bees, but there was nothing I could see touching him.

Link stopped the weird leaping and kicking as we got into the barn, where I quickly untacked him. We went out into the paddock and while he was still looking around some, the crazy panic feeling was gone. I walked him a bit away from the barn where he could see the other horses and then turned him loose. Instead of rushing to join the others, he walked with me back to the gate and then seemed insulted when I went out of it and he wasn't allowed.

Obviously, Link has not yet outgrown his problem.. I went into the house and cried.


Nov 14th, I rode Honey as company for Nik on Copper. We did a loop around Spaulding's.
Horse Plant Plant community Cloud Ecoregion

Horse Cloud Sky Plant Horse tack

1.75 miles, 203 feet of climb, 3.4 mph average pace, 41F real feel

Nov 15, I got Phin out for his rehab walk:
Cloud Sky Plant Plant community Dog

1.57 miles, 98 feet of climb, 3.2 mph average pace, 29F real feel
 

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@phantomhorse13 you are my heroine. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I often think "what would phantomhorse do?" when my horses start acting up or I get in an uncomfortable situation.

So please don't take this the wrong way, but when you write that you "went into the house and cried" it made me both sad and happy at the same time. Sad for you, but happy to know that I am not alone when I sometimes cry after a ride that does not go well.

Hoping your next session with Link is better 🤗
 

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@phantomhorse13 you are my heroine. I'm sure I've mentioned before that I often think "what would phantomhorse do?" when my horses start acting up or I get in an uncomfortable situation.

Hoping your next session with Link is better 🤗
Today as I was grooming Windy, I was thinking the same thing, "What would Phantomhorse do?" Windy is so lovely and fun to ride, so healthy and strong, great feet. I want to be able to take her out solo. She does this bouncing leaping thing and I don't know how to train her out of it.

When I heard you went in the house and cried, I started crying too. It's hard to read these daily updates and not know the end result. I want to turn to the back of the book and see how it is going to turn out. I think you have us all in suspense. I want so much for everything to work out for you. At one time, it seemed like Link was going to be the best horse you ever did endurance with. Now, shattered dreams. My heart aches for you.
 

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Aww :( As other members said you're an inspiration. Like many others on here, from professionals to hobbyists and beginners trying to find their way, the stories and challenges you share give me courage. I didn't grow up with horses (just some lessons as a teen) its quite terrifying as an adult to attempt all this without facilities and safe spaces to practice. You know how many times while tentatively going out solo, heck even just MOUNT alone on the lane, I've taken a deep breath and thought about people on here, including you, "they've done it so I can do it, just take baby steps". Your thread is huge and I do try to go through the backlog but I don't know Link's story and I feel bad even asking about it considering how unfortunate things are obviously right now. Even reading your journal about Windy recently @knightrider helps in knowing that you can do everything right and have all the experience and sometimes it's just out of our hands. I feel a little less bad when I or my horses don't meet my expectations that session.

You're not alone and I am so grateful for the experiences shared on here. Your pictures are very motivating as well and serious brain food! :)

@gottatrot I don't really have a great eye but for a moment I had to do a double take on which thread I was on when I saw Willow kitted up ;) So adorable!
 

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@weeedlady : thank you for your extremely kind words. I try to share the good and the bad in my journal in the hopes that we all can learn from one another.

Your thread is huge and I do try to go through the backlog but I don't know Link's story and I feel bad even asking about it considering how unfortunate things are obviously right now.
The cliff notes version of Link: I got him as a 2 year old. I waited patiently to start him until he was 4 and he progressed steadily. He was coming along nicely - even getting to his first LD - and then he had a big growth spurt. He became reactive to the point of being dangerous in the late spring, and after much testing and trial and error (and angst), the working theory is nerve pain in his back and/or neck. I gave him time off to see (hope/pray) if he would grow out of it. The attempts at riding in last month show he has not yet grown out of it. 😖

It's hard to read these daily updates and not know the end result. I want to turn to the back of the book and see how it is going to turn out.
I, too, would like to turn to the end of the book and see what will happen with Link. Sadly, right now that is still anybody's guess. My plan is to give him more time off and try putting him back in work again in the spring. He will be 6 in May, so basically done growing. If he still isn't right, it will be time for x-rays and ultrasounds to see what is going on in his neck and back. I am hoping for the best, but trying to prepare myself for the reality he may never be rideable again..
 
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