Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Drink horse, drink...

Today's ride ended up looking alot different than what I was thinking it would. I had hoped to do a fast 10 miles , high tail it to the trailer for rest and reload, then head back out for another 5-10 miles and be done in 4-5 hours. Maggie spent the first 6 miles fighting me. She wanted to go.  I checked the GPS and we set a top speed of 12.5 mph, pulling two long hills. I had to walk  her in several areas after this point as the trail conditions get windy , narrow and technical. Maggie was feeling pretty strong so we trotted where we could and walked when we had to. She wanted to canter alot of the time, so I kept checking her back to keep her in the trot.

We made our way around various trails and  before I knew it, I hit the nine and a half mile mark. The only problem was that  we were still 2.5  miles from where the trail was that I needed in order to head back in the direction of the trailer.Once I got onto that trail it was approximately another mile to get to the trailer.

We came upon a nice area of fresh long green grass so we stopped so she could graze.  I dug a couple of carrots out of my packs and she gladly accepted them. It was warm today. This was the first ride in any temps above 60 degrees and she was pretty sweaty. After a few minutes, we headed back down the trail at a trot and  she was managing to give me a slower trot. The trail we were on would crosssect to another short cut trail which would get us headed back to the trailer.  Maggie stumbled a couple of times at a walk and generally started feeling on the tired side. I suspected that after the first 6 miles of her rushing caught up with her combined with the heat. She still has part of her winter coat!

As we trotted along,  I must have been daydreaming because before I realized it, we were on a totally different trail that would still get us out, but just the long way around. Shoot.. I did not want to prolong this ride  but by the time I realized were were off track,  I was too far to turn back. It would have been longer.  It was still another mile and half or so. Poor Maggie would have to pull one more hard long hill this way. We made our way slowly up the hill. I considered getting off but she seemed to be doing fine.  We hit the top, and the rest of the ride out was a long gavely two two track.. and she recognized it right away. There were two mountain bikers just ahead and she decided they needed to be caught. She got her second wind and we caught up to them right about the time they were turning off to another trail. We passed our earlier max speed and hit  13.3 mph. We kept going straight and finally made it back to the trailer.
The first thing I did was pull out water and dumped it into a bucket  before I offered her food, hoping that she might take a drink . She didn't.  I left just the water in front of her for several minutes while I loosened her girth and unlocked the truck. She just stood there. She looked pretty tired. She wasn't going to drink. I put together her beet pulp with a few carrots thrown in and added extra water to make it extra sloppy. If she wasn't going to drink, she would atleast get some water out of the beet pulp.  She picked at that  for what seemed like forever but did manage to finish most of it, although she left behind the carrots.

 She is so tempermental about eating when she is tired, which is not an ideal trait in a horse that competes in a distance sport!! I pulled out her hay bag and she half heartedly picked at that. I took her over to munch on some green grass which she was much happier about. I finished half of my apple and threw the rest of it into her water bucket, hoping it might entice her to take a gulp.. but she just mouthed it and went back to her hay bag , although she only nibbled at it. She had a big breakfast so I wasn't overly concerned about the food. I was more concerned about her electrolytes.  

I left her tied to the trailer for another 20 minutes with her hay bag trying to decide if I should take her back out and ride another 3-4 miles, come back and offer her water again or just call it a day. She had not passed manure since the beginning of the ride and she still hadn't peed. I had forgotten to take my HRM or my stethoscope but I suspect she was not recovering like she should have been and most likely dehydrated.

It was pretty obvious that heading back out again, even for a few more miles would have been the wrong decision. I am pretty sure she still would not have drank. Our ride for the day was over.

I was happy with our pace . It took us a little over 2 hrs to cover 14 miles,  taking into consideration several tough hills and about 10 minutes of stopped time to graze. Not setting the world on fire but a good challenging ride. We are still building our base condition. I have to remind myself of that from time to time.

As soon as we got home, she dove into the water tank and drank and drank. I think I am going to pull the water trough out of her paddock and replace it with 5 gallon buckets to teach her to drink out of them. Still trying to figure this mare and all of her quirks out. I might have to consider trying that Horse quencher but I don't want her getting into the habit  of that taste.

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