Thursday, May 31, 2012

Wednesday's Ride

In the last post , I misstated what day we were headed back out for another rideThe plan was to head back out on Wednesday, not Monday. My brain is clearly on overload these days! So yesterday was Wednesday and I had the good fortune to ride with my a good friend, “J” . She is an amazing artist, one of the most capable all around horsewomen I know of, and has some unbelievable horse stories to tell from her years of training and riding in the wilderness on various pack trips and hunting excursions. She even got herself published in sharing some of those stories. I consider myself fortunate to have her as a friend and riding companion.

We met early afternoon and she brought along her big, red horse, aptly named “Red”. Red is sired by “J”’s amazing Arabian stud and oddly enough, the damn was a run of the mill paint mare. Red is young, was sold to some other folks that did some bad things apparently and “J” ended up taking him back. As a result, Red has some issues that “J” has been working through.  She hadn’t really been riding him much lately but she really wanted to get him out and let him move…find his legs , very long legs at that, if you will. You see, Red is one of those horses that doesn’t seem to have a bottom … atleast not that “J” has found. She is thinking that if she ever attempts Tevis, this is going to be the horse. He’s a big tall lanky character.. built more like a Thoroughbred. Since he is still a youngster, he doesn’t always quite get all legs going together in sync but when he does, wow… he can move. He has that big lofty movement that I dream of having in Maggie but never will!

So , it was going to be another hill workout ride. Maggie started out in her usual… gotta go, gotta go… until the brain told her lungs she had better slow up.. Red , who has been on pasture for 3 weeks and not ridden, kept right up with her. Seriously??? (damn arabs)

The sun had come out , after a lot of rain , and it got muggy for what is typical for us. Maggie was winded and sweaty in short order with the steady climbing.  I didn’t bother electrolyting on this ride. I can’t decide if I do more harm than good considering she won’t drink anyways…

We spent the next several miles trotting as long as we could and walking or stopping all together when Maggie was blowing too hard and needed to catch her breath. She’s getting smart about things.. she is starting to slow up and pace herself on hills… instead of rushing like a crazed lunatic.
Long hills that never seem to end….it’s amazing how it will change a horse’s attitude.

Hill work has never been Maggie’s strong area. She powers up them without a problem. It’s her respiration that gets her. Red , on the other hand, kinda floats like a butterfly up those hills. He was breathing hard too , but not nearly as hard as Maggie and he always recovered his respiration rate a lot faster than her. I guess that is the difference between an Arabian /TB body style and a heavier built horse like a Morgan. It’s just the facts of horse life.

We finally made it to the top of the mountain and we took a well deserved break. The horses were doing well. We had just completed 8-9 miles of steady gradual climbing with a few steep climbs in between. I knew I was pushing Maggie a bit beyond her fitness level  but she was willingly going. I felt that as long as I was giving her  time to recover  as we went,  it was probably  okay to do a little pushing  just like interval training in the human athlete. In order to get through a plateau, sometimes you have to push a bit harder. When we stopped for a rest, I loosened her girth and let Maggie graze.  She dove into the lush green grass. That was a good sign. Even though she was tired, she was willing to eat!! There was  a time not too long ago, she would have even refused the green grass if she was tired.  “J” and I checked out all the wildflowers that were in bloom.  We apparently missed the glacier lilies by about a week or two , but the Indian Paintbrush, Balsamroot, wild clematis (? ), Arnica, and all kinds of other little violets were in full bloom. Everything is so green and lush. It such a magical time of year in the Rocky Mountains, except for the riding in the rain part.

We gave the horses about a 10 minute break and headed back. I thought Maggie was going to be more tired but to my delight, she perked right up. She was ready to go again. Luckily we didn’t have any more climbing . It was level or downhill the rest of the way. I let Maggie choose her pace on some of the flatter areas. Red struggled to keep up with her trot and “J” had to let him canter. He’s capable of a fast trot, he just doesn't know it yet but he had a few good moments. When I rated Maggie back , Red was able to pace nicely with her at about 9 MPH.

We finally made it back to the trailer and by then it was 5:00 pm. We had been gone since 2:00. Maggie wasn’t interested in her beet pulp/ alfalfa pellets mush. No surprise there. She also wasn’t interested in water. Even less of a surprise. Clearly I still haven’t gotten her thirsty enough, even with all the hill climbing and sweating she did. She was however diving into the knee deep green grass. I let her graze on that for 10 minutes . At least there was some moisture content in it.

Total Miles- 12.6

Max Speed 13.9 mph

Moving time 2 hrs 36 mins

Moving average speed 4.8

Stopped time 20 mins (approx)

Overall average 4.2

Ofcourse, she tanked up as soon as I put her in her pen at home. The good news ? drumroll please…….

.She used the bucket..

YES, she drank out of the beautiful blue bucket that I have placed right next to her water trough…

So what?? Right??

Given Maggie’s continued refusal to drink in anything but a water trough at home, no matter how thirsty I think she might be, I wanted to test out my theory. I thought the refusal to drink was the bucket itself, since she drinks like a champ once she gets home to her beloved water trough. So, in an attempt to be smarter than my horse and teach her to drink after a conditioning ride, out of a dreadful bucket,  I have placed two water buckets next to the stock tank in her corral. Eventually , my plan is then remove the water tank all together, leaving only the buckets.

Sounds logical to me…. surely it will work...

So, yesterday, when we got home and she dove into the bucket and took three large gulps before switching to the water trough. I was thrilled. I had won... atleast I thought I did for a  very brief moment.. Until it dawned on me what this meant..

She proved my theory wrong.

Its not about the bucket.

It’s just about drinking away from home ….

Maybe it’s time to go the Horse Quencher route..

No comments: