lurath: teephs (Saber)
I am probably taking Deli to an endurance ride this weekend. JUST to do the intro ride, mind you, on day 2. We are not ready for a 25/LD fitness wise or mental-training wise. But this intro ride is 15 miles and should give us a lot of information and training opportunities if it all works out.

I almost didn't want to say anything for fear of jinxing us! But she's getting her health certificate today (ride is in Washington - Mt. Adams area wilderness, so we are crossing state lines) and her long feet trimmed. She will be camping for her second time and her first time on a high-line. I think she will figure it out quickly and prefer it to being tied to a trailer because she is usually pretty calm if she can watch all the activity.

With 15 miles we should get a good idea of saddle comfort, booting, etc. as well.

The trails are supposed to be gorgeous and include water crossings (which we need to work on). I have two potential people to ride with because another thing we need to work on is riding in a group. The Grizzly intro ride we did by ourselves though we were certainly passed by actual competitors.

I'll maybe bring my camera on the trail if she's not being too nuts and take some fun pictures and video even!

Brian is camping with us as well.
lurath: teephs (Saber)
Watching Tevis rankings right now. Interesting stuff.

LV Integrity = an older Arabian horse with 34 100-mile completions for endurance.

8215 recorded miles with 12 BCs! Wowza.

He's 20 and looks incredible.

He has Bask on both sides (Deli does too, but one further generation back and only on one side) and Bay El Bey.

I'm saving this pedigree because I really want to do some research for horses that KEEP GOING. Not that I need a horse that can do that many 100 milers, but long-term soundness is a THING I WANT.

Though to be perfectly honest, Deli would probably be one of those ever-sound ponies if she didn't get in accidents. Her conformation is good enough. She's got straight legs and an incredible sporthorse shoulder/humerus combination. The only issues she's had that were not related to traumatic accidents that were 90% of the time caused by another horse has been two very minor stone bruises and one minor abscess, all of which made her off for about 3 days. Even her splint was from a kick by another horse (thank GOD it was just her splint bone that was fractured, right?!) that I SAW happen. She does have sensitive skin and reacts worse to bites and stings and flies around her eyes, so that's something. So far she has come back from all her injuries, but I think weaknesses are stacking on weaknesses now after all her injuries. Not surprising. The fact that she's HAD so many injuries and I'm still re-habbing her for more riding right now must say something about her solidness. I'm not sure what she's going to be able to do in the future, or how she will hold up to hard work now. I guess we shall see. She does seem to STAY more comfortable when she is getting good exercise and is in shape, as you would expect.
lurath: teephs (Saber)
I rode that grey draft pony beast, Smokey, yesterday! And it was actually somewhat fun, despite him being nothing like my Deli. Also: WIDE. Holy hell, he filled up my entire leg and it was like riding a marshmallow fluff even though he is a short little feller (I'd guess 15hh). Seriously: I put my leg on and there is like 10 inches of squish to him. Pillow-pony.

He is super green and whatever training he has in him has taught him to fake giving to the bit. And he's a bit short-fat-necked so relaxation in the neck is going to be hard for him anyway. He doesn't work very consistently off the hind end. He basically ignored any requests for lateral movement, but I later learned he was always ridden in spurs, so maybe if I ride him again I'll dig them out. At one point I asked him to move off my leg that he was leaning on with a boot, and he decided to go backwards so I flicked him with the whip and he LEAPED forward.

But he was nicely forward, if wiggly. There is actually something there to work with.

I've realized that I actually have something to offer green horses as a rider. Thanks to Deli of course. I know I have my issues (worst thing is a fairly loose lower leg), but I also think I've developed a good instinct of when and how to push, when to give, and how to use my seat. And I must say, even though my lower leg is somewhat loose... I don't really NEED it or even my stirrups in a lot of situations. At one point when he spooked and I lost my stirrups I just continued on without them. Of course, it's easier with a huge wide round thing that is pretty dead to the leg than my horse, who gets irritated by more than a very very light constant pressure.

Observing more of his behavior I'm seeing some stallion-like indications, which would explain him going from puppy-dog to attack mode when Winnie challenged him. The thing that bothers me is that he had no problem with rearing and striking and kicking out when it was a HUMAN he was facing. Even just playing, that is not okay. Also: he masturbates ALL THE TIME. He is very mouthy/nippy, and of course kind of dead to being smacked like every draft horse I've met. When I smack Deli she has so much more of an emotional reaction! Basically he's a huge dog who hasn't been taught manners.

Anyway, the barn owner was saying I was making him go better than the old trainer he had by the end (she'd seen videos). She wants me to ride him more. On the one hand I think that would be fun and I think I would do him MORE good than her because she isn't very firm and does not seem to have a very good feel for correct dressage movement (she loved it when he was curling his neck but totally strung out in the hind). He was standing in the wash pen drying after the ride and he came over to me wanting to nip/play with my hands and I smacked him and wouldn't let him enter my space, so he walked over to the barn owner and started doing the same with her and she was laughing about it, saying how he likes her better. Oy. Boy needs to be given boundaries!

On the other hand my barn owner is being paid to give him more miles/training and get him ready for sale. So me riding him feels like she's taking advantage of me. Again. She also wants me to trim his feet with no discussion of compensation! I'm for-sure not going to do that, because I want to save my back for trimming MY horses, and I'm still uncomfy with the idea of trimming a complete stranger's horse. Perhaps I will ask for a reduction in board and I can make training him an actual planned thing. Ugh, I feel like that's a conversation that could start drama!

I also had Brian ride the old Arab guy, Riskky, before I hopped on Smokey. I just put him on the lunge line and he did really well walk/trot. While I rode Smokey he just walked around the arena. And we finally found an English saddle that is comfortable for Brian's junk: just a plain old Wintec event saddle. Brian does need help keeping his weight sunk into his heels, but I think it's more time in the saddle that's going to be the most helpful for that. I'm not sure Rissky is the best horse to do lots of trotting on because Brian is a bit big for him. The boy is all legs (his legs are 4 inches longer than mine, measured from our hip bones, and yet he is less than an inch taller than me) and he does seem more comfortable on a horse that fills up his leg more, regardless of height. He did seem to like him okay, and rode for a good half-hour, so I think he'd work for some walk-only trail rides.

In Deli news, she was looking pretty much her old self sickness-wise yesterday. Her nose is still very wet, but it's all clear or ever so slightly white. Her temperature has been normal for several days. Since I run out of SMZ tonight, I am going to call the vet first thing and see if she thinks I should get more SMZ or if 5 days is enough (I don't want to be creating antibiotic resistant bacteria!). Her leg is looking good as well. I actually think the fact that she's been sick allowing me to DEMAND she be kept separate during turnout has been much more helpful because she doesn't have to out-of-nowhere escape evil teeth of a horse attacking her. She's been in a nice small grass paddock bordering the paddocks of her buddies that attaches to her pen, which has clearly decreased her stress. I just want to know WHY dear Deli, you fall in love with horses who chase and harass you constantly... girl is masochistic! I'm going to try and keep up this arrangement as long as possible.

I start my volunteer job next week, and I'm also planning on going out to the endurance-trainer's barn to do some exercise riding if she has a need. At least in THAT situation there is an exchange: she's teaching me about endurance riding. And there is a lot to learn and she was totally happy to share and talk about it. Also, I'm just riding her already-trained horses so it feels like a fair exchange...

I must say that I have been dreaming about endurance riding/trail, riding every night for weeks now. Maybe it's the summertime weather, but I just NEED to be riding! And I want a truck & trailer and a young horse in training... or even better: my own soul-mate horse Deli sound and ready to hit the trails! I have offers to take us horse camping and all that jazz, but it does not matter if Deli is hurt and/or seriously out of shape!

Oh wait, did I mention I got married this week?! It has been a good week despite having to deal with a horse cold and me feeling a bit sick as well.
lurath: teephs (AvatarHouseMD)
I love buying horse stuff. No joke. I actually hate shopping for clothes for myself though (unless it's riding garb!).

First (and most important) will be a new saddle pad:
I'm either going with an Equipedic saddle pad or a Skito Equalizer (with the cordura in royal blue). I'm leaning towards the Skito right now because they will custom-make to fit my saddle. Sheesh. Expensive stuff.

Easily done but useful stuff:
D-ring savers and Tie-One-On D-rings.

Horse boots!
The Renegades are still my favorite (though they don't have blue) but I'm going to try and see if Deli will work in the Easyboot Gloves. The farrier that trimmed Deli said she was a 2.5, so I figure a 3 will fit her when she isn't trimmed down to nothing. I will probably have to get a powerstrap in that case, but it should work. I've also been recommended the Cavallo Simple Boots, which are supposed to fit horses with Deli's foot shape rather comfortably. I'll take some measurements of Deli's feet when they grow out a bit more and decide from there.

As for bridles and halters...
Endurance halter that attaches/fits with this endurance headstall. I had a long conversation with my old trainer (who does endurance and dressage competitively) and she explained why those with the snap-on bit attachments are a pain-in-the-ass if you have a less than dead horse you are trying to get the bit on. In this case the whole headstall snaps on and off. And in case you were wondering, I've decided Deli's color is going to be electric or royal blue. That color will look great with her dark red coat, I think. Those are also found HERE.

I do plan to get a matching Zilco breastplate, too. My current breastplate is good, but I don't like how it attached to the girth D-ring. There have been a couple times it has come undone while riding, which is not cool.

Wool Seatsaver—honestly more to keep my expensive dressage saddle clean and dry while out riding, though I'm sure my bum will appreciate this too!

My trusted endurance-trainer friend had a long rant and conversation about what kinds of bags work for dressage saddles in particular. She ranted and raved about how great the Snug-pax were in terms of security and quality. We are not at a point where we are doing long enough rides to warrant lots of baggage, so this one will be one of the last things we get. Right now I wear a belly pack for things like my cellphone, eye drops, and some horse cookies. I haven't needed a water bottle yet, though that will be the next useful thing I'm sure.

I also am going to need a new helmet. Troxel brand has always fit me well, but I may do some research and see what else is out there. I don't really like the method of adjusting the troxel helmets have, because the tabs I have always break. The helmet I have now has lasted much longer than previous ones — which means I haven't fallen and hit my head! Or at least not from a horse... hrmph.

If I ever do get into REAL endurance with Deli (25-50 milers) she is probably going to need a crupper. I found this crupper attachment which should do the trick. Will still need to do research on what cruppers are best when the time comes.

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Lurath

May 2015

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