What worked and what didn’t…

What worked:

1. getting away on time. I am a much nicer person when I get to leave on time. It’s always a toss up: in my line of work an emergency can come in the door at any time so it’s always a bit tense when I am trying to get an early break out on a Friday! I don’t relax until I have actually signed out – and even then I have my work phone on me, so I don’t REALLY relax until after about 4.30.

2. The new rig. Just a pleasure to drive compared to the old one. Nuff said.

3. My camping set up – is improving with each use. Getting easier to set up, taking less time to pack away, and leaving less re-organizing to do when I get home again. It will get even better when the trailer gets it’s makeover this summer.

So that was all good. As for what didn’t work… the list is long (sigh):

1. Boots. Joe and I have had a LOT of boot issues. He has VERY short wide feet.The size 0W Easyboot Gloves in front and standard size 0s in back, WITH Power Straps all round AND a wrap of tape on the hoof SEEMED to be working OK. But not this time. Although, the one boot we did shed had lost a screw. The other hind boot stayed on OK. We’ve tried renegades and had no end of issues there. Haven’t tried Glue Ons yet – they worked well on my last horse who could be trusted to stand dead still,  but for this ADD pony glueing them on and keeping him still while the glue sets could be a bit of a challenge.

I think the boots soften up with use, and the back ones get that bit looser as a result, which is an issue. Looks like we’ll get a maximum of 2 80km rides out of a set of back boots.. The front ones have now done 3 x 80kms and still work well. We have an 80km in 2 weeks and I will slap new boots on all round. MORE new boots for the 160, with the “used for one ride” set as a back up if things go awry… If I can’t get the new boots to stay on for the next 80km, I’m seriously thinking of getting Joe shod just for that 160. Then again, he’s never worn shoes so God knows what it will do to his way  of travelling. Sigh. more on this after the next ride in 2 weekends time.

Anyway – lesson learned. New back boots after 2 x 80km rides, carry spares, and ALWAYS check the screws and washers before booting up!

2. My gas bottle. Never knew how vital that small bit was! Now I know, and I’ll be keeping an eye on it.

3. Joe’s hydration. Wasn’t good at the first vet check. We’ve never had that issue before. He does tend not to drink well over the first 30km or so, then starts to tank up. I think I got a  little complacent – it was warm, and the last 5km had some KILLER hills in it, all of which probably got to him. If the weather forecast is for warm weather for the next ride, I think I’ll start giving him the Enduramax electrolytes a couple of days earlier, so he’s preloaded with fluids. I normally only give them the night before.

I don’t think he drank that well the night before the ride: normally I give him a dose of e’lytes in his feed that night and he drinks well overnight. This time I think he was too busy pushing his yards around to reach all the green grass outside to tank up like he usually does. Similarly on the ride all he wanted to do was eat green stuff. It is high in fluid at the moment tho’. I think in the 20 minutes between the first vet check and his compulsory represent he just shuffled a heap of fluid out of that hindgut reserve and into his bloodstream. And he finished better than he was at the halfway point, but it was our first compulsory represent for ANYTHING and I didn’t like it!

I’ve also made an appointment for someone to come and clip the rest of the fur off his neck – at the moment he is trace clipped: I will take him back to a “high” blanket clip, kinda like this:

Image

He’s kind of a yak, and we have 2 more rides to get through before he’ll have finished shedding out, so this should help the heat load. Weather will only get warmer over the next month. How do you guys who ride Tevis and the like manage in the heat??

At the moment he has a star clipped into one side of his butt and a lightning bolt on the other. Maybe after the 2 runaways this weekend I should get something like this!!

Image

4. MY hydration. Epic fail. Clearly I need to preload too when it’s warm, but post 2 children this tends to result in needing to get off and pee a lot.. Which when you are riding a fire breathing dragon who tries to run away from you (see last post) is not good. It’s a balancing act.. But if I’m nauseous with a blinding headache I can’t be the kind of partner he needs me to be when life gets a bit tough like it did this weekend. I’m looking into human electrolytes, but I can’t stomach the salty ones.. More googling to come on that one. Perhaps I just need to drink more damn water! (And clearly, I DO need that large mug of tea before I leave).

I think that’s all the things that DIDN’T work. It was a TOUGH 80, and I’m not the only one who thought so. I guess we were due one that was hard, but it has knocked my confidence a bit. As a result, at the moment I’m still not sure we will enter the 160 at the end of September: we have an 80 to go to in 2 weeks time, then a 3 week gap before the big one. Whether we enter the 160 or not will depend on him turning in a really good ride (with no boot issues!!) at that 80.

For now though, he gets a week of R’n”R, and I get to go to stupid field days for work..

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