Oh boy, have I gone back and forth on this one… we were, then we weren’t, then we were again… now, we’re not.
I’ve spent three years working towards doing a 100 this season, so that we’re qualified for the Quilty next year. And then, last week, I quit the plan. I’m still trying to work out exactly why, but when I finally opened my mouth and said “I’m not riding 100 miles on the 27th of September” I suddenly felt so much better.
So – why?
1. There are still some niggling issues physically that Joe and I need to work out. He finished at Highbury again with a very sore girth area. I girth him up pretty loose, and he wears a fleece girth cover, but he still develops an area of oedema and swelling directly behind the girth just below the saddle flap. The skin is not broken and he has no chafing, so i don’t think body glide is going to fix it. I thought it was because I was girthing too tight, but for much of the ride last weekend you could have put your whole hand between the girth and his belly, and he still swelled up. It hasn’t attracted the attention of the vets yet, but when you scrape him off after washing, you can tell it’s sore. The day after the ride it’s very tender. there’s no point going into a 100 knowing that we’re going to have a physical issue by 50 miles. Next step to try and sort it out is a wider Pressure Eze girth (hullo credit card).
2. These damn dragged toes. Commonly considered a symptom of hock arthritis. He’s never vetted out lame, and he is negative to hock flexion tests (I did them, and I flexed pretty damn hard). Apparently, some horses with hock arthritis don’t flex lame though. So for my peace of mind, after the next ride I’m going to visit my favourite vet, pick his brains, and get the damn hocks x rayed. If Joe does have a problem and needs hock injections, we have the whole summer to get him sorted out.
3. ME. I’m several kilos heavier than I should be, and not as fit as I’d like. I HURT after 50 miles, and Lord knows what I’d be like after 100. I guess there’s always pre emptive painkillers, but the weight has to go, and the running has to be better.
4. Joe’s only 7. I truly feel that if I back off a bit now (5 x 50 milers this year) and give him a long spell over the summer, he will be a MACHINE next year. He and I have a damn good relationship at the moment: he likes to hang out with me when I go and visit them in the paddock, he trusts me on trail, he has a great attitude and he’s finishing strong. I don’t want to break that. I want him around for along time, and I want him to be able to pack my teenage daughter around her first 50 milers in 6 or 7 years time.
They offer a 100 early next year for last minute qualifying.. Maybe we’ll be ready for that. Who knows. Right now, I’m looking forward to doing our last 50 in 2 weeks or so, then doing a couple of LD (20km or 12/12 mile) rides with the whole family. Three of the ones in the last part of the season are in really pretty country, which would be nice to see. We may even persuade Ashleigh and her little pony to have a crack at a 25 miler. The pony can do it – at 12.2hh, he can trot like a much bigger horse and he keeps himself amazingly fit.
Maybe we will, maybe we won’t. After 3 years of focusing on September 2014, it feels good to stop and look around me a bit. I might regret this change of plans later, but I suspect not. There IS a Quilty every year, after all. it’s just that 2014 was in Western Australia, and when it’s in another state it’s a bloody long way to drive!
But Joe will only be 15 when it comes back this way again.
Maybe Ashleigh will ride him round it…