Monday, September 6, 2010

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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Magnolia/Equestrian Way; Ramping Up for VC100; Camera First Aid

It's no good. I just can't warm to this format. It's supposed to be all easy - everything automated and at your fingertips... but it still seems to cold and impersonal. I have to resist the temptation to just list "things that have happened", which makes for dull reading.

So what has happened? (OK, I couldn't resist).
  • pft, Fergus, me n' Uno went on a long ride from Magnolia towards Salmon Falls and back to get in some "long trotting" practice. We took a detour up to Equestrian Way to find a short loop someone had told pft about. We found "a" short loop, but not the one we were actually looking for. However from the GPSed track we were able to look on Google Earth to figure out where we'd been and where we should have gone. So next time we'll be able to cut through the woods, across the (no doubt downed barbed-wire filled) meadow, and accomplish our 'sploring mission.
  • Before we rode, I'd hoped to get away with "A quick rasp" on Uno's toes. Not. So an hour later, I'd performed a full trim on him in the parking lot and as I went to nip that last heel, I did it too deep and he ended up with a wonkly, too short heel. Luckily he's growing foot faster than a fast thing right now, so hopefully by the time VC100 rolls around in three weeks (two now, as I write this), he'll have grown it all out again [gulp].
  • When we got back from this ride, Uno had somehow scraped a chunk of hair off his fetlock and said leg swelled up like a melon the following day. For the rest of this week he's been getting twice daily icings and I've concluded he's just teasin' with his poorly leg impersonation. I'm not thinking about it. I'm not thinking about it. I'm not thinking about it.
  • Uno is now in full "you shall be fed everything good under the sun" mode and gets shut up to eat his Special Fud. Fergus is miffed.
  • I am going into obsession-mode about the 100 mile ride and enjoying every minute of it. It makes me feel like I'm accomplishing things in my life.
  • Having thought about my crunchy knees (they aren't that crunchy, but get a bit cramped over long distances), I tried out pft's longer-seated Sensation saddle for the above ride. Although it's very close to mine, it still seems worth trying out in more depth - I can shift further back in the seat on downhills and give my knees a break - so last night I spent an hour switching all the bags, covers, stirrups off my saddle and onto his - and vice versa. Pft's only complaint about using my saddle was "all the crap on it". I prefer to call this "essential equipment"; pft couldn't get on or off the saddle with all the stuff on it.
  • I mended my camera with SuperGlue. No really. The top fell of the shutter button, revealing tiny wires that bend backwards when you thrust it into the pommel bag. Apparently these cameras aren't designed for this sort of treatment. Wimp cameras. So the "new"one is mended while my "old" camera - the one who's LED display got crunched... possibly when someone rolled while still in his saddle - got sent off to hospital where, for a mere $80, its LED display would be replaced and it would be Good As New. Oh yes!
  • I worked another week of ridiculousness at work.
  • I didn't get to bed at a sensible time, instead staying up late to do important things like string new blue beads:
  • I didn't plant the two remaining lavender plants that have been sitting in the way at the foot of the front steps for about three months.
  • I did, however, order Chili some magic pills from SpringTime which are going to turn her into a youngin' again. In theory. And I snipped her toenails twice in a row in the same month. Maybe I'll actually get them under control again? Maybe. Life continues to tick.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Working on the Railroad

The last two days at work I got to animate a powerpoint presentation for the High Speed Train that is being planned for California. Interesting seeing the background as to how they figure out where to route the track. Unfortunately, they wanted about four days work squashed into two, so I didn't get home from the office until 10:30 Friday night - talk about pooped, but at least I don't have to work Saturday.

The plan had been that pft was going to meet me with pones at Cool after work Friday afternoon - so much for that. Instead he went out on his ownsome with Fergus and they had a fun ride ending up coming in under the light of an almost full moon.

Strangely, he reported that Fergus seemed kind of ouchy trotting on the trail - this was puzzling since I knew his feet weren't particularly long - so this morning I went and had a poke around. As best I can work out, Fergus has been growing a nice deep crevice in the central sulcus while I wasn't watching, so he got his frogs hacked up so that they aren't hiding anything they shouldn't and got treated. Hopefully the thrush will clear up quickly.

My other priority today was sleeping - which I managed quite successfully.

This evening we took Roop and Fergus (and Chili) over to Magnolia and did the mini Gerle Creek loop - kept it short and sweet since it was Roop's first proper outing since the spring. We still only went a couple of miles, but it was nice to be back on my real pone doing something other than his standard rehab route up and down the lane. Fergus was still a little ouchy, but happy enough to bop along.

Roop's time off has been good to his belly:

Some time between when pft tacked up on Friday and when he tacked up again this evening, Fergus' curb chain vanished, so on the way home we dropped by Cool and searched for it in the dark... no luck.

pft trying to figure out what happened to Fergus' curb chain:

We live in such a gorgeous place:

Good to be back on the trail on my pone again.
First real trail ride since the spring, even if it was short:

Chili got a baby aspirin when we got home. Have to see how creaky she is, but she seems to be doing good.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Uno Goes to Bridgeport

Uno vetted in with somewhat dehydrated vet scores on Friday afternoon (we got there about 4:30 pm) and I hoped that he'd tank up at the trailer overnight - which unfortunately he didn't, really, despite feeding him multiple slurpies laced with dynamite elytes.

Kaity and I were aiming for a 75 percentile finish and left accordingly at the start, trying to start with the pack - sort of successfully - but not too much to avoid Uno having a melt-down. He was doing fine until two horses came leaping up behind us...a bit more than he needed, but he dealt with it.

Kaity n' me were doing pretty well - passing people and keeping ahead of them and riding in our bubble - both boys doing very well. For reasons unknown, Uno ended up leading a whole bunch of horses going up the long, long climb, and was a slug which was a bit embarrassing - several times I tried to get people to pass, but they didn't want to. Like Roo, he definitely isn't a leader... that, or I need to ride with a crop and *make* him do it?

Coming off the mtn, we got off and ran with the pones the whole way down (Uno did an excellent job here) - or at least until my bad ankle expressed displeasure and then we just walked briskly. While walking, we were caught by a group who passed, but then one of their horses had a small melt-down at a soggy part of the trail and the ensuing drama did nothing to settle Uno down and cause him to feel like drinking. On the lake road a big gaggle of riders came running up behind, passed us in a big commotion - and then went our speed, just in front of us, which also didn't help [grr] - he sure as heck wasn't going to drink for fear of someone rushing up behind him. So he didn't drink, and he didn't drink, and he didn't drink.

Came into lunch at 11 am (and hour earlier than in previous years! which greatly pleased me) and he ate and drank a little at the trailer, but nothing like he should have, so we stayed an extra 15 minutes to give him a bit more time.

After lunch we took it easy, he drank a little at the trough at the bottom of the mtn, but again was too distracted by the 30 milers coming past on their way in. Climbing the mtn took *forever* as usual and was about as much fun as it always is (i.e. not much), but we were in good spirits once we started down - which is when Uno finally started to drink, only 30 miles and 24 hours late.

We passed through the check at 3 pm (first time through we didn't have to stop) and zipped on, not even pausing since we'd stopped on the mtn and let them have a grazing-fest in the good green grass. In the process, we passed the five riders who'd gotten out ahead of us at lunch when we left late, so we were quite proud of ourselves.

Kody set us a great pace going down the long meadow valley and although we stopped to sponge and drink (it was hot) a couple of times, we made great time. Made one small detour following a ribbon that shouldn't have been there into an interesting grove of young aspen that was a bit like a chinese puzzle - lots of crossed logs on the trail and lots of trunks to duck under. Finally decided that wasn't right and reversed out again - only to get passed by three of the riders.

After another grazing/sponging fest at the big creek, Kaity and I hot-footed it out of there ahead of the other three and started back up the valley towards the VC. Unfortunately, Uno was again in front and apparently isn't blessed with a good sense of direction, as he didn't really want to move at more than slug-pace. So Kody again saved the day by going out in front and zipping along.

Back at the VC, we pulsed down quickly and Uno and Kody tucked into a big pans of slurpie and scoffed vigorously. We opted to do vetting towards the end of our 30 min hold and Uno's VC at this point was less than stellar - I suspect his lack of eating/drinking caught up with him and the fact that he was now eating and drinking properly hadn't yet made its appearance in his vet scores. Anyway, I was a little worried about him, although he seemed bright-eyed and happy.

We left for the last leg with 55 minutes to spare and made as good time as we could, while I fretted and tried to go as slowly as we could while still moving out briskly (not possible, but again, Kody did a great job getting us in). In the last half-mile, five riders passed us, one at a canter, which again, totally freaked poor Uno out. And so we finished with 7 minutes to spare - but at least we finished and Uno's final vet scores were pretty good (and he finally deigned to trot out - another thing we need to work on - he has gotten *bad* about bothering to trot out).

Uno had a fine day getting to push Kody around - apparently Kody is his personal slave for all things - rubbing on, sharing food, and planting his face in Kody's tail and flipping his head forwards - big fun, esp. when Kody's just entering into a bog and ends up sliding 2 ft forwards. Uno gets no points for manners and his rider even less for letting him do it, even if it was quite fun to watch.
  • Fud with a high-proportion of rice bran in it is good.
  • Starting a ride looking like a tub less so, but it probably saved him from going south from lack of drinking.
  • Kody started the ride looking like...well, Kody - that is to say "well covered" - and he finished the ride looking "well covered" and like he hadn't done anything. :)

Kody did an amazing job all day. This was his 2nd 50 and he impressed me no end with his calm behaviour (even if he did pull pissy face the whole time he had to trot next to Nick and Don) and eating and drinking his way around, climbing the hills with cheerfulness and generally setting a great pace all day, towing slug-Uno around. Gold star to Kode.

Our booting exploits were also successful...

Uno's two glue-ons amazingly stayed on and still look really solid - although he didn't jump around much or show much sign of high-torquing behaviour. Luckily I checked his Gloves carefully beforehand, tightening screws, etc and discovered that one of the fronts he had worn the previous Sunday had ripped out the back screw. So I replaced that with an old-style gaiter Glove and put on a pastern wrap. At the end, when I took them off, he'd ripped out the back screw in that one too, so I'm not sure what he's doing there. But the boots were all very solid.

Kaity had fancy red glue-on Renegades all around. This makes for *very* easy boot spotting, esp. in creeks where they shine out like beacons. She'd done an interesting thing where she glued the toes on first (these boots are open in the back), then once they were firmly in place, prised the sides down with a screwdriver, inserted the tip of the glue gun in and squirted more glue in to get the sides firmly glued (this meant that there was no danger of getting Adhere down in the sole). Her boots stayed on beautifully all day, although the sides were looking a little worse for wear at the end and gapping a bit.

  • Took me four hours to get down there, 16.3 gallons, 11 mpg.
  • On the way home, it took me 4:45 to get back, 15.4 gallons, 13.9 mpg
    (came home via Lake Tahoe to avoid the jams on 50 through Placerville).
Uno is currently out wandering the property, munching whatever he can find and working out the kinks.

pft and Fergus took the recently-returned trailer and went out to ride Dead Truck and I'm watching him on the SPOT.

> How did it go glueing them on?...

I'm all proud of myself (despite the foul language at the time) - I glued Uno's boots on using Adhere (instead of Goober Glue) for the first time and although the first boot didn't go on at all (the glue had set up before I got within 10' of the horse, so all that happened is the beads got pushed to the bottom of the boot and it wouldn't go on).

The second two boots I put on seemed to go relatively smoothly, but despite this, I didn't have the vaguest conviction that I had used enough glue or that they would stay on for longer than 1 mile.

When I came to take the blimin' things off on Sunday evening, I needed two screwdrivers and a small hammer - and some fancy footwork to avoid getting kicked when I prised wrong. Those puppies were on there *solid*.

> > Uno goes on hunger strike unless the rice bran appears in copious amounts.

> WOW Uno, really? He knows how to work it!

He is a spoiled brat. A spoiled *tubby* brat.

(although ....I was inspecting Hopi's girth last night and he is even fatter, if that's possible!)

I am still getting to know him.

This ride put Uno over 500 miles, so I was pleased about that. He's continuing to learn each time we go to a ride, although he seemed to regress a little at this one with regard to his eating/drinking habits. That said, I don't think he spooked at anything, and he only bolted forward a couple of times - but they weren't with the usual warp-speed he can manage to attain in two strides. I didn't feel concerned on the drop-offs, and he was pretty peppy as we were coming in the last few miles.

As I told pft, I'm not concerned about his physical capabilities when it comes to doing VC100 - on the contrary, I think his body will handle it fine. But I *am* concerned that he won't do well metabolically if I can't get him to imbibe properly before/during the ride.

One of the things I forgot to do during the lead up to this ride was feed him a bunch of salt in his feed to make sure he drank well ahead of time. And I forgot the part where in the past I said that if I took him and Roo to a ride, I'd ride Roo on the first day to give Uno a chance to tank up again, as he doesn't seem to eat at all while travelling. pft suggested that it might be a good idea to unload him half-way along the journey, to try and get him to eat.

For VC100, I'm planning on going up to Tami Rougeau's in Reno on Thursday evening. That way, he'll eat/drink overnight and we'll drive the 45 mins to VC ridecamp on Friday morning, giving him and me all day Friday to settle down and not feel uptight (the way I usually do). Hopefully that plan of attack will mean he's nice and rounded come Saturday morning (when I'm already having mild heart palpitations about the idea of having to start with the pack in the dark in the middle of Virginia City).

Update 3 on Jackit

So yesterday after working him for awhile I felt he was ready to have me get on him. I brought my helmet into the arena (just holding it in my hand) and Jack flipped out. I'm not sure what that was about, but he thought it was going to eat him I guess. So, I put the helmet on and worked him on the ground for a bit, got him settled, and was able to get on and off and walk around a little without him getting to excited. He was a little worried if I would touch his butt with my leg when I swung on.

So things are progressing, slowly, but we will get there. He still has quite a few issues that need to be addressed.

I think free feeding him the grass hay would be a great idea if you would like to bring some over for him. I promised my grandkids to take them zip lining on the 22 and I work on the 21 but I will be home the following Sunday or I am home every Mon, Tues or Wed. if any of those days work for you. Let me know, I would love to have you see his progress so far.

It's very thrilling to me to think that Jackit is turning into a useful member of society (as they say about released inmates), and very interesting to hear about him worrying about ropes and helmets. My take is that possibly his confidence has taken a big knock - he has suddenly discovered that there's more to life than eating and harrassing the other horses; that there's a big world out there full of uncertainties. That, or he's just trying it on.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Update 2 on Jackit

I have Jack lunging very nicely and he has learned to work by voice commands and hand signals. I have had to go a little slower with him because he has virtually no stamina and the heat has not helped. Poor guy has sweat dripping off his eyelashes when I'm done with him.

I've been ground driving him and he did not like the ropes around his butt and bucked and kicked for several lessons, so I am continuing to work with him on that issue. I am hoping to start riding him this week if we can get thru one lesson without bucking or kicking. Jack likes to deal with things by kicking out or bucking and I won't get on him until I feel like he will be able to tolerate a rider without doing that.

He has lost some weight but that was not suprising, let me know if you want me to get him some grain.

Considering he was a bit chubby when I delivered him to the trainer's, I'm not too concerned about his weight, however if it becomes a problem I'll give her some beet pulp/rice bran or extra hay for him. Grain seems like the last thing he needs, right now :)

Prepping for Bridgeport

Sunday we took the boys (Fergus, Uno and Eagle) for a 19 mile spin along the Larimer Trail and down French Hill to make sure all their legs were attached, ready for Bridgeport next weekend.

Uno was bad, bad, bad... apparently only being ridden once since NV Moonshine 50/NASTR 75 does not a good pony make. I spent much of the ride squawking to the others to slow down lest I died. At one point I had to get off and lead before he took both of us off the trail - quiverin' I was. Luckily, but the time we got on Larimer (mega drop-offs) he'd stopped trying to kill us both.

Still, he kind of settled down at the end (after we stopped at Ann's for margaritas) and, provided I can get the time off, Cinderella shall be taking the spotted creature to Bridgeport next weekend.

My main dilemma is what to do with his rear feet. His back feet are growing splayed on the outside toe so the boots are gapping a little at the front and I lost the right rear (ripping the gaiter out the back in the process) on Sunday*. At Moonshine I had to resort to some last minute (like, 20 minutes before the start) rasping to try and get a better fit.

*All three pones ended up barefoot in back and did about 14 miles of the ride sans boots - no signs of soreness, though.

This evening, I spent an hour giving him The Perfect Rasp by headlamp for perfect boot fit. It's better than it was, and will be even better still if I can get a pair of PowerStraps to snug it all up before we leave on Friday.

The only other spanner in the works is Uno's right rear is a little puffy this evening (angst). He was pretty stocked up this morning, but I concluded that was from standing all night in front of a slow-feeder-hay net, so today I put him in with Hopi and Fergus so they could chase him around. This evening, filling all gone - except for just above the fetlock on that right rear. I can see a few small knocks and scrapes that could be the culprits, but I'll still keep an eye on it and make sure he's all better by the end of the week.

Roo resumed his rehab rides on Thursday, celebrating by rearing, crowhopping, and kicking out at the dog. Big fun. Not.

Luckily for him, when I rode again on Saturday he was Little Mr Perfect and never put a foot wrong, listening to legs and seat and behaving like an adult. We even attempted the short hill at the end of the road - by tacking up and down it to avoid going straight up.

It's about time that boy started doing normal work again and we'll see how it goes. KnR mentioned that he used to rest his back legs all the time at their place too, so I'm going to stop worrying about it and instead find out what the best stretches for him are. My hamstrings are as tight as tight things, so there's no reason his aren't too.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Off to England...

In a spectacular bit of bad timing, instead of spending this coming weekend at Tevis, pft and I are flying to England for ten days to go to Dan (my younger brother) and Gina's wedding.

Super-bummed about the timing of this, but once I'm on the plane I'll get over it and it'll be really fun to see all the family. My older brother Dominic and his partner Lisa are coming from Australia so we get to see them too. Hopefully I'll be able to follow the ride through Twitter and online web pages on Mumma's iPhone.

Everyone's being left in the good hands of Kaity who's house-sitting for us while we're gone. *She* gets to go to Tevis .

I still need to pack and I still need to have a quick few mins with the pones before we leave at ~7 am.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Update on Jackit

Got an update this evening from Jackit's breeder - now trainer - on his progress after one week:

I wanted to let you know how week one of training went with Jack.

I let him settle in on Sunday, Monday a.m. I started evaluating him. I really had to just start from scratch since he just didn't seem to want to do much of anything I asked. He does pick things up very quickly and once he understands what I want he is willing to do it. I liked how he was acting so much I decided to saddle him which he seemed unaffected by the saddle at the point, I moved him around and lunged him which went fine.

I like to leave them saddle on for several hours so they get used to the feel so I left him in the arena with it on but when I got to the top gate I turned around just in time to seem him with all fours off the ground, rear up, fall over on his side and proceed to buck like crazy. That boy can buck high!!! He put on quite a show.

When I went back to work with him again he did much better, just a couple of little bucks at that point. Tuesday a.m. I did the same things as Monday. I was very happy with him and even got on him while he was saddled. However, I did not ask him to move around yet.

Wed a.m. we worked on the same things and I taught him to move his hip away when asked, I have him moving around nicely and staying out of my space which he likes to be a bit pushy sometimes.I introduced him to the bit which he took very well.

Overall I am happy with the way he is acting. This week I plan on continuing the lunge work and respecting my space and LOVING the saddle. If he shows no more signs of bucking I will start riding him.

I'll let you know next week how it all went.

How glad am I that she's doing his training, not me ;-)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Where to start? July is half-over and nothing is written which promptly causes writer's block from looking at a blank page.

So much in life is attitude. This week has been stressful, but when I look back there's no particular reason for this. Sure, I have stuff to get done, but haven't reached the critical "oh crap, oh crap, oh crap, I can't possibly get it done in time" stage. However, I do feel a bit like I'm juggling a bunch of balls and having a hard time keeping my eye on them all. Take a breath, Lucy, nobody died.

So what have we achieved this week?
  • Got stung by my bees, but it wasn't unexpected or unwarranted (story here)
  • Saw the queen bee - that was quite exciting. I knew she was in there, what with the hive being full of grubs, but it was cool to actually see her
  • Got hit in the head by Fergus who was overreacting to me inadvertently touching his ears while putting on his flymask. I have since been banned from dealing with flymasks (this after Hopi ran me over on 4th July weekend in the dark, causing many contusions and sadness - all because I tried to take his flymask off)
  • Took Jackit to his breeder's to be saddle trained. The general consensus is that Jackit isn't going to have the best time over the next couple of weeks
  • As a result of Jackit being gone and visiting Kody's arrival on Saturday, Roo got put in with Provo (Roo's about the only one Provo doesn't bully), and Uno, Hopi, and Fergus are in together. The resulting herd dynamics are quite peaceful - I can still lock Uno up for him to get his goodies, and do short clicker sessions with Hopi and Fergus (who muscled in on the action... although the following day having discovered you had to work for the treat, he was less eager to join in if it meant having your ears touched ). It's very quiet without Jackit around :(
  • Mucho sewing has gone on in fits and starts. I now have a skirt to wear for the wedding. Unfortunately, I neglected to overlock any of the seams, so I'm now frantically zig-zagging them to prevent further unravelling
That's enough for my first post...