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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Bruce Weary's Wisdom: His continuing story of building his endurance horses

"Flash News Flash: Having just got done with a 50 miler last weekend on Major, we are turning right around to prepare for another 50 miler this weekend at the Lead Follow Ride in Bumblebee, Az. This time, however, it will be on my Arab gelding, Flash, whom we recently obtained from our friends Troy and Claire Eckard. This will really be a shakedown cruise for both of us, as I have only had Flash for a couple months, and ridden him maybe a half dozen times. He is a big horse, 15.3 plus, bay with four white socks, very strong, but good minded and a bit of a goofball. I have not campaigned an Arab for quite some time, and it has been interesting having to adjust my thinking on things such as pacing, electrolyting, feeding, and how much time to spend on the ground with him during the ride. When riding Major, I have to concentrate all day long on keeping him hydrated, fed and his energy up, as well as moving forward with good impulsion. When you hop off of a horse like Major, who gives away a lot in genetic advantage, and swing a leg over a horse like Flash, the difference felt is immediate and dramatic. Flash is 9 years old, with a good deal of experience--nearly 600 miles, with a recent 75 miler under his belt this last November. He has always carried a heavyweight, so I think we will get through just fine. I plan to do my normal pre-ride prep, including three days of beet pulp based mashes laced with elytes, light rides to break a sweat, and a tack ride at base camp to check gear and make any last minute adjustments. Our ambitious goal is to work toward Tevis this year, and I am hoping we can combine our collective experience and work together to get us there. It's been a few years since I've been sleep deprived, chafed, overheated, dehydrated and felt Tevis dust in my teeth, and, well, you start hankerin' for those things sometimes.
This horse can cover ground, recovers, eats and drinks like a pro. We will treat this ride essentially like a "cavalry" ride, where we will trailer, camp, travel, and vet alone, so that he can focus on me and the job to be done, and we can get to know each other better. We will look for our own "bubble" on the trail, and make the best day of it we can. No racing, but as Matthew Mackay-Smith advises, we will "never hurry, never tarry."
Many riders have found that to be good advice throughout their endurance careers. I will try to post more after we get to camp on Friday. "

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