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Monday, February 27, 2017

Audrey's Heart of the Hills Ride Day 1, 25-mile



A recap of my ride weekend at Heart of the Hills. It was a very technical ride, maybe the most difficult in TX? There are hills and rocks of every sort. Here is a recap of Saturday's 25-mile ride. 
Quick background: I ride my mentor Bobbie Jo Lieberman’s horses. I learn a lot from her and in the process, help her condition the horses and maybe(?) help sell some of their 11+ herd she and her husband have accumulated. It's a great partnership.

Here is the good, the bad and the ugly from Saturday’s 25-mile ride on ‘Leggs’ the Missouri Foxtrotter mare (who is available for sale to the right home).

At the start, ready to go.
The good: I couldn’t be more pleased with Legg’s performance. This was her first Ride experience and she thought it was the best thing ever. I rode in an S-hack and she stayed with me mentally the whole time, didn’t get too excited, overwhelmed or race brain and no spooks! She was even pretty good with me messing with her boots (see below) and people passing us. Despite all the rocks, she didn't take one bad step. All A’s at the final vet check, with a B on muscle, which is to be expected with the difficult rocky hills.
The bad: Boot problems. Either boots can shrink over night or hooves can outgrow boots more quickly than expected, they fit fine a few days before. We left them overnight in the colder trailer and maybe that had an effect? At the start the left front (Renegade Viper) was very tight and they are supposed to fit more loose. After the 2nd time that boot came off, I put on the spare Scoot Boot and it held up wonderfully and we switched both fronts over to Scoot Boots at the hold. The rear Easyboot Gloves (only brand small enough to fit her smaller hind feet) both came off after going up a steep set of rocky steps. I put them back on but after going up the next set of steep rocky steps the gators, which hold them on, were destroyed. We did the rest of the ride barefoot behind.
At the hold, note two different types of front boots and no rear boots.
The ugly: Don’t wear riding tights because they look pretty and match the rest of your outfit. The ‘Irideon Issential Piping Hot’ tights have a nice blue piping that matches my shirt, however I don’t think they’re as breathable as my ‘Irideon Synergy’ tights. BodyGlide is your friend. I got through the ride, but was not as well setup for the 50 miles the next day as I could have been.
What we learned: put hoof boots, and pads someplace warm overnight so they aren’t as stiff in the morning. Make sure all boots fit the night before ride morning so you have time to adjust if needed. Leggs is probably ready for a 50 and may be my favorite horse in the barn right now even if she’s not as fast as the others.
At the finish, both smiling.
Favorite take-away experience(s): 1. Enjoying the scenery, once everyone passed us (because of the boot problems) we were alone and could just relax and enjoy the view from the top of the hills (that is until I got off to walk down the steep loose rocky hill). 2. Endurance riders are so friendly. Each time I had to get off and fix boots, everyone who passed made sure I was ok and offered to help. 3. Making new friends. I had a great unexpected conversation about neuroscience research (my day job) on trail with new ride friends and I look forward to seeing them at future rides.

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