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Monday, February 27, 2017

Audrey's Heart of the Hills Ride Day 2, 50-mile



After a great 25-mile ride on Saturday I felt good to ride 50 miles on Dancer’s Southern Princess (aka Jazz) the TWH mare on Sunday (also for sale to the right home). This was my 3rd 50-mile ride on Jazz and each ride has been a completely different experience. Jazz is an experienced endurance horse but was diagnosed with EPM a few years ago, she took some time off and now is back full force completing 50’s.
Checking gut sounds.
 
The good: For a two-day ride I held up well, stayed hydrated (I had problems with that at the previous ride) and as of Monday evening, have much less muscle soreness than previous 2-day rides I've done. Jazz was great the first 25 miles, lots of energy but not the head-tossing race brain she had at a previous ride. We rode on a loose rein for all but the first half-mile (where I thought she might decide to buck with excitement).
The bad: We had potentially major problems with Jazz’s gut sounds at the first hold. She wasn’t eating much and the Vet’s gave her a generous B- (it was probably more like a C). We stayed in ride camp an extra 30+ minutes and she very slowly became more interested in eating (drinking was fine throughout). I altered my ride strategy and stopped to let her graze for ~2 minutes every mile when we could. At second vet check she had A’s on gut sounds! However, even though she had good gut sounds now, she was not motivated, it took a lot of effort to get her to a choppy 6-7mph gait (when during the first half she was doing a comfortable smooth 8-10mph gait). Luckily, we hooked up with another rider whose horse was also lacking energy and did the 2nd 25 miles together going slow. All A’s at final vet check (A- on gut).
The ugly/other:  I don’t know if anything fits into the ‘ugly’ category from this ride. I had some boot problems but I’m learning that this is to be expected at this ride (rear Renegade game off shortly after crossing a stream). We had double checked and adjusted all the boots since Saturday’s experience (see previous post).

We finished!
What we learned: This is the 2nd ride we've had gut problems with Jazz, both times she recovered but I’d like there to not be any problems to begin with. She’s not a great eater the night/morning before rides and I’m not sure how to combat that, having all Saturday to settle in seemed to help but not enough. The dentist will be out to check teeth and we'll see if that helps. The last 11 mile loop was pretty painful (on the mental side for me). Perhaps Jazz and I haven't quite clicked. Whereas I'd like to just get the ride done, she'd rather take her time and 'smell the roses' (or is it eat the grass?). Maybe she needs a pacer riding buddy to keep her motivated the 2nd half? All other indicators (heart rate, muscle, impulsion) suggest she is very fit. Since each ride is it's own experience, we'll see what the next one brings!

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