Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Griffin’s Blackwater Swamp Stomp Recap – Intro ride

I do have my own blog (see http://motoringtrails.blogspot.com/) but figured this would also be a great place to share a condensed version, in the format that Audrey has developed.
Snoozing in the sun before the ride
This was my first attempt to ride my gelding Bold Prophecy at an AERC event. I have completed 80 miles in LD on a previous horse that I lost due to colic, so while I am definitely still very new to the sport – it wasn’t my first ride attempt. I was still just as nervous as any other!  I am member of Rockin’ Mountain Monstas team. This is our second year together as a team, and my third year in the Greenbean Challenge.
I’ve had Prophecy almost a year now and we’ve overcome a lot to get started, including hoof problems and saddle fit. While I knew he wouldn’t be ready for an LD, the Intro distance offered the perfect opportunity for him to experience a ride. He has camped with me once before while I volunteered and did well, now I needed to add in riding.

The Good:The new truck with my trailer hauls great. Gas mileage is better, barely feel it back there, and if I need to ask for some “oomph” in passing, it easily gave it. My Big Buddy propane heater was a lifesaver in a few ways! This ride ended up going from looking like 60s in the daytime and 40s at night early in the week, to barely breaking 40 daytime and 20s at night in reality! My new brackets for carrying my Portable Corral held up great and were easy to use and tie down so there was minimal bounce. Prophecy was awesome at camping. I didn’t hear him at all (unlike his talking all night at the IMJ trip in August) and stayed pretty calm even when we’d hear the “loose horse” yells. No pushing on the panels, and he was quite content in there. Prophecy vetted in well even after standing in line a while (calmly too,) and checked in with a 40bpm heart rate. His Scoot Boots went on and came off easy enough, now past 3 weeks since trim, and lots of sand to deal with.
The Bad:
I arrived at the barn Saturday morning to find my water tanks had frozen with our cold snap Thursday/Friday. My portable ones were good by the time we got to camp, but not the big one in the dressing room. I used the heater and reflective blanket on it for a few hours to finish defrosting after our arrival. It is a horrible feeling that you don’t have water to give your horse! Thankfully I also had a buddy I was caravanning with and she had extra water along so we could get him some while mine defrosted. I don’t think waiting to fill up that morning would have helped me, since I fear then our hoses would have been frozen at the barn that I would need to use!
Almost ready to go!
The Ugly:
The ride itself did not go as planned. Prophecy was not ready mentally to handle all the commotion and being asked to ride as well. I tried to gain some control, but felt it best we turn around and live to ride another day. It was short lived, and definitely not the day I had envisioned, but pointed out where we need to work more.
Other things I learned:  I need to get the heater up higher to get into the bed area. It was still reasonably comfortable, but more ‘direct’ warmth would be nice!  And bring along extra propane tanks. The set I had would have lasted all night, but I didn’t bank on needing to defrost my water, which meant to have any in the AM to get dressed with, I had to shut it off middle of the night.
And despite his complete meltdown and loss of calmness, he vetted out with a 48bpm while dancing about… I think he is more fit than I have been giving him credit as!  I’d love to get an onboard HRM, but my handheld will have to do a while; I just need to start using it and keeping records. Of course I love that we met some new friends, got to check in with some I haven’t seen in a while, and others I got to meet for real off Facebook!
A few quote pics I found that I am holding strong to with Prophecy:

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