Sunday, August 2, 2015

non-triple-crown weekend

So this weekend was Ride Between the Rivers in W.Va, which was the 3rd leg of the Old Dominion Triple Crown. I had decided a few weeks back not to go to due to lack of conditioning distance miles and since we were having issues with bucking.

Instead, we headed about an hour or so into the mountains to ride Devils Backbone in Graves Mountain area for the weekend.

As I posted last weekend, we had a fitter out and discovered some major issues with my Treeless fit to Tesla.  We worked out a couple of options to try first...
This ride I took out the pommel part of my saddle and replaced it with a pool noodle. Something to hold the shape, but not put any pressure on him. I also measured the insert and found it to be the Mid size where his tracings are more like Wide for that brand. Since the noodle didn't work, we will try for a Wide pommel and continue on the saddle hunt.

Friday - left work at lunch to pack up and meet my mentor and friend Roberta.  Trailer loading was difficult again...but I lucked out and my barn owner pulled in the driveway and I asked for a second hand and was on the road on time! Tesla has done well on the trailer, when it comes to riding, doesn't paw or jump around and waited nicely while we made a pit stop to order Roberta a new trailer window :P
How can I be mad at that face for keeping me up?
We set up camp, and were shortly thereafter joined by Carrie and her mare.  Tacked up, and headed out for an evening ride.  We did about 7miles, including Devils Backbone which is our "Cougar Rock" locally (Tevis reference for those not in the know).  We came down some steep inclines which I started noticed more an more uncomfortable-ness out of Tesla.  The saddle now could slide a bit too much it seemed on the steep grades (even with a crupper).  We finished out the ride with only a few bucks, but a sore goosey back when washing him down.

Didn't sleep much Friday night...Tesla was pacing a ton, lots of noises from the road, dogs chasing bears off (barking), lots of lights; not a normal "ride-camp" setting.  About 330am I gave up, took his hay bag off the trailer and dumped it plus gave him another flake.  I finally got a solid 3hr stretch of sleep.  I went out to him about 7am, did breakfast and then groomed and hung out till Roberta decided to make an appearance ;)  We had breakfast ourselves and waited a bit as other riders were meeting us for a 10:00am ride out.  

Roberta let me try her Specialized Saddle Trail Master as it is one of the brands I needed to check out for riding on Saturday.  It still needed a shim on the left side, but we got a pretty fit for him going and I had no bucking on our ride - so it worked better for keeping him happy, but alas, the saddle was not comfortable for me... the hunt continues! 

He was still objecting at riding going down steep hills.  I asked him to push through one, mainly because he wouldn't stand still long enough for me to safely dismount and walk him down.  The next steep grade I did walk him down, and that is where I got hurt :P  He was good, not crowding me coming down, but the sand gave way and I slammed down... Apparently putting my arm out and thus jamming my shoulder/chest (Jerry saw it from behind). I felt that one for sure.  It made me quite sore for trying to get up and out of the saddle.  Pushing/pulling has been difficult since then but feels like major muscle soreness not anything more serious.

Saturday's mileage was about 25miles, and included Devils Backbone climb again. Gotta work the horse's rears! Good cantering, good eating and drinking on the trail.  We had a boot snafu on the back left, I clipped it to my saddle but somehow knocked it off without noticing later :(  Hoping friends that ride that trail will find it this week!  But the other 3 stayed on strong for both days and he did fine with that back hoof barefoot.
4 horse heads of endurance :)

Tesla was a little back sore after Saturday's ride, but was moving around fine today so we didn't have such major wither pinching like what happened in May when I moved the breast collar.

Jerry left me with his Ortho-Flex Endurance Express to try out and see if it is a good fit for us, and tomorrow I'm testing out a Stonewall Classic. Hoping one of these is good for both of us!!

Saturday morning view from trailer. First time I've set him up on the LQ door side.

Moseying down the Rose River Trail - probably where I lost the boot, since I had to scramble around to put away the camera when everyone else took off!  Fortunately Tesla realized I was doing something weird and didn't get upset they were leaving us behind..

So instead of doing 25miles with a possibly bucking bronco, we got over 30miles in at a slower pace and good hill training.  Good mental training too... and pointing to still more work left to do on trailer loading dang it!

Really hoping to get a saddle and things sorted out to be able to do a 50 at Iron Mountain at the end of August, but not banking on it.  We might be waiting till November and Mustang Memorial...

Till the next exciting ride....

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