Monday, November 23, 2015

1 year!

One year ago today I picked him up!

Picked him up in West Va with the help of some friends Nov 23 2014

And this year has been interesting.  Definitely have wondered from time to time if I did let my dream of the "black stallion" get the better of me, and if I really could handle another green horse...starting over after losing a horse I put so much into and had my heart.  But don't let doubts like that get to you right?  We worked hard to figure out the issues; worked with a trainer when I couldn't give him time while we moved, been taking lessons here and there...enlisted the help of a saddle fitter, equine massage therapist, and a chiropractor.  Taken a few spills, endured some fun and not so fun bucks, highs and lows, and came out a year later with a happy, healthy, athletic horse that I adore.  Sure, he still can be a jerk (he is a guy after all), but he gives you his heart.

Our LD riding alone showed me what he is made of, and what we can do together.  I failed to mention in my last post that he did not buck at all on the ride!  Not even any head tossing until we got within the last 2 miles of the finish - which I wasn't sure if it was about getting ahead of the other 3 around us, or something was sore.  I leaned toward the first and tonight got confirmation.  He had his massage check in and she said he felt and looked great.  No particular issues, no problem spots. He is an athlete recovering nicely from a tough ride and long hauls.  I am so relieved that we are on the right path to keep him comfortable, performing and behaving as we keep hitting those trails.

One of the ride photos I bought (waiting on my print to arrive) - Copyright Peter DeMott Photography

Tonight was our "anniversary" and he thoroughly enjoyed his massage and extra carrots! Now time for some R&R and Turkey!

Anniversary Selfies!

Sunday, November 22, 2015

3 for 3!

We did it!  Much time in between rides, but we made it our 3rd LD and completed! We went all the way to Ohio (about 6.5-7hr haul) but it was fun and an awesome experience.
Earned a hoodie - nice and cozy!

The stars aligned I think for this.  This weekend was a year (11/23/14 actually) since I picked up Tesla with a good friend Karin from an endurance buddy Paula in WVa who went to the KY Diehards ride and grabbed him from Aubree for me (after completing an LD there & top ten).  We stopped for gas at the same exit coincidentally and Aubree & Joe were also at Gobble this year!

After the year I have had, back and forth with him finding our rhythm, losing it, having saddle issues, this weekend was it.  We are partners now, and so look forward to our Decade team goal!

Amanda had to help get him in the trailer with her "Get up there" voice and we were off.  The drive itself was good, until about 50mi from the ride where I had a slew of embarrassing moments I might disclose later..  But we arrived about 4pm, gave him a little walk around, hay/water/grass, and pulled the cooler and then went to vet in.  Vetted in great, tho this vet gave him a 4 body score (5 being ideal) which baffles me as he has put on a good deal of weight since June and has no ribs showing...unlike the score of 4 he received back at the OD where I thought he was thin and agreed with that.  Oh well.

I got an electric site, because it was going to be cold overnight and needed a heater!  The way I was put in I had to set up his corral panels behind the trailer...which bugged me that I couldn't see him from my windows at night.  I always like to look out and see his glow stick munching or sleeping.  And it was darn cold...20 something Friday night.  Tesla was bundled up in his blanket, lots of hay and water when I turned in.  I have my bed area mostly insulated and needed my little space heater on full blast up there, in a sleeping bag with wool blanket, in fleece pjs/socks AND another blanket on top of me and a hat to be a comfortable temp to sleep :P   In the morning I put my clothes in front of the heater for a few as I dressed lol.   Lots of layers!

Almost ready to go
Antsy man
There is one thing about him I'm not sure how to work on.  He is really antsy and pushy the morning of a ride. So much that it takes quite a bit to get tacked up. So in my dealing with that, and not actually wearing a watch, we ran later than I hoped and planned for the start!  So, we started 5 min AFTER everyone was gone... I wasn't sure what this was going to bring, but it ended up being great for us!  We walked & trotted out of camp nice and controlled and went off on the 2 mile climb.  I was very glad I put the bells on our saddle as were alone and gave some noise and we did in fact run across some of the youth hunters!  One crazy hop and slide? in the mud almost got me off within the first 10min but we recovered and went on.

And we went and started passing folks... and caught up to a few friends and then kind of was in and out of riding groups for the rest of the first loop.  The Vipers on front held on through AWFUL mud spots, but then 10steps past his pee break one of the cables shredded?!  Ugh, I think boots will be our back up plan.  Went one with 1 boot no issue. Got back to camp for VC1 and I took some time to drop off a few items at the trailer before pulsing in. All As, 40/44 CRI. Bob (vet) comments was he had a freakish HR and was obviously ready for more.  I took off the second front boot as he could easily do the course barefoot. But then it took a bit to get him eating and drinking and then it was time to go again! My camping spot unfortunately got NO sun, so I was trying to move him into a spot that wasn't still frozen and finally got it worked out where he would eat and not try and roll (because I kept tack ON in the cool weather he couldn't roll).  So we went off on the second loop with a fellow GB Stacey and her mare but didn't stay together long. He was ready to keep moving!  We rode with others here and there, and I had pulled the bells at the VC and realized he actually likes them!  He was a bit more distracted, and sometimes pokey without them.  All in all, it was good.  We ended up riding most of the second loop, except for the last 3miles or so, alone as well.  We had deer that he calmly passed by and didn't spook when they ran off, lots of water spots to drink and tried to find some grass. Most of what he grabbed he decided wasn't worth staying for.  Came into the finish, dropped his tack and immediately went to the pulse box.  50.   Then proceeded to the vet for completion.  He got all A's again 44 final HR and a completion :)

All done!

A taste of my ride...Loop 1a

Due to frigid temps the night before, and Amanda and her son primitive camping, they needed to leave Saturday.  We were driving buddies and given my trip up, I felt better not heading back alone.  We gave Tesla a rest and chance to refuel and then hit to road back home. Something I've never done LD going home same day.  Tesla was none to happy about loading, very antsy until we got on the road.  Mad enough NOT to take a carrot from me at our 1st gas stop. We rolled into the barn at 930, tucked the boys in with more food, hay and water and dropped the trailer.  All I brought home was my bag with meds I needed for that night.  I got home at 1045pm.  long day!

I went back today and deconstructed my trailer.  He's looking good today.  Gave him a good brush down and found a few twitchy spots which when Sarah visits him tomorrow can work on for his massage.  A well deserved one!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

countdown to Ohio

Happy Hump Day! and only two more days, then we hit the road for an LD in Ohio :)  I think I'm more nervous about the long haul getting there and back than anything else!  But, Amanda and I are following each other so we won't be completely alone.  Now I'm wishing I had an iPod ready with music to plug in. Always fun to try and find radio stations to keep on...Maybe I'll dig mine up and see what is on it!  I have no idea where all the CD's are at this point so can't even grab those (unless I want toddler songs, Shrek the Musical or Frozen soundtrack lol)

This past weekend and Monday night I've gotten as much pre-work done as I can. Trailer is just missing Tesla, his supplements and another bale of hay to hit the road.  Oh, and of course my bag of stuff and cooler which will be in the truck with me.

The forecast for Gobble last week was looking like rain, but then turned beautiful, and then yesterday morning went back to rain Saturday afternoon and much cooler temps overnight (like now 20s!).  Very glad I'm getting an electric site to run my little space heater and we might bring along heated water buckets for the boys. The insulation I've put in so far has made a difference on inside temps but definitely need to finish it out over the winter!  I have to decide what kind of paneling I want on the walls and ceiling tho. Too many options!

Tomorrow the truck is having a tune up with oil change, tire rotation and an apparently needed replacement of the 7pin/4pin trailer plug. I was having some flickering issues Monday night so I'm just not taking any chances. The brake controller stayed connected this time, but the running lights were flickering a bunch and the fit just isn't as tight as to other plugs.  Also have a tail light on the truck with a loose wire, and one of the license plate lights went out so I'll get that all fixed too.

Next blog update will hopefully find a cold, yet fun completion story from us!  And if not, lessons learned for next season (either way!).

Tesla on Saturday morning napping in the hay

Saturday, November 7, 2015

confidence boost!

Today was a good day.
Almost didn't make it tho - had some electrical issues when I hooked up that took a bit to figure out. Still not sure why it wouldn't connect consistently initially. It has happened once before, chalked it up to a bad plug in on my part.

Tesla loaded up like a good boy.  Stood decently while I fumbled for the second time in the barn driveway trying to figure out why the controller kept telling me "No Connection" but eventually it stayed on and off we went!

We got to Lake Anna on time despite running later than I planned in the morning, and having the electrical fun.  My first time there ever - met up with a riding buddy who I don't think we've seen each other in real life since the day I lost Traveler. Melissa was at IMJ and one of a few with cell signal so I could call Doug.  We've stayed in touch, been part of Central VA endurance training Facebook group, and she is on my Green Bean team - Mileage Mamas :)  Finally we got to ride together.  She is getting ready for a 60mile ride later this month on her little rescue Paso mare Holly. Tesla and she did great together.

Tesla did great. Tacked up nicely, moved out when asked. He was happy :)  Not even one buck, let alone a thought of buck, or head tossing!  I think he finally realized things feel good - and things felt great for both of us.  Our Stonewall Saddle was comfy for the faster movement for me too.  Not sore at all and managed to make my saddle pack work with it. Going to keep it without a sheepskin seat at this point.

Getting ready, heard the runners yelling on the road

We rode in the rain for a good deal, so we only did 10.5 or 11.5 miles (depending who's tracker you use) instead of the original plan of 20.  Loading up to going home he balked a few times, but 3rd time we were on without needing Melissa to lend a hand behind for encouragement.


A video - I need to angle the camera down a little, but it was fun to use! Beautiful fall views.  I have a few others, but one had a rain drop on it the whole time tho lol.

All done, and WET!

This ride was the confidence boost I needed.  Tesla is still fit as a fiddle, loves to move, and is doing so now without pain. The saddle is working for me, and I feel secure in it and in him again. No more anxieties over "the next buck." Monday he has a "tune-up" with a short massage then Tues morning we go for fall shots and his health certificate for Gobble! He'll basically be off work until the ride, as I have a lack of time to do much now - maybe some arena work.  We are going to stick with original plan of the LD, and work to move up to the 50 when we return for 2016 :)  I think he is pretty quickly going to be ready - especially in cooler weather. Hot, humid rides will take some more work.