Saturday, May 31, 2008

Endurance Training Ride

Old Dominion Rides hosted a training ride for newbie members or newbie horses today at Judy Riccis place in Sumerduck VA.

Her place backs up to the Phelps preserve which has thousands of acres and nice two track trails and creeks. Alot of people go there to train their bird dogs.

Falcon did excellant with the trailering and was very interested in all of the other horses being unloaded in the parking lot. He was very alert, but not out of control at all, so saddling and mounting went extremely well.

He wouldn't stand still though, so we walked in large circles waiting for and meeting some of the other people. From the parking area, we had a short jaunt through the woods to Judies place.

Unfortunately, there were tons of people there either just as or more inexperienced then me and some of them were combined with crazy young horses. The majority of us were riding 5 year old horses that had never been in a large group of other horses as such.

The one lady, Becky, leading the group I went in was leading with a horse that had just been gelded and had only been on the trail ONCE! Needless to say Falcon had no trouble soon taking the lead on the trail.

But, backing up. We were told to go in the ring and work some steam off of our horses, but I didnt. Falcon was already trying to bunch up to buck, so I led him in wide circles, then used Judies big circular driveway to work some bugs out of him.

Some horses in the ring were trying to rear, or were rearing. Finally I had to go in the ring for the pre-ride info. There were ribbons flying from the gate in to the ring. Falcon has seem them before when he was there for training, but this day he was silly and ran sideways in to the gate. dumby.

After getting in the ring, I attempted to trot him over a black plastic tube and he decided to be afraid of that too, hit it with his hind leg and started bucking. BAD BOY. After three bucks I regained control and had him walking in circles again.

I yelled at Judie and blamed her because prior to this she had come over to say hello and Falcon had been very happy to see her. Then when she left is when he started acting ornery.

Finally, Falcon and most of the other horses were happy to stand still. The temperature was rising fast and the sun was hot. They reviewed "Vet Stops" and then we divided in to two groups. One faster and one for people who wanted to go slower.

I picked the slower smaller group of 8. Harumph, I think that was a mistake. Once on the trail, Falcon quickly fell in to line and one heavy set lady on an appaloosa joined up with us. Falcon was pushing to get in the lead and the lady on "Hawk" wanted to keep in the back, so we soon left the Appaloosa's company.

Soon we were behind Becky on her newly "cut" stallion/gelding boy an Alkel Teke 16 hands lanky horse who gave Falcon the "stink eye" everytime we got close!

Behind me was a girl on a cute little red arabian that seemed to be going along nicely, but the girl was WHINING, NO don't trot, my stirrups are too short. So we stopped, she fixed her stirrups.

After some trotting she whined "ohhhhhhh no are we TROTTING the whole time? Oh NO I don't wannnnnnnnt to trot, this is a new saddddddddle, he has a bit in in his mouth....whine whine whine.....I forgot his easy boots, he doesn't have shoes on.......whine whine whine.

Then "oh I am so sorry boy, I will NEVER put a bit in your mouth again" on and on. I sped up to Becky and asked her to check on the Whiner. Becky told her to keep moving, that her horse would toughen up and that her horse only had front shoes and she would take it easy on the big gravel, but KEEP MOVING!" grrrrrrrr! hee haw

Then she told the girl to that her helmet was too big. I turned to look and sure enuf, her helmet was way to big, lop sided and turned half sideways. SOME PEOPLE!

After that we came to a HUGE fallen tree in the trail. I dismounted, gave Falcon a long lead and he sprang straight up in the air and hopped over it. Man I was glad I wasn't on his back for that LEAP!
The whiner said, ohhhh oh, I can't do THAT! but she lept off of her horse who came over the tree nicely.

Then we were off trotting again. The Alkle Teke (or however you spell it) was tired of being in the lead brainwise, so Becky let Falcon and I take the lead and off we went at a wonderful pace of 6 mph.

At about the 3 1/2 mile mark I heard behind me "TROT TROT TROT" and a horse was really fighting his rider. The lady on Hawk the appaloosa, asked to pass and off they took at a canter with Becky yelling, slow down, wait for us at the creek, but Hawk was long gone.

We arrived at the creek and Hawks rider was sitting on the edge, dark red in color and not feeling well. I offered her water (she had NONE) and the temperature was 95 in the shade with about 100% humidity.
But she did dowse her head and thought that she might lay in the creek. Becky rode up then and forced her to drink some of her gatorade.

I sponged Falcon for the first time from the saddle. he spooked slightly the first time at the sponge. After that he was happy to be sponged repeatedly and dug and splashed in the creek.

The other riders did the same and then we let them munch on grass while Becky and the other experienced endurance rider, Bonnie evaluated Hawks rider. It was decided that Bonnie would ride on with the rest of us, while Becky stayed at the creek.

From there Falcon led again and we cantered up the hill at about 9.5 mph, then trotted, then walked the last 3/10 of a mile back to the barn. More sponging and then Judie checked Falcons heartrate which was 58. I considered that wonderful. Even though we had only done 5 miles, the heat and humidity were just rediculous. So I feel like his recovery was indeed fantastic.

I decided to go on home after that. Thunderstorms were moving in. When I left Sumerduck it was 94 in the shade, by the time I reached the Blue Ridge/Skyline drive 45 miles away, it was 77 and then in Luray it was 76 degrees. A welcome 18 degree drop. Rain came as I walked Falcon in to his pasture.

Another great ride (except for the Whiner and the Hawks rider who did end up coming back to the barn 30 min after us in much better condition then when she had started.)

I just couldnt believe the number of unprepared riders that either did not bring water for themselves or sponges for their horses and had to borrow. Just redicules. Hopefully they learned something about checking the weather before a ride!

I am learning to trust Falcon more and more, but still tense up and yank on his reins too much when he is being ornery, So I have to get past that. Other than that I am now planning to ride the 30 mile Virginia Highlands ride in August, pending conditioning. YEEE HAW

No comments: