Endurance Granny Blog: Post Ride Reflections
#1 Trail Conditions at Henryville: Most of what I saw yesterday did not warrant or require booting. About 2 miles of the ten mile loop was gravel service road. I wonder how much that would slow our time. If Phebes cantered over it I think she could roll over it. Trotting the mechanism is a little different, and that might be a bit of an issue. The Goat Ridge Trail... I would not want to do that switchback if it was wet or muddy in boots. What an incredible drop! If anyone can hurry either down or up it, they are welcome to it. Chris has an onboard heart monitor for her horse and Toby's rate was incredibly high going up that switchback. It is so steep it feels like if you let go of your horse gravity is going to suck you right off the hillside. Road riding: If there is anything I truly am uncomfortable with right now it is riding on the road with my horse. Yesterday was her first experience with that and I am sure she had to be picking up on my sense of panic. We didn't encounter any cars, but we crossed a highway twice. The first time across she got right in the middle and didn't want to step over the yellow lines. David passed me so that Phebes would follow.
Endurance Horse Fitness: An endurance horse in my mind is an "elite" horse. They have to know, experience, and be calm about so many things. They have to develop unbelievable stamina and fitness, and they must learn to take care of themselves. It is no wonder that it takes a couple of years to bring a horse up to peak fitness. I let Phebes out yesterday and we cantered a lot. She did not react physically until about thirteen mile mark. Meaning she did not huff, puff, or get winded. After that we did more intervals. I feel that if I can keep at it with Phebes, give her time between training rides to recover, that eventually she will be a tough little horse. She loves to be out in front, churning along, and I am beginning to find that is not such a bad place to be. Fighting her has been a battle in futility. So my plan will need to shift to building this horse up to do the job she wants to do. We need more work on rating though. If she could learn to trot out instead of canter she would be working aerobically. Maybe I can borrow an onboard monitor and find out if she works better at the canter than the trot. There has to be some reason that she prefers the faster gait. If she is working more effeciently cantering, then should I leave well enough alone?
Hoof boots: Yesterday was my first experience going at speed in hoof boots. Me being me I had visualized tripping down the trail over them. It was amazing how she just moved on out. I want to put Easycare on notice: PLEASE MAKE SOME GLOVES THAT WILL FIT THE ANGLES & PROPORTIONS OF THE NATURAL BARE FRONT HOOF!!! Round hoof vs. long hoof, and hooves that may have a slightly steeper angle. Come out and mold my horse's front hooves will you? The Easyboot Glove is awesome! I want some for the fronts SO BAD! The Easyboot Glove has been one of the best investments I've made for my horse to date. The Epics performed well, but much harder to apply, and much harder to remove.
Barefooting: Will I continue to truly go barefoot? Absolutely as much as possible because I feel that is the best way to build my horse's tough bare hooves. (But happy to know I have protection for extreme situations).