Wednesday, February 21, 2018

My First True Multi-Day - Crysta Turnage

February 14 2018
by Crysta Turnage

I have done a couple of back-to-back rides over the years, but nothing more than 2-days. This past week, I attended, and completed, all four days 200-miles at the Eastern Mojave Scenic XP Ride. Here are some things I learned at my first true multi-day:

1. Some things may go just right. Thankfully the drive down and back were both very smooth and without issue. This should not be taken for granted. I packed plenty of food and water for both my horse and I and didn’t seem to forget anything critical (YAY!!).

2. Some things will probably need some help. Waking up to discover swollen “armpits” and a girth gall, something I haven’t had to deal with before, on the morning of Day 3 sucked. Thankfully...

3. PACK EXTRAS – that saddle you haven’t used in a while, that spare girth you have laying around, those thin tights which work well as another layer, etc. Bring them. Being able to switch to a different saddle with centerfire rigging, and having the option of a contour girth, allowed us both to be able to ride comfortably on days 3 & 4. In fact, his gall looked much better AFTER riding each day as the movement helped to reduce any edema. And my back and other body parts appreciated the change in saddle as well. New areas to get sore! 😉

4. Going with a buddy is more fun. I’m super glad a friend from home could attend as well. I was prepared to go solo, but it was great having someone to camp near and visit with. Our horses instantly fell in love and got married the first night they camped together. Thankfully they also were a great team on the trail with mine trotting just a touch faster and hers walking just a bit faster so we leveraged their strengths.

5. A multiday will help you fully develop a routine. The beautiful thing about a multiday is you really learn to fine tune your pre- and post-ride horse & rider care. All those things you do for single-day rides, you start to evaluate how necessary they are, or how to be more efficient. Having my crew bag fully stocked (we were out of camp ALL day, every day) so I only needed to grab my small people lunch box (I wasn’t eating the ride food) and put in a fresh grain baggie each day meant I didn’t have to haul my entire bag back and forth. Having a post-ride care routine of icing legs and then eating a snack while I rolled leg wraps, or pre-soaking mashes, all those little things began to get streamlined and I’m sure will make things seem easier at future rides. Even the way I packed things in my trailer was better by the end.

6. Day 3 will probably suck, Day 4+ will be better. I’ve heard this many times and it totally held true. My back was a locked-up mess in the morning of Day 3 but substantially improved as the day wore on. I do think a big part of this was a change in saddles, I was trying a newer one on its first (and second) 50 and let’s just say it’s not a healthy relationship. By the end of Day 4, I felt that I would totally be able to go again tomorrow if there were additional days.

7. Having a buddy system at home is invaluable. The evening of Day 3 we were warned to “batten down the hatches” and it was NO JOKE. I had to get up and catch my horse after some blowing equipment spooked him and he released a safety measure on his Hi-Tie. The wind shook and rattled the trailer all night long and it was still blowing on the morning of Day 4. My mental state was wobbling severely between “We’ve already accomplished so much, this doesn’t seem fun now & Don’t give up now, you’ll regret it.” A couple of texts home resulted in both support and encouragement and “Get your ass on the horse. Nobody likes a sissy.” Both of which were EXACTLY what I needed to hear.

8. Be conservative, take things as they come, but don’t be afraid to set big goals. I have a young horse who is proving to be very talented. I have some lofty long-term goals for him, so the focus this year is on building a steady, strong base for us to accomplish those things in future years. He had 150 miles before this ride. My goal was to ride two days and see how he felt. We could take a day off, or just go home if things weren’t going to plan. Instead he happily and steadily just kept going down the trail, generally asking to go faster (No, buddy). He doubled his lifetime mileage to date and we even managed a top 10 on Day 4 when some inclement weather reduced the number of starters (we finished about 2/3rds through the “pack”). To say I’m impressed is an understatement.

9. Try new things at your own risk… See newer saddle above (it had seemed to work on training rides). I had also changed my own eating habits to a ketogenic diet, but have not done a ride on this high fat / very low carb way of eating before. I was a little worried the lack of carbs might impact my energy and recovery. I actually didn’t have much trouble during the ride, but HAVE been surprised by the cravings since. Being prepared with good choices has helped me stick mostly to plan. I also tried some new electrolytes which didn’t work very well for me, soured my stomach. But discovered frozen (thawed by the time you get there) precooked meatballs are AMAZING for lunch in your crew bag.

10. Last – If you glue boots, the ONE you’re sure is going to fall off may just surprise you. This was my first-time gluing solo and I had an Adhere mixing issue. I wasn’t very confident in how they would hold. One of them came off immediately, as soon as I had put all the supplies away. I quickly wiped it off the best I could, got a fresh tube of glue, and slapped it back on. We took dibs on if it would even make it to the ride. He lost 1 boot the first day and 2 more on the last. The one that fell off during gluing? That sucker made it all the way there, through all 4 days, and I’m going to have to pry it off. 😝 LOL

Monday, February 19, 2018

Six-Day Pack Trip in Yellowstone’s Backcountry

photo by Lisa Florey - Full Story

An adventurous mother and daughter duo set out on a six-day packing adventure through the rugged wilderness of Yellowstone National Park.

November 30, 2017
By Lisa Florey

How many septuagenarians do you know who would trek 80-odd miles through a remote wilderness on horseback, sleeping in a tent each night? I know one! I was lucky enough to spend six days with my mom in the Yellowstone backcountry, riding through the most remote area of the lower 48.

After several years of dreaming about the trip, we went for it and signed up for a Thorofare trip with Yellowstone Wilderness Outfitters. The adventure began with a road trip from southwest Missouri to Cody, Wyoming, where we enjoyed the hospitality at Robin’s Nest Bed & Breakfast. The next morning, we met up with the outfitter at Nine Mile Trailhead in Yellowstone National Park.

The logistics of organizing and loading gear for a group of nine riders (12 if you include the wranglers and outfitter!) onto the string of seven pack mules was mind-boggling. After an overview of safety tips — the bulk of it about bears — we were paired up with our horses and headed out...

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Friday, February 16, 2018

How to explore Dartmoor by horse - Full Story

Mount up for a horse ride across the untamed landscape of Dartmoor

9th February 2015
Sian Lewis

Was there ever an area more suited to exploring on horseback than Dartmoor? Steeped in folklore and with ever-changing scenery, it’s impossible to tire of this wild terrain.

I took to the saddle for a 22-mile (35km) adventure with Liberty Trails, which specialises in long-distance rides across Dartmoor. Their beautiful, sure-footed quarter horses – a popular American breed of small, fast horses used for races and rodeos – are a delight to ride or horse owners can bring their own steeds for the excursion.

Elaine Michelle Prior, Liberty Trails’ founder, grew up exploring these moors on ponies and now organises small, tailor-made rides through the national park. Experienced riders can take on single- or multi-day tramps through the park’s wild places or explore War Horse territory with a tailored ride visiting locations from the movie. There’s even a chance to join the cattle drives in late spring.

Untamed moorland

Long distance horse-riding is not for the unfit or the delicate of behind but it is an immensely rewarding way to immerse yourself in the landscape and explore off the beaten track. While six hours in the saddle was testing, I found that what is hard on the backside is good for the soul.

I got up bright and early to meet Fred, the glossy horse who would be my partner in adventure. Our guide was farmer Phil Heard, who knows the moors inside and out and can read the land effortlessly. He rode ahead to lead the way, kitted out in a Stetson and floor-length coat, like a Devonian version of the Marlboro man...

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Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Australia: The nine-year-old who rode a pony 1000km to Sydney - Full Article

A farmer's son's horseback ride to Sydney for the opening of the harbour bridge captured the Depression-era public's imagination.

January 22 2018
Carolyn Webb

In 1932, nine-year-old Lennie Gwyther dreamed of being on the spot for the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The fact that he lived 1000 kilometres away in Leongatha, in south-eastern Victoria, didn't faze him. A new book tells the true story of how one February day, with his parents' blessing, he set off on what was to be a four-month odyssey with his pony, Ginger Mick.

The book Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney By Pony, to be published by the National Library of Australia on February 1, tells how Lennie was feted at towns he and Ginger Mick stopped at such as Lakes Entrance, Cooma, and Bowral.

"It was the middle of the Depression, people were looking for good news stories, so it captured the public imagination," author Stephanie Owen Reeder said...

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Saturday, February 03, 2018

Tonto Twist 50 - Ashley Wingert - Full Story

by Ashley Wingert
January 31 2018

Alternate titles:

“Not According to Plan”
“How Not To Start Off Your Ride Season”
“At Least We Did An LD”
“Did We Get the Bad Stuff Out of the Way Early?”

In short: Lameness pull after the first 30-mile loop. Minor, but consistent, on the right front…the same RF the vet was looking at suspiciously on Friday at vet-in.

Lesson #1: Always trot the horse out at home before you load them into the trailer.

Of course, this doesn’t preclude them from bonking themselves in the trailer along the way, or thrashing on the high-tie, or stepping wrong on the pre-ride, or…or…or…

In short, I still have no idea what happened. No heat, swelling, or reactions to anything on his shoulder or leg. Current working theory is maybe some lingering foot soreness from trimming, because he displayed more of a consistent choppiness/short-striding on that leg versus a pronounced head-bob/limp.

Lesson #2: You will second-guess yourself about everything. Welcome to endurance.

Every pull, I armchair quarterback. I look back and go, “What could I have done different? If I had done such-and-such, could I have changed the outcome?” And then there’s the dangerous path of “maybe I should have just played it safe and never tried.” Because that comes with its own set of “What ifs” to the tune of, “What if I had tried and it worked? Now I’ll never know...”

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