Afterthoughts: Man Against Horse 2009

So, I’ve only been cogitating on this for a month, post-ride. before finally deciding there wasn’t much to add to it, and that I should just post it already.

A Combination of What Didn’t Work/ What I’d Do Different/What Worked:

– The worst part of the ride was the fact I had an agonizing pressure point on my right shin from the stirrup leather. I don’t know if it was caused from all the downhill trotting, or it I have too much padding (ski sock, tights, half chaps), or if my stirrup leathers are too short. My stirrups have been making a slow, downward migration in the two and a half years since I’ve had this saddle, and it might be time for another change. I had to stop trotting a few times and walk for a few moments, just to let the pain ease before continuing.  (A Month Later: I dropped my stirrups about half an inch, and it’s really comfortable.  The true test will be the next 50, of course, but they feel better already, and I feel like it’s easier to relax with them a touch longer.)

I also had some pressure on the inside of my thighs from the top buckles, but just about any stirrup leathers I try will do that – one of the compromises I have to make in riding Mimi in an English saddle. In order for stirrup bars not to put pressure on her flat back, they can’t be recessed at all, hence the buckles will out pressure on my legs instead. I’ve tried the Wintec Webbers, but they’re so thin, they feel flimsy, like I don’t have as much leg support.
– Still working on the saddle packs arrangement. I like the larger front packs, with very little on the back end of the saddle. However, I still think I’m going to make a separate little bag, long and narrow, to carry electrolyte syringes in that will tuck behind my leg or something.  (A Month Later: Am contemplating seeing if I can get a custom Snugpax front pommel bags, with the larger camera bag added to the top of the same style packs as I already have, which are the packs, with the water bottle holders.  Haven’t gotten anywhere with designing and making an e’lyte-holding bag.)

– This is one of the first times she’s come up with a slightly sore back at the end of the ride, and I don’t know if it’s just because it’s such a difficult ride, or what. I know at VC2, I had to adjust my pad where it had slipped back under the saddle too far, and instead of properly loosening everything, lifting the saddle and pad, and sliding everything back into place, I just loosened the girth, yanked the front edges of the pad forward, and re-girthed her. It’s possible this rubbed against the grain of the hair and could have set up a sore spot, I suppose. I’d really like to get another pad, one that’s shaped to the saddle and has either front ties or billet straps.  (A Month Later: I’m also starting to poke around the treeless saddle department, so all new purchases are temporarily on hold until I decide what I want to do and what I can afford.)

– I maybe could have done better in the food department. I ate decently, and felt really good all day, so maybe I didn’t do as bad as I thought. I just didn’t think I ate very much out on trail. Looking back, maybe it was pretty good. Food count (that I can remember):

Friday dinner: chicken/cheese ravioli w/ marinara sauce, Caesar salad
Breakfast: hard-boiled egg, slice of peanut butter toast, orange juice, coffee
Between camp and VC1: two slices dried fruit leather
VC1: peanut butter sandwich
Between VC1 and VC2: half a Luna bar, grapes
VC2: chicken lunchmeat slices, half a banana, half a PB sandwich
Between VC2 and camp: energy gel
Dinner: (YUM!) ribs, brisket, coleslaw, beans, peach cobbler, white wine
– What helped is that I drank well – I drained my 44 oz. Camelbak twice during the ride, and a bottle and half of the Succeed Amino sports drink throughout the ride. I took one OverDrive, three Motrin, and several electrolytes.
– This was definitely Mimi’s and my best ride yet. We didn’t have a single moment of disagreement or argument the entire ride, and neither one of us hit a mental wall. We both did a great job of staying chipper and perky the entire ride, and during the long section of road around the mountain, we maintained our cheer through song. (All: “She sings?” Yes, I do. Badly.)

– My rump rug irritated the hell out of me during the ride, because it kept blowing off Mimi’s butt and would dangle uselessly at her flank as we’d trot along, and I had to nearly dislocate ribs several time trying to turn around, straighten it out, hold it in place, and keep trotting.  (A Month Later: New rump rug made last night, my own custom design.  We’ll see how it works…it was too hot today to try it without melting the pony.  80* is not rump rug-appropriate weather.)

3 thoughts on “Afterthoughts: Man Against Horse 2009

  1. I really liked the Webbers because of the no buckle issue. Put lots and lots and lots of miles on them.

    I had shin splints once in my life, thatpopped during a 50. My goodness I thought I was gonna die. Hope the stirrup length is all that it took. And, consider the sore back might be from you shifting YOUR weight around different when you started to hurt.

  2. I'm betting the shin splint was from all the downhill trotting. That sounded like when it popped up in the story. I'll second the Webbers recommendation and add to buy the sheepskin fleecy tubes for them. I had bruised knots across the fronts of my shins from my first Tevis attempt (and we only made it 1/2 way). Bought the sheepskin fleecys and they're wonderful! Plus, they'll add most substance to the Webbers, since you say they feel flimsy.

    Also, go to Lucy's site and take a look at Sinatra's wonderful custom rump rug from Rides of March 2008. The ties on the sides that attach to my pad (or girth if you wanted) really help that sucker stay in place. It doesn't budge.

  3. Hi,

    I enjoy reading your blog.

    Have you tried using the stirrup leathers with the buckle at the bottom? English leathers can generally be used this way with just a little sleeve/tube (can be sheepskin as suggested by – C) added to hold in the loose end.

    (Sadly) Horseless in London

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