Lessons Learned, Old Pueblo edition

Presenting the ever-popular “what worked/what didn’t” post-game evaluation for Old Pueblo.

  • Wearing a Camelbak = much better personal hydration levels.
    • Wearing a Camelbak = more-sore shoulder area. I have enough that that department that no matter how good/expensive of a sports bra I’m wearing, the strap pressure will eventually catch up to me. The extra weight of the Camelbak does not help.
    • But better hydration means the rest of me isn’t as sore. Trade-off?
  • Stirrup leather pressure caught up to me on day two with the combination of lots of downhills + forward, pulling horse + bracing against horse and hills + smushed-flat sheepskin covers = bruised shins.
    • I don’t train much at all for the downhill-at-speed factor. If I’m bracing against a horse who is leaning against the bit and pulling me out of position, it goes that much worse. (I ran into this problem with Mimi. Already naturally built downhill, she didn’t self-rate very well and I had to hold her together, which translated to bracing myself in the saddle in an attempt to not get pulled out of position.)
      • I’m not quite sure what the solution to this is, whether I just need to try to ride horses with a natural self-carriage who balance themselves downhill (Yeah, I don’t ask for much…), or evaluate my own riding and saddle fit. I know my saddle is too big for me now, so doesn’t put me in as ideal of a position…which brings me to my next point…
  • I have such excellent luck with this saddle fitting multiple horses. But it’s a little too big for me now. (Good problem to have.) So I end up fighting for an ideal position sometimes.
    • Steps have been taken to make the saddle fit a little smaller, including replacing my full sheepskin cover with a Supracor seat cushion. Preliminary tests are feeling pretty good…the upcoming Prescott Chaparral ride will be the ultimate acid test. 
  • Food: I did pretty okay, food-wise, especially Saturday, with multiple loops back into camp and plenty of chances for me to stuff my face.
    • Pop-Tarts: Good. Especially with breakfast.
    • Forgetting the peanut butter and under-cooking the hard-boiled eggs: Not so good.
    • Pastrami sandwich: Bad. I finally found something that my stomach said, “Eh, maybe not the best idea” to at a vet check. Don’t know if it was the pastrami, the mustard, or the pickles, but I left the VC on Sunday’s ride with my stomach at maybe 95% as opposed to its typical, “Mmm, that was delicious” feeling I usually get after leaving a vet check. (And I joke about the horses riding from VC to VC to eat?)
    • Homemade pasta salad with a bit of everything: Very good. Elbow macaroni with pepperoni, cheddar cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, bell peppers, black olives, spicy pickles, artichoke hearts, all in an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing. Yum
    • Tart Cherry Juice: Delicious and refreshing at the end of the ride. I’ve got the “Rebuild” that has whey protein.
    • Saturday ride offerings from the grill: Good. Very good. That hamburger with green chilies and cheese really hit the spot between loops 3 and 4, and the grilled bratwurst for dinner was delicious.
    • Never underestimate the tastiness of ramen noodles.
  • This was the first time I actually felt more relaxed and made less of a Big Production out of having everything Just So. I think being around very experienced endurance riders who can look at a 50 the way I can look at training rides is probably going to be a good influence and example for me.
    • Riding very endurance-capable horses probably has something to do with this. It’s definitely more relaxing to ride a horse you know is made for the sport and has an easier time doing it. (Well, I guess it was Rocco’s first ride, so we didn’t really know how he’d do…but he took everything so well, it was pretty easy to relax and not stress too much.)
    • However, I am so glad I started endurance on Mimi. Getting her through rides and managing her was the best learning experience I could ask for. 
  • Two 50s back-to-back: I’ve felt worse after a one-day 50. Multi-days are fun, and I like the multiple-rides-for-one-drive-expense concept. I feel fortunate to live in the land of multi-days..
  • New Terrains made a huge difference in foot comfort. I finally retired my 10-year-old Terrains for a new pair…oh, that’s what the footbed support system is supposed to feel like.
  • I need to get off and walk more. Especially downhills. This might be part of why I get crunchy on too many downhills…because I insist on riding them. But I don’t go down fast enough on my own two feet to satisfy an impatient horse who travels faster than me. And I was also unsure about the availability of conveniently-placed re-mounting objects.
    • That said…I basically flat-mounted 15.2hh. Too bad it took me until 40 miles into day two to realize I don’t actually suck at mounting as much as I thought, and that Mimi really is the only horse I will actually roll that saddle on. 
One of my shorter “lessons learned” after a ride, I suppose…but overall, it was a smooth-sailing ride. With good prep — and the same bit of luck — the Prescott Chaparral ride in two weeks will go just as well!

3 thoughts on “Lessons Learned, Old Pueblo edition

  1. Love the lessons learned. I have issues with the downhill at speed thing too. I don't like to train much downhill at speed, I'd rather save it for rides. So most of the downhill is slower or me walking, who I've taught very well not to run over me no matter how impatient (hard to do when you're trying out someone else's horse!)

    I knew you could get on a 15.2 horse, good job! I also try to practice it from both sides (SO not pretty from the off side from the ground).

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