Pony Rides Photo Spam

I’ve gotten some good saddle time in over the last few weeks, both with my own pony as well as some more catch riding. But today seems like a good day for fewer words and more photos, so it’s pic spam time.

Retail Therapy
I scored a Hought Tack set (headstall, reins, breastcollar) on eBay at the beginning of last month. Very tricked out with glowbelt biothane and Horseshoe Brand hardware. Color combo is a little more “unusual” with the yellow/purple…but I actually ran a variation on this scheme for years with Mimi (mostly purple with yellow accents).

And while I certainly don’t need any more tack, it was a good balm to come home to this in the mail after an inglorious pull at Man Against Horse (that story still to come). Pony has been pressed into fashion plate service, and I’m really pleased with the fact it fits her really well. I took a chance on that aspect, since there was no size listed, but its obviously some sort of Arab/Cob size.

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new tack meets Sofie inspection approval

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“why do you do this to me, Mom?”

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the color combo looks really good on her, especially the yellow

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not happy at the neighbor’s bull

Catch Ride — Wyatt
Two weeks ago I did a 20-miler with Andrea (whom I rode with at Virginia City) on her mustangs, Lilly and Wyatt. I rode Wyatt, who is a large, sweet, 7-yr-old gelding. He’s a fun guy, like riding a big, comfy couch, and while still a little young/green with some things, he’s very honest and has a huge try.

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Wyatt Earp

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toodling along behind Andrea and Lilly

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working on being a brave leader


he was fun, and good for my confidence and ego — super-honest, with a big try, so as long as I was “with” him and supported him, he responded in kind and just got braver and braver the more leading we did

Catch Ride — Atti
Yesterday, I met up with Cristina and her two boys, Atti and Cosmo. She had asked me earlier last month if I would be interested in catch riding…she was the first to ask, so she got first dibs on me. :) She’s up in the Prescott area nad I’m down in the Phoenix valley, so we’re not super close, but we were finally able to make our schedules align to meet halfway and do an “introduction” ride.

Atti’s a ton of fun — he’s another Al-Marah (yes, that makes 4 AM horses I’ve ridden…one of these days I’m just going to have to get my own) and he reminds me so much of riding Mimi. Very strong and fast for his size, super catty/agile, but also bold, forward, and sensible.

We met up at the southern-most trailhead of the Black Canyon Trail, and headed north, exploring one of the last sections of the BCT I hadn’t yet seen. (There’s still one last little 5-mile section between the Table Mesa Trailhead and the point where we turned around yesterday that I haven’t seen.) Like a good part of the BCT, it was rough and rocky, interspersed with some parts where we could move out. We managed almost 11 miles in about 2 hours, so I’m really happy with that kind of pace for as rough-going as it was.

I do like the BCT…one of the topics we discussed yesterday was if I was going to sign up for the 60k at the Black Canyon Ultras in February. Haven’t yet…I’ll have to see how much distance running I can do this winter, because right now I’m in more riding and gym fitness shape than distance running shape.

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completely adorable Atti

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enjoying the Black Canyon Trail

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which way, Atti?

So I’ve got McDowell this upcoming weekend, and that will wrap up the 2017 ride season. It’s the closest, most local ride to me, only 45 minutes away, which is really convenient. And I haven’t given any thought to 2018 yet except for a mental note of “need to renew AERC membership.”

the groundhog lied

I’m sorry, but what part of the last several days of dropping down to the 50s in the day and freezing at night can possibly constitute “early spring”?

Oh, and did I mention the rain?

Riding was the fun part.
Clean-up afterwards, not so much.

Still, it was a great excuse to finally do some mud-slinging with my boots. Contrary to popular belief, not every inch of space around here is covered in sand. 

And as much as I sometimes grumble about pulling out every marginally-water-resistant article of clothing I own to function through the winter rainy season…it is good for the water table, especially when the mountains get their fair share of fluffy white stuff.
Still, if the groundhog could be temporarily right for the two weekends following this next, that would be great. Last weekend of February, I’m heading out to the 20 Mule Team ride in Ridgecrest to crew for friend Kaity, riding the 100-miler, as well as be on hand to do my Renegade thing. Southern CA is even more notorious for unpredictable weather during the winter, so I’ve been giving the AccuWeather month-out predictions as much credence as the damn groundhog. (And packing my rain gear.)
Then the first weekend in March, I’m heading down to the Sonoita ride…to ride! 50-miler on day one on a friend’s horse (who I met and rode last weekend…12 miles later, the horse and I still liked each other, so the ride was declared a ‘go’), then the possibility of the LD on either day two or three on another friend’s horse (who I will meet this weekend).
Busy, busy…I love it.
And I’m currently completely surrounded by bits-n-bobbles of various ride stuffs. A sampler pack of various GU products (energy gels, energy chomps, e’lyte drinks) sits on my overflow desk. Two boxes of boots are sitting in the middle of my bedroom. One pair of boots is in the process of having cables adjusted and straps changed out. I’m currently experimenting with tying my own tailing line…see photo below. 
Purple is existing, lightweight yacht rope.
Orange is 4mm climbing rope.
Tan is 5mm climbing rope.

Will experiment with the tailing lines and report my findings later. 

Making things slightly more interesting is the fact I’m flying out for 20 Mule Team, so am limited by what I can cram into a suitcase, versus filling all available space of a suburban. Ah, well. I’m not riding, so that’s easier…and I do love a challenge.

Pony Pedicures

I have to say, I’m completely tickled about doing my own hoof trimming.  It’s been a little over a year now since we started doing our own trimming entirely, and I love the sense of accomplishment that comes from having horses that aren’t at all sensitive, and have even been able to start doing some training rides entirely barefoot.

With not riding much this summer, their hooves haven’t needed as much regular work.  About six weeks ago, we took the plunge into getting our first set of proper hoof nippers to make the times we were trimming much, much easier.  (Try trimming hooves in the summer in the desert…you’ll understand.)  That, combined with a brand-new SaveEdge rasp, have made my trimming life so. much. easier

It’s been about three weeks since their last trim, and they had some hoof that needed to come off today.  Especially Mimi.  Her high pony heels were getting a bit ridiculous.  It’s an ongoing battle, one I can never really let up on, to keep her heels where they should be.

Beamer’s feet look awesome right now.  He’s been needing to shed some sole out for the last month, but like a good girl, I’ve left it alone until it was ready to come out on its own.  The past week of rain and humidity did the trick, and when I picked out his hooves today, large amounts of dead sole flaked out without any extra encouragement.  Beautiful, fresh sole underneath…perfect!  Toe callus still intact and not going anywhere…also perfect!  He needed some sidewall taken down, and his toes trimmed back. 

One of these days, I will remember to bring a camera down to the barn again and get some updated pictures of their hooves.  I’m beyond thrilled with how they look, even if we’re not riding that much at the moment.  *sigh*  Still battling Beamer’s face wound, although his shoulder is looking really good…almost healed…maybe another week and that will be good to go.  Really, really hoping to get out and ride next weekend.

I’m on break from school for the next three weeks, and will be using that time to at least do some hated arena work with Mimi.  Although I just discovered today that her little pea-head is even tinier than I imagined, and that I actually need to get her a new bit if I want to do any proper schooling…all the bits I own are about 1/2″ too big.  Only took me 13 years to figure that one out…*eye roll*  Unfortunately, 4-1/2″ Myler bits aren’t all that easy to come by…I’ll be on the eBay prowl for one of those now.

Nine weeks until Man Against Horse in October…at this point, I’m making no hard-and-fast plans of going.  That way, if I do happen to get to go, it’ll be a pleasant surprise, instead of crushing disappointment.  Can’t have plans go awry if you don’t make them.

That said, I really only have seven weeks to get ready, since I’ll be on vacation for one weekend, and crewing at Sonoita for another.  If I take some time to do arena riding during the week, plus riding on the weekends, I think Mimi would be ready…just in case I do get to go.  *fingers crossed, but not holding my breath*

Ringing in 2010

First off, I’d like to apologize to my faithful readers for being such an inconsistent blogger during the last couple months of 2009.  It’s not for a lack of material to blog about, but rather a life set on “overwhelm” mode, coupled with multitudes of computer issues.

I have all sorts of good intentions to blog about a 2009 recap, and maybe get my VotS Turkey Trot story done while I’m still on winter break from school.

Short version of the 2009 recap: While it was an up-an-down year in many ways, I had a very good ride season.  I might not have gotten to near the number of rides I would have liked, but I was grateful to be able to attend the four rides I did, rack up 175 miles for the season, and have the opportunity to ride a differnt horse at one ride.

Every New Year’s Day, my father and I have a tradition.  There is a saying, that whatever you do on New Year’s Day, you will do for the rest of the year.  Five or six years ago, we applied this to the horses, and determined that if we spent New Year’s on horseback, hopefully that would correlate to spending lots of time in the saddle during the course of the year.  It mostly works, in that I do spend a lot of time riding, but the correlation hasn’t crossed over to spending a ton of time at endurance rides.  For it to be really effective, I guess I need to be attending a ride on new Year’s Day, but I work with what I can get.

So, back to the tradition.  We ride at the San Tans in the morning, the ncome back to the trailhead for a potluck with other horsey friends.  Every year, we manage to add another person or two to the group.  I believe we had about a dozen people show up this year.  Friend Sheryl was the one who organized the start of this tradition five or six years ago, and still continues to be the driving force behind it.

This year, we had a substantial potluck, as both Sheryl and I properly cooked.  She made meatballs and wings, and I made chili.  Other people brought salad, chips, and brownies.  Just to brag a bit…I make good chili.  The fact that the large stockpot was reduced to only being a wuarter of the way full is testament to that, I think.  :)

I’ve been off of school since December 12, a five-week reprieve from what my life normally revolves around, and I’ve been using this time to get some extra conditioning on the ponies.  We’ve been able to go out three times a week, and do the big loops of 12-15 miles, averaging about 35 miles a week.  Most rides, we’re getting an average speed of 5-6mph. 

The plan is to be able to up the speed at Wickenburg.  That ride was our first 50 ever, two years ago, and we completed with a ride time of 8:10.  I’d like to try to take an hour off that time.  We finished just after 5:00pm the last time, and I’d like to finish by 4:00 this year.  The reason for the increase in speed?  Preparation for 75 miles at Scottsdale’s Dynamite Dash at the end of February.  More about that as we get closer to the ride.

In my mind, I’ve got all kinds of plans for 2010, but I’m being deliberately vague and noncommital at this point in an attempt to ward off the endurance gremlins and fly under their radar.  Specific plans will be unveiled as the months progress, but blanket goals for 2010 are pretty much getting to as many rides as I can afford (I’ll be happy with a ride every couple months), and happy, sound horses.

And as a casual aside, 2010 Tevis Cup Ride applications are now available online.