|February 18, 2015||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
Well the book is definitely not going to be done by my March deadline and since I am doing a spectacular job of NOT writing the book, I may as well start blogging again!
Farley is a broke, bomb proof horse.
Except for one thing.
She will give them the looky-loo every single time.
Oh, it’s not just me either.
During ride and tie practice on this very trail Funder was riding Farley up behind me and I heard her scold Farley, “Now, now. I know you don’t try that with Mel!”.
Ummm…except she does.
Every human flattened tree must be regarded with deep suspicion.
Fortunately the unflappable Farley’s “reaction” “to her nemesis is nothing more than a look and a snort – with nary a break in stride. But it’s remarkable just because that is so out of character for her.
What’s interesting is that Tig reacted the same way to stumps. I’ve been told that related horses can react in mind-blowing similar ways to stuff so I found this really interesting (BTW it’s not me – as I pointed out Farley does this with other riders, and I can not even see the stump until the horse points it out to me, which only gets an eye roll reaction as I continue to ignore the stumps). It will be really interesting to see what MerryLeg’s nemesis’s are!
Since it’s been a while since I blogged, some updates are in order. (Oh come on, you knew I couldn’t make this short and sweet having not posted in forever).
Earl Grey, aka “Zombie Car”…
is still running and still carrying me back and forth to school (1 hour commute) daily without nary a whisper that anything is truly wrong. BTW this is why you should proabably get a mechanic to do a walk-through on any used vehicle you buy. I know I know – it’s like a prepurchase exam….but more economical because for about $70 you could find out that an apparently perfectly running car like Zombie being sold by a more unscrupulous person for $1000 actually has a cracked head gasket. How do I know?
Because on Monday I bought a Subaru.
A wonderful 2005 light green Subaru Outback. It’s my dream car with leather seats, a sun roof, and all the bells and whistles that a girl could dream of. I followed my own advice, had our mechanic check it out for $70 and found out it was in good condition, although it needed some maintenance items done. For $70 it gave us about $1000 in bargaining power and my glorious new-to-me-car is mine free and clear. I’m thinking of naming it “Pie”, unless there’s another more glorious name out there?
Plan is to continue to drive Zombie for trips within a 200 mile radius (which is my towing limit) until it really is dead (can the already dead still die?).
Speaking of vehicles, my truck is for sale.
I’ll be CarMax-ing it this weekend or consigning it or something but since it has no known mechanical issues, I’d be comfortable selling to a friend if anyone is interested. Contact me for more details, but in brief, it’s a 2007 GMC 2500 crew cab, long bed pickup. 2WD. White. Comes equipped for towing including brake box and rails in bed for either 5th wheel hitch or gooseneck plate. 6 speed automatic transmission. Power locks, cruise control, CD player etc. Been a great tow vehicle for me. 83,xxx miles. Located in Yuba City CA. $8000 OBO. Selling because since getting married we now have 2 trucks which makes no sense. Love my truck dearly, but having 4 vehicles between 2 people (especially 2 3/4 ton trucks) is absolutely ridiculous and letting the truck go was the small price I paid for having my dream car :).
ML looks incredible.
I put her on the lunge the other day and she was athletic, graceful, and has a beautiful canter. She naturally carries her head much lower than Farley. She did so much better if I first showed her what I wanted in some way and then gave her some space without a lot of pressure to give me the “answer”. She deeply cares about the “right answer” and continues to offer better and better “answers”. Her preferred gait is the canter and I have a hard time not just letting her go for it because it’s such an easy, balanced canter. She moves so much differently from Farley. She doesn’t beat herself up so much. Farley always looks like she is at war with the terrain. Farley’s efficient and she absolutely flies across technical terrain…but ML floats.
Why does this matter?
A friend posted something on Facebook today asking opinions on the difference between conditioning older horses for 100’s and what approaches people prefer – gearing up for a specific event versus keeping “legged” up more consistently with lower miles etc. (I’ve already written about my opinion on the subject here, but if you want to weigh in on the conversation, here’s the facebook post – it was posted by “Lucy” on 2/18/15 at about 7pm pacific time). She mentioned that horses seem to age differently -a horse might be “old” and retired at 18 years old, while others are still going strong at 20. I 100% agree with that. I’ve said it before – Farley isn’t a young 16 year old. I feel like I will be a very very lucky person if she’s still going well enough to do our final 50 miler as a decade team when she is 20 years old. My friend put it this way: “my older guy was ‘old’ at 18 and I had to retire him, but I kind of knew that just seeing how he beat himself up“. I have a hard time pinpointing why my bucking, galloping, lets’-do-this-business horse is old at 16, but the way she engages the trail has a lot to do with it. Farley absolutely beats both of us to death. My gut feeling is that the way ML moves will go a long ways towards keeping her young for longer.
Speaking of Farley….
We had a lovely night bareback ride last night. It’s the first serious bareback ride since I started riding treeless. Serious = serious trotting and doing something besides a meandering walk/jog trail ride underneath a full (or not) moon.
Here’s the deal.
I’ve seen the biggest improvement in my bareback riding since the drastic improvement I saw after starting dressage. Dressage gave me the ability to sit a medium trot and cue a beautiful canter (as opposed to clinging like a monkey through the trot as a transition gait to the much more rideable gallop). I can actually ride a FULL Farley-endurance trot (and those of you that have seen her know that is no joke) bareback now. For 30 min. No problem.
The reason for this improvement is the same as why my dressage has drastically improved. I am no longer
protecting my crouch tensing my thighs.
It’s amazing what your body will do unconsciously, even as you are trying to do all the right things. I thought I was completely relaxing into the trot. I thought I had made my lower body into jello in order to absorb and be one with the impact.
But it wasn’t until my body had forgotten the pounding of flesh against a treed saddle that it finally 100% complied with my request to relax. It’s funny because before last night, I would have told you that I was 90% able to relax and soften my thigh…..now looking back and knowing what it truly feels like, I think I was close to 50% of fully relaxing my thigh. THANK YOU TREELESS.
Before, instead of letting Farley continue at her preferred big trot, I would have asked for a smaller jog, or cued her to canter. So, last night it was magical to let her motor along, completely and fully connected with her at her favorite gait. It was even fun! (although my back would disagree today).
Decisions decisions decisions
Because I bought a car last weekend instead of getting in a long ride….I’m faced with some decisions.
In less than 10 weeks is a local 50 mile ride that I had hoped to do on Farley. To feel good about doing that ride, I need a 12-15 mile ride NOW, and a 15-20 mile ride next month. That 12-15 (3 hour) ride was suppose to happen last weekend. It obviously didn’t.
I have THIS weekend…and I have NEXT weekend to try and get that ride in, and then I’m gone for 2 weeks for a clinic rotation. So. Long ride must happen this weekend or next. Except…..
I had a 50k RUNNING event planned this Saturday. The running event does not further any goals, but was for pure vanity, having DNF’ed at my last 50 mile ultra last fall and I really wanted a nice completion to end the season with (I’m planning on taking a break from ultras this year). This was also the event that one year ago I did a 35k at and started my whole “maybe I could do an ultra?” journey so it fulfills that “perfect circle thing” in my brain. I’ve even tapered on purpose for this race. Which makes it hard to give up. (And the rest of the weekend? I’m on call).
What about NEXT weekend? That’s the weekend ML goes to the trainer. And I have an awards banquet to pick up my hard-won prize for SECOND overall in my age group for trail marathons at a local running organization. :). (and…I’m on call the rest of the weekend, and have to somehow make the 5 hour drive to my next rotation before Monday morning).
Obviously I should give up my run this Saturday. It’s the only logical choice. Farley’s training is a bigger priority then my running right now. It’s just going to take my emotional mind a couple of days to catch up to my logical brain. At least I’m being realistic and not setting myself up for failure by declaring I can both run a 50K and then put in a 3 hour conditioning ride in afterwards? That right there is “maturity”. Which is definitely overrated. *sigh*
What I posted…
One year ago: Knots you ought to know
Three years ago: Fear
Four years ago: Pics, stirrups, and other musings
Five years ago: Jekyll and Hyde