Wild West 2015
|June 22, 2015||Posted by Melinda under Uncategorized|
In the week before Wild West my husband and I got away on a little miniature vacation. Here I practice proper position for ride pictures – back straight, leg back, hands low, not talking to the photographers.
Friday morning I glued on hind boots. It was by far the easiest, least stressful gluing I’ve ever done. Didn’t cuss once, only made one blood sacrifice. On facebook I took bets on whether I’m getting better at gluing on boots (keep in mind I only glue about once a year) or whether it was a sign the boots were going to fall off during the ride due to incompetence.
My husband refused to help me glue on boots. “Wear strap ons, they are so much easier. Glue ons are stupid”.
“But I don’t have any of the right size!!!!! I’m just gluing on the hinds…..”
“50% of stupid is still stupid”
In fact, I had enough mental energy to invite Tess along for the ride. She promised to eat minimal amount of horse poop (she lied) and look cute enough to recruit baby sitters. I told her to not bother with the latter. The back of my horse trailer was quite sufficient.
Loading up Farley, a hornet stung me on the side of my hand between my index finger and thumb.
Here’s the other hand for comparison.
This was quite the bummer since it’s not like everything was going perfectly.
Let’s play a game of “spot the ring worm”.
Nope you are wrong. It’s that little circle of red on the indie of my forearm at the level of my mouth in this picture. The rest of the poison oak looking rash (and it was an oozing crust and nastiness that only was about 100x worse then what it looks like in the picture) is a reaction to the OTC ointment (YES IT WAS HUMAN) that I tried to treat it with.
Fortunately three days later it *only* looked like this
Oh and my body was so pissed off hives started appearing other places – my face, upper arm, crook of the opposite elbow, under my wedding ring…anywhere it perceived an insult, imagined or not.
We didn’t let it ruin our fun. Even after the absolute you’ve-got-to-be-effing-kidding-me nightmare of parking my trailer with a truck who’s wheelbase is several inches longer then my old truck in a sardine can of a camp ground full of trees (“our” truck became “his” truck along with pleas of not letting him ever find out the abuse that truck went through in the parking process), Tess and I were still game for selfies in the tent that night under a beautiful sky.
Lesson learned: When you forget to grease chalk your horse’s number on the butt, horse body glitter does a REMARKABLY good job not only staying on overnight, but staying on through 20 miles of sweat and grime. AND it’s easier to see and easier to remove post-ride.
Oh wait. Did I say 20 miles? Wasn’t this a 50 mile ride?
Yep, our ride ended after 20 miles. Here’s the good news – it’s a rock bruise on the left front (as confirmed with hoof testers). Might have happened on the ride three weeks ago and the right front was initially worse but maybe the left front was bruised too. Aggravated it on ride day.
I’ve learned my lesson! Back to conditioning in at least front boots. Hoping to get another shot at a fifty this season but looks doubtful since assuming Farley will need at least a month and I’ll be pretty far along by then. Still, who knows? Riding at 25 (? I can’t ever keep track) weeks wasn’t an issue at all.
Here’s the good thing. She was only lame a couple of hours. By the time we got back to base camp and I yanked out my lidocaine and needles she was totally sound. *headdesk*.
Thank goodness a vet at the check talked me into testing her with hoof testers to pinpoint where the lameness likely was. As frustrating as it was, she was lame for a couple of days after that Mel-is-a-poor-decision-maker conditioning ride. In this case it was only hours. Yes, I re-aggrevated it and that sucks….but hopefully that just means she needs a couple more weeks off.
Here’s another Lesson Learned.
No. I paid to go to a ride and enjoyed it immensely even though the outcome wasn’t what I had hoped.
I had lots of time to sit at the vet check (for hours) and think about exactly how I felt about the situation.
I was disappointed that we didn’t finish, but (surprisingly) not frustrated about the money spent or the preparations I had made to ride a *measly 20 miles.
*My body two days later would like to point out that 20 miles is not measly.
I haven’t cared about my ride record for a long time – a side benefit of not finishing a single ride in my first season. Farley’s ride record, as much as it pains me to see yet another pull on it due to my error, is inconsequential. I’m not selling her, I don’t have to explain or justify her pulls. She had fun Saturday. She was MAD that she wasn’t allowed to continue once she was sound again. She’s never been pulled at Wild West and has done the ride for 5 or 6 years. She knows this trail and she was PISSED at not being allowed to fulfill her job.
Lesson learned: Something has switched for me – Yes I go to rides to ride my horse, complete rides, and reach personal achievements. But I also go to rides to be part of the community, and because I enjoy endurance BEYOND just riding 50, 100, or 20 miles. And that is now just as important as riding the actual miles for me.
I HELPED people. I was a part of the community and I contributed to that community.
I lent a lead-rope to someone.
I had the right sized hoof boot for someone to borrow.
I showed someone a trick of how I use an angle grinder to trim Farley’s feet (me using a grinder was a huge hit for some reason. Had several farriers come by and give me atta-girl’s. Which was both weird and ego boosting).
I spent an hour talking to the sole ride and tie partnership that was attempting the ride and tie the next day. It was their first event and no one was there to show them the tricks or talk strategy with them – and they didn’t have a mentor that had literally “showed them the ropes”. They were on the right track, but I was still able to impart a few helpful hints and tricks as repayment for them *watching Tess while I rode.
*Yes, Tess and her little cute fuzzy ears managed to capture someone’s heart enough that when they found out my
evil plan of sticking her in the back of my horse trailer offered to walk her and let her play with her dogs instead…after initially refusing based on the memory of what a hellion she could be as a puppy, I remembered that she was 4 years old and perfectly capable of behaving herself. Apparently she was a little angel and did me proud, properly interacting with grumpy old dogs, and playful middle aged ones, sleeping at the feet of the humans, and generally being something so obedient it’s hard to believe she belongs to a vet. She must have enjoyed herself, because this is what she looked like on the drive home….
And once we were actually AT home.
Is that a smile?
Another luxury to having a bit more time to spend at checks and camp because of a short ride day is that I got in a LOT more visiting then usual. Can you name all the bloggers and their horses in the picture below?
Now, just in case anyone is thinking poor Farley. If this had been something serious…if I even suspected this COULD be something serious I would have been a complete emotional wreck and nauseous. In fact, before we decided it was NOT in the old tendon injury of her LF, I WAS sick to my stomach. A reinjury to that LF tendon = Farley’s retirement.
So here’s the deal. We headed home the same afternoon (1 hour 15 minute drive+pissed pony+miles in the realm of a conditioning ride = same day home drive) and she trotted away from me in the arena completely sound.
Then when I was putting her back in her paddock, she broke away from me and trotted and cantered soundly around the big pasture not letting me catch her. NAUGHTY PONY WAS STILL PISSED.
On the other hand I have a hornet bite on hand and an allergic ointment reaction all over my arm, and I’m absolutely filthy dirty. Pretty sure she got the better end of the deal this weekend.
There was something else magical about this weekend.
I go through days where I feel kinda pregnant, and REALLY bloated-tick-pregnant. I’m big enough that it’s not easy to forget how much more I weigh or how much my center of gravity has changed. I spend eight hours a day on my feet and getting on and off exam room floors. The vet clinic is a converted house with narrow door ways and halls and sliding past other people in those spaces. Running is not easy right now, nor does it allow me to forget for a single second that I am every bit of second, going into third trimester pregnant.
Riding those twenty miles was remarkably like not being pregnant. I felt strong, athletic and capable. Farley didn’t even blink at my extra 20+ pounds and didn’t once ask me to get off for a steep down or up hill. I’ve lost some fitness but I’m no more sore right now then if I wasn’t pregnant – sore in all the right places in that *good “I did something” way.
*My soreness level is the same, although being pregnant (apparently the magical not-pregnant-feeling only exists on horse back) is making everything just a little bit harder then a “normal” post endurance ride recovery. **Sorta like the time I ran a half marathon with a broken arm. I wasn’t any more sore from the half marathon, but the arm just made the post-race recovery a little more whiny.
**I tried using this example earlier with a friend and she told me that this didn’t help to explain the finer point of this.
Sorry, this is where I got all philosophical and type too much.
I had another friend tell me that she was so grateful that she discovered that endurance isn’t life. I agree. Horses, running, endurance aren’t life. In the past endurance has occupied more of my life then it probably should have. My happiness in every day life was often dependent on whether I completed my last ride and whether my goals were being met. This weekend helped show me that more then ever endurance now occupies a healthy niche that makes my life richer. It exists in balance with other aspects of life, and even helps me do things that are hard – socialize and form lasting connections with other humans.