Enduring and Learning

This weekend a friend and I trailered to an endurance ride 260 miles away. On the way my 19 year old mare Rosie (Hey Rose) kicked the trailer and banged up her hock. So we couldn’t do the ride Saturday or Sunday and headed home Sunday. Here is a video I took of the sights and sounds of Ridecamp:

Monday Rosie was still a little swollen in the morning so I cold hosed her for 20 minutes and took her for what I’d planned to be just a test drive in the afternoon. She had slight swelling before the ride but no lameness and I had to make her walk when she wanted to trot. We ended up covering  about 9.5 miles. I did get off frequently, and on all steep hills and water crossings (over which she did completely unnecessary olympic-sized jumps) to make sure we didn’t reinjure anything. She never limped and by the end of the ride had no swelling. Here we are on the ride:


I am pretty sure Rosie, a.k.a. Ninja, kicked the trailer just to spite me. Because that’s the kind of horse she is. We have a love/hate relationship. Sometimes the 50 mile ride is the easiest part of the equation. And I say that even though I have a terrible completion rate, due to a different issue every single time. Guess I can cross this issue one off my list. But it makes the “victories” all the sweeter.

In 2010 we completed our first ride, a 35 miler, “successfully”, if successfully includes a whopping bruise that ran from ankle to knee (see Fort Howes story). Then between 2011 and 2014 we only completed two out of six rides. Here is a record of our “fails”, plus #5, which was the non-starter this weekend, and what I learned from them:

#1: Over Time (waited on friend with issues).
Lesson: Either get friends better prepped (no new tack at a ride! and yes it’s a timed event!). Or: ride my own ride and don’t try to be a mentor while still a very green bean.

#2: Rider Option (sore back / saddle fit).
Lesson: learn more about saddle fit, but realize it’s also trial and error. We worked this one out – my weird looking Haggis Trooper is performing wonderfully.

#3: Lame: day before ride a boot part went flying into the ditch and got lost. Did the ride without back boots and found rock.
Lesson: carry spare boots!

#4: Rider Option Lame (horse twisted ankle on muddy hill).
Lesson: get my horse to approach hills in a more controlled manner. Something we continue to work on. She wants to rush through difficult things, and wants to bound up hills.

#5: Trailer kick.
Lesson: Continue to work on her manners travelling with others. This has only lead to one injury, but is a difficult one because I never know when she is going to do it. I discipline her firmly if she acts up when loading (she loaded with no incident before the trailer kick), but short of riding in the trailer with her, haven’t figured out what to do about it while travelling. Shipping boots may at least help lessen the injury if she does do it. Anyone have advice on this one?

In 2014, things started to click. We finished all whopping three of our rides and even snagged a BC. I kept that in mind this weekend and it really did help me deal with this latest issue cheerfully. OK, almost cheerfully.

It was disappointing to miss out on this beautiful ride in the Big Horn Country of Wyoming. But on the bright side Rosie’s injury was not a serious one, I reconfirmed I have the fastest-healing horse in history, and I had a lot of fun at the ride doing P&Rs, taking videos of the vet check, and crewing. (And doctoring my horse). It was the first time I had been at a ride just as a volunteer. I never stopped running around. I highly recommend it.

If as an “endurance green bean” you find yourself facing one or more issues, don’t despair!  Some folks are able to just saddle up and ride, but I am sure I’m not the only one who’s experienced more than a fair share of trouble.  I am also sure there are more successful rides ahead of us.

  1. youtube down says:

    What happened to all – or anyone who is interested in Endurance riding in Montana?
    I would love to complete the Tevis next year…Now is the time to start!

    Anyone out there?

    • web mentions says:

      Hi Sue – I just now saw this comment (sorry) but we ended up meeting on Bozeman Pass Horse Trail Riders anyway. I’m really excited that we have THREE endurance riders new to the area in Livingston and Bozeman this year, plus you!

    • youtube down says:

      Would love to one day take part in the Tevis. Been going to the US for the past 3 years. Endurance riding is much different in the US than in South-Africa.

      Take Care!

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