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Ride story - our new gelding

Some of you will remember that my husband & I tried to
go to an organized (ie unsanctioned) trail ride last
fall to help expose our new, green gelding Razz to the
world of "trail riding with the masses".  On the way
we lost our transmission & had to abort the trip.

This spring the same ride was put on in Massies Mill,
VA and we decided to go (again, kind of).  Razz is a 5
yo Arab gelding who has worked under saddle for about
1 year doing LSD and one LD ride last fall in PA.  I
was to ride Razz & Mike (hubbie) would take his 19 yo
retired endurance horse, Major to be a good example. 
Well, Major turned up lame after playing too hard with
Razz in the field.  Time to call in our pinch hitter,
Rocket.  Rocket, a 15 yo arab gelding, hasn't been any
where or ridden seriously since last summer.  He's
just been used lightly for beginners lessons for the
last 6 months, but he has years & miles in endurance &
CTR as a base.  We should be ok on a 25 mile ride,
right?  Any horse out the pasture can do 25...

We arrived & Razz looked around camp, and relaxed,
ate, drank.  GOOD boy!  Saturday morning we mount up
for the "long ride" -  a whole 25 miles...  This is in
the mountains of VA.  No seriously long climbs, but
there is a constant change in elevation.  There wasn't
more than 2 miles of flat terrain for the entire ride.
 We follow the same trail as the pleasure ride into
lunch, then pick up an additional loop.  

Razz is a little hyped, but settles down when Mike
lets him trot out after a good warm up in camp. 
Looked good, too - head down, back rounded, lots of
impulsion, listening to Mike about rating.  Rocket, on
the other hand, starts crow hopping and graduates into
full fledged bucking!  What an example. :-0 

We find ourselves in a small group of endurance riders
using this ride for training & we all boogie on down
the trail for a few miles.  Razz keeps up this ground
eating trot that slowly leaves everyone behind. 
Rocket canters to keep up.  Is this the horse who
won't extend at home?

We find a few steep climbs up & down that have the
flat-land horses worried & puffing.   Razz chugs up
the steep hills at a ground eating power walk, quickly
recovers at the top as he stops to plan his descent. 
It's steep and the footing is a little loose.  He
tucks his butt and manages a very sane pace that again
leaves folks in the dust.  Every stream & muddy foot
print, Razz tanks up.  He's becoming expert at
snatching bites of grass at a walk & trot and actually
getting it over his bit.

When we get into the lunch break, we are in front of
everyone.  The horses came in at 48 (Razz) and 68
(Rocket - out of shape weanie that he is!).  Despite
the excitement of lots of people and horses coming in,
Razz stands tieds to a tree in the shade & munches his
hay.  He looks like an old campaigner.

The next loop (10 miles) ends up more like 15.  The
distance wasn't measured very well and we got lost (a
couple of times).  Rocket has a good work ethic
despite the lack of recent work.  He moves out where
the footing is good & makes the best time possible
where its steep or rocky.  Razz led the entire way -
even past the killer black & white cows and all the
arab-eating cow patties.  Razz wouldn't go thru water
to save his life last year.  At this ride, he noticed
that it helps him to cool if he stands knee deep in a
stream & gets sponged!

We came in just under time & in good shape.  Razz was
in good spirits and looking for more food.  Rocket was
tired & a little stiff in back.  A vet that rode with
us vetted us out for practice (ours & hers).  Razz
came in at 50, A for back, gut, hydration, gait, and
B+ for impulsion, just a little tired.  Rocket was all
A's except B- for impulsion, fairly tired, grade one
on his clubbed front foot (usual for him).  

The local kids then came over to share apples, grass,
licks off their suckers, and soda with both of them. 
They just loved the attention, even the three year old
that a mommy held while he felt their soft muzzles.

I was so proud of both of them!  Razz was a real
trooper and settled down so nicely.  He may be in line
for the Old Dominion this June if his training
progresses well over the next several weeks.  My knee
that had surgery in December didn't do nearly so well.
 I'm trying to convince Hubbie to ride Razz, even if
it does feel like he's betraying Major in his

Rocket prooved that a horse with a good base on him
CAN come out of the field and carry a Heavy Weight
rider (218 with tack) over a 25+ mile course & do it
well with a smart rider.

Great weekend - worth every training mile to see a
youngster that we trained ourselves do so well!

Linda Flemmer
Blue Wolf Ranch
Bruceton Mills, WV

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