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    [RC] How do you know? (long) - sharp penny

      Just got back from our second 50 :) It was hot and humid
    but we did manage to complete! Completion was our only goal
    and several times I wondered if we would reach this goal.
      Our first 50 was a flat land type ride, rather easy and
    the weather cool with a slight mist in the air the first 2
    loops. We finished with all A's at each vet check and I had
    a lot of horse left after the ride.
      This ride was a rude awakening and I would like some
    input on how y'all would have managed this horse to get
    better results as far as gut sounds.
      Since our first ride went so well I managed our second
    ride exactly the same: 
       Started adding e-lytes to his beet pulp/grain mix that
    he gets every day on wed. evening.
       Thursday I gave him several mini meals of very wet beet
    pulp,handful of grain and elytes. Free choice grass hay and
    some wet alfalfa.
       Friday before leaving he had bp/grain/elytes. Dosed him
    with lytenow before loading him in trailer, dosed lytenow
    again when we got there and then later that evening. Gave
    mini meals of bp/grain/elytes. There was a lot of nice
    green grass so hand grazed for an hour on Friday evening.
    He also has free choice grass hay and wet alfalfa. He
    vetted in with all A's.
       Saturday: fed very wet bp/grain/lytes which he cleaned
    up. Then hand grazed again for half hour before starting
    the ride.
       First loop I just let him run with mid pack. He will not
    drink  on the first loop and in training rides won't drink
    til 15-20 miles out. First vet check all A's except gut
    which is a B. He eats his bp/grain/lyte soup, won't drink
    any water yet (I'm a little worried now) and nibbles on
    some alfalfa. I give him 25cc of lytenow just before
    heading out on 2nd loop.
        Still won't drink on second loop (now very concerned).
    Every time I stop to sponge him he fidgets around anxious
    to get going. Rode with  two different groups at mid to
    back of pack. He very happy and alert. 2nd vet check again
    all A's but gut sounds now down to B- (aarrrrgh). I hold
    him an extra 10 mins during which he eat his bp soup but
    still won't touch any water. Dose him with another 25cc
    lytenow before heading out. 
       Third loop he starts drinking at every water spot
    (whew!)I try to get him to eat some grass along the trail
    but just picks at it. Toward the end of the third loop he
    hits his "wall" and pokes along 'til a groups comes by then
    he perks up and is happily motoring along following them.
    3rd vet check again all A's but gut sounds are a C (now a
    bit worried). During the hold he is finally drinking and
    finishes off another mini meal of beet pulp soup with
    lytes. Time to get ready to head out but he is still eating
    so I decide to wait another 15 mins to let him tank up.
    Check his gut sounds they are faintly gurgling, he is happy
    and very alert. Dose again with the lytenow, saddle up,
    walk to the water tank and he sucks down water while I
    drench his neck and shoulders.
        Final loop he sucks down water at every possible place
    and eagerly eats grass. We do a very slow last 10 miles
    with lots of stopping for water and grass. He acts very
    tired but will trot if I insist. Very unusual as I have
    never had to push him before. We finish toward the end and
    he is still alert and happy but very tired and I don't feel
    like I have much if any horse left. Gut sounds are stronger
    sounding then when we left camp for that last loop.
       Back from ride and he is his usual self, ran and bucked
    when I turned him out and I have noticed him at the water
    tank several times in the last 2 hours.
      Okay now what can I do differently to keep those gut
    sounds at an A or A-?  Also can I ever expect to top ten
    with this horse? I realize that it takes 2 years to put a
    base on a horse and I am very happy with just completing. 
    I am concerned that his not drinking for the first loop and
    a half may hinder him from ever being competitive. Will
    time and rides change this or are there some things I can
    do to get him to drink sooner?
      I have become addicted to this sport and even though now
    I'm happy and thrilled to just finish, some day I want to
    think we can be competitive and top ten. I also want to
    move up to 100's one day and am wondering if Reno will ever
    be able to do this? Reno is pretty young (8yrs)so if he has
    the talent I have plenty of time to get him ready. I just
    wonder how you can tell if a horse has what it takes to
    eventually do 100's???
     Thanks again y'all!
    Penny & Reno ( now with 125 AERC miles :) whoo hoo!!)
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