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[RC] First ride in months! - Nancy

This past weekend my daughter, Dani and I did the NATRC First of Spring ride
at Warner Springs in San Diego County.  Due to personal injuries and all the
rain our region has experienced this winter this was the first ride I have
done in 5 months.  This was the second ride for my horse Jazzi, a 5 year old
15.2 half Arab, half Saddlebred mare.  This ride was NOT like the first
ride!  Our first ride was in October at Bear Valley Springs and Jazzi was
very good.  Only real trouble we had was at lunch where Jazzi and Lyric got
into a squabble over food.

The first difference was  the technical gadgets and equipment we rode with.
My husband (bless him) fitted Dani and Lyric with a Garmin Rino that worked
beautifully and provided the following trail info, 20.7 miles out and back
from camp along the Pacific Crest trail with a total of 1773 feet in
elevation gain and 1778 feet in elevation loss.  Average speed 3 mph, top
speed of 13 miles per hour.  Two vet checks of 10 minutes each and a hour
off for lunch.  We did lose some time at the photo station and had an extra
10 minutes from the vet check to the start of lunch.  Our total time was
7:08 hours, total time moving 5:29 minutes.  I had a basic Polar equine
heart rate monitor on Jazzi that showed a max heart rate of 170 (cow
induced?), working trot heart rate of 120-130 and a working walk heart rate
of 80, resting heart rate of 34 and fast recoveries.

Second different was my horse.  She got lost on the way to the start and was
replaced by a fire breathing maniac determined to catch up and pass any
horse she saw ahead on the trail.  She bucked, reared and shook her head at
me.  Needless to say I had a rodeo for a mile or so until my normal sweet
mare returned. Unfortunately the maniac returned for most of the return leg
with extra fire power due to the alfalfa lunch I let her inhale.  I also had
a horse that had put on close to 75 pounds of muscle and who had been worked
5 or 6 times a week for about 20 miles a week at long slow distance.  I had
no idea Jazzi had become so fit and strong!

The ride back after lunch was really difficult for anyone who rode with or
near us and I am deeply embarrassed.  I was  shocked at this new behavior
and amazed at her  anger as I  attempted to rate her.  She had only had a
fit like this once before that I had written off as a young horse issue due
to new and difficult terrain.  Boy was I wrong, that one fit was a warning
and I did not heed it.

My tack was tested and known to both horse and rider.  No saddle or saddle
pad issues, finally.  Brest collar fit and her shoes were a week old.  I
used an S hack with a fleece nose band.  Jazzi had always been easy to
control at home with it. But at the end of the ride her poor nose had a huge
lump and was very tender to the touch. I was thankful I had my leather
gloves on.

My daughters horse was also different this ride.  Lyric now has almost 200
miles of CTR and endurance competition under her belt and it showed.  Very
little fuss, drank at every opportunity (lots of water on the trail due to
more rain!), pee'd, pooped and did not even attempt to kick anyone.  Lyric
even let me put Jazzi on her butt on the return leg to slow the maniac down.
However, Lyric does have a new trick, jumping anything, especially small
creeks.  And she is still buddy sour and had a fit if she could not see
My daughter was amazing, she was calm and cool when Jazzi was a nut.  She
took good care of herself and Lyric.  She never complained and took all the
trouble in stride.  It wasn't until about 3/4 through the ride when she bit
her tongue that she lost it.  New braces are really a pain.

In spite of all the trouble Jazzi gave me, I did have a good time.  The
trail was beautiful with an amazing wildflower display.  The trail was well
marked, easy to follow and the footing was wonderful.  The food was good and
the people friendly and helpful.  I was very thankful to have other riders
and horses who did not mind moving the cows off the trail when our horses
freaked out at the cows.  I really appreciated my daughter and Lyrics' help
on the trail with the maniac.

Here is what I learned on this ride, in no particular order.  GPS's can be
your friend and a techie hubby is the best.  Never feed alfalfa to Jazzi at
a ride.  An S hack does not work for everyone; some horses need a bit.
Pretreatment with Advil works wonders for ride pain.  Teenage daughters can
be fun and helpful.  Preriding the end of the trail cuts both ways, the
horses know were they are and feel safer, but it is more incentive to go
fast cuz camp is just around the corner.  After about the 10th hiker with
backpack, Jazzi learned they were not going to eat her.  The most important
lesson I learned is that Jazzi does not respect me and has holes in her
training.  So we have our work cut out for us and I look forward to
continuing our training together.

I am really glad I did not attend the endurance ride in our region as Jazzi
is not ready for prime time.  She needs to be in the CTR world until she has
more training, respect and confidence.   Lastly, I guess I am a nut case as
I still love this horse and believe she will be a stellar partner in the
Nancy Reed (still a wantabe, but working on it)
Lazy J Ranch
Elfin Forest, CA (thundershowers on the way???)


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