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[RC] Ideas for riding cavalry. How light is too light - Melissa Margetts

On Mon, Jun 15, 2009 at 7:46 PM, Melissa Margetts <haulnoats@xxxxxxxxxxxx <mailto:haulnoats@xxxxxxxxxxxx>> wrote:

Hey Michele, I have ALWAYS ridden every ride (several 50's and 4 100's), cavalry style except for the Tevis where Vicki Thompson was there for me at Robinson Flats and Forest Hills but she still had to arm wrestle me away from fussing over Cabo anyway. The first thing you said scared me though. Rather than just hoping to train her to stand still better, UNTIED, while you tack her, DAMN that's the one thing you can prepare for with just a length of lightweight thin nylon rope and rope halter under her headstall so you can at least tie her to a rock if not a tree. One ever so slight spook, even with the most trustworthy horse could leave you standing there looking and feeling very stupid while your horse heads off into the sunset, riderless. while you are telling the passing riders, "but she was standing so nice and still till that rabbit ran by"... Ride over. So that's an easy and preventable fix. I am hardly ever able to eat on rides anyway but will alway force down a power bar along the way. I ALWAYS ask ahead of time, what will be available at the vet stops. People snacks & drinks are never usually a problem so that's something I don't pack. I always carry enough electrolytes for my horse though. Usually I double up one gallon zip-lock bags and fill them 1/3rd full of complete feed that I've mixed with a can of applesauce and a can of pureed sweet potatoes to eliminate carrying the bulk of apples and carrots, then sprinkle the works with electrolyte powder. I roll the bags up tight and stick em in my saddle bags. I ride with Gatorade in a camel pack for me. Depending on the forecast, I might bring a folded up to wallet sized rain poncho. I have a crew bag that I fill with hay, and in well marked baggies for quick retrieval, I have extra electrolytes, several other rolled up zip lock bags of feed, a light horse sheet, a jacket and spare socks, glow bars, head lamp, duct tape, butt butter and a couple bottles of gatorade. I have bright Hunter Orange construction tape tied on that bag everywhere so I can spot it in a huge heap of other crew bags. I ask at the ride meeting the night before what vet checks that the crew bags will definatly arrive at and plan accordingly. Then I pray that it will be there when I show up. I will ask a volunteer if they could make sure the bag gets on the transport truck and just cross my fingers. I figure that the two things we absolutely MUST have is water for us both and food for him. Everything else we can do our best to prepare for and bring only what's necessary for 24 hours. Usually at a vet stop, if my crew bag has not shown up or is on it's way to another hold, those who have brought a lot of hay will inevitably have left some around to scavenge and I am not above doing that. Cabo ALWAYS seems to like everybody elses hay better anyway. And as for having a dish to eat out of, damn girl! they're HORSES and they eat off of the ground every day. Pour the grain on some hay or in on a clump of grass and let em eat. Then lead them to the water buckets or troughs of water at the vet check when you arrive and before you leave. No need to carry a feed dish with you. ( if I recall though, Potato Richardson rides light and uses the old helmet he rides in as a water scoop, feed dish, water dish and after a quick rinse in the water bucket and with a cool wet scarf now stuffed inside it, he returns the helmet to his head and off he goes.) Shoot, if you start thinking about everything that you MIGHT need, you would need an extra horse to pack it all. If It's cool enough for a jacket, then that same jacket can become a rump rug at vet stops. Most of the big rides are well thought out and supplied with water and snacks for the rider and some hay for the horses at at least a couple of the stops. I haven't been to a 100 that doesn't have SOME food and snacks for both horse and rider, and ALWAYS water along the way. I allow my horse to eat along the way whenever we see good grass or he can grab a mouth full & keep going. I water him at every opportunity and electrolyte him depending on his exertion and his sweat loss behind us or what's expected ahead of us on the trail. "Cavalry" means traveling as light as possible without being stupid, but there will always be someone who thinks you're stupid if you don't bring along an easy boot & the needed tools, (even if you've never used one), an emergency medical kit, at least 2 bottles of water, plenty of food including snacks and a sandwich, matches, extra clothes, extra stirrup leathers, vet wrap, asprin, neosporin, bute, an extra horse shoe, a GPS/heart rate monitor, a cell phone, an x-ray machine and a portable microwave......."JUST IN CASE"! Geeze, I know people who even ride armed with a pistol just in case they need to put down an injured horse. There is always the very valid saying that "it's better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it", but I kind of prefer the idea of "traveling as light as possible", pack my crew bag with all of the "plan B" items and hope for the best. So in my saddle bags, I carry: One power bar, some beef jerky, a little zip lock baggie containing two large neosporin ready band aids, 4 Advil, three zip ties, a small leatherman, & chapstick. For my horse I carry three tubes of electrolytes, and three pre-filled bags of grain mix. I use what I need out of my crew bag when I catch up to it. If something happens out on the trail and there isn't a fellow rider who doesn't have what you might need or isn't able to send the word out for you, then there is the other saying too, "S#!T happens! So pull up your Big Girl panties and deal with it" That's why they call it endurance.
Melissa Margetts
"If you're not livin on the edge, you're takin up too much space!"


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