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Re: Sponging Clinic

In an attempt not to bother those who consider this discussion
irritating, I've cut & pasted all the posts on sponging into one long


>More Rules ane Regulations, must the RIDER be "SOUND mentally" to
>participate?? steve

Not exactly, just "fit to continue sponging"


Liz in Belchertown, Massachusetts writes:

>At a ride I saw a woman with a coiled plastic sponge cord.  She >found
it marketed as a cross tie.  I though it *looked* neat, but didn't >have
a chance to pass judgement on its effectiveness.  If it worked it >could
be the secret weapon needed by those entering the sponge >champeenship...

Hmm, don't think I'll be needing any of these gimics...but now...Ms Corry
is a little older than I am...I'm sure she'd appreciate any little bit of
advantage that money could buy.

>Looking ahead to the upcoming big event, I can't help but wonder if >the
participants should be drug tested....  I, for one could probably >sponge
yo-yo style much faster when under the influence of a hefty >dose of
caffeine. :-)

WHOA NOW LITTLE MAMA, Nobody said ANYTHING about us going off of
caffeine.  Anyone who has ever met Lynda knows that her adrenaline gland
was stuck in the "on" position at birth.  Handing her caffeine would be
like trying to put out a fire with gasoline.  I, on the other hand, am a
normal and pleasant human being who depends on normal and pleasant doses
of caffeine to remain normal and pleasant.  There will be no caffeine
depletion!  >sip< Any QUESTIONS???

>I have a couple of questions. I'm sure you can hit a bucket of water >on
>fly now. How long did it take you to refine your technique?

Hmm, it's only in the last stages of a closely contested race that I've
done this.  If there's so little water that you're willing to haul a
bucket out somewhere, there's probably so little that you want to offer
it to him to drink too.  I've seen some of my protige's who could do this
almost right away.  However, if you happened to throw your sponge and
have the string snag the handle of the bucket just right so that it comes
back with the sponge, you're gonna have a couple of months of retraining
to do before the horse gets you that close to a bucket again.

>If you always have the sponge in your hand, how do you manage to >do
>things that require a hand like grabbing your water bottle, looking at
>trail map, picking tree branches out of your helmet, or just plain
>on for dear life when necessary - all while the other hand presumably
>tied up holding the reins???

Oh Brenda, it IS possible.  You can add to that "Holding your
heartmonitor in your hand". As  I did the last 10 miles of one of my few
really fast 50's.  I was galloping along with the leaders when the buckel
to the holder for my old heart monitor (one of those big EQB  ones that
looked like a calculator and hung on the front of my saddle) broke.  I
had 2 reins (no he didn't neckrein and I ride with a running martingale,
and the heartmonitor in my left hand, and the sponge in my right.  Seemed
like every time I threw the sponge the string had blown around the stupid
heart monitor.  I almost learned to juggle, but didn't quit sponging!

Now, where do I put it?  Well, lets see, reins in 2 hands, sponge inside
right palm, pass sponge and 2nd rein to left palm, reach back and get
water bottle.  (By the way, I carry 2 bottles of water and squirt most of
that on Kaboot between water holes)  To get to a map....umm...this is the
Southeast, maps are just something to hand out at a ride meeting for the
fun of it.  I've never seen anybody use one in competition
couldn't see the landmarks for all the markers anyway.

to remover twigs in the helmet?...I just reach up with my sponge hand to
deflect them as I go by the tree, sometimes that means my sponge hooks on
the tree and WHOOOOOAAAA KABOOOOOT!  (I've got 5 feet to get him turned
around and stopped. 

I suppose if you were REALLY desperate to free your hands you could stick
your sponge in your mouth, but that's a bad habit to have when shedding
season rolls around.

If you really need a free hand you can stuff it under the front of your
saddle...but if your forget it and it works your way out the back it's a
real pain if your wrist loop is hard to remove.

Just for bragging rights...I have sponged from a bucket during a race to
the finish, and I have sponged from a ditch as my horse jumped it (big). 
That one even drew comment from Shelby Cooke which I considered one of my
finest hours...If I tell you about some of my worst hours you'll never
try sponging on the fly.

Now, just one more use for the sponge:  Since I ride with a running
martingale it's a real pain when you get off to run down a hill because
you don't want to unhook all that contraption.  I've started running my
sponge through the reins just behind the bit and then holding it in my
hand with the wrist loop on.  Gives me the same amount of freedom as
having reins off over his head...without all the unhooking, etc.


P.S.  I know Dave Bennett is sulking because nobody has invited him into
this competition...O.K. Dave, I'm telling them, you're good at it too!


Brenda (lookin' forward to trying this out).

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