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Re: RC: Million Pines ride story (long, as usual)


enjoyed your ride story & congratulations on being enough of a horsewoman to 
pull your horse.  It's tough to do, but well worth it in the long run.  
Personally, I'd rather pull the horse myself than have the vet do it.
A couple of suggestions.  I live in Md, near DC, hot & humid.  Many of my 
rides are hot & humid & in the mts.  I electrolyte like crazy before & during 
the ride (assuming the horse drinks).  I keep the horse on electrolytes daily 
to make sure he's getting enough to replenish during conditioning (I use the 
cheaper Stress Dex to top dress feed during the week).  Day before ride, I'll 
feed him several small grain meals top dressed with my more expensive Jeannie 
Waldron electrolytes that don't have all the sugar that STress DEx has, & is 
supposedly balanced for endurance.  I'll give a tube of electrolytes as soon 
as I get up in the morning the day of the ride.  I carry a tube with me & 
will give 1/2 tube about 1/2 way thru each loop if he drinks (sometimes my 
horses don't drink for the first 15-20 miles because I've so loaded them with 
electrolytes they've been drinking --- they'll drink a bucket or more of 
water the 24 hrs before the ride).  I also give at least 1 tube (sometimes 
more) at the pit stop.  You probably want to try electrolyting a little more, 
see how that works, if ok, maybe electrolyte a little more for next ride --- 
I've worked up to my current electrolying scheme over time as I've added more 
distance & gone from CTR's to endurance.  My horses will pull to go to water 
at the side of the road or stop dead at a puddle when they are thirsty, so I 
know they'll let me know --- this gets into knowing your horse.  This routine 
is for a hot & humid ride.  For a colder weather ride I don't electrolyte as 
much before hand, but still do add more 24 hrs before.  My understanding from 
RC is they'll just pee it out if you overdo it --- I figure I'll spend the $$ 
& over do it (especially using the cheaper STress Dex on a daily basis).
You may have already figured this out --- carry an extra sponge on a string 
in your pack in case you lose your 1st one.  Lost my sponge yrs ago, always 
carry a spare -- of course have never had to use the spare, but have loaned 
it out on the ride to others who have lost theirs.  I also have a small 
handtowel at the bottom of the pack so I have at least something to use at 
streams if I lose both sponges (towel makes a nice cushion at the bottom of 
the pommel pack for all the other junk in there).
Have an extra sponge at your pit stop in case you have to use your spare, you 
can then pack a new spare for the next loop.
I would also suggest that your pit crew give a check of your area about 20 
min before he thinks you'll be in to make sure he's got what you need.  
Incredible that someone would just take your stuff!!!?!?!?!?!  I will have to 
tell our pit crew this one & add it to the to - do list!
I always sponge at every opportunity even early in the ride,  unless its 
raining (even then I usually sponge) or really cold & snowy.  I figure every 
swipe of the sponge drops my horse's pulse 15-20 beats &helps his body out.
Clip.  I had read in Trail Blazer a few yrs ago that the horse loses 80% of 
its body heat thru its neck, so I take off at least the neck winter hair & 
the chest & above the elbows.  Sometimes when I don't have much time, I lunge 
the horses on a hill, trotting & cantering for an hr, & I noticed the sweat 
pattern they got --- neck & shoulders, a little in the loin, so that's where 
I clip.  I also always braid the mane for the ride so I can get water on both 
sides of the neck; my stallion has a really thick mane --- if you ever pet 
them on a cold day you'll notice how much warmer their neck is under the 
mane, so conversely, it would help to get all that insulation off for a ride. 
 Of course, once you clip early in the season, you have to blanket if it gets 
cold.  I have a hood as well as heavy, water proof blanket, so I can really 
keep the horse warm if I have to (bought it after it rained then snowed night 
before a ride & my poor neck clipped mare was shivering as I tried to wrap 
(people) blankets around her neck & tie them on with hay twine!)
Good luck at your next ride --- Lakota sounds like he'll be fine for the next 
one as you had enough sense to back off.


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