Saturday, October 20, 2018

Meadow Creek Mountain Mingle 25

Had a great week hanging out with Rinnah (niece) and Daniel (husband). We went to the Meadow Creek Mountain Mingle ride location (Meadow Creek Mountain Ranch) on Tuesday evening. Although not far from our place by pigeon, it was about a 3.5 hour drive with the trailer. Got parked and the 2 mares settled, then a great dinner of veggie hot dogs and chips.

2 of the dogs, Gizmo and Y-lee hoping for tidbits from supper!

Wednesday, we kicked around camp, took the horses and dogs for multiple walks, enjoyed some yummy pizza from the on-site eatery for supper, talked to a bunch of people, registered for the ride, attended ride meeting and went to bed at a decent hour.

Thursday we got up in the dark and cold, saddled up and were at the starting line by 8 AM for the 25 mile ride. Rinnah riding Sasha, me riding Dia. Dia's first ever AERC ride and Rinnah's first ride in SIX long years.

Ride map

We started near the back and stayed there for the rest of the ride. I didn't want Dia to get wound up. Turns out, I wished she'd been a little more wound up. She was hard to keep on pace for the first 5 miles. I asked Rinnah to go in front on the uphills because Sasha just attacks those hills and Dia had motivation to keep up. On the trottable areas, though, Dia went in front to give Rinnah some relief from trying to hold Sasha back.

My view for a lot of the ride. :D

We asked the horses to keep moving on the gravel road because we knew we'd have some slow going once we turned off the road. It was slow going, but so gorgeous. We had some great views. Unfortunately, without a zoom lens, it was hard to get any good pictures except the one below, but we saw so many gorgeous views.

So awesome!!!

Once we hit the trot by for the first loop, we only had 3 miles to the vet check. We picked up the pace as we were back on the gravel road again all the way into the vet check. We dismounted and walked the last bit into the check. We came into the small chaotic out vet check, found Daniel and dropped our saddles.

Dia was already at 52 heart rate. Sasha was running without a heart rate monitor, but I knew she would be down if Dia was. Both horses passed their vet check with flying colors. CRI* on Dia was 48/48! I was pleased with that and then Sasha had 40/40!!! We definitely weren't riding these two anywhere close to their edge. We weren't planning on running on the edge, but it was super nice to see such low scores.

Back at our vet check area, I asked Rinnah to sit with the horses and funnel them food after they got done with their Fibre-beet/Omolene 200 mash. They could have chopped hay and more carrots. I also passed Rinnah a Snickers bar and a tube of Pringles. We had planned to have soup, but the jet boil was in the truck down the hill and nobody wanted to go get it. It was fine. The Snickers and Pringles were perfectly acceptable.

Horses eating non-stop

I cleaned up the worst of the sweat gunk off the horses. I put the saddles back on with their saddle pads flipped to the clean side. The air was cool and we were in the shade, so it wasn't a bad thing to have their saddles back on. I left their wool coolers draped over their rear ends to keep them warm during the rest of the 50 minute hold.

There was no porta potty at the out check, but the management had thoughtfully got a travel toilet and pop up shelter and set that up a little away from the main vet check area. It was exactly like the little toilet I have in my small horse trailer and worked great.

I had meant to go out at our out time, but the horses were eating non-stop! Finally, we ran out of everything but a few carrots, so I decided we needed to go. All the other horses had left on their respective loops. The other LD riders back to camp and the 50s out on their 2nd loop. I quickly electrolyted both horses. As expected, Sasha refused to eat after that. But Dia just dropped her head and started cleaning up the chopped hay in our area. What a chow hound! I like it. :D

Getting ready to go out on the second loop

We mounted up and walked down the hill to cross the paved road and back onto the gravel road we'd come in on. Back to trotting up the hill. We did walk, trot, canter up the hill until we ducked back into the woods for a bit before coming back to the gravel road for a very short section and then we were retracing our initial trail back to camp. I think this section of trail was my favorite footing. It was mixed footing. Some you had to walk, but there was a good amount you could trot or even canter if you wanted.

We had the horses walk up the hill to the finish line and dismounted at the top. We walked over to our trailer and dropped our tack. Dia was down again, so we took the horses to pulse in and complete. Rinnah held back to get Sasha's pulse after Dia's because she wanted to be turtle (last place). Both horses vetted out well. Dia had a 52/56 CRI which was good. Sasha had a 60/48 CRI which cracks me up. The higher first reading was because I started Dia trotting out while Sasha was still being vetted which made Sasha's HR go up a bit.

Dia's Vet Card

Rinnah and I both completed. The horses did great. Sasha was AMAZING. This ride barely registered on her radar. Of course, she is a 50 mile horse coming off of a 50 2 weeks ago, so strong and ready to go and we ran a very conservative pace for Dia's sake, but I'm super pleased with Sasha's performance and attitude all day. Rinnah did a great job of rating her for Dia's pace while getting us to the finish line with time to spare.

Dia has a couple of issues we will try to work through. I think the most serious issue was not trotting away from Sasha. I need to be able to trot the horses independently. It's not practical to have the horses trot side by side during vet checks. One must leave the other. Sasha had a little bit of an issue with that, but not nearly the issue Dia had. I had a hard time getting Dia to actually start the trot. She did, but I have got to fix that if I'm going to be able to have Rinnah or Lillie ride with me.

Dia's other main issue is she is very slow to warm up. That may be her and something I will have to manage and incorporate into my ride plans (serious negative splits?). But it took several miles before she would move out without a lot of extra prodding from me. That is not unusual for her in training, but I was hoping it would not be true in an event.

I was very pleased with Dia's eating ethic. She was super serious about eating and drinking! Both during the ride, before the ride and after the ride. That's a great thing in an endurance prospect! She was constantly looking for bites of grass and always grabbed a bite when I let her.

I was also pleased with Dia's demeanor in the crowded vet check. She is a "hold me, I'm scared" kinda pony and initially tried to crowd into my space for comfort, but after a couple of rebuffs, she contented herself with just standing as close as I'd let her. Once food was presented, she was all about that and couldn't care less about the hub-bub around her.

The second loop was fun also. Dia no longer needed a lot of prodding and even surged past Sasha and led for a bit once she realized we were close to camp.

Friday morning, we got up super early and packed up the trailer. We wanted to leave before any rigs might be coming in for the Saturday ride. The roads to get to the ride venue were narrow and we did not want to meet any rigs head on.

Thursday sunset

We got on our way just after 7:30 AM (eastern). We were 45 minutes from home when our truck began spewing coolant. We could smell it and pulled off to a safe place. Luckily, the truck had not overheated. Daniel caught it before that happened.

We called US Rider first, then our local truck shop, alerting them that we would be dropping off our truck. Daniel got a number of a tow guy and called him and got him to head our direction. When US Rider called him back, Daniel said he had somebody coming out, so US Rider called the tow guy and worked out payment.

Once L Train got out to us, he loaded our truck onto the wrecker truck, but couldn't take the horse trailer, too. So he called another tow guy, Rogers Automotive, to come get our trailer. Finally, everything was hooked up and loaded up. Rogers Automotive took us, the dogs and the trailer home while L Train dropped our truck off at our shop.

Waiting for the tow truck for the trailer.

Finally, around 3:30 PM (central), we unloaded the horses at home. They'd been on the trailer for 9 hours for a 3.5-hour trip. But they were both calm as could be. Neither of them had gotten antsy or sweated up. Neither had pawed or made a bunch of noise. Both drank when I offered water while waiting for tow vehicles. Both horses unloaded calmly as if they'd been standing in their stalls at home all day.

Rinnah and I turned the horses into the field. Sasha immediately went to roll, while Dia headed for the water trough. After that, they both went bucking and running in the field, as well they should.

I noted Serts and Tanna looked good and then we loaded up Rinnah's stuff and headed out to return her to her mom. We met Jean in Monterrey for supper. We'd planned on Burger King, but Daniel spotted a little pizza joint nearby, so we decided to eat there instead.

Yummy veggie pizza!

The Pizza Box was a great choice. Such wonderful food and the proprietors were so nice and accommodating. We ordered a bunch of food because we wanted to try it all and hey, pizza is sometimes better the next day! :D The pizza was greasier than Little Caesar's, but not as much as Pizza Hut. It was very yummy. We also ordered breadsticks, cinnamon sticks (served with icing and yummy soft!), and cheese sticks also. This is primarily a take-out joint, but they do have a small seating area with 2 small tables, so we took those over while we waited for our pizza and visited. We did end up with leftovers and sent some home with Rinnah and Jean and took the other for ourselves.

Finally, we headed home for chores. It was a very long day. Much longer than we'd anticipated, but it all ended well enough. Just hope the truck is quick and easy to fix. I won't be able to trailer out to ride until it's home again, but good thing I live next to 200+ miles of horse trails! ;-)

The Meadow Creek Mountain Mingle ride was a very nice first ride. There is definitely room for improvement, but they got so much right! Kudos to them for taking on 3 days worth of rides! I hope to see this ride back on the calendar next year.

grazing during a walk after the ride

All pictures in this post taken by me, Daniel or Rinnah.

*A CRI is a Cardiac Recovery Index. It's determined by taking the horse's heart rate and then trotting the horse for 125 feet away from the vet, then back to the vet. A minute after taking the first reading, the heart rate is taken again. This is expressed as first_reading/second_reading. You're looking for the horse to recover to the same HR or close to it. If the second reading is much higher (4+ bpm) than the first reading, it's likely the horse has some pain or metabolic issue going on that should be monitored. When the first reading is very low (under 50), a higher second reading is often observed simply because it takes awhile to return to a resting heart rate after trotting. This is why I was so pleased with 48/48 and 40/40 scores for my horses.

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