Sunday, March 29, 2009

Training with Serts

Today I took Serts out for a training ride. I have been riding him without a HRM, but decided it was time to do that. My plan was to do an 18 mile training to gauge his readiness for an LD at Chicken Chase. Additional goals were to keep his HR under 135 (except for short stints uphill) and to keep the average speed between 5 and 6 mph.

Daniel suggested I stay close to home so that if Serts got too sour or I got too frustrated, we could stop early and not be several miles from home. I figured that was good advice. Besides, the hills are right next to the house and I wanted to be sure to get some hill work during the ride.

So we headed off down the street for a ride. Serts was doing pretty well. I gave him short breaks often and allowed him to eat some grass along the way. I am working with him on eating. He wants to stop from a trot to grab a nice bite of grass, but I don't like that, so I am working on training him to only eat when I allow it. So even when we walk, I don't allow him to eat at will like I do with Tanna. Not that Serts didn't get plenty of grass on the ride, just only when I dictated since he's so piggish about it.

We were right on schedule, ranging out a couple miles from the house and then doubling back to climb a hill and repeating. I was pleased and Serts seemed to be doing well.

But then the HRM started to read too high. At first, the readings weren't too bad. About 150. I thought maybe Serts was getting tired, so I dropped back to a walk for a minute or two, then asked for a trot again. The HR reading degraded to the point it was 230 even while walking. I hopped off several times to adjust the girth electrode, but couldn't get the reading to be consistent again.

Since Serts is hard for me to read about whether he's really tired vs just bored, I decided to nix the rest of the ride and headed back home.

Serts' long hair had balled up and clumped around the girth electrode, so I wonder if that had something to do with it. It's also possible the HRM battery needs to be changed again.

We ended up with 10.7 miles instead of 18. Serts didn't seem stressed at all. His HR was 46 when I pulled the saddle (after the 10 minute cool down) and he trotted out readily for his post-workout trot out. I put a wool blanket on under his wind-breaker (it was rather chilly out with a stiff breeze) and turned him in the paddock with Tanna and some hay.

After he dried, I brushed him well and got rid of the clumps of shedding hair. All seemed good.

Still haven't made the final go-no-go decision for doing the LD at Chicken Chase. I'd still like to get an 18 mile ride on him before making that decision. Time is fast disappearing for that opportunity!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring Training

Spring training is going well. I've been able to get some decent mileage in on Serts and Tanna. Sunday didn't go so well as I was ponying Serts off Tanna. Serts got bored or tired or both and we had a "fun" time getting back home in a decent amount of time.

So on Tuesday, I saddled up Serts and we went out all by ourselves. We did interval work of trotting a mile, then walking for 5 minutes. We did this 5 times. With warm-up and cool-down we got in 7.5 miles. Good enough. Serts was in good spirits. He tends to get bored quite fast. I need to get him out to a trail instead of riding from the house, but it's going to be a couple weeks. I was hoping to take him this coming Sunday, but I have to work Saturday night and will likely not be up to trailering out on Sunday. He will have to just grit his teeth and get through it. I'm still hoping his first LD (limited distance, 25 mile ride) might be at Chicken Chase next month.

My horses are getting older! Serts is now 20 years old and Tanna is 15! Seems hard to believe 8 years have passed since I got them. Tanna is definitely a mature, fun, riding buddy. His personality is very much the same, but he's no longer the flighty creature I brought home! He's still spirited, but much more reliable. Serts has gone through all sorts of changes since I got him, but he, too, is a good horse at a good place. If I can keep his interest, hopefully, he will make a good LD horse.

Last week, Daniel and I took the horses to the vet for their yearly shots, etc. Both horses are in good health. Tanna required dental work this year, but Serts is still good to go.

Neither horse is anemic this year! Yay! Ever since we discovered they were anemic in 2007, they have been getting Mega Dose vitamins along with salt in their meals and they've been good every time we've checked them since. Now the blood work is part of their yearly check-up. It's not expensive and the peace of mind is worth it.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Spring is coming!!

Hard to tell right this minute as it's 35 degrees and rainy outside. But earlier this week, the weather was upwards of 70 degrees and very nice for training rides.

After the National Championships last October, I took a long time off from riding to recharge. A couple weeks ago, I began riding more often and training with a purpose.

Our next endurance ride is scheduled for mid-April. Chicken Chase is a tradition. We often start the ride season with this 3 day ride near Henryville, Indiana.

This year, we are taking both horses with us for the duration. So both horses are getting training time. Serts is doing well with his shorter rides and Tanna seemed to have benefited from the time off as he is taking his conditioning rides in stride and asking for more.

I can't wait until the weather turns nice again.