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June 4, 2018: Giddy Up

I have never before conditioned a horse. I have ridden them, and I’ve ridden them long distances. But I have never worked to get one fit. Defined – riding a horse is getting it out and going a few miles, at a leisurely pace. Some trotting and some cantering may be involved. Conditioning a horse is getting it out and striking a balance between the time, speed, and distance in order to increase muscling and decrease the pulse and respiration. Of course, conditioning isn’t just specific to horses, athletes do this too.

I am doing this with Raudi in preparation for the end of July competitive trail ride. We have approximately two months to get ready for this two-day event. I am taking conditioning more seriously than I have in the past. My taking her heart rate about three weeks ago alerted me to the fact that she was not in very good shape. And the mileage indicator on my watch alerted me to the fact that I wasn’t going near as far as I thought I was.

So now, on a daily basis, I am thinking about distance, time, and speed. Today, for example, I rode ten miles – I did the Spike Fork Road/Four Corners Route, then rode our trails. Then I rode Pat and Ray’s trail. Raudi and I did the grassy trail I call Raudi’s Raceway at a canter, then came up Murphy Road at a fast trot. I could have bypassed doing the final two miles, the area I call Pat and Ray’s Trails – these

Raudi's friend Rio might do the CTR

turned out to be garbage miles. We met up with Pete and Hrimmi on our trails, and when we parted company, Raudi had pretty much decided she was done. She resumed grabbing at grass and was inattentive. My keeping going was a bad judgement call. These are the times when horses are most injury prone.

Got home, the mosquitos had, in our absence, rolled in like uninvited guests. I put fly spray on all the horses. A good wind would take these creatures elsewhere.

I have as of late been obsessed with heart rate – I take Raudi’s before, sometimes during, and after the ride. This is providing me with a sense of where she’s at physically. She has a fast heart rate I think due to the way she’s built. She’s rolly poly and has a thick fat layer. She would not make it as a CTR horse in the Lower 48. However, she will do just fine here, with the limited competition and cooler weather. If we do the open, the top division, we’ll be slow and steady and make good logistical decisions.

Yes, all this riding IS taking a lot of time – today I rode ten miles in three hours and twenty minutes. And beforehand, I groomed her, did agility, and then tacked her up. And after, I removed her tack and groomed her again. And, of course, before and after, I cleaned her hooves.

I never knew when I got her that Raudi would be a trail horse or that I’d end up doing so much trail riding. I have no regrets. I am not sure what she thinks about this.

Next: 156. 6/5/18: Late to Bed, Early to Rise

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