Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Reflections of a Past Life

Moch couldn't quite relax over the ground rails that evening.

I have posted about Mochs rushing fences and ground rails.  While there are various reasons for horses that do this, I think I might have figured out where it's coming from with her.  Some horses lose their balance and that causes the rush to the fence but I knew that wasn't it because she will do it over ground rails.  Something else is going on.  Even with one ground rail she used to rush at the trot and still does sometimes at the canter.  I was chalking it up to balance or strength, lack of any real training program as a young horse, but one rail??  Rails on the ground??  No.  She is associating something with going over things whether it's a ground rail or an actual fence.

The other day it dawned on me that this behavior is a glimpse into her past.  She had this issue with going through a gate with me on her back.  She didn't want to stand still she wanted to swing her hip away from the gate as soon as I would walk her up to it.  After we opened it she would try to launch through it and repeat the same behavior when I went to close it.  I never dismounted and let her get away with it.  I just continued every day to do the same thing.  Ride her up to it, leg yield her next to it, ask her to stand still (a couple times), lift the rope off, swing it open ride her launch through it like it never happened and repeat to close the gate.  Within a month I noticed her dramatic behavior had decreased.

One day last week, Mochs stood like a little statue as I opened the gate and we rode through, then closed it.  She stands SO quietly now.  I can leg yield her up next to it and drop the reins and mess with it and she will stand there without issue.  I have no idea what her previous owners did to her that involved a gate, but I proved to her that gates aren't bad, by making it a routine thing and not acknowledging her making the gate into a big deal.

It was not her previous owners that I bought her from.  She was basically a pasture pet for them for years.  It was the owners before that.  She has been sold two or three times before I bought her.  Somewhere along the line someone was rough with her involving gates.  Ahhhhh the disadvantages of not buying a blank slate.  Klein was my blank slate clueless baby that was barely halter broke when I bought her, and I have loved every minute of it. 

The whole gate issue got me thinking, this rushing thing is most likely a result of something a previous owner has done with her.  At some point she had some sort of stressful event concerning going over things on the ground.  So, what I am going to do is make them not a big deal. 

The other day we included just one ground rail in our warm up.  I started by walking her over it.  She is fine at the walk, her pace stays the same.  We would walk over it then come around and walk up to it, halt in front of it, then walk over.  Or we might walk over it then halt after it, or maybe figure eight over it.  I just kept switching it up on her so she was thinking more about where we were going next instead of the *gasp* thing on the ground.  

When it came to trotting, I did the same thing.  Trot over it, trot up to it and halt before it, walk over it, trot after it, figure eight over it, halt after it, etc...  One thing about Mochi...she soaks up praise like a little sponge.  Every time she trotted over it without increasing her cadence I would praise her like crazy.  I would tell her good girl and pat and rub her neck.  If she did increase her cadence I would be silent, half halt and get her back to the proper cadence and come around again.  The next time she would maintain her cadence.  Ha.  She seriously LOVES to hear what a good pony she is.  It took her two times to figure out that rushing didn't get her a "good girrrrlllll!!!!" and a neck pat/rub.  

After that we headed to the six ground rails in a line.  That took about three times through before she really started to focus and give a good effort to maintain her cadence and not speed up (like she was in the first pic in this post).  I have to really ride every step with her too.  She needs the extra support and she also needs me to be very quiet on the approach to anything.  I'll give her one half halt if she needs it, but after that I don't touch her face, but I don't drop her support on the outside rein either, she really needs that, more so than any other horse I've ridden.  When she gave me two nice, even times over the six ground rails we stopped.  That was a huge improvement for her and I couldn't ask for more.  If we can build on that, we'll be golden.

If we can make ground rails not a big deal, fences will follow.  Actually, the other day I put up a tiny 2' vertical and she was much better over that than cross rails.  So, next jump school there will be no cross rails.  She really has a powerful little jump.  I can't wait to see it over 3' courses one day.

Sunday, April 26, 2015


 The Most Handsome <3

Some days I kind of feel bad that Wes isn't doing anything.  I think I need to make time to get him out on the trails.  But then I see how happy he is just out being a horse and looking after his mares.  He's been out working his entire life.  He could not be any happier doing what he is doing right now.  His heart is so happy and he is looking SO good!  The barn owner tells me how some times he'll just be out cantering around the pasture, or sometimes he canters around with Mochi.  Klein is a very serious horse so she really doesn't engage in any kind of silliness.  Mochs on the other hand, will act silly all day long with Wes if he wants.

The Other Half whistles for them and they come running.

Here they are running in after The Other Half whistled for them:

Actually, side note, speaking of Mochi acting silly...  Yesterday was pedicure day and the three of them were standing at the fence and I said "Ok!  Who wants their feet done first?!"  Mochi whinnied twice at me after I said it.  Then I reconsidered my offer and got Klein because I like to give the farrier a break between the big horses.  I decided it would be Klein, Mochi, Wes. As soon as I put Klein's halter on and Mochs realized I was taking her first she lost her little pony mind.  She took off FULL SPEED.  She tore around the pasture whinnying and bucking as she went.  I guess she really did want to go first.  But, I think that kind of shows she is enjoying being back in work.  She was genuinely upset I got Klein instead of her.

Back to Wes.  He is shiny, happy, healthy, good weight, great feet.  Everyone says he looks younger than when he got here.  I think they are right.  His gait continues to improve as we undo years of being shod and working on pavement with no room to run in his off time.

King of Retirementland.

Can we just take a minute and admire the beautiful pasture of Retirementland?

The Handsome could not being doing any better.  Every day my heart smiles because he is so happy.  My ultimate goal was not to bring him home to have him in regular work.  I wanted him in my own possession to know exactly where he was, what he was doing, and to know that he was being cared for in the manner that he deserves to be.  If he would have went to some other random person I didn't know, I would always wonder what he was doing and hope that he was being taken care of.  I always tell the drivers that I know from the barn that he worked at that if they ever are in our area to please let me know and they can come and visit him.  I have gotten many thank yous from people that have driven him or worked at that barn for posting all the pictures and videos so they can see how he's doing.

 Enjoying his evening grain.

Monday, April 20, 2015

XC Pony

 Ready to head out for a xc school.

I took Mochi to school some xc last Saturday.  Yes, I just started her back to jumping but schooling some small stuff would be fine for her.  Plus the place we went is just a great property to get out and ride on and has some decent hills on it.

 Fun times right there!

There was also an open show going on that day and I thought that would be good for Mochi to see.  I wanted to see if she seemed to take any notice of the horses and riders around.  If she did I was going to warm her up riding around with them but, she could not have cared any less.  See pic below...

 Um yeah.  File her under F for the amount of F's she doesn't give.

Everyone wanted to hang on her...and steal her.  Every time I take her somewhere some one has to say that her name should be Cookies 'n' Cream.  Mochs soaks that stuff UP though.  She would be the pony that 20 kids could hang on and she would be fine with that.  There was a little girl on a POA there.  Her POA mare was probably 12-13hh, so noticeably smaller than Moch, but could have been her smaller, roany sister.  She rode by us and yelled "I LIKE YOUR HORSE!"  I did watch her little jumping round and she and her pony kicked ass.  POA power. 

Moch warmed up nice.  We just kind of trotted around looking at the fences and riding the hills.  

 I love this place.

I started hopping her over small logs and she rushed them just like she does with stadium fences.  She just LOCKS ON to stuff.  I've never rode a horse that just zeroes in on a fence and goes for the attack.  She would have jumped anything I would have put in front of her, and if she couldn't, well...she would have tried it anyway.  Little horse, big heart.

She jumped logs, ditches, and a small rail road tie vertical with some air in it.  Then I let her have a gallop.

 Fly little

 Go Mochs!


I am looking forward to putting in the miles Mochs' needs over fences.  I have been reading up on rushers and have some exercises from Doug Payne's book and some other gymnastics for her.  I also think it will take me a little bit to get used to her jump after jumping Klein for so long.  It is a LOT different but I just have no muscle memory yet for jumping her.  Partly the reason why my release sucks so much in the pic over the log.  I was getting left behind a bit.  Once we get in sync more, it will help us both.  I see a lot of two point on Moch coming up like...tomorrow.

Overall, I'm so impressed with how brave she is.  That was of the reasons I bought her.  She was great on Saturday.  It was a good test run and I am definitely looking forward to getting her out to some Starter level events, because that's where she needs to be right now.

 Her breastcollar came in from England today too.  This is the same one Klein has, I love it and can only find it in England.  There were a couple of you that asked me last time what Klein's is and I couldn't remember.  I had to search for it again to get this one for Mochi and I found it, obviously,'s a Harry Dabbs.

Because what event pony doesn't need a Harry Dabbs five point from England?

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Adventures in Mochi-Land

Mochi has been just AWESOME lately.  She is so smart and willing.  Her dressage work just keeps getting better and better with each ride.

Last weekend I rode with my dressage instructor, who is also a good friend of mine.  So when I don't take lessons with her and just go over to ride, we usually just go for long hacks.  She is a dressage queen that actually understands the importance of getting your horses out of the ring.  When we go for hacks we incorporate some subtle dressage work too.  We sneak in shoulder-ins, and leg yields, transitions within gaits, etc...  Last weekend she would half pass back and forth across the dirt road and Moch and I would leg yield.  She will also give me pointers along the way on our rides, so I learn things every time I go over there even if we are not having a formal lesson.

She rode one of her horses and we did eight miles.  She had another horse to ride and I decided to just stay on Mochi and keep riding.  Mochi didn't seem tired in the least.  While she was tacking up her next horse we rode in the ring and did about a mile.  After she got on we went for another three miles.  Total, Mochi and I did another 12 mile ride.  Mochs looked and felt great at the end of that too.

 After our 12 mile hack.

 Mochs' Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Girth came in too!  

I love these things!!!  This is my third one.  Next I will order Mochi one for her dressage saddle.

Mochi with her TSF Shoulder Relief Girth on.

The girth was what I was waiting on so I could start Mochi over fences again.  I hadn't jumped her in just over two years until this week.  She just was so unbalanced and rushy that I quickly realized she needed some real training on the flat.  This was shortly after I bought her.  Then she ended up being a pasture ornament for a two years.

 September 2012, one of the last times, probably was the last time, I jumped her before this week.

 Seeing what she looked like at 3'.

Over a little oxer.  Look how much she cleared it by haha.  She is an adorable little jumper.

I started off our jump school this week with Moch in her hackamore.  I did remember her really rocking back and launching and I thought the hackamore would be a better idea so if she did do that she wouldn't end up getting me behind the motion and catching her in the mouth.  If you look at the 2012 jumping picture you'll see she was in a hack then too.

The hack quickly proved to be almost useless against a pony that rushes fences like a mofo.

*face palm*  This is approaching a fence in the hack.  Um...yeah, no.  I totally appreciate her enthusiasm but, NO.


Still in the hack.

Here she is rushing a fence, then we get buzzed by A-10's.  Happens all the time.  The ponies are used to it, as you can see Mochs pays them no attention.  In New Mexico it was F-22's.  The barn was right under the pattern on base.  We would regularly be buzzed by F-22's on final.  They also would break the sound barrier over us on a daily basis.  The sonic booms would make your ears and chest pop.  The ponies were used to that too.  At least A-10's aren't super sonic.  But they do have huge guns on them, but that is more of a loud rumble when they fire them.

I had to really work hard to sit up and engage my core to get the little freight train to lighten up and not try to plow into the approach to these little cross rails.  She was listening but it was a little too easy for her to just fall forward and rush.  I did put a ground rail 9ft out from one of the cross rails to see if that helped, it did a little but she could still fit in some rushing when she really felt like it.  Here she is in the hack over a cross rail after I got her listening a little more.

*Note*  I know she is overflexed in the still on the video above.  That was in the hackamore.  She knows how to curl under to evade it and get heavy.  Tsk Tsk pony...
In the middle of the ride I decided to go ahead and switch out her bridle to the one with the Boucher in it.  That is what she has been going so nicely in.  After getting a feel for her and how bad she was rushing, we needed the Boucher.  She was instantly much lighter.  With the combination of Boucher and me making sure I sat up and really engaged my core I got her to stay lighter and slow up her approach to fences. She was more balanced and felt much better.

In the Boucher.

She was getting each lead I asked for correct over the cross rails too.  With that and becoming lighter, after a couple jumps I praised the hell out of her so there was no question she knew she was doing the right thing and we called it a day for jumping and worked on her canter a bit.  This little pony soaks up being patted and hearing "GOOD GIRL!!"

Canter work.

The next day she got a massage and chiro adjustment.  I kind of expected her to have some sore spots being that she has come back into work fairly recently, but she had none.  Our chiro/massage therapist said she felt like she wishes all horses could feel.  She only had to adjust a couple things but nothing that would indicate that any work or saddle fit is making her sore.  I am thrilled with that report.

Moch enjoying her massage, clearly.

I jumped her again the next day a little bit and she did better.  This rushing thing will take a bit to go away and gymnastics will help her a lot.  There's a lot of gymnastics in her very near future.  They helped Klein a ton when I started her over fences, and the still help her of course.

We did some canter work again and I got her to create some lift in her front end and carry herself pretty nicely.  It was just a few strides here and there, but it's there already and that, we can build on.  I was pretty impressed when I felt her lift and slow her pace because she found some balance in her canter. 

The next day we did more dressage work.  Her turn down the centerline is improving since she is getting stronger and able to actually have some legit balance through the turn.  She also is improving with her straightness down the centerline and across the diagonal.

Seriously having fun with My Little Mochi.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Combined Training Show

 Pure luck that day.

Last Saturday Klein and I competed at Training level at a combined training show (USEA Training Level dressage and 3'3" stadium).  The weather had been showing an 80% chance of rain all week for Saturday but the show was still on so, we went.  It started raining lightly as soon as I got there, then about 45 mins afterward it started pouring and I thought for sure I was about to get a show credit.  I didn't even unload Klein.

The organizers were watching the radar and were convinced the rain would stop and pass, or at least let up enough to continue.  They were right, it let up and people started to fill the warm up ring again.  I had 45 mins until dressage so I went to go unload Klein and tack her up. 

We went to the indoor first since it was still a light rain.  Klein wasn't really too into the indoor.  Usually they don't bother her but this was a place she has never been and there was a lot going on.  She just wanted to be a horse and check everything out.  I knew we'd be better off just going outside, it wasn't raining that hard anyway.

She warmed up ok.  Nothing super awesome, but she was listening, until we went into the dressage ring.  She just seemed to be running from something through the majority of the test.  She wasn't my normal Klein mare.  We still got a 32.86, which I'm completely happy with, and even better, we got 7's on our lengthenings!  We have struggled with those, so a 7 was a small victory!

The rain finally completely stopped and we warmed up for stadium.  I warmed up early in case it started pouring we would be ready to get in and get the hell out.  Her warm up wasn't the greatest for stadium either.  Even my friend commented she was just kind of out there going through the motions.  She totally was.  She had energy but wasn't as responsive as she usually is.  Which is strange because she was great last week schooling 3' and 3'3".

 3' last week.

 3' oxer.

 3'3" nbd.  She was jumping great with plenty of room to spare over 3'3".

 Getting tacked up for stadium aka nap time.

 Our stadium round was completely subpar for us.  I don't know where my Klein mare went from last week.  This is totally not her to be like this at a show.  I'm not sure if she is getting bored or her summer itchiness is bothering her. 

Also, I really don't have any pics because the Other Half couldn't go with me this time.  

Klein has had a steroid shot and is currently on an antihistamine, along with SmartPak Bug Off Ultra (which we have never tried before).  I just started the Bug Off Ultra last Friday.  I have tried just about every feed through, prescription, over the counter, topical, injection, steroid, antihistamine, and all natural product that is out there. So, why not try one more?  I also ordered her a fake tail, it should be here sometime within the next two weeks.  She seems more comfortable this week.  I haven't seen her itching her mane on anything.  Normally as soon as I feed her dinner she goes and uses a tree as a scratching post, or gets down and rolls and rubs her belly to itch it.  She's not doing that this week.  She still will roll in the sand but she doesn't stay down and itch her belly.  Her antihistamine always seems to make a difference so I think that has played a role, but maybe this Bug Off Ultra was the extra kick she needed for the bugs to leave her alone.  Life sucks in the summer being grey and having a docked tail.

Rolling around after dinner.  She rolls in the sand, then trots off back to her run in.

We also have been lacking in the gallop department lately.  That might have a part in it too.  I mix up her routine all the time between jumping, dressage, and hacks because I don't believe in keeping them in an arena every work out.  We have done some sprint work but it's been a couple weeks and I didn't realize that. 

Still, there is no need to show her in the summer when the bugs bother the hell out of her.  She'd rather be standing in her run in where they don't bother her.  Summer break from shows has started for her after this Saturday.  Gallops are in her near future, long, free gallops and hacks to different places.  We'll still keep working on jumping, via lots of gymnastics, and working on our dressage.

It's time for Mochi's to shine for a little bit.  She has been doing so great lately, I'm pretty excited for the near future with her. 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Saddlefitting Success

Two weeks ago I had our saddle fitter come up from Florida to take a look at Klein and Mochi's saddles, as well as point me in the right direction for a jumping saddle for Moch.

Earlier in the week she was down in Wellington fitting the British Olympic Team horses.  She treats every horse the same.  Our horses got just the same attention to detail as the olympic horses.  I am very fortunate a friend recommended her to me.

Remember I had a minor anxiety attack when I realized Klein's saddles seemed like they were getting a bit wide for her?  The saddle fitter told me my only problem was that they needed more flock added.  I asked her if either one of them needed to go down a tree size and she said absolutely not.  Reflock and we're good.  She has a machine that she can adjust the trees with if they needed to go down or up too.  She told me Duetts can be adjusted up or down one tree size.  They both were lacking in the flock department up front, so I was sinking forward.  She looked at my jumping saddle and said "Um, kind of have a pancake here."  I was pretty relieved to hear that.  I do like my saddles, but I have no desire to go saddle shopping if I don't have to.  A new saddle sounds like all fun and games until the shopping actually begins, then it gets painful! 

Adding flock to Klein's dressage saddle.

She also recommended a Mattes correction half pad for Klein.  She doesn't sell or rep for Mattes.  She actually recommended a specific Thinline half pad for my friend when she looked at her horse that day.  She recommends what your horse needs.  It just happened that Klein needed the $300 Mattes correction pad.  Fine.  She said the Mattes will last for a LONG time and it is totally worth the money for the durability.  What the ponies need, the ponies get.  Better than $4K on new saddles, right?

 Thanks SmartPak!

 Klein's dressage saddle with the Mattes.

Klein baby was noticeably more stretchy in her trot after the saddle adjustment.

 She took a look at Mochs' Isabell and at first was a little concerned that it might be a bit long for her back but then she asked if she was going well in it.  I said she has been doing extremely well in it and does stretch down over her back.  She said if she is going that well than she is fine but if anything ever changes to give her a call.  She didn't need to adjust anything on the Isabell and said the red gullet is exactly what Moch should be in. 

 I'd say Moch approves.

Then I asked what brand/type of tree, etc... she would recommend for Mochi for a jumping saddle.  She said "Where'd you put Klein's jumping saddle?  Go get it."  So I did, and we set it on her back.

Um....yyyyyeah...pretty funny when your Percheron's jumping saddle fits your POA.

It fits.  It's ridiculous.  The saddle fitter looked at the fit and said "Why do you need to buy another saddle?  This works!  I like it!"  I just started laughing.  *Sigh* oh Moch.  She is such a little tank.  

So, I ordered Mochs a breastcollar and a Total Saddle Fit Shoulder Relief Girth.  We'll start back over fences next week.

Saddlefitting success overall.  Properly fitting tack is priceless.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Intro Distance Ride!

While my friend and I had initially thought we would sign up for a 25 mile distance ride that was coming up and really close to us, we ended up switching to the intro 10 mile ride.  After Mochs had the little incident where she had what looked like it could have been thumps, but after talking to my vet she was pretty sure it was a random muscle cramp because she has zero history of anything like that (it has not happened since either) and she walked out of it immediately, and my friend being away a lot this month for work, the 10 would be the right choice.

 Heading to McCulley Farms.

My friend and I went down to the farm where the ride was Friday afternoon.  Our ride was Saturday morning.  We wanted to set up, get the ponies settled, go for a little ride, and relax.  The ride was at McCulley Farms in Jasper, FL.  I'm a little disappointed in myself that I haven't taken any horses there before this weekend.  It's only 40 miles from home and it is a drop dead gorgeous place to ride with miles, and miles, and MILES of trails!  I knew it was there and had heard it was nice but for no particular reason I just had not taken any ponies yet.  Well, I will now.

 Some of the camping.

Let me remind all of you first that not only have I never been to a ride like this, neither has my friend.  She saw the ride somewhere and since it was so close we were like, why not?  Let's go have a fun, long trail ride with our ponies.  It was pretty hilarious between the two of us figuring out what was going on.

First, we had to vet in.  For those of you that are as clueless as we were about this sport, all horses for all rides must vet in.  What happens is a vet does a quick exam of your horse.  They take their pulse, feel their back, listen to their gut, check capillary refill, look for any sores from tack rubbing, etc...  You also have to jog them for the vet and they look for lameness.  Each piece of the exam is graded on a letter scale, there is even a box labeled attitude.  Attitude just means is the horse perky and alert?  They don't want an over-trained, sore, tired pony showing up, or continuing.  I thought that was pretty cool...and then I took Mochi through.

I know Mochs is not the typical breed you would see at these rides.  It's Arab, TB, and gaited horse land.  Within 45 seconds of looking over Mochs the vet stops and looks at me and asks, "Have you been riding this horse?"  Wtf?  I thought maybe she was referencing something I wasn't understanding.  I said "Do I ride her?  Yes, at least four times a week right now."  She proceeded to tell me she asked because she was concerned about Mochs' weight.  She told me she was way too fat and she was concerned about her recovery.  I told her we were there for only for the 10 mile ride and that we had zero interest of actually pursuing this discipline, we were just there to have a leisurely trail ride with a friend.  I told her what my real plan is for Mochi is lower level eventing.  She stopped, looked at me and said "Oh, she's too fat for that."  Say what?  She asked me what she eats and I said she's been on round bales and half a pound of Strategy.  The vet's reply "She's THIS FAT on round bales?"  She also went on to say she would consider her borderline metabolic.  Wow, I guess I missed the announcement that it was open season on POA mares.  Despite all this, Mochs still scored all A's on her report card.  But the vet gave her a 6.5 (!) BCS.  A 6.5?  Here is Mochs the next morning before I tacked her up for the ride:

THIS is too fat?  A 6.5?

I have no rose colored glasses on.  I know Moch could lose a little weight, but that will happen when her work load increases this month.  I don't expect everyone to be in love with her and think she is as adorable as I do either, but that vet was acting like I was about to abuse my horse by participating.  She had me genuinely concerned.  I was in their world, they know more about what's acceptable.  As soon as we were done I texted my vet and she reassured me Moch is fine.  She shouldn't be any heavier than she is, but she is not some out of shape, morbidly obese pony.

Then again, Mochs was in the land of horses where you could count the ribs on 95% of them.  So compared to what that vet saw all weekend, Mochs WAS fat.  But there was a horse in front of us that was vetting out from just completing a leg of his ride and the horse drug both his back feet and actually rolled forward up ON his rear pasterns.  He was passed.  I was more than a legit trip, this horse looked tired.  Here is a picture of what the majority of the horses there looked like:

If Mochs' spine was visible like this, we would have been good to go.

Oh well, we were over it, and we got all A's.  After that we tacked up and went for a ride.  On the way back I saw a beautiful leopard Appy mare.  She had no more excess baggage than Moch.  I walked over on Moch and talked to her owner.  The App got a BCS of 5.5.  There was NO difference in the build between her and Moch.  The only difference is the leopard App had more spots and was taller.

After our ride we got the ponies settled in their stalls.  Moch isn't the best drinker.  Klein is a champ at drinking.  She drinks out of ANYTHING, anywhere, anytime.  Moch isn't so great so I gave her some OTC Jug paste before we left on Friday and I gave her a big bucket of water, and little bucket of water with orange Gatorade powder.  She could not have cared less about being away from home for the night.  She ate all her hay, drank a little of the Gatorade water and almost the entire big bucket of water.  I could tell she laid down too, so I knew she got some good rest. 

Pony McButterpants.

The next morning the horse bat signal must have been out because Moch could tell something was about to go on. 

We tacked up and headed over to check in.  I had Mochs in a flower hackamore for this because I knew she would be excited and I didn't want to undo any progress we have done lately in the dressage ring lately.  She had the potential to pull on me and I was not about to let her catch herself in the mouth.  I have ridden her in a hack a lot and she always listens so I knew she would be fine.  I am thinking of using it when we start back over fences here pretty soon actually. 

Ready to start!

We were still like tweedle dee and tweedle dumb at the start line.  We had no clue what we were about to get into.  Thankfully both our horses take whatever is thrown at them in stride.  My friend's gelding is a super sweet guy that goes with the flow.  The time limit for the ride was 2.5 hours so we said let's make our goal two hours.

They did the count down and we were all in a group at the starting line, 21 of us.  The first part of the trail was very, very narrow and through thick trees so there was no room to do anything but go in a line.  Every one started off crunched together at a fast trot.  We just went with it.  We ended up trotting the first two miles.  

We got to the first water station and there was an entrance to another trail marked with our color but they said "OUT," indicating you come out of that spot.  We were still with a decent size group and we assumed these people knew better than us and followed them past that sign.  About half the field ended up going that way.  And really, the signs said OUT, so why would you go IN?  I'm sure you can guess where this is going...  About a mile after that a lady came down the trail and asked us if we were intro and we said yes.  She said "Ok me too, turn around, we are going the wrong way.  We should have went in the fence at the water."  What?  The fence that had our signs that said OUT.  Awesome trail marking guys.  So, we turned around and hurried back to the water, went in the fence.  The field had spread out by now so my friend and I could pace ourselves however we wanted. 

The trails were GORGEOUS.  Part of it was by the river, and it's just a beautiful area.

Taking a walk break.

Since we got off track we ended up doing 12 miles.  We exceeded our goal though.  We were going for 10 miles in two hours and we did our 12 miles in two hours and that wasn't really pushing it either because neither of us were a, there to compete, and b, run our horses into the ground.  That was a comfortable ride and the ponies felt good.  Mochs was GREAT.  She wasn't tired at all by the end.  She was a little strong because she was so excited for the first few miles but she eventually settled.


Here comes the funniest part.  I hope you all laugh as much as we did.  We get to the finish line like hell yeah, we have half an hour to spare!  The timer wrote our times on our cards and told us to make it to the vet box within the 30 mins we had left.  Ok, no problem.  We untacked and sponged the ponies.  We ate snacks, drank some water, let the ponies graze for a few, then we were like well, we better head over to the vet box, we have 10 mins left. 

On the way over we saw two people in the vet box already that we had passed on the trail.  We were like "Why are they in there already?  They have 15 more mins.  What's the hurry?"

I did not get the same vet that I had the day prior.  The vet I had for the vet out was very nice.  Moch got all A's again and had a pulse of 44, the minimum required is 60.  My friend's horse had the same.  We were so proud.  When we saw our times they were 2:27.  What?  We came in at 2 hours??? dawned on us and why those two ladies were in the vet box before us.  Your time officially stops when you vet out.  We busted up laughing and renamed ourselves Dumb and Dumber.  We totally thought that your time stops when you come across the line and then if you vet out ok your time is official.  We didn't know the clock kept running until you vet out.  We still finished 11th and 12th out of 21 even after adding two miles to the ride and taking our sweet ass time back to the vet box.

We were there for fun so we didn't care and we will laugh about this for a while.  We still had a blast and agreed we'll do another one together.  

Getting ready to load up and head home.  Ina had the right idea!

Overall I am really glad we did the ride.  We really had a great time and it was a great gauge of fitness.  I'm super proud of Mochi! 

Moch and I stopped at the truck wash on the way home.  My truck and trailer needed a bath and the truck wash was on the way home, so we stopped.  I pulled in the wash bay and told the guys to give me a second because I needed to unload my horse and close up my trailer.  

Moch in the wash bay.

I unloaded Mochs in the wash bay and every person that worked there had to come out and stare.  I don't think they heard me say I was getting my horse out.  Moch and I walked outside so she could graze while we waited.