Training has been going well and the weather is mostly cooperative. I hate to be a wuss about the weather but we board on a flood plain and the whole place, even the hay pasture, turns to either mud or standing water for 3-4 days after a rain. It has been useful in getting Boomer over his fear of water and changes in footing, but not really conducive for doing more than a walk. Though, we rode yesterday and the ground was dried up enough for trotting but we still walked around all of the turns because there were lots of slick spots. Boomer had more energy yesterday than I have ever seen him have. It was a focused energy though, and wasn't spooky or jumpy. We walked and trotted for 1:20 and he felt more focused and relaxed by the end of the ride, but he still had just as much energy! I will ride him again this afternoon and tomorrow as well to try and capitalize on this focused energy before it starts to rain again for the weekend. I am really hoping for no rain Friday-Sunday so that we can haul out to Copan for a trail ride. Though, Copan is close enough that we could go after John gets off work during the week.
I have been feeding Boomer 4 cups of Ultium (12% protein, 12% fat, 18% fiber) and 4 cups of Horseman's Edge (12% protein, 6% fat, 12% fiber) plus one cup of vegetable oil and his hoof supplement daily. On ride days, I also give him a 4 gallon bucket of soaked beet pulp and two scoops of our electrolyte mix (3 parts salt/salt lite, 1 part calcium carbonate). I think that this gives him what he needs to stay fit and maintain his shape. During actual competitions or hard trail training, I also plan on giving 1 cup of Ultium added to a bucket of water per 10 miles of riding at intervals during the ride. Purina has just introduced a new food that I am very interested in. Omolene 500 (12% protein, 8% fat, 9% fiber) is their newest competition food. It seems like a good mix and I like the idea of not having to mix two bags of feed for feeding time. Though it is lower in fiber than both other feeds, I think that him having free choice hay as well as beet pulp on ride days will provide plenty of fiber. It is a sweet feed, which I tend to stay away from, but they are using a blended soy fat/molasses rather than straight cane molasses. I think that this food could be a really great compromise as Ultium gives him way too much energy and Horseman's edge wouldn't allow him to perform at his peak for miles and miles. I am excited to try it and it should be available after the first of May. I still think that if we switched foods I would give him Ultium on race days at vet checks mixed with water. He loves an 'Ultium milkshake' and it will encourage him to drink water and give him a little energy boost.
Next weekend is the OKC marathon which John and a number of his friends will be running. I am really excited to see him run a marathon! His workouts have been going well lately and he is getting in some of his best times in years. I think that he will do well in the marathon and I think we are both excited to see some of his old college track buddies!
The weekend after that, we are thinking of camping out with the horse in Stillwater at Lake Carl Blackwell. We ordered a portable corral last night which will take about 2 weeks to get here. We decided that even though it is a more expensive containment option it is really the only thing that will work for us. Boomer still pulls back when tied, though not as violently. He will stop when we gets to the end of the rope when I am saying 'woah' to him. He walks forward willingly after pulling back. These are all improvements, but I just don't think I can tie him to a trailer in an open area with other people and horses around when he still predictably pulls back. I am really excited about the corral, it is collapsible and portable, so we can store it in the tackroom!
That is about all that is going on around here for now. I'll have more of an update on our training in a few days. Oh, one interesting thing I have been learning about Boomer- he loves challenging footing! Up and down ravines, dry creek beds, steep hills are all things he aims towards and locks on to. He loves one particular ravine that he trots into, goes around a bend, and jumps out! It is really fun and I like letting him pick his way through obstacles!