Thursday, July 29, 2010

Since the ride...

I gave Boomer a full 10 days off since the HTH ride was so hard.  Our first ride back was OK, but Boomer was really spooky and not being himself.  After a little thought I realized that he had been off his calming supplement for almost 2 weeks since I hadn't been out riding him!  I had suspected that the SmartB1 was working, but now I know for sure!  It was just one of those days where he was looking sideways at anything and everything and our hoof prints around the ring weren't exactly going in a straight line near things like piles of cones or scary doors.  

I rode him again Thursday expecting the same and was pleasantly surprised with a soft, forward horse!  Boomer was awesome today and was willing to do anything we tried!  I was thrilled with him!  He was a little 'looky' at the beginning but rode out of it quickly.  We worked on getting the trot more forward and swinging, instead of a lazy stride.  I think that endurance has really helped him find his stride as he trots out bigger for hours at a time.  His 'dressage trot' has improved and gotten a longer stride and faster tempo lately.  The canter was relaxed and trotting after the canter was much improved!  We worked on shoulder-in and leg yielding, both of which were very good.  It was actually the first time he really stayed straight for the leg yield and I actually felt him reaching under with the back leg.  It is hard to describe but it almost felt  like he was moving me over through my seat with his leg.  Like a rocking boat, the wave goes under you from left to right as you are moving forward.  That was super cool to feel what it felt like to do something right!  We also worked on trot-halt-trot transitions.  Those were a little hard, Boomer didn't want to stay straight, but he definitely has the power and push for it!  Halting square is something we need to work on more.  

I just had so much fun riding him today!  What a day!  

I am looking for someone who does custom leather work to make me new saddle fenders since mine ripped last weekend.  If you have any recommendations, let me know!  I need someone who can match oil and tooling.  Photo recommendations would be awesome!  Leave a message with the name and phone number!  Thanks!

Friday, July 23, 2010

HTH- Lake Oologah Pictures

"Put your ears up"

Riding for Team De-Lyte Bites!!!

We had to travel from camp to the trail head at 4am.  A nap was in order for the boys after I left!

Camp set up at the trail head

Untacking after loop 1

Pulse checking

Vet presentation

Trot out

Snack time!

Yum! Apples!

A butterfly landed on Boomer's rump before loop 3.

We drove back from the trail head to ride camp to spend another night before driving home.

Taking a walk before loading into the trailer to drive home

Home at last!  Boomer was EXCITED to be home!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Hotter Than Hell- Lake Oologah

We went to Lake Oologah for the first ride in the Hotter Than Hell series.  It really was hotter than hell.  On ride day, the high was around 103 and the humidity was upwards of 80%.  It was bad.  13 or 14 riders started and 7 finished.  Boomer and I came in 4th.  We were last all day until the last loop and people were just really dragging.  Boomer was doing well and we passed three riders by the time we got to the finish.  We finished with about 25 minutes left to spare and were less than 45 minutes behind the leaders.  The loops were all the same 16 mile loop with 2 miles added on a lollypop at the start of loop one.  I finished the first two loops in about 3.5 hours and the final loop in about 2.5 hours.    

The reason the trail was so slow was not just the heat.  It was also the HUGE amount of water on the trail.  The trail went around the lake and the lake went up 9 feet in the few days before the ride.  Parts of the trail were totally submerged.  We went through water up to our knees while on horseback.  It had to be 4 feet deep in places!  These were not just 30 foot wide river crossings either.  They were entire sections of trail.  We were knee deep for 5-8 minutes at a time for probably 8 times during the ride.  The water was deep enough that the horses tails were floating out behind them.  I have NEVER seen anything like it in my life!  

The water was both a blessing and a curse.  It was the reason that we were out in the sun for so long, but it also saved many horses from heat exhaustion.  Without the water, I don't think anyone would have completed.  Though, because of how much it slowed the ride down, we had to trot or canter everything else to make time.  The downside to this was that walking through chest deep water isn't exactly a 'break' for the horses.  

At the vet checks everyone was taking almost the full 30 minutes alloted to reach pulse criteria.  The horses were all hot and panting.  5 riders pulled on their own and two were pulled for not reaching pulse criteria in time.  None needed veterinary treatment.  Everyone rode this ride very well and was smart about taking care of their horses.  Those who finished truly learned the difference between and endurance race and an endurance ride.  This ride was not a race.  People stopped being competitive after the fist loop and just focused on riding their horses within their limits.  

On the final loop, I noticed that my right stirrup fender had a small tear in the leather.  I joked to John that I would be back in camp without a stirrup.  Guess what happened 5 minutes into that loop.  Yup.  Lost my right stirrup.  My plan had been to ride loop 3 as fast as I could to make time because we had an hour to pulse down at the finish.  I was suddenly so thankful for all of the riding lessons from my childhood.  We used to have to post the trot for an entire hour long lesson while the instructor shouted out 'drop both stirrups', 'pick up the left stirrup', 'post with right stirrup only'.  The reasoning was that if we were in the show ring and lost a stirrup, our posting trot should not lose tempo and we should pick the stirrup back up without faltering so that the judge would never know what had happened.  Well, that was a well learned lesson.  At about mile 12, my legs started getting sore and I started sitting the trot more.  At mile 14, my left stirrup broke.  I went the final two miles to the finish line with both of my stirrups hanging on my saddle horn.   

Upon arrival to the final check, it took just over 30 minutes to pulse down and we vetted through with mostly A's and a few B's.  

This was the hardest ride I have ever done and I am so proud of Boomer for being such a trooper!  He worked so hard and encountered a lot of new things.  He learns so much every time we do an endurance ride.  There is nothing like the stresses of competition to get a horse well trained.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Great News!!!

John and I have been having a very hard time with the prospect of moving back to Bartlesville.  We just love Lawrence so much.  We have lived here for a year now and the newness hasn't worn off.  We love being surrounded by educated people, having community activities every weekend, and limitless local food options!  We love the parks, restaurants, and shops.  Lawrence is one of those places where you feel right at home no matter who you are around.  The past few weekends have been host to an art festival in the park, the annual tamale festival, and a folk music festival in the park.  

Getting the news of another job transfer made John and I fall in love with Lawrence all over again.  We started noticing the little things that we took for granted, visiting restaurants we love more frequently.  We were just trying to soak it all up before we left.  

We talked about starting our own family and what it would mean for our priorities.  We would rather raise kids in Lawrence.  We love the progressive attitude and kid friendly activities.  The school districts are great.  

We started doubting our decision to accept the position.  John didn't want to back out for fear of stymieing his career.  I didn't blame him.  We knew there would be trade-offs.  We could get land and be closer to family.  But we were still sad.  It felt like a huge loss.  

Then, after nearly a month of waiting, we found out some great news!  

We get to stay!!!

Corporate decided that Lawrence needs engineers more than Bartlesville and has decided to give John one of the other open positions here in Lawrence.  It seems that the Bartlesville plant is being slowly phased out and there is a chance they may not even fill the position John was looking at.  

To say we are ecstatic would be an understatement!  We are so thrilled!  I am so thankful that we get to stay here!    

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Family visits

John and I have had a lot of fun family visits this summer!  We love having guests at our house and showing them the lovely town of Lawrence!  

My mom has been up to visit a few times and we make an amazing strawberry-rhubarb pie with rhubarb fresh picked the day before in Minnesota.  

While she was here we had a huge flash flood and our yard looked like this for an hour:

We have a creek just behind our fence and the water in our yard was running rapidly.  At the highest, I think it was up about 12-14 inches!

Mom also came out to the barn to visit and got to see Boomer!

We have also had John's sister's family up to visit for John's Birthday.  We had a blast with his sister, her husband and their two kids!  We adore our niece and nephew and had so much fun with them!  Kami is almost 3 and Xander is almost 1.  They came out to the barn to see the horses because Kami LOVES horses.  I had nothing to do with that, I swear.  It surely wasn't the pony rides and horse books.  Or subtle hints about horses being the best animals ever.  I asked Kami what she knew about horses and she said "Horses are gentle".  I almost fell over dead.  That girl is the cutest thing I have ever seen!  

We are so lucky to have such great family!