Saturday, April 11, 2009

Deep in the heart of Texas

OK, I have gotten behind in my blog, and updating Hanks adventures. But, I know I am not the first to get behind in their blog, so I hope I am forgiven. ;-)

Two weeks ago, I sent my entry in for the Deep In The Heart of Texas NATRC ride. Then during the week before the ride, I had my truck in for some routine maintenance, when they found the pinion bearings had gone out. So, I told them they needed fixed, and to do the repair. Originally they thought the truck would not be done until Friday afternoon, late. And, the repair bill was huge, so I cancelled the ride. But, they got the truck done Thursday afternoon, and the original cost was about $200 less that anticipated, so I was able to swing heading on down to the ride.

Early Friday AM, pre-dawn, I loaded up Hank, and Flag to drive the 200+ miles to the ride. I took Flag along so he could camp, and because this ride has some corrals he could stay in while I rode. Arrived before 9AM, and got settled in, and the horses all situated. I decided that I should get Flag out for a ride, as he would not get out for the rest of the weekend. we went out and did a quick 8 miles, in about an hour. Goodness he is so much fun to ride.

Hank got washed, and then late in the afternoon, we got all checked in. Even though I had a corral, Flag was doing so well on the Hi-Tie on the trailer, I had him spend the night tied. He did excellent, and the next AM I put him in the corral, and headed out on Hank.

Flag and Hank at camp at the ride.

Saturday gave us a change to our spring time weather, and the day heated up to about 90 degrees.

Hank and I heading out Saturday Morning. Love this picture Jim (Optical Harmonics) took.

The trails have a variety of wooded areas, and open sections out in the sunshine. This was the first really warm / hot ride of the year. Most horses are shedding, but Hank still has some of his winter coat that has not dropped yet. His pulse was running a tad higher than normal, and I assume it was just the heat. In fact, he lost a point at one pulse check for it not dropping as it should have. But, all his other metabolic checks were fine, and his energy level was normal. We came back through camp between the different trail loops, which was nice t be able to make a quick stop, down some cold Gatorade, and let Hank grab a bite to eat. By the end of the day though, I had dealt with enough of this early summer weather. Whew...

Sunday dawned much cooler. About 30 degrees cooler, with wind!

Early morning trot out for vet to the light of headlights before the sun came up

Texas does have big weather changes, and you never know what it will be one day to the next. Today, Hanks pulse was normal all day, and again, his other metabolic parameters were doing great. My friend Dolly was riding Hanks friend Chance. I had to keep watching that they were not catching up to us, as they would both be more interested in buddying up, than doing what WE wanted. Every once and awhile, I'd see them peek out around a corner behind us, and I would pick up the pace a bit. Over all, it worked out well, and we never had them see each other to try to exchange pleasantries. Hank was a pretty good boy with the horsemanship judges obstacles, including the section of meadow we had to trot, canter, trot and halt. He has come a long way, as it would have been trot, buck-buck-buck, trot, halt in the past.

Sunday on the trail. Can you tell Hank is an Arab? Look at that tail!

We rode 25.5 miles each day, at a 5.5mph pace. The trails have a good amount of small up and downs, and plenty of rocks to pick our way through. I was pleased with how Hank did. Each ride seems to be just a little tougher in one way or another than the previous ride. Either by speed, or terrain, or both.

The one photo I took from the trail. I know, I was a slacker this weekend

At final check out, the vet gave Hank good metabolic numbers, and he was sound. She had a different way to check backs, where she graded the back as to how tight the back muscles were, and also if they were sore. many horses had some degree of tightness in their backs, including Hank. Made me curious to look into this more in the future, and consider what makes the back tight. The hills? The saddle? Or just normal for the horse, and if it is something I can work on to keep it relaxed at the end of the ride.

So now, it was time to start packing up TWO horses, and wait for awards. Flag was a champ, and should be no problem to camp with at the upcoming Arkansas ride, where the hubby will be competing him. He ate, drank, and stayed tied like he had lived next to the horse trailer many times. For being a silly, goofy, some times odd horse, he amazes me how things like this he wil take in stride.

This was Hanks 4th ride this season. The first one was 90 days post surgery, and it was now about 6 months after the surgery. The first ride we had a few metabolic fluctuations, but nothing serious. He got 2nd at that ride. Then the rest of the season he has had almost no metabolic changes through out the weekend, especially in his gut sounds. I have done some changes on how I feed him pre ride, and then at the rides, which I think has helped to keep his metabolics steady. The next two rides he has placed first, in some large classes. And again, this weekend, he placed first in his class. I am so blessed to have Hank alive and in my pasture, let alone for him to be doing so well, and so healthy to be doing distance riding. Every ride I can't help but to get emotional at awards, and start to cry. This ride I had others getting teary eyed with me. Oops. Did not mean to...really!

So, next ride is in Arkansas, next weekend. I have ridden this ride once in the past, and loved the trails, mountains, and the beauty of the area. It will be great to be able to have my hubby come along and enjoy the trails with me. Hopefully his silly horse will be a good boy, and not give us too much to blog about.

1 comment:

Mikey said...

Just found your blog and had to book mark it! Hank is a very special horse (Flag too!) but he is one of a kind and you are so blessed to get to do all that you do.
I'll have to come back and read more, but what an adventurous life!