Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Professional Photos from Oak Leaf Run

I've been a bit quiet on the blog front lately.  My thoughts are all over the place thanks to current events.

This was a welcome distraction to see yesterday. All photos are credited to Cathy Seaver and used with purchase.

Coming into the hold.

Heading out on the second loop.

Plus a Hazel, who was a hit at camp.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Oak Leaf Run 2016 - 30 mile LD

Our camp. We picked it out in the dark since it was first come first served. The truck tent went up well. Gwyn was perfect on the hi line. She adapted quite well for only being on it two or three times before. And while we had horse neighbors, she was effectively solo.  Good pony!

My alarm went off and I snuck out of the tent to go figure out when the LDs were leaving. I had about an hour (the 50s were leaving when I asked) so I signed in, paid and went to tack up since Mary (the ride vet) said I could vet in tacked up. 

When I got back Eric and Hazel were getting up so I helped get her cozy in the carrier that Eric prefers. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Camping Checklist

Am I missing anything?

Living arrangements
Truck tent
blankets for layering
camp pads for truck layering
outdoor rug for truck layering
sleeping bags
pillows (2)
changing pad for Hazel sleep

Horse necessities
Hi tie
lead ropes
saddle pad
grooming tote
bale of hay
hay bag
muck bucket
muck fork
riding boots
half chaps
water bottle holder and water bottle
ziploc bag for map and rider card
water bucket
water in storage tank
fleece cooler
wool cooler

Riding pants
3 pair underwear
hiking socks (2 pair)
t shirt
long sleeve tshirt
fleece vest
zip jacket (light)
fleece jacket
yoga pants

Fleece jammies
wool onesie
wool footed pants
knitted  sleepsack
fleece sleep sack
footed pants
long sleeve onesies


Premade coffee drinks

Premade sandwiches?

Acquire on road?
Breast pump
frozen milk

Miscellaneous Other
Baby bjorn
flash lights
Phone chargers
Phone battery pack

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Metamora Hunt Hunter Trials

Alas, I didn't run my GPS so this day won't count for Distance Derby mileage. It was still a great day! I entered into two classes, a trail flat class where you follow a course but don't jump and then a baby jump course.  It had some of the permanent obstacles you see in the photos and also some itty bitty stadium jumps next to larger obstacles. Everything here was built to mimic what would be found out while hunting. 

Gwyn did pretty well. She doesn't like to turn left, which I'm beginning to suspect is due in part to the damage to her eye prior to the snakebite. I think we can work on it, but until then, turning left, especially at speeds faster than a walk, are an issue.  Thankfully I was here to have fun so taking wide right turns to then approach a jump with a hard left approach was fine to me.  And Gwyn was super brave over the fences. She only ran out on one (from a left bend) and circled around and went over after that. I think she prefers the solid fences to the pole ones. Those she can just push through.

I also tried to hold off on this post because there was a photographer there that day. They haven't been posted yet!!!  So I'm posting this now and I'll do a follow up with the pro shots of me actually riding.
It was a beautiful day. 

Kaylee also entered in a class! Her first horse show!  We dressed Gwyn up as a unicorn and really made an impression. Again, no photos since Eric was on Hazel duty but I'm waiting on that photographer.

Friday, September 16, 2016

I found Hunt Country

I picked the kids up from daycare and decided to go find where the Hunt Pace will meet next month (on my birthday!)  If things are close I like finding them before driving there with a horse trailer, just so I have an idea of what to expect with the roads and distance.

We were in for a treat.
Water complex with bank jumps.

Coop jump

The intersection listed on the Hunt Pace. I'm betting we park in this hay field.

Perfect pastures. I'm envious.

Only an hour from Detroit, folks, 30 minutes from the mess of Flint.  And like 10 minutes from my house, and it takes that long because it's all dirt road and you have to go slow to avoid ridiculous washouts and potholes.  

I wonder if they'll let me trailer over there to ride...?

And now I feel a huge desire to really shape up my pastures because my little farm is all raggly scraggly compared to those places and I'm kind of embarrased.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Safety Vests!

Being fat is not always conducive to riding. It's hard to find riding pants, but thankfully not impossible (I love you Kerrits!) Tall boots are out of the question until I'm willing to pay over $500 for customs or until my calves shrink. Show clothes are equally difficult to find unless I'm willing to pay. In other words, it's hard, but not impossible and requires lots of digging through online stores. Brick and mortars rarely have anything that fits me. Usually it's the size just below. I'm not that far out of 'standard' sizing. There is one item that has eluded me thus far. A safety vest for riding.

I've been wanting to take Gwyn Cross Country schooling for a while now, just to introduce her to baby jumps, but I can't as I'm required to wear a safety vest to school and compete. These are foam and are designed to protect you in the event of a fall. When I was a kid they were suggested but not required, but times change. They are now required and when you have a bust of near 50" and a waist that's similar, there just isn't a product that's easily found on the market.

But I found one. And for a damned decent price too.  The really cheap ones are about $150 and offer some protection, or the appearance of protection.  The expensive ones (without going custom) are $350+. Then, if you go into inflatable vests that puff up when you leave the saddle it gets even more expensive to buy the vest AND the CO2 canisters since it's a one time use thing. The one I found is made in the UK. Only 2 US retailers carry it and around the $350 price tag.

But thanks to currency exchanges and Brexit, a UK store is selling the size I need for $250 which includes shipping and customs charges.  SOLD.

Additionally, since I just got paid for my first article, that's what's funding this purchase. I'm so stoked. I'm one step closer to Xcountry schooling. There's a course nearby that is open for schooling, so YAY. YAYAYAYAY

If you're similarly well endowed in the body fat department, check out this website for body protectors.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Metropark Express 2016

One of my goals was to get to this event and I did it!  Originally I think I wanted to do the LD but upon reflection of the respective fitness level of both me and Gwyn, I decided it was better to do the intro. Plus, I really didn't think me being away from Hazel for long was a good idea. As it was, I was out 7 hours with travel and she didn't eat THE WHOLE TIME.  Silly baby.  But she was good for Eric, so that was good.

It felt like she was up every hour to fuss and feed the night prior and so when 4:30am rolled around and my alarm was set for 5, I just said fuck it and got up.  I pumped, finished getting things ready, and went to load Gwyn in the dark. Then I chased Gwyn around the property before she gave up and got on. It took less time than last week.

Kensington Metropark is an hour and 10 minutes away. If I take the highway, it's 70 miles, if I take backroads, 55miles. I took back roads. Bonus, I got to avoid construction.
I've arrived!

I'm friends with one of the organizers on facebook and she messaged me to let me know that the other rider doing the intro was planning on leaving with the LD riders (there were no 50s on day 2)  I decided to join them. The start was really low key and Gwyn did great. She wanted to go go go but was listening really well. My goal was to ride an average 6 mph pace for the ride. A 12 mile ride meant I would be done in 2 hours. Achievable!

The day was beautiful. I had a tech shirt on with a fleece vest while I was tacking up. The saturday ride had been brutal thanks to heat and humidity, but today was just spectacular and great for my draftie. I wore just the tech shirt on the ride.

This park sprays for bugs so there were NONE. It was so nice. And the forest was cool and pleasant with occasional spots where the trail was in the sun.

The one other intro rider was bringing a new horse along. He was totally down for my pace plan and we had similar views on how to ride the ride with our horses. It was nice to have someone to chat with. Last year I rode with a mom and daughter but they walked nearly the whole thing and it was brutal. It was so nice to actually move and cover some ground with purpose. My ass didn't get nearly as sore.

We had less dramatics over the water crossings this year, haha.

And I remembered where the trail went so I didn't get lost this time!

There's a water slide and lake over there.

On the I-96 trail (so named because it's an out and back down to the highway) you have to sign in that you got there so they know you didn't cheat the distance. I asked if I could just take a picture of me there. Ride management was a little stunned at the idea. I mean... I don't think I could get Gwyn close enough to write... or get off and get back on. Thankfully my buddy checked me in.

But I still took a picture for proof.

Snack break!  We took brief snack breaks for the horses and always let them drink from the streams we encountered. This trail is nice because there's a lot of water on trail that's good for the horses.

We took turns leading.  Both horses were fine. Yay!

Chill pony.

This sign was concerning for Gwyn, lol

Huron River

Out onto the blue loop, which we apparently didn't need to do. They changed it on us last minute, since blue had trees down after the storm the night before. Oops.

Easy tree to get around.

HARD tree to get around.

Crossing the river.

And into the river!

We played in this river last November, when I hand walked Gwyn on the trails with the Distance Derby folks. This time I got to ride in!  Gwyn walked right and took some nice deep drinks. I think going in right before we did vetting really helped her cool down. 

Proof! Yay!

 Vet card: Gwyn was a little muscle sore on her left front shoulder but nothing that impacted her gait. Her pulse was spectacular. We could have gone out for another 10/12 I think. I'm glad I didn't push it though.

I got a sweet t shirt