Friday, August 31, 2018

In Anticipation

I'm basically all packed and ready to head out in the morning for what's basically my endurance loaded next two months! Three rides in the course of seven weeks.

I'm SO excited.

I also finally got my ribbon in the mail for placing at the Hunter Pace with my team but I keep forgetting to take the ribbon out to the barn and make Gwyn pose all official-like.

ah well :D

The plan for the weekend:

Drive up/over to the west side of the state Saturday AM
Set up camp
Help hang night time trail markers for the 100 milers (Yay volunteering!)
25 mile LD Sunday AM
Chill out Sunday PM with Alicia and her kid (bathing suit brought for the lake just in case)
Monday AM be the timer for the monday rides
Pack up camp and go home

This is a ride I haven't been to before so it'll be all new trails! Alicia is already there with her daughter, who I haven't met yet.

Just, in general I'm excited for the weekend. And I'm hoping that even if the actual ride doesn't go as planned that since I have other activities worked in (volunteering) that it'll still be enjoyable.

Monday, August 20, 2018

DIY Camping Corral

Over labor day weekend I will be going to the White River Endurance ride. As I chose the cheapest campsites I won't have high line posts to use so I needed a good way to contain Gwyn in an open field.

Hence, this project! I followed another blogger's instructions but found them... lacking. They were not specific into the length of the poles they used and upon further inquiry, their numbers were way off.

I'll have a breakdown of everything I did, including cost. It did come out cheaper than purchasing a kit or buying panels from an online store. It's still not cheap however, so be prepared to spend a couple hundred dollars. But you can get this project done in a weekend, even with kids ;)  Additionally, it would definitely be cheaper to do an electric pen. So keep that in mind if you are pondering which containment method to pick. My highline kit was only $40, but I can't use it this trip.

The nitty gritty!

Materials list:

QuantityItem DescriptionCost per individual itemTotal spentNotes
211 1/4 inch PVC Conduit pipe 10 ft$4.86$102.06Buy 10 or more, get the bulk price, save $11.34, original price was $5.40/pole
481 1/4 inch PVC Ts$1.88$90.24No bulk discount, GRRRR
81 1/4 inch PVC cross$3.26$26.08
161 1/4 inch PVC elbow$1.81$28.96
2PVC cement$8$16You probably only need one if you don't spill it like me
2Spray paint$3.87$7.74Optional, I used leftover cans from a previous project so this was not a cost for me
1Bag of zip ties$9.88$9.88For holding the panels together, you can choose your method
4Wrap it carabiner straps$2.25$9.00I'm using these for transport in the trailer and for attaching to the trailer while camping
2Bungee cord with toggle balls (8pack)$5.98$11.96Also for holding panels together
8Step in t posts$1.99$15.92Already had these for other projects
Total Cost$317.84

So, to cost compare to these portable pens:

Apple Picker Portable Travel Corral   $429 plus $50 shipping fee
Metal pens from Travelncorrals starting at $599 not including shipping
Carrilite  Portable Corral  $869

If we want to compare PVC to PVC, if you buy a kit with everything already measured and you still have to put it together, you go here

For a two rail (mine is three rail) with custom color, it's $319 and does include bungees.  It's $399 to get 8 panels of 3 rail and only comes as a fully assembled package.

I think it's worthwhile, and remember, I didn't spend that total this weekend as I already had the spray paint and tposts.

When you need 48 connectors, you just ask the Home Depot employees to get you the boxes of pvc fittings

First step is spray paint your fittings because color coordination is key

Totally think that you have enough spray paint left over from making poles

Realize that in fact you do not have enough and curse that you have two different purples and then not even enough to make everything purple. Begrudgingly use pink.

Start cutting pvc.
This is the way we broke down the cutting as the plan calls for using the wide end of the conduit for the legs of the fence panels.

Definitely NOT to scale, lol
Also, each panel is 4ft high by 5ft long, so you'd get a 10x10 enclosure with 8 panels.

You need 3 poles to complete one panel. A part of the third pole is used for the next panel. It all ends up working out with the 21 poles and the you end up with about 5ft leftover. If I had enough leftover 16inch pieces I didn't cut the next pole and just went back to doing the 13-16-30-30-30 cuts.

Very easy to cut with one of these

I assembled without glue as I went so that I could keep track of which pieces I needed.  This worked for my brain. 

There were thieves who tried to 'help' me

Gwyn supervised and yelled at me when it got to be dinner time and I was still cutting things.

Those blue spots are where I knocked over the can of pvc cement. 

Once everything was glued together I loaded them into the truck and drove them around to the trailer

They fit with room to spare in the other stall of the trailer but in a pinch I could fit them in front of Gwyn.

I even had room to keep the divider nice and wide for loading Gwyn.

They are strapped down both to each other and to the trailer to minimize movement

I have four of those orange things. They are velcro straps with a carabiner (linked above) 
I figure using the orange velcro straps for attaching the panels to the trailer will make it a quick release in a similar way that my trailer ties are velcro safety release. They'll give under enough pressure. Then I have the bungee with balls to attach the panels to one another and zip ties as a back up to that.

I'm pretty proud I got this all done in a weekend. Now it's less things to think about for the endurance ride in less than two weeks!

Addison Township Watershed Preserve

I had a doctors appointment Thursday so I left early. The appointment was quick and I got home SO EARLY OMG.

I had already kind of planned this and wore leggings and my ariats to work, lol. Then I called Eric and asked if I ran the dishwasher and a load of clothes if he would mind single parenting it for a bit so I could take Gwyn out for a trail ride.

He readily agreed. Muahahah.

So with the sky dark and sporadically rainy, I loaded Gwyn up quickly and we headed south to the Watershed Preserve. It's the second closest trail location for me, the first being the local trailhead for Polly Ann but I didn't want to subject Gwyn's feet to the rocks until I can get her other Megasus up and ready for her. It's measured out, I just have to trim it and get the clips in place.

This is the trail map. It's a tiny park but available for riding.
Thankfully, there were no big horse flies but there were plenty of deer flies. They were not that bad all told.

Starting out from the bathroom and trail map message board.

 There's a lot of varied terrain over a very short course. There's edge of marsh riding, through pine tree groves, meadows, fishing ponds and deciduos forest. You pass through a couple biomes, it's part of why I love it.
Coming up to the fishing pond

Dude wasn't having much luck

Coming down into the marsh

Beaver dam

Slating Lake. There is a dock and you can portage boats in from the parking lot.

Trail was blocked so we rerouted through the woods and made our own path.

Saw another guy coming to fish.

Wide, grassy spaces for cantering

Trail splits. I went right the first time, and left the second. They meet up again.

Other side of the fishing pond.

The large treefall that Gwyn was very smart about navigating. I was so proud and happy.

I would try and jump it if we go again. It's maybe 2'6" ish? With decent footing and a slight uphill coming up this way.

There's a little historic school house at the parking lot

With a giant fucking wasp nest

And then we met a little boy and his grandfather. Gwyn was very gentle.

As you can see, there was a lot of overlap but I pretty much covered every trail available to me with a few exceptions that needed to be cleared.

LOL, weather is "dreary"  Accurate

Monday, August 13, 2018

Wolcott Mill Metropark Ride

On Saturday Alicia and I made plans to go trail riding. We didn't have much of a goal in mind other than get the horses in shape for the endurance rides we were planning on doing this fall. Plans were equally compounded by Gwyn still not having a shoe on one of her front feet plus the velcro stickers were loose on her feet so I had just pulled it off so the Megasus were out of the question. My farrier is coming Monday and I didn't feel like wasting a velcro thinger for a day. My goal was to go to a place where the footing wouldn't negatively effect Gwyn.

Highlights from my helmet cam

Wolcott Mill seemed good. While it would be fairly boring as it's just farm field edge riding with some woods it's also pretty well groomed as it's one of the few places that's good for people to come and use their carriages. It's nice and wide and mowed. The last time I was there was in 2015. I was hoping it wouldn't be as muddy as last time since we've been lacking some regular rain lately.
Wide, groomed trails

Right away, the horse flies decided to be horrendous. They were the giant ones, big black, the size of a fingernail and not your pinky unless you have humongo hands. They drove Gwyn absolutely mad. They really liked landing on her butt, right in the little dip on her spine where she couldn't reach with her tail. She figured out that if she bucked it would flip her tail up and over to swish at them but honestly I just tried to smack them as much as possible. The fuckers would dodge as soon as they saw my hand.

So this ride was characterized by a TON of bucking and kicking on Gwyn's part, while she was being perfectly behaved. Several times she broke into a trot just to try to escape them. So noted, Gwyn. We will not do Wolcott again in the summer. We'll wait for fall when the bugs are dead. The deer flies were equally bad but not as maddening. Fly spray did nothing.

 The parking is on the north side of 29 mile road but all of the trails are on the south side. So rather than cross a sometimes busy mile road, we go under it!
I was pointing out a deer, this is the view immediately on the other side of the road

Random ridiculous giant rock ditch that we bypassed

Baby deer bounding toward us! Watch the video for a better view

Hello storm clouds
 We started hearing thunder at this point in the ride and shrugged it off. The storm seemed fairly distant.

Alicia and the Storm

You can see the B52 bomber fly

It was right around this time that we saw lightning and suddenly getting back to the trailers was urgent.

Back under 29 Mile Rd

Alicia's reins got stuck when she tried to use them to get rid of a deer fly on his ear. It didn't work, lol

River view

In the woods heading back to parking

Endomondo Stats

Side by side map comparison from 2015 and Saturday. We covered some new ground. This gives me hope for going back for some good conditioning mileage.