Saturday, August 24, 2019

LWSC Equines and Vines Prize Ride

Cortney had mentioned wanting to ride on Saturday and I knew there was an event at Lake Washington Saddle Club today for a prize ride.

For those not in the know, a prize ride (sometimes called a poker ride depending on how it's run) is a trail ride of a set distance where you have stations you hit and draw numbers. You pay for more draw opportunities. Prizes are then distributed for highest, lowest, second highest, second lowest, etc. First rider out was at noon and last rider was out at 2. We planned to meet at Bridle Trails at noon and leave around 1pm. That's not quite what happened, but it was still fun despite the change of plans!

 There's not a lot of parking at Bridle Trails for day use if it's a big event. It is decent size parking though and they have stabling for horse shows. We got parked super close to every rig and someone was there directing parking, especially since the park is also open to pedestrians.
 It's super odd because it's this giant state park in the middle of the city, about half the size of Central Park in NYC. There's about 25 miles of trails total, several riding rings and is just generally a really nice public facility that requires either a day use fee or a Discover Pass. I purchased a discover pass last minute.

Lake Washington Saddle Club hosts several shows here and now that I know where it is, I'm going to be coming here a LOT I think. It's about the same drive time as going to Lord Hill (20 min to Lord Hill, 25-30 min to Bridle Trails, which is ridiculous that I thought it was an hour) if there's no traffic and there's nice arenas for use. I still need to revisit Hollywood Hill Saddle Club arena to evaluate drive time because that arena is also free to use.
 The original plan was   that we would be riding with Cortney, Cortney's mom, and Jim. Cortney was bringing a horse for Jim to ride. Trudy couldn't make it so it was just me, Cortney and Jim. Jim was teaching lessons from 12-1 so we were going to get the horse ready and head out at 1. He ended up teaching late and going until 1:50 so we were one of the last groups out on trail, much to the organizer's dismay. That is, until we told her that if it was less than 10 miles, we'd be back under 2 hours. They really wanted to get prizes distributed.

I didn't need the boots on these trails (so NICE!) but I did want to continue stress testing before planned endurance rides in September and October....

Warmup ring and show ring to the back left
 I did run my go-pro but it didn't last even the whole ride womp womp so I switched to phone pictures. It was just so pretty in this park. I will be returning, especially in the winter since the drive won't be as harrowing getting there compared to the hill at Lord Hill.

 Since Jim hadn't ridden in a while, we weren't making endurance time on the ride, but it was still a good ride. Cortney was on her 5 year old, who still needs more exposure to events like this, Jim was on her been there done that arabian mare, Splendid, and I had Gwyn, who benefits from the distance.
Green green green: This picture will likely be unchanged in winter
 We did hit a patch of ground bees at the end, which induced a minor panic.

Coming back to the finish
 I ended up getting lowest draw of numbers and like third highest. I came out of this with a $50 gift card to the Gift Horse, the local tack shop, and a new purple helmet bag. I am thrilled! Now I can justify a pair of Roeckl gloves.... Totally worth the entry fee.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Bodywork, children, a lesson, and a trail ride

Before I left for GenCon in Indianapolis last Thursday, I had set up a time for my old Livejournal acquaintance/friend J to come out and give Gwyn a massage.

The mare herd. The paint filly has taken a liking to me and Gwyn

Odd cuts on her mouth. I wonder if it's something she's eating in the pasture?

We accidentally got the puppy stuck. The kids ran wild while Gwyn got her massage

Bodyworker's notes included:
  • overall body condition is good yay!
  • Tenderness in hamstrings and low back
  • pelvis was pulled forward into her low back on her right side, stood in a hollow pelvic posture
  • left shoulders and base of neck were adhesed
  • poll locked up, more on the left
  • good lumbar sacral range of motion
  • good limb flexibility after massage
Follow up:
  • benefit from hamstring stretches after exercise, drawing hind legs forward under her body
  • stretching the shoulder forward adn back will help maintain suppleness

She was starting to fall asleep. I think it was feeling good. 

 Her shoulders were uneven. She's showing me how to do stretches.
Containing Hazel helped by the end.

 My friend came out with her daughter for a pony ride. Everyone took a turn and Gwyn was foot perfect, even with giant dump trucks driving in and out of the property. They belonged to a dairy farm in Monroe and they lease one of the far fields and were amending the soil to prepare for winter wheat planting.
In stark contrast to previous times she's been put up on Gwyn, Hazel was thrilled to ride Gwyn, and wasn't scared. Now she wants to ride more. I'm plotting already.
Friend's child

Then I had a lesson the next week with Cortney and Jim.  Cortney brought her 'baby' Reign. I worked on applying the stretch to really establishing Gwyn being in contact and not throwing it away or holding it too tightly. Apparently I went too far in the opposite direction from no contact to too much.

Gwyn is dubious, I just got off but the lesson wasn't over...

Demonstrating how it's done.

Sunset in Fall City

I can do it too right after Jim rides her.
Gwyn proceeded to be an absolute ass loading onto the trailer and Cortney and I had to chase her around before finally being able to catch her and load her up. Of course once she decided to load, she was fine. This ultimately was a foreboding incident.
I also got new toys.
Over the weekend I was determined to get out and ride. Between a DnD session that I was running being planned at the last minute, to Eric working an extra day on Sunday, I wasn't sure how I would fit it in, but Eric got back early enough that I thought I could fit in a short, local trail ride at Lord Hill.
Goober knows she's in deep shit.
I decided to load in the resting pasture since it would be fully contained. Unfortunately, it's also several acres in size and Gwyn has... become herdbound and is NOT food motivated. She got away from me twice before I even asked her to load, so she's also starting to anticipate my efforts to mitigate her previous running away attempts by twisting and pulling the leadline out of my hands.

I am not happy with her. I need to get gloves. Or a fucking chain over her nose. Either way, she was cantering and trotting across the pasture for between 45-60 minutes. Then once I caught her for good I lunged her ass from the bottom of the field up to the trailer, tied her to the trailer and got my lunge line set for loading and she walked on with no fuss. She arrived sweaty. And then I made her fucking work on those trails. I had no sympathy.
Cars aren't supposed to use this lot. It's got the easiest entry to the park because horses so the humans use it even though they have a dedicated path that just happens to have more elevation change.

It was nice and cool in the forest. There were surprisingly few bugs and no mosquitoes. It has been pretty dry, though I did see some spots of marshy water.
The light had that beautiful, end of summer, evening golden look to it. It was hard to capture on film.

I didn't bring a whip or crop since I wanted Gwyn to walk all the hills and not power up them through the magic of momentum. She was tired and not at all motivated to move forward.

She did seem to move well with the scoot boots on though, which bodes well! This trail is not barefoot friendly.

There was one other rider who left right before I did. I only saw her at the very end. We ended our ride at the same time. No drama getting on to go home. We'll see if the lesson was learned. I was not about to lose that fight of stubbornness.

Also, her dam's influence shone through on this ride. When she was going away from the trailer she minced her way downhill in the scoot boots and I thought for sure something was wrong and the boots were rubbing or something. But once she realized that we were heading back toward the parking lot, she moved out and power walked up and down hills with no issue. Stella used to do the same thing. She'd gimp her way away from home and the moment we would turn around, the head bob would be gone.

I checked her feet all over at the end. No rubs after 4.5 miles. We walked, trotted and cantered. We'll see how it holds up to longer distances. I'm already planning an outing with Cortney on Saturday. Lake Washington Saddle Club has a Wine Prize ride and we are going!
Gwyn says it wasn't fair. I say if we want to move up to 50s, or even just do LDs out here in the PNW, she needs to get over it.