Sunday – March 21

Shake Rattle and Show

Well – not quite in that order – today was more like Show, Shakes and Rattlers

We got up early and headed to Pasadena where I entered Louie at the Rose Bowl riders dressage schooling show. It was a lovely location, a wonderful show, and my classes were at 9:54 and 10:14, so we actually got home at 1:30 pm. Great SHOW.


I was just watching the video review of my two tests when there was a knock at the door. One of the boarders was out to ride her horse, and she noticed that one of our old horses was having ‘problems’. “Mister is Shaking, and I think something is wrong” she told me. I headed out and yep, the 31 yr old horse was probably having a stroke!!! I caught him up, and tried to get him to calm down – he was so frightened and stressed, his blood pressure had to be over the top, and it would kill him. I spent an hour with him, getting him to settle. I finally got him out in the round pen where there was less for him to crash into if he had another episode, and I put two other old calm horses in with him to make him feel secure. Happily, that seemed to turn the trick. And I am happy to report that he is fine. But I was emotionally trashed. But still, I really needed to ride Belle!


So, after a short rest, I grabbed my little white mare and we went out to do a quick hour with a little speed. She set out fairly calm, with some real walking, and after 10 minutes we picked up a nice trot. She wanted to canter, so I let her go. We rolled on down the road and I was really happy with her. I was trying to pick our path as we were covering unfamiliar territory and suddenly Belle jumped sideways, and I heard a sharp Rattling Right Under Our FEET! OMG – We had trotted Right over a Mojave Green Rattlesnake!!! Seriously, he was less than 2 feet off to our left, and that was AFTER Belle hopped; sideways! This guy was Huge! As big around as my forearm! There are those moments when you think your world is about to turn upside down. I thought about what I would do if Belle had been struck – horrible thoughts ran through my brain. It is funny, it seems like the mind goes into hyper drive at moments like that. But I checked her legs and there were no marks, and I figured we had somehow dodged a disaster!


We kept on trucking and made tracks all the way to 55th street east. Then up the dirt roads to Lancaster Blvd and we alternated trot and canter along that stretch of tanbark. All of the sudden, I saw slithering out in front of us, ANOTHER Mojave green. Not as big as the first one, but still! So I guess the warm weather has brought the snakes out! So I will have to be aware of that from now on. I was SO glad that because I was going to do speed work, I had locked up all 4 dogs. I am thinking that the Rattle snake vaccine is looking like a good idea.


In the end, we wound up clocking 4.2 miles in 50 minutes, and Belle came home cool and dry. I think she is actually getting fit. She got a bucket of grain. I got a glass of wine!!! Too much excitement on a single day.



Picking up the pace


Monday, March 22, 2010


So, this morning, despite all the excitement yesterday, I had a commitment to ride with Robin. Also, it is spring break, and one of my students wanted to join us for our ride. I decided Shelly could ride Lego, one of my Sandonian Sports horses. He is a lovely 10 yr old gelding. He has done a lot of good trail work, although currently he is mostly working as a dressage and carriage horse. But I felt he was fit enough to keep up with Aries and Belle. We loaded up and hauled out at 9:30 am. Robin picked a route that included parts of the local endurance race’s route from last year. We skidded down some very challenging rock strewn slopes. I was proud of Belle for keeping her feet organized, and actually proud that my student was brave on this sort of challenge. She is one tough kid! We got down to the river basin and picked up a good strong trot. I am having a tough time keeping in rhythm with Belle’s quick little stride, so I tried just staying in two point. Worked great until we came around a bend and saw a giant attack tree stump!! HORRORS! Belle did a quick 180. I only managed about 150 degrees of that turn! SPLOT into the sand! I hung tight to the reins, because it would have been a LONG walk home. She only pulled away a few steps then stopped. I shook off the worst of the sand and remounted. Just a couple days ago, a kid asked me when was the last time I fell off. I couldn’t recall. I think she jinxed me!


Anyway, we got back into our trot rhythm and covered some good ground. In all, we completed 12+ miles in exactly 3 hours. On the final walk home, Belle and Aries were full of energy. Poor Lego isn’t in the same shape. He was dragging along about 40 feet back! I think we would have done the loop much faster if we hadn’t had him along – but we don’t really need full out speed yet. Also, Aries really wore his hooves off with this ride. On the way home, I called our farrier and made Robin set a date for him to get his shoes! Steven will put them on tomorrow. Which is good, because then we can start hauling out to tougher trails.


Tuesday, March 23

Just gave her a short 5 minute free lunge.


Wednesday, March 24

Took Belle out for a series of wind sprints. We started out with a Nice Flat walk for 10 minutes, then trotted for 6 minutes, then walked for 3, trotted 6, walked 3, cantered 3, until we covered just over 6 miles in 1 hour 2 minutes. I did do more walking at the end so she came home cool, but I did get her to break a sweat. It is still amazing to realize that I need to go Double this speed to be any where near competitive in endurance!


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Comment by Monica Whitmer on March 26, 2010 at 5:58pm
HI Barbara
Thanks for letting me know! Now I need to write up about Yesterday's ride - I have photos too!
Comment by Barbara F. on March 26, 2010 at 5:19pm
I'm reading your blog too. It's great. :)
Comment by Monica Whitmer on March 25, 2010 at 11:36am
HI Jackie
Thanks for letting me know someone is reading! I haven't broken much of a sweat, but I generally ride 4-6 horses a day anyway. I think if you ride smart, you don't work hard! If I start getting off and running beside her, THEN I am going to Die!!! Belle is a Connemara Welsh cross, but I don't know anything more than that. She was a giveaway pony when she was a weanling because she injured a front leg and the breeders didn't know if she would be sound, and at the time it was a Huge blemish. But it has modeled away and hardly shows at all now. And clearly she is sound!
Comment by Jackie Cochran on March 25, 2010 at 10:26am
I'm still reading your blog.
What is Belle's breeding?
And most important, are YOU breaking out in a sweat? Is your horse working you hard enough so you get fit?
May all snakes avoid your path from now on.

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