Audrey’s Shanghai Trails Ride, Sunday 30-mile Ride

Audrey’s Shanghai Trails Ride, Sunday 30-mile Ride

Warm-up in the mist. Photo by: Bobbie  Lieberman

I’m separating the events of this ride into 3 posts to describe Friday Pre-Ride Catastrophe, Saturday 55-mile Ride and Sunday 30-mile Ride. Each day I learned a lot and hope to pass this on to other Green Beans.

This was Leggs, (aka Go Away’s Midnight Dancer) the Missouri Foxtrotter mare’s 2nd LD and longest distance ridden. She did a fantastic job a few weeks ago at the Heart of the Hills ride (see prev. blog post), the end of which I thought she was fit enough for a 50. Boy, am I glad we did a 2nd LD first! Physical training is important but mental training is far more important and Leggs is still learning. The start was a little more chaotic just because there were so many more horses (36 starters compared to 14 during my Sat. ride). I thought I had picked a good place in the pack to start out but Legg’s had race brain! What happened to the wonderfully responsive mare I had during the first LD only a few weeks ago? After reflection I realized the Heart of the Hills ride had lots of rocks, ups and downs and single track twists and turns enclosed by trees, which provided natural breaks to keep a horse from going off to the races. The Shanghai trails were largely straight, flat, farm roads, easy to gallop on if your horse had the mindset. 

I should have worn gloves, and she may need a bit for the first loop (I ride in an S-hack). She learned to tuck her head in and down and from the side it might look like she has a nice arched neck but in reality is avoiding the ‘bit’ and hanging heavy on my hands. For the first 10 miles we were fighting, I made her stop and stand, back up, did lateral bending work to try to keep her mind on me instead of running to catch the other horses. She was a handful and I’ll be consulting my trainer on what else we can do to keep her more light and responsive. Eventually she got better, in part because we found a good riding buddy to keep pace with for the last 3 miles of the first loop.

Finished! With riding buddy coming in behind.
At the hold we learned the importance of having a buddy horse at the vet check. During the exam everything looked good except her CRI went from 60 to 80! The vets recognized she was probably just excitable/emotional and said we should come back for a recheck. Kenny brought Jazz up and Leggs immediately relaxed, yawned and started eating. We redid the CRI (with Jazz gaiting beside her) and everything checked out. I did have difficulty leaving ride camp (Leggs didn’t want to leave her buddy behind) but eventually we got out back on trail and we caught up with our previous riding buddy. For the 2nd loop she was great, went on a loose rein and responsive and we took our time and completed the ride with all A’s on the final vet check.
Re-hydrating with Kenny and Jazz for support.

While the final vet check is technically the end of the ride, all A’s on the vet card does not mean everything is automatically OK. It was 1-2 hours after we finished and I went to the post-ride meeting. Bobbie and Kenny noticed Leggs didn’t want to graze in hand, while Jazz was eating heartily. Her gums were tacky, not as moist as they should have been and heart rate was a little high at 60 bpm when it should be lower when just resting. The vets concurred she was dehydrated and put in 1.5 L of saline along with CMPK supplement with an IV infusion. She perked up and started eating. After the infusion we knew her system had recovered when she pee’ed! This really highlights the importance of observing your horse post-ride. If we had just packed up and left right away she may have coliced on the trailer during the 4 hr drive home and gone down hill fast. I’m very thankful to have great riding partners and mentors in Kenny and Bobbie.

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