Tag Archives: aprilfest

April showers bring…soggy endurance riders??

The plan for the first ride of the season was to do the 10km ride n tie on Saturday and 40km LD on Sunday.  We would have liked to do the 80km endurance ride but boyfriend and I moving into new house and my truck and trailer were needed to move the larger furniture.

Saturday was chilly but fortunately no rain; perfect running weather! Clayton was determined to beat Splash as he did at the last ride n tie we did together at the Summer’s End ride last year in the Ganaraska Forest. It was going to be interesting because he’s been training on flat roads and the Dufferin Forest is sandy and full of hills.

I love a horse that knows its job.  Splash knows the ride n tie course at the Dufferin and even when I’m not competing in ride n tie, any time I’m on the part of the trail that the ride n tie uses, she tries to GO!  She was nice and quick to our trade off point and stood still while Clayton mounted up. She walked into the vet check calmly for him and was quiet while he dismounted and ran off.  Pulsing down pretty quickly (and Splash knowing the course) allowed us to catch up to the team that had passed us during the vet check.  I caught up to Clayton who was still trucking right along a great pace, although starting to feel those hills.  I passed him but slowed down as we were coming out of the forest as I could see Wendy (the ride photographer) ahead and wanted a picture of the two of us.

ride n tie
Photo credit: Wendy Webb

Not far from the finish line, Clayton broke into a sprint to try and beat Splash so we cantered alongside him for a bit (just to get his hopes up) before we pulled away and crossed the finish line before him. Next time, Clay! I will update this once I unpack my truck and find my scorecard, but we finished in roughly 55 minutes, which is a personal record!

Sunday was a miserable day.  Cold and wet weather is no fun for anything, especially riding.  However, we are distance riders and unlike many other horse events, ours are not cancelled for rain. Days like these have their own sets of challenges.  While the cooler weather helps with bringing the horse’s temperature down, you also have to be cautious of horses stiffening up, much like humans can when exercising in cold, wet weather.  The ground is also slicker, especially with all the fallen leaves still in the forest.

The only goal we had for today was to finish (which is always a goal, but sometimes I will have others such as better heart rates, faster speeds, etc.)  as I haven’t been able to ride as often as I wanted to and was just using this as a training ride.  We ended up riding with Dominic and Liza the whole way as the two paints seemed to get along and match each other’s pace well. It was nice to have someone to talk to as it makes the ride go by a lot quicker and it keeps morale up, especially with the weather!

paint
Paint power! Blurry because we were moving so fast haha.

Although Splash drank well at every opportunity, she was still receiving B’s for her hydration levels at the vet checks.  She didn’t pee all day until the end of the ride which means although she was drinking, her body was using everything she was taking in.  Even though it was a cool day, I should have kept upped her electrolytes to encourage her to drink even more. Electrolytes are almost always a bit of experimenting and this is where knowing your horse and what is their “normal” comes into play. Lesson learned and we have something to work with for the next race to improve that hydration score!

 

The neat thing about this ride is that it is the first time an LD (limited distance) ride was offered in Ontario.  Although I do find the set speed discipline great for teaching pacing, especially for those new to the sport,  I really enjoyed the LD format for where I am now in my distance riding career. For the days I don’t quite feel like riding 80km, the LD provides a great alternative without having to really alter our 80km routine. We can go our pace without having to worry whether we are too fast or too slow for the set speed time (the 6 hours to complete the LD is more than enough time), plus we get the AERC miles in addition to the OCTRA ones.

 

Again, I’ll have to pull my scorecard to see what the actual final results were but we did finish somewhere in the top ten as we stood for BC (best condition) for the practice more than anything.

 

While everything is drying out, planning for the next event is taking place, the first of two Coates Creek rides. The plan is to do the 40km set speed ride on the Saturday and the 80km endurance ride on the Sunday, making this the most miles we’ve ever completed in one weekend.  If we manage to complete both of these rides successfully, it will also put us over our lifetime distance mileage of 500 miles!

 

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Tipperary Product Review

Last weekend we completed our first ride of the season.  We sponsored a team on the 6 mile ride n tie and the 50 mile endurance race.  Our ride n tie team came in second and I completed my 50 successfully. My goal was to just finish as I needed just one more completed 50 in order to get my Novice qualification which will allow me to compete at my first FEI ride in July. Not only did we finish in roughly the same amount of time as my first one back in October although this time I had rain, deep sand and slippery terrain to contend with, we also finished with perfect vet scores, which means our winter training and preparation paid off!

As you may or may not know, Tipperary Equestrian/Phoenix Performance Products (based out of King City, Ontario) provided me with a new helmet and eventer safety vest for the season (in our trademark black and pink colours!). I’ve always been a big fan of Tipperary and have used their products for a number of years now so I am super excited about this partnership.  The sport of endurance not only pushes my horse and myself to our limits, but the strength and quality of my equipment is put to the test as well. Aprilfest was a great ride to put Tipperary’s equipment under pressure because I completed both a long and short distance race and the weather on both days was two extremes: sunny and warm on Saturday for the 6 mile ride & tie and cold and rainy on Sunday for the 50 mile endurance race. Here is my review on both the helmet and the vest:

Colours: come in a variety of colours to match your tastes, plus they can do custom embroidery (perhaps I’ll have to get one with the Eat Sleep Ride Repeat logo on it!)

Movement: I did not feel restricted in my movement at all and at times I forgot I was wearing the vest. I really like the lacing up both sides so I can adjust the vest as needed.  The helmet is also very light and like the vest, I occasionally forgot I was wearing it. The harness is comfortable and doesn’t move around.

Breathability: I chose a Tipperary helmet because I do a lot of riding out in the elements. The hard outer shell holds up in the rain better than a velvet covered helmet and all of the vents help keep my head cool. Despite the warmer than average temperatures on Saturday, I did not overheat or sweat more than normal while wearing the vest.  In the cold and rain on Sunday, the vest did keep me warm (and fit under my jacket!). However, when I switched over to a lighter jacket as it warmed up, the vest sadly did not fit under it. In the future, I’ll have to test how well repels or holds water and how heavy it gets if it does.

Safety: the helmet has extended coverage on back of helmet, which many helmets out there do not have. Not only does this make the helmet fit more secure, it will protect more of my head should I fall off. There are lots of hazards out in the forest plus with varying terrain, you never know when your horse could take a misstep and fall. While the vest isn’t going to prevent everything, it can definitely lessen the impact of an injury.

Other: the Tipperary helmet is super affordable (less than $100!), it doesn’t give you that “mushroom head” look, they have an accident replacement policy (keep your receipts!), and the equipment gives me increased confidence. I’ve evented in the past and still take jumping lessons and wearing the vest has made me less nervous when it comes to jumping. While the vest doesn’t make me invincible, that extra bit of confidence helps me get through the ride and is conveyed to my horse as well, which increases our performance. If you’re a rider who is nervous about taking your horse out on the trail, consider picking one of these up! Thankfully, I did not test the helmet or vest to see how they work and hold up in a fall situation (and I hope I don’t have to!)

tipperary
Eat Sleep Ride Repeat member Ashley sporting her Tipperary Sportage helmet and Tipperary Eventer vest

Since we have completed our Novice qualifications, Splash and I are going to take it easy at the next ride on May 22-23 at Cayuse Creek Ranch, competing in the 28 mile set speed event. Hope to see you there! If you are looking for something to do the weekend of May 28 and 29th, come visit Eat Sleep Ride Repeat at the Natural Horsemanship Trade Show at Partridge Horse Hill in Pontypool, Ontario (http://www.nhassociation.ca/nha-trade-show/). We will have a booth set up with a trade show deal of receiving $10 off your purchase of $50 or more on anything we have. Come stock up on your riding gear for the season!

If you haven’t seen it already, check out the vest and helmet in action in this awesome video from the ride & tie on The Horse Network: https://www.facebook.com/HorseCollaborative/videos/1056732151079340/?pnref=story