Friday, August 24, 2018

Race Time! (And a Quick Twilight Update)

I'm on the road today, headed to Iron Mountain with Dobare and his owner. This is just a quick post about our recent training to catch you up, and a bonus micro update about Bast and our show on Wednesday. Keep on scrolling for that!
Do we look ready to tackle 30 miles of mountains?
The plan had been to trailer Dobare out to our local mountain (hey Sugarloaf!) two weekends before our race. We wanted to do 20 miles on their trails, maybe looping in some other nearby nature reserve trails. The goal was to practice slower distance on more difficult terrain, and incorporate some longer climbs for a total of two or three 500 ft climbs.
Pictured: The tougher terrain that is Sugarloaf Mountain.
Our day didn't start perfectly. Dobare felt funny to me at first. Not unsound, but just stiff. I did jump off to check his shoes at this point, to make sure nothing was loose or shifting on him. They looked good and his legs were tight and his feet cold. Chalking his stiffness up to possible soreness from our recent 20 mile fast ride on hard ground, I moved him off to some softer footing and he ended up working right out of his starting issue.
That's "the Loaf" ahead of us on the left. It's not a big mountain, but it's definitely a landmark around here.
The stiffness made me resolve to keep our ride conservative. I wanted to push him on the uphills a bit, for his cardio strength. But his legs didn't need to take a huge beating making fast time on the whole ride.
On top of the east ridge line.
This horse is so cool, you guys. Even when I am trying to go slow he makes great time! We ended up doing eight miles in just under an hour and a half. When you consider the first 3 miles were done in a leisurely half an hour, you can really tell we picked up the pace and pushed it on the hills.
Click for detailed ride data.

And were there hills! We ended up climbing 1000 ft over our ride, which is fantastic! That's exactly the kind of climbing we need to be doing to prepare for these mountainous races. If things had gone to plan, we'd probably have climbed about 1600 ft total for 20-22 miles of riding.

Unfortunately, things did not go to plan.
Fun fact. The bloody scrape (which was very minor) was not the issue. Ugh.
Somewhere in our final climbing push, Dobare tripped and violently ripped off his front left shoe. When I say violent, I mean it. He took a large part of his foot off with the shoe, plus his pads and the injected glue. His foot was jagged and ugly. Still, the champion kept climbing the hill without complaint, so I only figured out what he'd done when I hopped off to lead him down the narrow and technical descent.

At that point, I knew our ride was over. I didn't have a boot with me, and his foot was in no condition to be hauling my butt over the rocky trails ahead. I called his owner to pick us up with the trailer and started walking... and walking. We were about 2 miles from the closest intersection with the road. Unfortunately that entire walk was gravel and stones, so we took it slow to try to preserve the bare foot.
We also stopped to ice his foot a bit in the creek...
While I was sad to have to end at halfway, I was mostly worried about Dobare's foot. I wasn't sure a replacement shoe could be put on with his hoof as ripped up as it appeared. When we managed to get home and I took a closer look, I didn't feel much better. I doctored his wound then wrapped his foot with magic cushion, vet wrap, and duct tape-- praying it would stay on overnight. We also buted him in an attempt to keep inflammation down.

The next day the farrier came out and managed to tack a shoe on through the miracles of putty and glue. By Wednesday of this week he'd grown enough foot to nail on a new set of aluminum shoes with pads and injected gel. By some miracle he stayed sound the entire time.
Walking was the only activity allowed with the sketchy shoe attachment of the last week. So we did a LOT of walking.
I called Liz and begged her to send me along a boot just in case we have a shoe malfunction at the race, and she was nice enough to comply. (Thank you lady!) We also picked up a pair of bell boots for Dobare to wear 24/7, and race in. With that crisis averted, we are ready to go!

We hit the road at 7am, and hope to be at the race by mid-afternoon. We'll be on the trail by 8am on Saturday, so wish us luck! I don't know what kind of cell service I'll have out there, but I'll try to keep my Instagram stories updated, if possible.

Can't wait to find out if this horse is ready to conquer the mountains!
"What?! Of course I am!" -- Dobare, probably
Meanwhile... 
Oh yeah! We went to a horse show this week, too!
I owe you all a quick update on Bast. Suffice to say he handled Loch Moy's somewhat chaotic atmosphere amazingly. While he wasn't a perfect picture of relaxation (Spoiler! We definitely had one bolt.), he managed to keep his head and listen to me most of the time. I ended up getting on and we did complete our test.

I'll do a proper recap when I get back from the race, but for now ... I'm super happy with the little guy, and he is definitely NOT for sale.
Definitely think I'll keep him. Even if he does scream... a lot.

8 comments:

  1. Oh Dobare, what a mess with that hoof. Fingers crossed the shoe holds now and you guys have a killer first race together!! He seems like the actual coolest horse!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good luck at the race and I can't wait for ALL THE RECAPS when you return!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Good luck at the race and hope shoes stay on!! And YAY ON BAST and getting him out in public and you not being killed :) He is definitely chunking up too he looks so good!! have a blast this weekend!!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Man those Arabians are tough creatures!! Looking forward to race results!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I hate it when they take a chunk of the hoof with the shoe! I'm glad that he didn't have more fall out. And congrats on the show. I need to hear more!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm with Karen above - Arabians are hardy little creatures! So impressed he plowed on ahead with you despite the mishap. I wonder what the poor hiker-soul who encountered the shoe/pad/hoof complex that was torn off will think? HORSE TORTURE. Clearly.

    ReplyDelete