Thursday March 15 2012
So said Jose, after the ride we squeeeeeezed in today, between days of gale force winds, rainstorms, slick ground, hurricanes, and more rain and snow (yay!!!) and slick ground to come.
Our first local endurance ride, the Owyhee Tough Sucker, is coming up April 7 - and our training has been sporadic the last two weeks and will be over the next couple of weeks, due to weather and traveling.
We took the horses on the Three Cheese Casserole ride - three layers of washes - 2 miles up a wash, 3 miles down another wash, and 1 1/2 miles up another wash and up onto a ridge. The sand is somewhat deep now, and with the horses still wearing partial winter coats (they have started to shed), it was a strenuous workout.
I don't ride with a heart monitor, so I go on knowledge - what I know the horse has been doing, and what he can take - and by how much he sweats. I've always heard that when the top of a horse's butt gets sweaty, he's either out of shape, or working very hard. I've never seen a scientific study on this, but I have found it to be accurate. And when their eyebrows are sweating, they're producing a lot of heat.
Unless the wind is just right, I can't hear my horse breathing when I'm trotting or cantering, but today I could hear Rhett huffing behind me on the third Cheese layer, and I used that to help gauge the effort the horses were putting out.
Today the horses worked up a good sweat under their saddle pads, on the neck and chest
and between and down the back legs (you know, the 'shaving cream').
And the reward was a taste of the hint of green grass starting to color the desert.