For the last few months I’ve been treating a bit of thrush in Dressy’s front feet. She’s very prone to it, and has been since she came off the track. Her heels were horribly contracted when she arrived as a six year old. And although they’ve improved a great deal, they are still not what I’d like them to be. Here’s a photo of one foot on the day she arrived here, still in her racing shoes.

So last night I decided to get serious about it. I trimmed her feet first, then took a hoof knife to her frogs. Trimmed away all the rough bits. And started poking around some. Sure enough, after prodding and prying a bit, I discovered quite a good sized little cavern in her right front. She was not happy about me poking into that sore spot. But I cut away the edges to open it up. Scrubbed it out as well as I could. Then mixed up some White Lightning and vinegar in a syringe. After soaking the frog in it first, I packed the whole thing with cotton wool, soaked it with more White Lightning/vinegar then wrapped it in vet wrap and duct tape to make a bootie. Did the same with the other foot (though I didn’t find any pockets in that foot). Put her in the stall for the night to let her feet fumigate.

I took it all off this morning and had a look. It certainly bleached out the black stuff anyway. Looked and smelled a lot cleaner. I think it might take a couple of treatments though to be sure I’ve got it all. I put a bit of zinc ointment on the frogs before turning her out.

She was quite full of herself and went out bucking. It looked like she was going to take somebody (me, or King, or Ares) out so I opened the gate and shooed her out onto the main pasture to work out her hissy fit there. She bucked and galloped and reared and spun in circles. Not to mention throwing a few kicks sideways in my general direction as she flew past. She’s a VERY important mare, and I interfered with her schedule by keeping her in a stall all night.  King and Ares were excited too, but I think they spent more time getting out of her way than actually playing themselves. She’s quite impressive when she’s huffy.



Another Lovely Ride

Now that I’ve had a good night’s sleep and am over my near-miss on the road last night…. I had a lovely ride in the Ganaraska yesterday. Here is the GPS track…

Just like last time, I passed Chrystal as she was trotting down Porter Road. Although unlike last time she was trotting down the road on Miss T, not Grace. I sort of laughed when I saw her and thought “I bet her knees are hurting”.   Grace is an awesome little horse. But she does do a bit of careening when she gets excited. And sometimes after a long ride, Chrystal looks a bit battle-worn.

So when she trotted into the parking lot as I was tacking up Dressy, I asked mildly “knees sore?” Chrystal laughed.  Sure enough, she had gone out to tack up Grace and looked between her hot young firecracker mare and professional, reliable Miss T and changed her mind. Which is not to say that Miss T is slow, or quiet. But at least all she does is gallop off wildly in a straight line. Grace does a lot of lead-swapping flips back and forth across the trail as she tries to convince Chrystal that they could easily set a world record on the next few miles.

Miss T is a small but mighty Morgan. I think she’s 17 this year?  And has been doing 50s for quite a few years. She finished the Old Dominion 100 in 2008 (she was pulled at 90 miles the year before when she lost the padding from a shoe and came up a little sore).  She broke a splint bone in the spring, but is completely recovered and sound.  By then though, Chrystal had discovered just how truly fast Grace was, so never quite got back to riding Miss T.  It was nice to see the little bay tyrant back on the trail.

It was overcast, but warm enough to ride without a jacket. Well for me to ride without a jacket anyway. Dressy was not so impressed at being out at first. She’s been a little grumpy in general lately. I think I’m going to have to address some saddle fit issues with her. I’ve been riding her in King’s aussie saddle, but it’s really not right for her back and I’ve seen a bit of a change in her topline lately that I don’t like.

We walked for a long time. Rides at the end of the season are nice. No pressure to get any particular distance or speed in. Just riding for the fun of it. Eventually Dressy decided that all this walking was boring and trotted out a little bit. Then she tried to get Miss T out in front, but she wanted Miss T to go FAST out in front. It was interesting to see her maneuvering to accomplish that. She’d drop back and then forge up a bit on Miss T’s shoulder to try to taunt her into competing a little bit.  Two boss mares on trail are a very political mix.

At one point, going up a hill, Dressy actually cantered. She tucked her nose, arched her neck, and did a beautiful, slow, three-beat canter! Okay, so it was only about five strides… but I take every little improvement as it comes. She got a great deal of praise for that one.

After we turned back towards home, Miss T picked up speed and went into the front at a trot. Dressy trotted. Miss T broke to canter. Dressy took one stride of slow gallop and bolted. Flat out. Went past Miss T at a run.  AAAAGGHHH!!!!! I cranked on her and finally managed to get her down to a hand gallop. Which still wasn’t slow but at least gave me the illusion of control.  Sometimes I forget that she used to be a racehorse. I am thinking that it’s time to move along from the very soft myler snaffle I’ve been riding her in.

She settled down after she’d done a bit of faster work though. I think she was just bored with the walking. She’s reasonably fit at this point. We had one more really great moment towards the end of the three hour ride…. Dressy changed leads!!!! It was… well…. not pretty. I have to admit that for a moment I thought she was either bucking or falling down. I think she must’ve started out by accident on the lead she doesn’t like (ummm… doesn’t have?) and had to untangle her legs. But again… I take what I can get, when I can get it 😀

Year End Points

I have just finished uploading the final set of ride results to the Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association website (I’m the webmaster). With that final set of results, all the year end points are now up to date.

So… here’s the rundown on our various little blog stars…

Brooke, who rode Dressy for part of this year, and had her season cut short by a motorcycle accident, ended up as the 7th place Junior.

Diego (Misha’s horse – boarded here with me) just barely missed the top ten in Set Speed with an 11th place finish overall. He also finished in the top ten at only his second 50 in extreme heat. Passing horses on the last loop.

Blazing Grace, Chrystal’s little chestnut off-track Arab mare (she of the exceedingly hard luck history), entered three set speed rides. Won all three easily. And ended up in sixth place in Set Speed for the season. Her little chestnut butt was the star of yesterday’s blog post 🙂

Shorty (Short Circuit), the Standardbred/Arab cross that I rode at Spring Ride finished 8th in Set Speed for the season. He also finished his first 50 this year with his regular rider, Mike.

Foxy Baronessa (one of my old Standardbred racehorse charges) finished 21st (of 70) in Set Speed for the season.

Dressy Gal… my big bad boss mare… ended up Reserve Champion Set Speed horse. And will also get the High Point Standardbred award. She is a most excellent mare 🙂

Dressy and Grace In the Ganaraska Forest

It was an absolutely lovely autumn day yesterday. Sunny and warm. I went in to work a bit early so I could get on the road by 11. It’s a little under an hour and a half to drive over to the Ganaraska Forest, so although it’s not close enough to ride there regularly, it’s a reasonable day trip. With 11,000 acres of forest and hundreds of kilometers of trails, it’s definitely worth the trip.

I thought perhaps I’d load Dressy into the back stall, where Diego usually travels, because it’s right over the axles and would make a lighter load on the truck. But oh boy… that triggered a little hissy fit from the boss mare. “That’s NOT my house!!”  And then she decided to unload herself and not load at all. So the whole thing degenerated into our semi-yearly “Who’s the Boss?” discussion. After which, Dressy loaded like a rather subdued angel.

I guess we were due for that though… yesterday I hear Dressy knocked Misha on her behind coming into the barn. Misha, thank god, was kind enough NOT to take photos of the enormous black bruise on her tailbone (she was tempted, I know she was… she regularly photographs her injuries and emails them out…).

Once that was over with, the trip went smoothly and we passed Chrystal and her little mare, Grace as they rode down Porter Road to meet us at the forest entrance. By the time I unloaded and tacked up, they were just riding into the parking area. So the timing was perfect.

We rode in the West section of the forest for a change. Lately we’ve mostly ridden in Central. It made it a bit more exciting, given the numbers of dirt bikes we encountered. Not that the horses minded, but I think Chrystal came close to spooking herself off her horse a couple of times when they came around corners unexpectedly.

Dressy has grown quite a heavy winter coat already, so she was huffing and puffing. Both horses got rather sweaty. Both Dressy and Grace are ex-racehorses. So there were a few snort-brained moments out there with Grace galloping sideways, and Dressy trying to barge on by.  Dressy had some long gallops that were actually real gallops with her legs moving in the right order. Chrystal was saying at one point that she’s got Grace changing leads on cue, at least sometimes. Made me laugh… I figure Dressy’s only barely figured out that she HAS leads, never mind changing them 🙂

All told we did a little over 12 miles in 2.5 hours. It may have been the last really nice ride of the year, given that we are now into November.

Here is the GPS track for the day…

And some photos of the gorgeous autumn colours….


Coates Creek Set Speed Ride

The weather forecast for yesterday`s ride looked pretty bad most of the week. And Saturday was a really awful day. But when I got up Sunday morning (well… when Misha called me from her car… already stressing about getting Diego on the trailer) the pre-dawn was reasonably bright from the moonlight, and the wind had died.  I would have been happy enough with cold and rain. But there would have been a lot of cranky volunteers for us to deal with. It turned out to be a cool, fresh October day with occasional bouts of sunshine, and absolutely gorgeous trails.

Diego was a little sticky about the trailer, and Misha was losing it a bit when I got out. Not falling apart, but starting to vibrate a little. She handed me the stock whip and I stood on Diego`s near side to prevent him from evading to that side. I don`t generally do much. Just stand there and make him nervous. But eventually, as usual with him, he allowed the unsettling person behind and the encouraging person in front to entice him on.  He`s a good little horse, but he wasn`t broke until he was 11 or thereabouts, and still thinks he should make his own decisions. Trailers have always been a problem for him.

Dressy, of course, loaded up directly. As always. She marches up, turns herself around and backs right in. “Do up that chest bar,  gimme my cookie and my hay bag, and let`s go“.

It’s about an hour and a half to Coates Creek ride site, and at 6am on a Sunday morning, traffic is near non-existent. So it was an easy trip. We arrived just as vetting started. Misha set up her electric paddock and split it down the middle to give Dressy half. It’s one of those Zareba EZEE corrals, and I have to say that although it looks nice, and the theory is good, in practice the damn thing never seems to work the way it should. Yesterday, it went up okay, but the power didn’t work. Turned out not to matter, as they were not  in it for long. But I prefer my homemade electric paddock with the cheap step in posts, a ground rod, a roll of wire, and a Zareba Yellow Jacket portable fencer. Cheap, easy, and it actually works.

There were 20 horses entered in the 31 mile Bronze level ride (which is between 4 and 7 miles per hour), and 6 horses in the Silver level ride (between 5 and 8 mph).  There were three loops, with a gate at the end of the first and a regular full vet check at the end of the second loop. A gate is where you ride in, get your horse down to a 64 heart rate, and trot for the vets to watch (for lameness) as you ride out. The clock continues to run through that type of hold. I haven’t done a gate before at a set speed ride, and I really underestimated how much it would slow us down. Towards the end of the first loop, my GPS was reading around 8.5mph average. By the time I rode out, it had dropped to around 7mph. It gradually climbed back up through that second loop. But we really never made up that time. The full vet check didn’t have as much of an impact, since the clock stopped when we reached parameter (56bpm) and we started our 40 minute hold.

Dressy really moved out on the first loop. It was unfortunate as it turned out, because she bonded to a group of horses that don’t pace well for her purposes. Dressy has a nice big trot, and she can go reasonably fast. But her forte is her steadiness. She goes out and trots fast and steady (12+ mph), and she can maintain that for a long time. But at 14-16mph the trot is much too extended. At 16mph she starts breaking to gallop, and definitely cannot maintain that for a long time. It takes way too much out of her.

I struggled with her quite a bit. I tried taking her back, but she’d decided that the big grey thoroughbred was her friend, and she wanted to catch him. She paced, and fought me, and kept catching up. So after the first ten miles when we went through the gate, I held back so they were long gone. But she power trotted until she caught them. If they’d maintained that 14-16mph speed, we never would have. But they were alternating between galloping fast and trotting slow. So overall she would have actually travelled faster… If I could have separated her from them. But there’s no way I could have passed, since I’m pretty sure those horses would have gone with her. I also find in the first few miles that Dressy can be very spooky in the lead. So I generally want her knowing there are horses ahead that she can focus on catching, instead of focusing on the monsters in the bushes.

At the 20 mile vet check, I held back and waited for Sue T. She’d lost her riding buddy (pulled) and wanted to ride with someone. That suited me, because she is a very experienced rider and rides a steady pace. Which is what Dressy needed to do as well. That loop was much better for Dressy. She was a little tired after all the shenanigans on the first two loops. But she trotted the whole thing without any issues. Chrystal and Grace passed us on that loop and Dressy went with her for quite a distance. But eventually we let her go, since her pace is a bit fast for Sue’s horse.

A look at my GPS track is quite enlightening. The first loop has radical up/down peaks from speeding up and slowing down. The second loop is steady and even through the first half (when we were alone and trotting) and then back to up/down peaks after we caught up again. Then the last loop is back to smooth steady trotting with Sue and her horse Trevor.

We did not make the target speed of 8mph. And in fact just missed the 7mph speed. Although my GPS shows a speed of 7.2mph. I was very pleased with her anyway. She had a good pulse at her final check, and easily reached parameter at the checks. Although we slowed down and let those three horses go ahead, Dressy still got 2nd place. So it paid off to manage her pace a little bit.

Chrystal’s horse, Grace won the Bronze level ride. By far. In fact Grace won the high score of the day… by miles. Her final pulse was 36. Chrystal took an extra long hold. Slowed her down as much as she could, and still finished in 6.99mph. The absolute maximum speed allowed for Bronze. If you watch that horse move, it doesn’t look like she’s working at all, and you can’t imagine that it’s fast. But try and follow on another horse and look at your gps…. Like a little streak of lightning, that mare.

Diego had a good ride. Placed third in the Set Speed, behind Wendy’s young horse Firefly. He looked good all day when I saw him. Although Misha always looked unhappy to see us… Diego had a meltdown every time he laid eyes on his boss mare. Tore up his (non-electrified) paddock at the mid-check when we went out just as he had come in. Had a hissy fit on the trail when we passed him going the other way on two way trail. Not pleasant for Misha that’s for sure.

However, after we loaded him in the trailer, Misha thought that he looked a little off colour. Wouldn’t take a treat from her hand. I loaded Dressy, gave her a cookie, and handed one to Diego. He didn’t take one from me either. We headed out, figuring that it was better just to get him home. The vet at that ride was Kathy, and she was going to stop by my place on her way home to look at King’s face (he still has a hard lump in his cheek where he was kicked). So we would have a vet available a few minutes after arriving at home anyway.

I stopped at Tim Horton’s to get an iced tea (I was desperately thirsty) and Misha checked on him again. By then he was shaking and sweating. She was quite alarmed, and we got right back on the road. She called Kathy, who was just a few minutes behind us. If you’re going to have a horse colic on a trailer, it sure feels better to have a vet right behind you.

We got him home and unloaded him. Stripped off the soaked cooler, and put him in a dry cooler and blanket. There was no manure in the trailer, so obviously he was a bit constipated. Misha walked him for a few minutes until Kathy got there. He had gut sounds but they were definitely reduced and gassy sounding. Kathy arrived, gave him some banamine, and got some mineral oil into him. It took about 45 minutes before he finally passed some manure. It was just a small amount and quite dry. But after that he got steadily better. This morning he’s his usual obnoxious self. Kathy said that there were a couple of other horses at the ride that were of concern too. She figured it was the colder weather bothering them. Diego is definitely a hot weather horse, so that makes sense.

Dressy of course, flourishes in the cold. She was bright-eyed and sassy while she tried to divert everyone’s attention away from Diego and onto her dietary needs. She wanted food, and she wanted as much of it as she could stuff into her greedy face.

Competing the Queen

Dressy is entered in another Set Speed ride this weekend. She did really well last time in the rainy cold weather at Oktoberfest, and it looks like a similar kind of day is forecast.

This time we are going to attempt a Silver (intermediate) level ride. This will be the first time anything above a bronze level ride has been held here. There is also a Gold (advanced) level ride being held, but although I qualify, Dressy is short a few miles. She’s not ready for that speed anyway (10mph). The Silver ride is 8mph maximum, which is about what she did at the last ride if you figure in the half hour we spent being late with Chrystal.

I am not sure if we can quite get to the full 8mph, but we will see how it goes. She is definitely fast and steady on trail. But this ride will be 30+ miles (I keep hearing different numbers so I’m not entirely sure), so a little further than the last ride. And it’s always been a bit tougher for Dressy to get over that 30-35 mile distance.

Lately though, I’ve been a lot more aggressive about electrolytes, and she seems to be responding really well. She’s getting RideRite instead of Perform n Win. I used PnW for years, and it’s been great for King. But for Dressy, it just never quite worked. The RideRite is about 3 times as strong, and the formulation is different. This year I’ve been a bit freer with the electrolyte doses. I’ve also started giving her BCAAs, extra magnesium and calcium, double her normal daily dose of vitamin e and selenium, and EnduraGin from Omega Alpha. It is way too complicated to give all that stuff during a ride one by one. So I generally mix it all up (except the RideRite which she hates… I have to syringe that in directly) in zip lock freezer bags with her meals. One for each vet check. She’s always starving, so I don’t have to worry about her leaving anything behind. In fact, I have to watch her at vet checks, because she goes shopping after she finishes her own meal and steals anything she can find lying around.

Chrystal is bringing Grace to this ride too. I am not going to stand around waiting for her to tack up in the morning though. Dressy and I will go out at the regular start time. Chrystal is going to do her usual thing, and then catch up to me on trail. Grace is very very fast, so that will not be a problem I’m sure. Because Grace is only qualified for bronze level, she has to average a maximum of 7 mph. Dressy and I will be aiming for 8 mph. So Chrystal will probably have to stay longer in her hold to use up some time.

If the trail is 31 miles, then we will have to finish in something over 3 hours and 53 minutes. Grace will need to do it in 4 hours and 26 minutes or more.

Misha is bringing Diego too. He’s looking quite sassy lately. He’s been bucking, much to Misha’s displeasure. She’ll be in the bronze level ride as well. Diego had a mild virus last month, so she’s being careful with him.

Oh! Almost forgot… Dressy is currently in second place for the season in the Set Speed horse rankings. She’s also in first place for the High Point Standardbred award.


Should Be Fine

The vet was here and had a look at King. She thinks he will be fine. There is still quite a bit of swelling, but it has gone down to about half of what it was yesterday (probably from all the bute, which is an anti inflammatory). His gums and teeth appear to be okay, though she did say that if one of the roots is cracked it might not be apparent right away. He’s on antibiotics as she thinks some of the swelling could be a bit of infection. However she thinks that it’s primarily just trauma… badly bruised from the kick.

She is a dentist, and had a good look at Dressy’s teeth and also at Ares while she was here. Dressy has the usual sharp edges on top, and some hooks coming back. She gets those every year, so that’s what I expected.

Ares has quite a bit of stuff going on in his mouth, and definitely needs work. Nothing drastic, but just a lot of edges, hooks, etc. He loses a lot of food when he’s chewing, so I knew there was going to be work to do there. She’s offered a very considerable discount on Ares work, which is wonderful. I consider him one of my little charity cases, and I do expect to lose money on him. But it would be nice if he didn’t turn into a money pit. She knows though that I do this for a lot of Standardbreds, to try to get them on track to being useful, happy backyard and/or competition horses instead of ending up as meat or throwaways driven into the ground as buggy horses. So this is my vet’s contribution to my Standardbred rehab efforts. And it’s very much appreciated.



There was much pathetic crying at work today. The foals were weaned last night. Twister is in with the three of them in the arena. Al and Esmerelda have been calling to their mothers. Reno is a bit confused by all the chaos (being an orphan already). But he’s is also a little indignant that the other two have been nudging at him to see if he might make a good surrogate milk bar. He thinks that’s very rude and has taken to kicking to defend his honour.

I rode King and Dressy both this afternoon. King was very energetic again today. That makes three days in a row. Which is a hopeful sign. It is likely that he will still have bad days even if the diet does work… at least until the full six months is up. But I’m very cautiously starting to think there might be some actual improvement happening. His muscles feel a bit less tight in his hindquarters too.

Dressy has had a few days off since Seoul’s Corners. Today we did 7 miles at a moderately slow pace. We are working on slow/steady trotting. In the hopes that we can find a gear she can maintain all day. She’s naturally very fast. But she cannot maintain that speed over long distances without blowing herself out.

Her back was sore on Monday. I used King’s aussie saddle at Seoul’s. It’s really not the right fit for her. I can use the Barefoot, but that also gives her some problems (pressure points from the stirrup hangers – she has permanent white hairs from them). So I think for now I’m going to have to resort to alternating saddles again. Until I can find something that does fit her correctly anyway.

I also need to do some work on her feet. I think she has some deep seated thrush still going on. She’s been a bit tender footed lately. And the right front has some raggedy, grungy looking bits. I treated her last week with White Lightning and it looks a little better. But I think maybe that’s why her heels have been growing so fast lately.

Dressy Beat the Heat

Got back from the Seoul’s Corners ride late last night. I left before the 75 and 100 mile horses finished. But I hear that Patti Stedman won the 75. Elaine Steele won the 100. Michelle Bignell and Allieena won the 50. Pat St. Jean and Black Bart’s Perfect won Best Condition. Ron Savard won High Vet Score.

Chrystal’s mare, Grace had a little mishap on a slippery bit of rock and fell just after the start of the fifty. Grace was a bit sore at first, then sorted herself out. But by the end of the second loop she was stiffening up a little, so they were pulled. She was well-behaved and reasonably steady and fast. So I think Chrystal was pleased with that at least, despite the bad luck.

Dressy was wonderful. We did the 25 miles. I had hoped that this ride would be cooler and more to Dressy’s taste. But that was not to be. The high was 27C, but the humidity averaged 83%, with a high of 100%. I had sweat running in my eyes even before I got on her for an 8am start. Luckily, the humidity went down a little bit on the second loop. Otherwise it would have been a lot tougher on Dressy.

She put on a bit of a show for the spectators before the start. We were waiting for Savanah (the junior who rode with me) to finish tacking up her arab, Merlin. Dressy was going around and around in circles, so I decided to trot her up towards the start and back. But she thought it would be better to thunder up there at a gallop. Then she thought it’d be great fun to crowhop back down again. All of this in front of spectators with cameras. Of course.  I growled at her and she stopped. She’s not generally bad, but the start is a very exciting time for her. She did settle though and managed to walk out fairly politely once we hooked up with our junior and went out on trail.

Although I was wilting (and by later in the ride… stupid) from the heat, Dressy was forward and alert for the entire first loop. Her first vet check was perfect. All A’s and a 10/10 CRI (cardiac recovery index). She didn’t even seem all that hot at that point. Just hungry and thirsty.

She went along very well for most of the second loop too. (If you look at the video, most of it was taken on the second loop, and you can see her perky ears.) Until I got lost. Though of course I didn’t know I was lost. Dressy sure did. She suddenly went flat and refused to trot. I thought the heat was getting to her. But no… her rider’s idiocy was getting to her. We walked for a while before I realized something was wrong. Then backtracked. And went past the elusive turn the other way. Walked some more (Dressy was NOT going to trot in the wrong direction – she’s no fool). I finally resorted to looking at my GPS and turning on the “Return to Home” function. That worked. Of course. Made the correct turn (the red turn ribbon had wrapped around the tree branch so I couldn’t see it), and Dressy miraculously recovered enough to want to gallop. She was very pleased to get to the water trough. Not nearly so pleased when I made her go back out of camp for the final five mile loop. I had to send Savanah ahead with Merlin. He trotted along, dragging a reluctant and increasingly hot Dressy to another water trough about 3 miles from the finish. I cooled her rather frantically and she did look a lot better after that. Then we turned back for camp and Dressy perked up a little. Still hot, but she was still willing to trot. And in the last mile, she was back to alternating trot and gallop. Good thing too… we crossed the finish line 2 minutes before the cutoff time.

Took the full 30 minutes to get her temperature and heart rate down. Chrystal and a very nice and very helpful boy whose name I cannot remember were a great help sponging Dressy. I was not all that functional by then. I think I drank about three iced teas out of my cooler without stopping. Then stood in a bit of a stupor for a while. Chrys said I looked way worse than my horse.

Her pulse was 16 (in 15 seconds… so 64 bpm which was the parameter she needed to meet) when I took her in. The vet (Stan) said her heart sounded nice and steady. When they are tired, their heart rate speeds up and slows down, so that was a good sign. Cap refill, etc were good. She had to come back for a gut sound check (so did Merlin… and quite a few other horses) as she was down in two quadrants. As soon as she ate though, she was completely fine. Merlin was also fine once he was rechecked.

This was Merlin and Savanah’s first 25 miler. He looked great all the way through. They had a little boot issue in the first mile and elected to go barefoot the rest of the way. It didn’t look to me as though he had any problem at all with the footing. He must have very good feet. Nice little horse. They both looked good at the end. Savanah should be very proud. Especially considering that they probably actually went 30+ miles due to their sponsor getting lost and leading them astray.

It was WAY too hot and humid. Given the conditions, I cannot believe Dressy did so well. She actually looked good at the end. Hot, but still bright-eyed and alert. Still spooking at things. Jumping around
when water went on her. Looking to eat other horses’ dinners. She ate three meals out at the first check (Grace’s, her own, and Harley’s). Ate two meals at the end. Plus a bunch of hay. Some carrots. A bucket
of water. More hay. Treats. The vaccuum that ate the world…

The drive home was fairly awful. It started raining shortly after I pulled onto the highway. It came and went all the way home. Sometimes quite torrential, which made driving difficult between the dark and the water on the road, and the stupid drivers who think nothing of cutting off vehicles with limited stopping power. I got home safely four hours later and unloaded a very bright-eyed and bouncing Dressy. Then did a relieved face plant in my bed.

Today’s Rides

I brought King in and checked him over. It was pretty obvious that it was going to be one of his bad days. His hind end was quite tight all over. Both sides. No actual cramping that I could see, but just generally hard muscles.

Tacked him up and went for a short ride. He needs to go out for a bit of exercise every day. But I’m letting him dictate the pace. Today was walking only, he told me. A couple of times I asked him to trot and he stopped dead when I suggested it. So okay. He walked. We did a very slow and boring one mile loop around the back field. But towards the end he agreed to trot for a short stretch. It was on the way home of course. But even then he had no energy. Just a little western pleasure jog.

After finishing up with King, I brought Dressy in and tacked her up. Whole different story there. Dressy is cheerful and glowing with good health. She seemed happy to go out, though a bit speedy. I managed to get her settled into a steady, relatively slow trot (slow for a Standardbred anyway!) after a few zigzaggy moments. She had good heart rates, and felt strong and forward but not crazy. That ride on Sunday seems to have sharpened her up quite well. All those years of racing really pay off, even now, in how fast she fits up.

I didn’t have a lot of time, since I had to get back to work to feed this evening. So I only rode her for 45 minutes. But we managed to do five and half miles.

I am praying for cool weather on Sunday. We are going to try to do the 25 at Seoul’s Corners this weekend. I’m also praying for no rain until Sunday. Dressy would be better off if it rained during the ride itself. But for once, I’m not going to wish for that. The fates seem to be against that ride. It always seems to rain either before or during weekend, which can make for boggy trails. It’s too bad, because the trails are quite beautiful around Sharbot Lake. It’s up in the Canadian Shield, and there is lots of rock and lakes everywhere.