Action Ambrose

Action Ambrose

Monday, February 28, 2011

Sat, Sun and Monday...

Ambrose was ponied on Sat and Sunday, a 8 mile pony and a 12 mile pony.  Just a nice easy work.

Sat:  8 miles, Average speed 11.4, max speed 18.4, fastest mile speed was 13.3, 39 minutes total.
Sun  11.7 miles, Average speed 12..7, max speed 17.9, fastest mile speed was 15.3, 52 minutes total.

Monday we saddled up and went to Camp Far West to play with the cows..  We did 20 miles in 3 hours or so, footing was not so hot, kinda wet and slippery so speeds were kept slow.  Ambrose did great, he does watch those cows very closely.  His trip to the trainer was not waisted, he now stands quietly while the old man lifts his carcass into the saddle, most of the time....

Thursday, February 24, 2011

20 Mule Team Cancel (not a real endurance rider)

After working for two days solid packing my trailer, cleaning horses and all the stuff that goes along with going to a competition I am kinda sad that I am just not willing to deal with having my horses standing around in the wind, rain and snow.  MONK is rather a fair weather horse, he gets cold easily and is not a happy camper when ridden in the rain.  When the forecast was down in the 20% range with the temps into the high 50's that sounded more doable.  Upon checking this morning, just before leaving this morning, forecast is for Friday is very windy,  snow and rain with the temp range 32/58, Saturday it is 70%  23/44.

After considering everything and EVERYBODY decided to cancel.  I have no particular reason for going other then to just do the 100 with MONK, which is not important for our goals for this year. Plus this ride is about 500 miles away, 18 hours of driving and worrying about my horses.

But, my hat goes out to all those TOUGH endurance riders who will brave the weather this weekend, I will be by the fire with my 55" HD lcd,

I hate putting on chains...

MONK Bros Racing, LLC.  "Fur Side Up"

Feb 25

Rain / Snow Showers / Wind

Feb 26

Rain / Snow


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

20 Mule Team Ready (almost)

Ambrose (right) and MONK ready for a "HOT" winter bath..

MONK, staying out of the mud until we leave in the morning..

Weather for Ridgecrest is not looking that great but we are going ahead.  Diesel prices are now up to $3.85 per gallon, we have probably a 950 mile round trip.

Both horses have been kept active with a daily pony of at least 5 miles, kind of a pre ride ritual that I do to prevent any tying up issues.  Actually MONK will probably get a short 2 or 3 mile pony prior to getting in the trailer for the long ride down to Ridgecrest.

MONK has his EasyCare Glove shells glued on, that was done on Monday.  Ambrose had his feet trimmed and will wear Gloves on his 35 mile LD ride.

MONK Bros Racing, LLC  "Fur Side Up"

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ambrose 11.2 mile pony


Ambrose had regained his weight from his 26 mile under saddle work.  It had been raining some and he was very anxious to go do something.  I decided that a nice easy pony would be in order.  He did well until we tried to pass the ranch, he put the breaks on and I had to let go of the lead rope.  It took more then a few minutes to get him back, and since I was near the barn anyway I stopped and got the dressage whip.  When he sees the whip he all of sudden becomes very compliant.  The rest of the pony went great.  He trots so effortless at 15 mph just looking around like he is really having fun.  We pass lots of small ranches with horses out in the their pastures that usually run to the fence to greet us, he will talk to them some, but just keeps on trotting.

The Digifit program I use on the iPhone is pretty accurate except for the HR, and they are accurate when the belt is not moving at all.  I have compared it to the Garmin 310xt and it is real close.


Total Miles:  11.15
Elapsed Time   56.05
Average MPH   11.9
Max MPH   22

Mile 1 - 10.2
Mile 2 - 8.9
Mile 3 - 11.7
Mile 4 - 12.4
Mile 5 - 12.4
Mile 6 - 12.9
Mile 7 - 11.6
Mile 8 - 14.4
Mile 9 - 15.8
Mile 10 - 11.7
Mile 11 - 13.1
Mile 12 - 7.6

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Endurance Horse Heart Rates

Your HR (Heart Rates) play a big roll in determining how fit your horse is.

Resting HR can tell you lots after you have established a base line of taking it everyday for awhile.  If your your conditioning program is working for you, you will eventually see a drop in the resting HR.  This may take awhile, even years, but if you keep track you will see it drop at least by a couple of beats.  The lower your horses HR does not mean that he is a better athlete then the horse that is 10 beats higher.  But what it does mean that the horse with the lowest HR will probably get better vet scores and more BC just because how the system is set up.  So, don't let that 40 resting HR scare you away from a good potential candidate.  It is the recovery rate that is most important. Day to day rates should not vary by more then a couple of beats, if it does start looking for a reason.. Most common reason is over conditioning, your horse needs some rest... or they are getting sick.

Recovery Rate is how fast your horse recovers back to normal.  Now there are two components as far as I am concerned.  You have a working HR and the recovery or time it takes to get back to a certain level.  I happen to use 120 as my recovery bottom number, the top number I don't care too much about as long as the effort put forth was good enough for that horse.  So if I sprint up a hill and the horse hits 200 as his top number, what I am looking at is how fast it takes him to recover back to 120...  I keep track of those numbers because they are important to judge your improvement.  For the most part your working HR will improve slowly over time.  This working HR is very important, a horse that can't recover after just a little work will not be able to recover to a good resting HR for you vet check.

Swinging Heat Rates are pretty common in unconditioned horses.  I do not get overly concerned about a swinging HR during conditioning in a rookie horse, just means you need to back off a little.  Swinging HR is when your horse comes in from your work and your horse pulses down to say 80 within a few minutes and seems to hang there for awhile.  You keep watching and he then goes down to 65 and up to 70 then down to 62 then back up to 70 or higher.  You get the idea, the fit horse will come in and be down to 80 and keep dropping all the way to criteria.  You need to know your horse, and to know if they swing at all.  If they are swinging and you see 60 and then run off to the vet, you probably are done for the day... Just because they swing before going into vet does not mean your done for the day as long as you are paying attention.  Give your horse some time to stabilize before presenting to the vet.  Take the time you need.  Then if your smart you will slow way down and get a completion.

Conditioning HR's are important to keep track of so you can go back and see your improvement over the months, and years.  See post on Heart Rate Monitors..

WEG 2010 endurance horses were out on the endurance trail travelling at about 15 mph or faster, they will canter into the vet area, saddles are pealed and horses cooled with lots of water by lots of people.  These horses reach a criteria of 64 in sometimes under two minutes..  That last lap of the race was run at about 20 mph by more then just a few horses, their recovery times were in the 3 minute range, at least for the lead horses.  These horses have to do lots of cardio in order to develop their conditioning to that level, it does not just happen by accident.  It takes many many hours of upper level conditioning to get that kind of results.

MONK Bros Racing, LLC.  "Fur Side Up"

Monday, February 14, 2011

Using the trail.......

Using the trail is a phrase I don't here very often, but it is very important if you want your Equine Athlete to do the best they can do.  You as the rider pretty much dictate the speed but you must teach your horse to use the trail. It is a pretty easy concept, but it does take practice and keeping your horse focused and on task.  You can start to get the rhythm during training but you need some longer rides on a variable terrain trail to get good at it. A excellent trail for that is portions of the Tevis trail.  Any training ride is what you make of it, hard, easy, fast, training or conditioning.  

Using the trail is exactly that:  Get your horse used to changing gates easily and quickly.  You try and go as fast as you can safely go, asking the horse to use the gaits necessary to do that.  Don't trot where you should be in a canter etc. etc..  Sounds easy, but you must practice this at race pace.  

Race pace is generally a pace probably just a little faster or same pace that you would be racing at, because you don't go the whole distance you can practice a little faster.  Using the trail takes some practice for your horse to know what you want him to do, some horses will do this pretty naturally, some take more time to become efficient.

Never go any faster in a race then what you have practiced for.  For the most part it will be much slower, you will probably never do a real fast hill climb in a race but for sure will do it while conditioning..

MONK Bros Racing LLC  -  Fur side up....

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Race week

We are getting ready to go racing at 20 Mule Team ride in Southern Ca in two weeks.  Because our goals are different for each horse we will approach each one differently. Most will probably not agree but a taper from your normal work load can be important.  I do like to have a hard work 7 to 10 days out from race day, but sometimes, depending on how important the race is I will forgo that work, just to help keep weight. Not sure I will have to do that with Ambrose as he is a eating machine.

Ambrose is a unknown, he will start the 35 mile LD with Shannon Constanti aboard.  Hard to predict how a new horse will act in his first endurance ride.  I have had a multitude of attitudes and behaviors, most of which I was not expecting.  Shannon is a seasoned rider so we will let her call the shots on how she will deal with Ambrose..  We know that he is very competitive with MONK, but will he be that way with other horses, more then likely, he is after all a horse who has raced at the track.  So you have lots of decisions you have to make in that 35 miles, most of it schooling, getting his head right, more then likely. I have no worry about his fitness for this length of a ride he is MORE then ready.  If I had another two or three weeks on him I would of put him in the 65.  I am thinking FEI for this horse, so he has to have 3 fifty mile rides at a speed of less then 10mph, that may take some doing.  We will try and pick some hard rides for those qualifying rides.

Our goal for MONK this year is to prepare him properly for the Tevis ride.  One of the things that we have to do is modify our training program, Ambrose will be following along so more then likely I will post all the rides that we do with both horses.  We will be doing lots of work on the Tevis trail itself.  We will be doing much more hill/mountain work then just flat fast work.  The ride at 20MT is mostly flat and fast but it will still work great for tune up on some of the things that we need to do on a 100 mile ride.  I assume that we will do well, but again, we will take it as it comes... I am a believer in doing the best that you can do that day, if you have to actually race make sure it is worth it, which for me is 1st.... and that is it.  The first year MONK did 20MT, it was his first 100 mile ride where he was 4th.  We had occasion to watch someone canter their horse the last few miles to the finish for a non win, top 5 position????

MONK Bros Racing LLC.   "Fur side up"

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Overlook - Tevis Trail  This a link to a program that I have on my IPhone, called Journey Cast, it sends a tracking signal every 3 minutes and will do live tracking.  Shannon also has a IPhone so I might be able to track her and Ambrose when they do their first ride together at 20MT.  I will post the link on this BLOG in case we have any followers.  MONK will have his Spot tracker and will post that link on his BLOG...

Saturday:  MONK bros racing LLC headed out of the overlook in Auburn today.  We were actually going to not go to Poverty Bar today, but up through Browns and back around which I think adds about 6 miles or so to the loop.  Well as luck would have it I did not use tape on MONK's rear boots and I spit one off.  When I stopped on the hill I found that I had lost the other rear also.  I had Ambrose and Shannon continue on the way they wanted to go and I would go back and get the other boot and then head back to the trailer.  Well I went and got the boot, but did not go back to the trailer.  I continued on to Poverty bar to look for the $80 sunglasses that I lost somewhere along the trail last Friday.  MONK is a great barefoot horse and he did not mind being naked behind at all.  We went to Poverty Bar and turned around but did not find my glasses.

Ambrose had a HR monitor on this trip, so it was really nice to compare HR between the rookie and the veteran.  Believe it or not they were with in 5 beats of each other, including working recovery.

So when we were all done, MONK went about 22.5 miles our our best guess is that Ambrose went about 28 miles, with lots more elevation gain.  Actually Shannon sent me a text saying the she was at No Hands bridge, MONK and I were only about 1 mile ahead of her so we waited for them to catch up.  Right as they caught up we came to the small waterfall with the trail going through a nice pool of water.  Ambrose took a nice long drink, this is his first time taking a drink on the trail, this is a BIG deal for a endurance horse.  He also did it twice more on the way back to the trailer...

Both boys were hosed a little, offered some food and hand grazed before being loaded in the trailer.

This was a very beneficial ride.  We practiced riding single track and how close we could ride, in the case of MONK on Ambrose's tail, not so close, Ambrose let him know exactly how close when he humped his but up in the air higher then MONK's head.  I did not see any feet flying which was good.  We did some fast leap frogging on the wide open trial which worked good, as long as they were not side by side smiling at each other.  Ambrose got to show Shannon his new skill that he learned at school and that was standing still while she mounted.  This is the first time he has drank on the trail.  He drinks in the horse trough at home all the time after a work, but this is the first time out of a running stream.

So, today was a good day

These are MONK stats........  Not good for a comparison because of being barefoot behind so had to be careful.

Distance:22.18 mi
Elevation Gain:3,435 ft
Calories:868 C
Moving Time:03:01:22
Elapsed Time:03:29:51
Avg Pace:09:27 min/mi
Avg Moving Pace:08:10 min/mi
Best Pace:03:43 min/mi
Elevation Gain:3,435 ft
Elevation Loss:3,409 ft
Min Elevation:541 ft
Max Elevation:1,346 ft
Heart Rate
Avg HR:110 bpm
Max HR:192 bpm
% of Max
Laps 23
Avg Pace