Action Ambrose

Action Ambrose

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nevada Derby 2011 - Ambrose's first ride

Nevada Derby 2011

Bath time - Pre travel
Shannon, MONK and Ambrose
MONK and AMBROSE attended the wonderful managed Nevada Derby in Palomino Valley just north of Reno Nevada.  A very picturesque setting with wonderful trails, something for everyone, hills, sand washes, nice footing along country roads, with lots of bands of wild horses.

Ride Camp

 MONK sporting a new clip...

Shirt sleeve weather

Shannon and Ambrose

Lindsay and MONK vet in.

Amborse and Shannon vet in.

You got treat for me?

Tack check

Home for the next few days.

Ride started at 7am on Saturday, Lindsay and Shannon were in the saddle by 6:30, first ones out in front of camp warming up.  We kinda sorta had a very flexlible game plan.  The two boys seem to have become rather attached during Ambroses first 90 days with us.  The plan was definitley NOT to have them ride together very much or at all.  Ambrose becomes very animated and agitated when MONK would leave him.  The problem in the desert is that the ride started on the flat road, where you could see for miles.  Well the two started out together, the start was not as I had invisioned, just maybe 20 or so riders in the first wave going down the road, first loop was 25 miles, with 20 miles being along side the main road in the valley, with a 10 minute hold at 10 miles.  Shannon tells me that as soon as MONK started going a little faster along with the rest of the front runners she had some very tense moments with AMBROSE.  She managed to stay seated and keep him going in the right direction with him hollering most of the time.

All of the vet checks were back in camp and you can see the horses coming for miles.  I think there were 6 riders in the breakaway group with MONK in the front coming into camp.  We stripped the saddle and started to cool MONK after he drank.  To out amazement it took a whole 7 minutes for him to pulse down to 60.  We got our pulse time, but kept the HR monitor on him as I watched his HR pluse all the way back up to high 70's and then back down to 60 and then back up.  We just hung tight and did not present him to the vet until he was 52.  Usually the swinging HR is a sure sign that you have pushed your horse a little too fast and a good sign that you need to slow down.  I was very concerned about his recovery.  MONK looked fantastic, eating and drinking and very alert, no dull look here, very animated.  He was also missing AMBROSE so we tried to throw that into the equation for an explanation for the swinging HR.  MONK vetted through and we were set for the next 20 mile loop.
Pre ride warm up, Lindsay and Shannon

AMBROSE shows up at the vet check and we cool him down, pull the saddle and start sponging him.  I put the HR belt on him and we wait for him to come down to 60 while sponging a little.  Weather is pretty cool so we have a blanket.  Long story short it takes AMBROSE 30 minutes to get to 60.  He is also looking very perky, like he just got out of the trailer except that he is looking for MONK.  AMBROSE HR goes up and down, up and down, hardly ever see 60 again, all the way up to 80 and back to high 60's.  Again a very good sign that he has been over ridden, but all of his other signs suggest otherwise.
MONK, kodak moment

MONK shows up and AMBROSE HR goes off the chart.  We take him back to the trailer and wait.  Lindsays takes off fo the her next 20 mile loop.  My stomache is turing as I am really worried about AMBROSE that he will never be a endurance horse, wondering what am I going to do with him.  We take him back for his final vet check when he gets to the low 50.  He does pass the check and is cleared to go out ont he next 20 mile loop
I did chat with the head vet several times trying to get my thoughts straight and let her know what was going on.  Her opinion was that he had just been over ridden and was not able to recover quickly.  I did consider her opinion, but nothing else pointed to that.

At some point during the thought process came the realization that both horses were suffering form the same symptoms.  So, it had to be something that I had just started that I had not done before...  BINGO.
MONK shows back up, still with the top few riders.  MONK tack is stripped and we start the cooling process.  Again, MONK HR's are much higher then usual and it takes almost the whole 30 minutes to get down to 60.  We then watched it swing up and down, not as bad as AMBROSE, but bad.  We only have 4 miles to go.  We did get our 60 pulse within the 30 minutes but this was only a ten minute hold, so all the other front runners were gone.  I again went to the head vet to see how much time we had before we had to present.  She decided that we could take until 7pm......  We took MONK back to the trailer where we watched his HR swing up and down, all the way up to the 80's and back down to the high 60's, once in awhile it would get to 60 and then right back up again.  The whole time MONK is eating, and looking around, sharp as a tack and looking for AMBROSE.

AMBROSE and Shannon show up and we cool him out, pull his saddle and start the wait.  He was swinging also, Shannon kept an eye on the time and we did present him pretty close to the 30 minute time limit, but a few mintues over,  but he was 64.  So we went to the head vet where she did the PULL exam, his CRI was 64-60.   We presented MONK for his final also and he passed.  MONK and Lindsay only had the 4 miles to go.  Lindsay decided that she would power walk the whole 5 miles, so she took off with MONK in tow along with a friend to share her misery.  MONK spent probably more then 1.5 hours at camp waiting for his HR to stableize
So, all said in done, Lindsay saved the day with MONK's perfect record in tact with a 20 something placement in the ride
After all my anguish over AMBROSE it was a blessing in desquise that MONK had the same problem, this could of taken months and months to figure out.  What the bottom line was that I had started a new supplement which I will not name at this time because it was more then likely my fault and not that of the supplement.

MONK was scheduled to race on Sunday also, but we pulled him from that ride, not knowing how long it will take for this supplement to get out of his system.  We decided that both girls would take the boys on a 5 mile jaunt and then we would do a mini vet check, along with a cri, to see where we were at.  Both looked good and recovered just OK, so it was a good decision not to do another 50 miles today.

Great week end with lots of good friends and new friends.  Although AMBROSE failed (or I failed AMBROSE) on his first attempt we have a NEW game plan in the works to assure victory in the next attempt.

If you surround yourself with the very best in this sport you are bound to excel, that is what I have done with Lindsay and Shannon.  These young ladies bring so much to the table in their knowledge of this sport and experience that I feel very blessed.  I love seeing my very happy horses going down the trail with these two foxy ladies on them with big smiles on their faces.

Over riding your horse!

Very touchy subject but when you get old you can pretty much say what you want because you are OVER worrying about what people think of you.  I guess it takes one to know one.

I have to say that I have been guilty of over riding my horse in the past, but I think if you learn from your mistakes the horse GOD's will forgive you, maybe!   I think you can tolerate the unimformed but when you look at riders with hundreds and hundreds of miles that  do it on a continuing basis it is a real black mark on the spot. A rather harsh statement but it rings true to my ears.  Sometimes I really think that they think it is OK if they just barely manage to get the win or the top 10 and go home with a very sad looking horse.  I know that when I first started I did rationalize in that i was not pushing my horse or asking him to go, he just went as fast as he wanted, so it was OK, we got our completions.

Barely ever did anybody say anything to you, if they did it was just a pasing comment that you could let slide.  What really turns it around is watching the people who have taken the time to really do their homework and who are front runners with horses that looked like they just jumped out of the trailer.  I decided long ago, that is what I wanted my horses to look like...  To get to that mode, at least in my mind, you have to enter each competition with the mind set that you will only go as fast as your horse is comfortable going on that particular day, and damn your placement.  You do have to know your horse and what he is capable of and you also have to train faster then you race.  You cannot go out and train your horse at 10 MPH and then run a race at 12MPH.  If you race at 12MPH you damn well BETTER be training at 15 MPH or better.

I guess that's all I have to say, It sure did not solve anything, did not keep any of our Equine Athletes safe and maybe lost a couple of friends or acquaitences.    Get your friggin race brain back to reality, winning or top tenning a ride and tanking your horse just because you want the prestige of a top placement is stupid.  After the fact and you are looking at probably your best friend in the whole world and they look like shit because you wanted that placement, shame on you, shame on ME, shame on anyone who puts their horse in jeperady for any reason.  We all have learning curve getting to know our horses and all horses are not created equal
Do your homework, conditon and take care of your horse.  I am talking to the RACERS, not the majority of endurance riders who are just out having fun with their friends and enjoying the fruits of their labors.
On the way home

Riding the Line.....
This for the racers.

Riding the line is something that you hear occassionaly.  It means riding the horse to its full potential without falling over the other side.  As long as you stay on the right side of the line you are a hero, fall off and you are a ASSHOLE.  I have been on both sides of the line and have made a determined effort as to which side of the line that I want my horse on.  Some horses are much more difficult to make that determination as to exactly where you are at in regards to that magical line, but it is your choice.

What are the signs..  We all know the obvious signs, that tell tale dull look that haunts me when I see it.
Even a horse that is still eager to go down the trail can fall on the wrong side of the line.  The very best way is the recovery rate of the horse, but you have to know your horse to know exactly where you are at.  CRI is also important, very important, my personal opinion is that a five beat inverted CRI is not all that important but you really need to take note and it is a very good sign that you need to slow down.


  1. Haha, that's Dixie (the paint tied to the F150) in the Ride Camp picture! Sorry to hear you had a tough ride too. I'm learning as fast as I can and I'm just happy to have a healthy horse, that's my #1 priority.

  2. I heartily agree to training faster than you plan to compete, but what do you do with a horse that is a slacker and plods through training no matter how you ask, but once it hits the endurance trail thinks it is the terminator? I would actually prefer to compete slower and train a ride her race brain sets in. It is an incredible challenge.

    Glad both your boys came through healthy. Sounds like a tough ride overall from the "gossip" that has reached the midwest. ~E.G.

  3. good post! it will be interesting to see how the boys do once they get the ? supplement out of their system. I like the adage, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' - but then if you don't try something you don't know if it will work.
    - The Equestrian Vagabond