62 days and counting until the John Wayne Ride and Tarma is in a solid place, according to two equine professionals. Yesterday I had my saddle refitted and reflocked, and it was also farrier day. The saddle fitter noticed the Wintec was a little deflated on the right, which makes sense as that is the direction I tend to lean, but some new flocking and it’s good to go another year, and she liked the pads I have for it. The free, unkillable Wintec will continue to be my main saddle, but I’m open to the idea of finding one that fits me as well. I’ve never been fitted for a saddle, so I have Stubben rep coming out next week, and I’ve also been researching Synergists and a few others. The tricky bit will be finding a seat big enough for me that doesn’t go too far on Tarma’s back, so we’ll do some playing around and see what’s out there.
The farrier was also quite pleased, and I almost won the monthly “most improved” award (only be snatched away last minute by the retired gelding!) He noted how fit she looks, how nicely she’s shedding out, how much hoof growth she’s put on, especially how deep and cushy her heels have gotten, and how much sole callus she has, which is quite solid for mid-March in the Valley. As a professional whose had his hands on thousands of horses, it never hurts to have a farrier use your horses as the good examples. I was also happy to see her include herself a bit more, she was stalled while everyone else was being trimmed and usually she just chills and eats, but she kept poking her head out and asking for treats and face rubs and was overall much more chill for the whole experience.
Physically and mentally, I think we could go out and do the Ride this week, there’s just a few more little things to touch on:
- I’ve ordered my Hi-Tie but it has yet to be delivered, so I still have to install that and spend a few nights camping with it to see if it will work for her, or what modifications it might need.
- I still have to purchase a water tank, right now I only have a small five gallon one which…will not be enough…
- We have to keep testing the “how long can Tarma stand tied to weird things”, as this is my biggest source of stress for this ride, you leave your horse tied up for around an hour or so while you drive your rig forward to the next camp and ride the bus back.
I’ve gotten the trailer as cozy for camping as it’s going to get, with plenty of storage, everything organized, a Mr. Buddy heater (and CO2 detector installed), and of course, many blankets and extras of everything, including every bit of tack. My April calendar is chock full of trips and plans to test our gear, fitness and relationship. Battle of the Flatlands endurance ride in three weeks will be a good test, as I’m not sure how long it will take Tarma to relax in a busy ride camp. We’ll be doing the trail ride, so that gives us plenty of time to observe the energy and let it get out ahead of us and work with whatever she feels about it, before heading out ourselves. Plus it will give me a chance to volunteer and have fun without the stress of clock watching, and Kade and Benny can come along. Next weekend is the Northwest Horse Expo down in Albany, so if you’re nearby come say hi, I’ll be helping man the Oregon Equestrian Trails booth on Saturday!