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The Peregrinations & Misadventures of Brigadier D+/

Discussion in 'Furred - Finned - Feathered' started by CatskillsRunner, Feb 15, 2018.

  1. CatskillsRunner

    CatskillsRunner SILVER Star

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    He is neither furred, finned, nor feathered, but he belongs here despite all that!

    He is a 1996 Polish Arabian gelding. He hung out, untrained, for a decade before anyone broke him. The woman who picked him up in Wisconsin and took him home to PA used him as one of her many endurance horses. She won a few 50 mile races with him, at breakneck speeds of 4 hours and change. He even earned Best Condition once or twice, meaning that out of all the top ten finishers the vets considered him the least changed over the course of those 50 miles. She didn't like him because he wasn't "hot" enough; he didn't care about winning.

    I bought him in 2010 because I wanted a horse anyone in my family could ride, and figured he was at least used to seeing new territory, taking lots of rides in trailers, and dealing with all sorts of new experiences -- mountain bikes, strollers, and fireworks, to name a few-- that will season a horse. But I never intended to ride him, much less compete him. He was the horse everyone else would enjoy.

    But I ended up riding him one day and fell in love with him, and shortly thereafter did some races with him.

    I decided two years ago that I should let him retire and replace him, so I picked up a great big half-Arab that I never learned to love. I sold that horse after it was clear that he wasn't gonna work out and went back to Briggy. I have resolved to never again bother with a horse that was not a full-blooded Arab.

    A Nevada rider who is actually a serious competitor, unlike me, has his half brother, and regularly competes that horse in 100 mile races. Her horse is 24 and has almost 10,000 endurance race miles logged. Brig is 22. So I figure that between his good genes and the fact that he really only started racking up the miles later in his life, I have at least two years left to compete him, barring any unforeseen injuries.

    I am planning on two races this year, both in VT. The one I'm really looking forward to, Moonlight in VT, starts at 2 PM for the 50 milers, so you are out well past dark, following glo-sticks hanging in trees in the woods. It is run alongside ultrarunners, and it's lots of fun to hang with these inspiring folk for hours. I plan on dragging @beno around this summer and making him "crew" for us on trail.

    In any case, I plan on writing about it here if anyone cares to read it. I've never written about the conditioning that leads up to a race so it'll be fun (for me anyway!), to look back on it.

    It's a lot of work and takes some serious dedication, but it also gets me on the trail, at sunset, while redwing blackbirds call to each other from long reeds in fields we fly through.

    These pics are from the VT race we did last year.

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    IMG_20170611_100635290-3847x5129.jpg
     
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  2. doug720

    doug720

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    I the read the first sentence and thought you were talking a Turk...Ah, a horse!
     
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  3. 4mydogs

    4mydogs

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    Love this! Indeed he belongs here. :cheers: Brig!
     
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  4. CatskillsRunner

    CatskillsRunner SILVER Star

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    My Arab is much more mild-mannered than my Turk.
     
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  5. CatskillsRunner

    CatskillsRunner SILVER Star

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    It was a record-breaking 75 degrees today in Ulster County, NY.

    I took Brig out for a quick jaunt. He has not gained enough weight this winter; you can see his ribs even through the winter coat and dried mud. It has been an exceptionally cold winter. I'd like him 100 pounds heavier so he has some weight to lose as we start to condition. I upped his grain last month but may need to switch to something with a higher fat content to pack on some pounds.

    In any case, we did 6 miles, the shortest loop we do when we are both really out of shape. He did very well despite the heat and his still very fuzzy winter coat. He pulled the reins the whole time and had fun, with the exception of the bridge crossings we had to do. One is over a major county road and you can see through the slats in the boards and we always go over just when there is a really loud truck beneath us. The other is over a deep ravine in the woods which terrifies him to no end. I had to get off and lead him over that one when my coaxing didn't work. He was very brave on the way back.

    Great first ride of 2018. IMG_20180221_112624728_HDR-3920x2940.jpg IMG_20180221_121923447_HDR-2940x3920.jpg PhotoPictureResizer_180221_203240357-2940x3920.jpg IMG_20180221_130813567-2940x3920.jpg
     
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  6. doug720

    doug720

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    You likely win largest animal on Mud! At least until we get a Clydesdale owner!
     
  7. CatskillsRunner

    CatskillsRunner SILVER Star

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    Next to a Quarter Horse filly I had as a kid, he is actually the smallest horse I've ever had. He's about an inch taller than technically being defined as a pony, but he is one powerful little horse.
     
  8. CatskillsRunner

    CatskillsRunner SILVER Star

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    We got in 8 miles today. 25 mile-an-hour wind gusts and plenty of rotten, slushy snow made the ride interesting. The snow made him work those soft tissues really hard--too hard for being as out of shape as he is, and as we climbed in elevation it only got deeper.
    I turned him around when we had gotten almost to the top of the ridge and we didn't stay out as long as I'd hoped. Still a lot of miles for this early in the year, and so nice to be in the woods on my pony for a couple of hours.

    But the best part? Early in the ride the sun broke through the trees and warmed my cheeks and Brig had started to sweat so he smelled so good--just the healthiest, earthiest smell you can imagine--and I had one of those moments that you live for; so brief and fleeting but even more beautiful for that and make you so thankful for your life.

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  9. 4mydogs

    4mydogs

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    Wonderful. I tip my cap to you and Brig.

    And yes, that smell.
     
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  10. CatskillsRunner

    CatskillsRunner SILVER Star

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    IMG_20180414_123754815_HDR.jpg Yesterday we put in 12 miles. It was beautiful; sunny, warm, in the low 60s. Briggy had fun, pulling almost the whole ride, and was very pleased to be out. IMG_20180414_122446069_HDR.jpg IMG_20180414_132139919_HDR.jpg IMG_20180414_121723712.jpg
     
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  11. CatskillsRunner

    CatskillsRunner SILVER Star

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    I'm using a new GPS tracking app. So weird that everything on the planet has to be "social." I guess I'm supposed to care what other people are doing... Screenshot_20180414-130711.png
     
  12. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew On the way there SILVER Star

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    Picture of the Turk on horseback....?
     
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  13. CatskillsRunner

    CatskillsRunner SILVER Star

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  14. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew On the way there SILVER Star

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  15. CatskillsRunner

    CatskillsRunner SILVER Star

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    You might as well.

    As soon he learns how to go fast that's all he'll wanna do.
     
  16. Godwin

    Godwin Resident Herpetologist SILVER Star

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    Can't wait :lol:.

    Maybe I'll read this thread to our horses to inspire them:lol:.

    Seriously, I'm looking forward to hearing about your progress and race results, and the 100 looks at home pulling the trailer.
     
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  17. CatskillsRunner

    CatskillsRunner SILVER Star

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    Hope I can inspire your horse.

    Plenty of endurance people compete Apps, they just aren't sane. :flipoff2:

    @Cruiserdrew I don't have him riding yet, but he is cooking... IMG_20180415_192935218.jpg
     
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  18. CatskillsRunner

    CatskillsRunner SILVER Star

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    Today's weather called for high 30s and rain and snow showers, so what better way to enjoy it than with a quick ride? We did a little over 8 miles on the rail trail between Stone Ridge and Hurley.

    Rail trails have positives: better, softer footing than the Mohonk carriage roads and flat flat flat. So we can really haul the entire time and I don't worry about the concussive impact of the miles.

    The O & W rail trail is closer to where Briggy is stabled too, so only twenty minutes between the time I load him, get him there, and start to clean him up. Nice on a weekday when I have been at school all day and still have to get home and get dinner on the table.

    He was very naughty the whole time. It was cold and windy. He wanted to run, was terrified of everything, and I couldn't tire him out because he's already getting ridiculously fit. A whole lot fitter than I.

    We got a visit from my man before we set out, who likes him and spoils him by feeding him treats.
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    More pics to follow...
     
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  19. Cruiserdrew

    Cruiserdrew On the way there SILVER Star

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    That's awesome. Onur with horse. Who would have thought. And cooking!!!!! He been sponging for years. Now it seems, you've upped his game!

    We tried several times to get him to cook dinner. Once it ended in a tequila fueled debauchery, and another time it just ended. Good times all.

    :cheers:


     
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  20. Godwin

    Godwin Resident Herpetologist SILVER Star

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    Equestrian poser.

    When he starts wearing sandals with pointed toes and heels then we'll know he's become a horseman :lol:
     
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