• Frauke Jergensen - Endurance

    by Published on 08-07-2013 01:47 PM

    Well, our weekend away for our first shot at a 2-day ride (32km + 30km) didn't exactly start well. I was a nervous wreck ...
    by Published on 08-07-2013 01:44 PM

    I'm all nervous, as usual before a competition! The pony and I are meant to be doing our first 2-day ride. I've chosen a ...
    by Published on 13-06-2013 01:13 PM

    I posted 4 weeks ago about our first Endurance start of the season, a hilly 25km Pleasure Ride at which the pony got a little over-enthusiastic and bounced around the whole course and then all over the vetting...

    3 weeks ago, we went to our first competitive ride of the season. It was a very flat 32km ride on forestry tracks near the beach. We went around with two of our usual partners. I was as nervous as usual: it was a long drive there, I wasn't feeling well, and the pony's hooves were somewhat overdue their trim, meaning I was nervous about being able to get his hoof boots on. Parked near my lorry was one of Scotland's senior riders, who passed on a message from the pony's trimmer: something to the effect of, "I hope she puts boots on him" became transmitted as something like, "If she doesn't put boots on him, I'll kill her"!

    So I duly wrenched and yanked his brand-new "Dragon Fire Red" Renegades on (they'd arrived 2 days before, and I'd sent back the trial pair that we had been using), and we set out at very good speed. I quickly was very glad that I'd put the boots on, because it meant that I didn't have to worry when the tracks were on average much stonier than the previous year. This didn't stop me from whinging continuously, and completely getting on my companions' collective gourd!

    The marking of the route was interesting: an orienteering group had left markers of the same colour in the woods, which led us on wild goose chases at several points. Nevertheless, we flew round, and had to have a long walk and grazing session before finishing just inside our fastest allowable time: one of our horses was doing his first qualifier, and the other hasn't finished his Bronze Thistle yet, so both of them had to declare a speed category. The Spooky Pony is exempt.

    The day was mostly lovely and sunny, but there was some rain and biting wind, which made cooling them down before the vetting without chilling them a little bit tricky. Nevertheless, the pony had a much better heart-rate than the previous week, at 50.

    I didn't ride him at all during the following week, and pulled him out of the field again on Sunday 2 weeks ago to do 40km: probably the hilliest ride in the Grampian calendar. We were the same foursome of two weeks before. This ride was very stony: rally cars had churned up the tracks, and left pebbles everywhere. Nevertheless, with his boots on, the pony stomped his way easily around the first 25 or so km (he'd finally had his trim). There was one nasty hill which we had to negotiate twice (a repeating loop), followed by a long straight climb lasting nearly 4km, which we mostly cantered.

    At about 25km, we were supposed to get a token out of a bucket to prove that we had reached a certain unmanned checkpoint. Six of us arrived there at the same time, to find that the bucket was empty! So we took some pictures instead as proof. The horses were getting a bit tired by this point, but we were managing to keep an acceptable speed. Then we made an error of course that added some distance to our ride, and were wondering why we were suddenly so short on time---none of us realised this error until long after we finished! The horses were very tired for the last 8km loop, and a stony track that had been fine the previous two times was now proving a bit much for tired legs. We walked a long way, me getting more worried, but still managed to finish inside the time.

    At his vetting, the pony had his highest heart-rate yet. It had been lower at the lorry, but went up at the vetting, although the vet said it was coming down sharply just at the end. He still managed to pass, although with a bronze award this time. I was very very proud of him for continuing so bravely and managing such a difficult ride with very little preparation this season!

    Some time later, we found out that the "tokens" had been Lindt Lindors, and we were meant to present merely the wrappers as our proof...indignation resulted! Who ate all the tokens?

    Almost ready to go before the latest ride, with his new red footwear:


    Between-the-ears shot of the Normally Grey Pony's bottom:


    A lovely day for a trot in the woods:


    One of the spectacular views:


    An attempt by the Normally Grey Pony's rider to take an action pic. Is this modern art?


    The Spooky Pony is trying to kick the horse behind him:


    Striding out in the new boots:


    Photographic evidence at the purple token bucket (in tree):