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Eric Hought

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Tempest - Fall 2004

This is an update on Tempest for the year of 2004. Her year began between Christmas and New Years at the Death Valley Encounter in 2003. Gail planned to alternate Shaq and Tempest, but I developed leg soreness due to a stirrup leather problem, so we changed saddles and horses and I ended up riding Tempest 3 of the 4 days. Tempest is a much smoother ride than Shaq. She did very well. Her attitude was good, she wanted to go and she was interested the entire time. During the year Tempest also completed seven 50's including all three days at Cuyama and the multi-day Owyhee Canyon Lands 5 day ride in Idaho. At Owyhee Canyon ride fifty-five horses started the first day and 15 completed the 5 days. Tempest was 8th of the 15 that completed. Over the 5 days her vet scores steadily improved and the last two days they were all A's. On the 5th day she was stronger than the 3rd and 4th day. During the ride she demonstrated a willingness to put her feet where cued, was sure footed and always under speed control. In addition, at every ride this season her vet scores have been high.

Mentally Tempest seems to embrace a large world, yet on rides she easily partners with her rider. Her independence has been apparent as she shows no attachment to other horses. She arrives at each vet check totally focused on food and water.

Tempest's strongest attribute has been her aggressive approach to hills accompanied by her willingness to negotiate those hills under control either at a walk or trot. While climbing hills Gail has carefully kept Tempest's heart rate below 135BPM. It has been important to keep the rate low because of her young age, 6 years. The pace has been kept easy so she can be successful. Remember the first years of preparation focused upon preparing Tempest to experience total success and to develop a positive attitude.

Since the aim of the first 2-3 years was total control of speed and positive success, it was not until the last multi-day ride that Tempest showed Gail she has some natural speed. Because Tempest had never been conditioned to travel at high speeds for extended distances, Gail remained very cautious. Many times when she trotted on the flat part of a trail, Gail would change her gait to a walk to allow Tempest's muscles to rest.

Tempest's sure-footedness and smooth gait are easy on the rider; hence, it would be easy to over ride her because she is so smooth. Gail continues to walk her downhill or alternates a slow jog-walk where applicable because an extended trot downhill would put undue stress on her tendons, ankles, knees and shoulders. So with Tempest's health and success in mind, her 2005 season will begin at the 2004 Death Valley Encounter.

These two photos were taken from Tempest's back at the Owyhee Canyonlands 5 Day Endurance Ride in October of 2004. She was 8th of the 15 horses who completed all 5 days.



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