|The Grounds are still quite buried in snow, as shown by|
Spud's sunken feetsies1
So with this good weather naturally comes the want (and unrelenting NEED) to ride, and sometimes the paved streets where you can do no more than walk gets a bit boring and tiresome. Needless to say, I am thankful to be well equipped with a truck and trailer - the ability to go wherever I want is an intoxicating feeling!
Initially, I had planned on hauling out to the indoor arena in the next town (approximately an hour away) but didn't feel like wasting two hours driving, especially if the schooling sessions were going to be no more than 30-40 minutes long. As I went out to hitch up the trailer at my MILs, I saw the most beautiful sight to be seen.
|Yea... the irony that we live so close lol.|
And even more interesting, here is another map to show you all just how close our house, property, and the riding meadow is all connected. You will notice where our property is, most of the surrounding area is bush-like and non-developed. This is a new section added in by a local construction company and it is beginning to be developed as the years progress. The whole appeal of this entire "subdivision" is to have the ability to farm (or to just have a lot of land) and still be within close proximity to town.
And before I continue on the whole ride and drive recap, let's take a quick look at where Suzie and Spud are boarded now. It is a rural subdivision, much like the new one being constructed IN town. This one however, is approximately 10 minutes out of town.
OK, so enough of the maps and back to our regularly scheduled program here.
I had intended to work some more on loading and unloading, given the horse's previous abhorrence to the trailer during our last haul-out. I did decide to do things a bit differently this time, in that I loaded Spud first and decided to load him on the opposite side (previously I had loaded him on the passenger side). He gave some slight resistance, but after clucking once or twice, he clambered on and loaded straight. Much to my surprise, he didn't try and spin around, didn't duck under the divider and didn't try to get out.
I unloaded and re-loaded him a few more times, keen on giving him pets and letting him know he was a good boy. Once he was tied and secured, I decided to load Suzie and she quite literally sniffed, and then self-loaded. I stood at the back of the trailer ramp in shock, but quickly remembered my sanity and tied her through the escape door.
Both horses hauled quietly, save for one moment where I thought Spud may have fallen down... I quickly stopped and ran back to the trailer and saw both of them standing quietly, looking at me expectantly. I assume that Suzie shifted in the trailer and my alarm bells sounded off.
|They say "Ain't no thang, mom."|
Regardless, the horses's didn't care about my troubles and soon I had Spud hitched and ready to go. He seemed quite spritely, and forward thinking which I wanted to use to my advantage. Ironically enough, his forward thinking brain didn't last long, as his energy was misdiagnosed and he realized rather quickly that pulling a cart was hard work. I didn't push him too long and kept the session short, since this was our first "training drive" of the season.
While Spud can have a lot of stamina, we had trail ridden approximately two hours the day before and Mr. Short Legs had to jog most of the way to keep up with Suzie and AJ. In addition to this, being out of shape and lugging around a person can be pretty tough, especially when you are doing more than just walking.
So other than being a bit laggy and unresponsive once he got tired (the video showcases some moments where I got after him a bit with my clucking), he was pretty agreeable for his first drive back. You can see a few moments where I'm asking him to turn and he's counter-bending against me to head back towards Suzie, which is realistic of a greenie who hasn't done much since last year. We did have some good moments of connection and given the fact that the terrain wasn't completely smooth, he did quite well.
He feels really good but is a bit resistant in the bridle, although he is starting to stretch down and seek that contact. It'll all come with time and once he gets more stability in the trot, he won't have to bring his head up to balance himself as much.
Next up was Suzie-mare, who I wasn't certain how she'd ride considering she acted like a bit of a moron yesterday during our trail ride. At one point when we ran into 4x4s and needed to pull over and let them pass, I had to be PONIED because Suzie decided she didn't want to stand quietly on the side of the trail. Oh no, she wanted to back up like an idiot, dragging poor unsuspecting Spud with her.
Hormonal mares, people.
|All aboard the Hot Mess Express.|
I made sure we worked on opening her shoulders a bit with some side-passing and leg yielding. And I find that asking for quite a bit of bend and then releasing and asking again helps her a lot. Almost like an "elastic", allowing her to yo-yo between the extreme (when I say 'extreme' I don't mean cranking her head down to my knee. I mean more of a 10:30/ 2:30 view... think of the hands on a clock and as your horse's head being at 12 o'clock and being completely straight with no bend) and nothing at all.
|My favorite pair of ears <3|
Upon leaving, both horses were good to load although Suzie tried to say "no way" for about 3 seconds. Of course, the more we haul, the better they'll get.