Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Trails and Schooling

I don't have anything really exciting to post about, or any media from the ride (shame on me), but figure I should share nonetheless. Finally, after what seemed like eons, I was able to ride my pony. But only after a mild heart-attack that she had tapeworm and then finding out it was just fly larva and eggs, I was glad to be going for a ride to clear my head. Clearly I needed it.

We tacked up Western and I slipped on the new spurs I bought back when we were at the driving clinic. By the time I mounted up the friend I was riding with was already at the barn. I swung up and Spud followed along quietly by Suzie's side, only after trying to plant his feet and giving me a dirty look. Sorry dude, you need exercise too.

We took a selfie a few nights ago after I
picked the paddocks. Classy.
 Since it was still quite warm out, we opted to go for a trail ride first and then finish up at the fairgrounds where the arena is. Once in the trail and off the road, I turned Spud loose and we wandered through many creeks and water crossings. For the most part he followed behind Suzie and AJ, stopping to grab mouthfuls of grass before galloping up behind AJ and startling him. It was kind of hilarious.

We picked up a trot on some of the softer spots, with Suzie in the lead and the rest of the crew following. I was pretty happy with Suz because whenever we have gone faster than a walk on trails with other horses she reverts to her drill teaming days and trying to get her to walk again is a feat in itself. Last year when I had Tally and a friend of mine wanted to canter on the trail, I tried to but Suz subsequently LOST HER SHIT and proceeded to gallop sideways and put her head in my lap. No mare, just no. Small victories, right? I felt good about the situation and wanted to start tackling the problem instead of hiding from it and it was a good move, I think.

The horses had no problems picking through some of the muck and mud and Spud gleefully trotted ahead once we started heading "home" towards the fairgrounds. Much to Suzie and AJ's disappointment, they were not allowed to trot ahead with the little pony. 

The fairgrounds had some people at it for a Horse Club Meeting which I missed (oops) but I did get a decent school in on Suzie. It wasn't anything super fantastic, to be honest. One of our more "meh" schoolings since I made one of the biggest mistakes I could ever make: I didn't warm her up in the arena properly.

Enjoy this awkward photo of Suzie when she got her
feet done on Friday.
She was a bit difficult to balance and kept speeding up coming out of the turns. I ended up getting some pretty bang on lope work out of her despite it not being perfect - it certainly has improved! Any kind of side-ways or lateral work sent her shooting forwards instead of softly moving away so I ditched the spurs, thinking I was confusing her or sending too many signals. She was about the same, perhaps a little less rushy and resistant. A few times she had some really fantastic jogging going on but would lose it coming out of the corner or even just on the straight aways.

I didn't do much in the way of getting after her for speeding up - it's a balance issue and other than setting her up to bend through the corners and "picking her up". Other than that, I let her speed up for a few strides and figure it out on her own. She hasn't been ridden for a week and a half and with an older horse, muscle memory is difficult to achieve. It certainly was not her fault in the least.

I ran through some mock Reining patterns and her adjustability in the lope is AWESOME. SO much better than when we first started out and although it takes some encouragement with my seat to really bring her down to a collected lope, she really tries and pulls it together for me.

And Spud playing coy with the farrier.
 After toodling around some more, we hacked home and Suzie decided to try and jig all the way home after seeing someone's dog and thinking it was a bear (?). She blew and snorted and carried on with her head up to the heavens so I ended up dismounting and having her walk with her head down. Once she seemed more settled I remounted and she was pretty level headed again. Mares.

Once at home, I rode her in the back pasture just practicing yielding her haunches and fore-quarters since we got into a ginormous argument back at the fairgrounds when I was trying to get her to move over so I could close the gate. She obliged and we ended it there though I realized how important our usual warm up is and that "just trail riding" isn't a true warm up for her. Getting her attuned to the aids is important, not just warming up her body/muscles.


  1. i love that spud just follows along on the trail like a dog! and i'm starting to realize the same stuff with my mare re: warm ups. sometimes she's just right there ready to work... but when she's not i need to figure out how to get everything going again...

    1. I'm trying to get some lessons into place for me and Ms. Mare. I certainly need them!!

  2. Sounds like a fun and productive ride. Both are looking so nice and shiny too!