Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Melting

Our area has been in the midst of a fluctuating heat wave for the past week and a half. It's kind of been a warm (pun not intended) welcome though, because our Summer weather this year has been severely lacking. But in some cases, it's annoying because it makes it virtually impossible to sleep at night and puts a damper on pony-time.

Regardless of the weather, I've been able to play around with the ponies a few times over the week. Most of last week I spent revisiting some ground-manners and in-hand exercises, as well as ponying Spud off of Annie bareback to a watering hole because what else does a person do when their horse has had 4 days off and it's too hot to really ride? 


^ The bugs are absolutely TERRIBLE in the evening. They
don't really bother Suzie or Spud much, but they drive Annie
CA-RAZY.

Thankfully Annie mostly acquiesced to my requests despite a few moments where she just would not go forward because "omg, scary puddle". It was kind of frustrating tho, because Spud had decided to stop and try to eat every-fucking-thing on the sides of the trail so I kept getting whip-lashed. Not a great feeling when you're on a greenie that is a little bit fresh and spooky. I survived tho, and didn't get dumped, so I guess that's a win? 

We crossed the pool a few times and Annie was good about it. I wasn't there long tho, as a family had wandered down the path to enjoy the water so I went through once or twice and then puttered back home. 

Funny thing about the water hole was that there was a family who was just leaving and had brought their pet duck with them. I kid you not - it was the most hilarious thing I have ever seen in my life. It legit just walked home with them like it was the most normal thing in the world.

We also started to work on side-passing from the ground because when we got back to the barn from our bareback adventure, Annie just could not compute sideways (I had wanted her to sidepass to the truck tailgate so I could get off instead of jumping). It's gone really well and I can see how it has translated under saddle for her - she understands the cues are the same and that my legs don't always necessarily mean forwards. I don't think we have really practiced sidepassing, altho we have practiced leg yielding so maybe that is where her confusion is coming from? 

This is not from our bareback adventure - it's from another night
I had hand-walked him to the water. I don't think I would trust
myself to take pics over a body of water while on a horse lol.
The time off has been good for the both of us - I haven't really been "itching" to ride, as terrible as that sounds. It started to feel more like work vs enjoyment because I HAD to get that canter going, I HAD to work on XYZ. It can burn you out, esp when there are a bunch of other things going on in life that I can't control.

I still enjoy the horse and I am still playing around with her and making plans for the future. But we are just taking a vacation, and I've learned that that is okay. She's only four and she's done so much these past three months that letting her decompress and relax is just as beneficial for her as it is for me. Plus, the fairgrounds I typically ride at has been rented out for various events and occasions, so I haven't had access to do any schooling. Which is maybe a good thing?

A friend of mine had also mentioned re: being difficult to maintain weight may have to do with all the traveling and event stress I have put her under for the last few months. It's a good stress, but stress nonetheless. 

I have also been playing around with Spud more - with the BVX coming up, I've been trying to up his work-out regime because he hasn't gotten out much in the cart this year. The timing of the heat wave is unfortunate tho, as I don't like to work my horses in the heat too much. He doesn't seem to mind in the least and enjoyed when a friend and I took him to the watering hole to cool off one evening after I had picked poo.

I asked him to lay down - and he stayed there... and started to sleep.
This past weekend, in trying to keep up with the R&R theme - N and AJ took Annie and I out on our first REAL trail riding adventure!

I say "real" trail riding because although we have done several loops around the fairgrounds and the path we take to get to the grounds is literally a trail, my definition of trail riding is very different than most. I'm talking about crossing rivers, streams, over rocks, up onto sandy beaches, through endless rows of trees and down steep banks. I'm talking about three hours of nothing but plodding along and hearing the sound of your horse's soft footfalls in the dirt.

First, we went down to the river.
We kind of wandered all over and had some major bodies of water to cross. Annie was apprehensive, especially because AJ was like "lol no" when we got to the water. We did it tho, and Annie even led 99% of the way. She wandered on a loose rein and seemed to grasp the concept of changing terrain quite quickly. Her least favorite was walking over the river rocks, but to be honest, I hate it too. 

I was interested to see she became more and more aware of her footing as we went - she hasn't shown to be the most reliable with her feet in the past and I wasn't sure if we would trip or slip. She tripped a few times, but that was more or less because of the deep divets made by 4x4s. Hilariously enough, AJ was super naughty for N and I felt bad that my mare, who has had a week off from riding was taking to the whole trail riding thing like a pig in shit.







We ended up going just over 7km in about an hour and twenty minutes with some trotting and cantering but mostly just walking. And when AJ turned around to leave us and head home? Annie just plodded along like a good baby horse - she turned her head once or twice but was kind of just "meh" about it all.

Hands down one of the best rides I've had in a long, long time. Something about just walking around in nature, surrounded by nothing but trees and wilderness just makes my heart flutter.

Post-ride. "Gimme my foods."
Sidenote: that shoulder muscle tho!

5 comments:

  1. I had a good chuckle over the family with a pet duck. And that trail ride sounds idyllic!

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    Replies
    1. It was so WEIRD. I laughed so hard tho - the duck seemed to be enjoying himself.

      It was really really nice. It's good to change it up sometimes I think :)

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  2. Hooray for great trail rides, and also for Spud pictures because he is the cutest! ;)

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