Monday, October 24, 2011


The canal trail is so much fun! I just can't can't stay away!

a rockier section, but gorgeous, green and blue (Major loves the green!)

Two great rides over this glorious weekend. The weather was just perfect, even a bit warm. On Saturday we headed out with Major's friend Dune. Dune's owner can be a bit nervous, but when we push her through things (safely) she really enjoys herself. She only wanted to trot: she cantered away from me on the canal (and survived). She needed to be in the lead: going home Major lead back up the road at his fast trot (and survived).

I was concerned at first about Major on the canal. When we had gone out before alone, we mostly walked through the sand, trotting it was too hard. We were behind Dune, and Dune was trotting (not too quickly) but Major preferred to canter. Was something physically wrong? Then we took the higher hard dirt trail home. And I got a big nice trot. I think it is just easier for Major to canter in the sand, I'm sure every horse is different.

Through all this I was testing Major. Since his misbehavior earlier in the week, I actually set him up for the same issues. Not that I wanted him to fail, but I needed to put him in the situations, and deal with it. Going up a hill in the back did not lead to bucking. And having a horse on his butt going home did not lead to kicking! We had a couple crabby ear issues, with quick corrections. The problems are not solved, but it was good. I do think more of it is an individual horse (nemesis Ziggy) and the energy of the two of them together.

The Headless Horse!

Today I went out alone, taking the trail backwards. Major wasn't too excited to be heading out, but by the lake he was happy to move out. I asked for a trot, but kept wanting to canter in the sand, and was minding so nicely, so we did, lots. He was careful over rocks and driftwood, and when he'd get too fast a little pull would settle him back down. There is almost no place on our trails to canter longer stretches, so we both need the practice. He was working well on balancing himself, and I have to remember to breathe!

Same balancing rock as last post, from the other direction, the water is already farther down.

We cut up through the driftwood, and the mental shift "we're going home!" kicked in. At the forest road leaving the lake, I asked for a canter. I got a hellbent-for-home gallop! OK, re-adjusting expectations. We had a couple discussions, and came to an agreement: we will head for home as long as you keep it at a trot. Any shift upward in gait will lead to turning around. So Major kicked it into high gear. We trotted home, literally twice as fast as our earlier cantering. My GPS clocked us at 14.8 mph, average! That was only for a short section, but that trot feels like flying.

Home in one piece, more grass snack, and a quick bath (since it was 80 degrees). There aren't many days left with the combination of the weather so great and trail conditions good. These are the days...


  1. There was an interesting discussion a month or so ago on Ridecamp about sand. The consensus seemed to be that horses prefer to trot or canter on sand depending on their way of going - I think they decided the flat-moving daisy clippers liked to canter and the ones with more action preferred to canter.

    Looks like a lovely spot to ride!

  2. I'll have to look for that discussion. That makes sense: I was with a low-action quarterhorse (who trotted no problem), wheras Major's big trot just wasn't working!