Monday, October 18, 2010


I was trying to think of a good post many came to mind, but this just about sums up our last ride.

He knows better, he truly does. We'd done some work in the arena this week. He listens to a voice whoa, and even just my seat after warm up. When we practice cantering in the arena at whoa he slams on the brakes like a reining horse. Not so much yesterday.

I wanted to spend some time out on the trails, the weather was threatening but nice and cool. After a nice warm up in the arena, (where he was just perfectly pleasant) we headed out. He was forward but fine. Then we got to the real trail (not the connector trail). Major thought that a new land-speed record needed to be set between Horseshoe Bar and Sterling Point. This is not on the nice lower trail, this was on the curvy, rocky, dropoff trail. Unfortunately it is also not a trail where there is much room to work on discipline (no good hills to run up, no good places to sidepass or backup). But that was just a mile or so, so took him to the lower trail where he could work on listening.

Rider, what rider? Blowing through aids, completely ignoring me. But there were a few nice wide places to trot in big circles, trot through and over sticks and rocks and sand, trot a circle downhill, back up, over and sideways, back down, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. After about a half hour we had come to more of an agreement. We trotted along, with much less pulling, and when we passed a cutoff trail that goes home I suddenly had a slug. Not today...we kept going. Had a much better trip, though later heading home had a couple regressive moments. I'd say a seven mile fight out of nine total miles....

I am glad he loves the trails. I'm glad he wants to explore, but we need to do it at a speed we can both agree on. I'll admit I like a nice 7-8 mph trot. And he wants to go at 13-14 mph. I can compromise if he can, but I may have decided that it will take more bit than I am currently using. I hate that, I have always felt going to a bigger bit means my training is failing (it's not the bit, it's the rider, I know that). And I am sure my training is lacking somewhere, but until I can have some control it isn't safe for either of us. I know lots of people have been happy with the myler combination, I don't know if I want to go there quite yet, but I'll do some research.

Coming home we did climb quite a few hills, it was interesting to see the GPS read 1,282 feet total ascent, 1,205 total descent. Major walked most of that, he'd prefer to trot the hills but I was not in an accommodating mood, I thought it was good training to walk them. Looking at our speed graph is pretty amusing (now, not at the time). Stop, speed goes up up up to about 15 mph, drop back down as we worked though that pushiness, repeat. I just finished reading "Go the Distance" by Nancy Loving (great book) and I know she talked about finding a consistent pace which is better for conditioning...I'm trying!

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