Monday, October 25, 2010

moving right along

First a semi-digression: On Saturday when I was out with Major I kept a little song in my head...not a classic or some song everyone will know, but something equally important: a song from The Muppet Movie. The song "Moving Right Along" just makes me smile, is completely ridiculous, and has some great lyrics for riding. Watch out for the fork in the trail...and anything a frog and bear can sing is just about my style...

A storm was coming in, the wind was up and Major wanted out of his paddock. I wanted a good safe ride, so choose the forest where I thought it would be less windy. It was actually calm and nice, so did end up out on the water as well. On the way out we mostly trotted, and he was listening really well. It is no nice when he is staying at a single pace, instead of pulling him back from silliness all the time. We headed for the lake, and did the first four miles at almost 8mph. Some of that is on dirt trail with rocks, the rest is sand. The sand is great to work in, not too deep, almost like a nice arena, and great on his feet. We also worked on whoa and some short canter work.

We were heading south and could see the storm clouds ahead. The lake was so still and gray, I didn't see anyone else out except a few fishermen. I decided not to push it too far, I didn't want to end up riding in a downpour. Heading home had a few more challenges, especially once we passed the spot where Major "thought" we were going home. I took the long way home, along the lake shore, and he was much better as listening. The problem with the lake trail is anyway is home, so when I turn him the other direction if he has misbehaved he then thinks "oh, now we're going home that way!" That is more of a challenge, but we are working on meeting it.

On the final section of trail we usually turn and go up "Barking Dog Hill." Major wanted to go the other way, which is longer, steeper and farther...ok buddy, let's go. Partway up he realized his mistake, but we continued home that way. Trotting back through the fancy neighborhood, a woman gardening yelled "that looks like fun!" I replied "It can be!" Going through the neighborhood is fun, trot on gravel, bark, over a driveway, back on dirt, driveway, more gravel, driveway, bark, all manner of footing and mailbox obstacles. I love when Major is on a mission, focused on his job, just ready to go.

We walked back through the forest, to cool down and relax. I got off and Major was eating grass right as the first raindrops hit my saddle. He was barely sweaty from the cool day, but did get to try on his cooler as he ate his beet pulp. I walked him to cool him before putting him out to pasture. He went and stood at his paddock gate since it was raining a bit, the barn manager describes him as the wimpiest horse about wet.

I felt much better about this ride, and my horse in general. I like how (although I know this) keeping a consistent pace is easier on both of us and allows for a faster ride. I don't like how he still had moments of ignoring me completely, and the pressure I had to use to get him to listen. Reading Ridecamp this weekend there was an interesting topic about conditioning and how to know if a horse is ready for a 25, 50, etc. Reading the responses did make me think Major is ready physically for a 25, though I'm not sure if mentally we're there yet. I know they tend to be a different horse at the ride, and since we're not consistent at home yet, I think we're not there yet. I'd love to do a longer ride with someone, but need to find a riding buddy who can keep up the pace for that long, I'd like to see what my horse (and I) can do. But for now I'll wait till the deluge stops. (Two inches of rain in one California storm in October, seriously?!)

No comments:

Post a Comment