Friday, February 1, 2019

calm before the storm

We're in the calm before the storm: a couple weeks of glorious warm, spring-like weather before downpours and wind hits tomorrow. The mud dried up and the trails were perfect…the horse was a challenge.
lurking orange cone

We first explored (after work, enough daylight, barely, but, yeah!) out to Avery pond. I hadn't been in awhile, and the trailside ferns were exploding green. Major took offense to the orange cone lurking behind the rock…all four times we passed it! (Yes, four times, not twice out and back. Why was that? Because we went back and worked on not being ridiculous on the twisty rock trail.)

otter paying out there!

And Major had to suffer while I let other horses leave before us (they were not with us, but suddenly it was a race) and also while I watched a river otter playing in the pond! I've never seen an otter here, and it was very cool (though I'm sure the fishermen aren't very pleased). Going home was not particularly fun, as Major was being a racehorse and I was trying to deal with it nicely. Not entirely successful, I after yet another circle I did get off to walk the road, because silly behavior and asphalt and cars to do not mix. And he was still trying to jig next to me, so back home he got cleaned up and got to stand for awhile and be patient, no fun turnout with friends right away. Life is hard for the naughty Major!

Cronan is great for winter riding

Then on to our next challenge ride, out with Beau. Beau is Major's neighbor at the ranch. They have a love-hate thing going on. But Beau is still learning to behave himself, especially behind other horses. So we had a great ride, with lots of hills to make the horses engage their bodies and minds! At one point Beau took off slippy/bucking/stupid, and I swear Major just watched like "Wow, I'm not that dumb any more, am I?"

Major dealing with it

It did make me see that while Major has his moments, he is inherently good. Just wanting to go fast is the problem! That was our longest ride in a long time, 14 miles with 1900 feet of elevation gain. It wasn't fast, but a good workout. Major was certainly not tired. How long and much can they keep in condition?!

Major's preferred view does not include Beau

This week I was able to fit in a ride after work. I was not rushing, but since Major had to contain himself on the last ride, I did think it would be nice to do a little canter/trot while the trails are dry.

That idea did not last very long. One nice canter, then a whole lot of jigging. Sigh. I just decided we would be doing no more trotting, and I would not be getting off. Major could walk us home, the key word being walk. Ever time he jigged more work had to be done: circling, backing, sidepassing, etc. If he walked nicely he got rein release and wither skritches and good boy.

winter evening

We got home in the dark. But it was still a success, because it felt like towards the end he finally settled, I won't say he "got" it because this is an ongoing project. With Major it seems like hot horse + cool weather + getting fitter = can't contain the naughty. But I liked that it wasn't a fight, it was just here are the options, what are you choosing, ok, I'll deal with that. Fellow blogger roamingrider recently posted an analogy about horse and rider energy adding up to 10. I think I've usually practiced this, but I like being able to put it in words! So Major at 8 means my level is 2, and it changes throughout the ride. Love that idea!

Now the rain is coming, (which is fine, we need it and we're not in a polar vortex misery, sorry folks dealing with that!) and there are mashes to make and grass to eat and football to watch (go Rams!). When will my next ride be? I don't know. How will it be? A 10.

moon and venus in the morning sky


  1. I took that exact same photo from my back porch. :)

    1. wasn't it lovely?! A nice surprise as I headed off to work.