Monday, March 3, 2014

Training - I Think?

So I decided that since I am leaning towards this limited distance ride, I should try out some more distance. My goal for this weekend was to see how we both felt after putting in the miles. I knew going to the farm that I needed to work on "trotting out" since Spyder's not so willing on the ground. I taught him to be nice and quiet while on the lead, and now I have to take it back? OK, maybe not take it back, but adding in a new level of complexity (well, knowledge) would be tough. I started by grabbing him in the field with just a lead (added crop the next day). We walked out of the gate, and I asked him to trot towards the barn. He hesitated, but he went, and so we went back and forth by the barn to practice. Not bad for the first try. For this ride, we have a vet check where we have to trot on a loose lead to and from the vet for a soundness test. The level of his trot before, mid, and after the ride will determine part of the score we get if we finish.

I've adjusted it since this. He's just thrilled.
I tacked up with a new breast plate and tried out my non-slip pad I've had for quite some time. It looked sharp, and more like he was ready to event - not partake in an endurance ride, but whatever. It's what I've got to work with to determine if I like it. My friend texted me about riding on Sunday, but I replied, "how about now?" She didn't have boots with her (or so she thought), but she put the pony on the trailer and headed over. She had boots in her car and low cut socks on, but she managed to get out of the ride without any blisters. Just as I was getting on, the woman I rode with the prior weekend was getting tacked up. Horsey fun! For the first time in quite some time, I wasn't having to ride alone.

You can see the pad we tried, sort of.
My friend and I headed out to the track and went on the short loop of a trail by the killer guinea hens. We turned before we got to the farm behind where I board and headed back to the track (and saw deer, but it was good - PLUS Spyder led!).  Heading back to the barn, the other woman was ready to go, and so we started by going on the same loop again. We went down the street to the other property the farm owns and did the trails over there before heading back to send my friend off. I decided to stay on with the other rider, and we did a bit of trotting on the track before going on more trails I had never been on. We could only get so far before large puddles were frozen so it was safer to turn around.

We rode the area by the bank and ditch jump to work on the hills again. The gray mare decided to trot/canter down a hill so Spyder followed suit. He decided to race up to her in which case she bucked, and Spyder finally realized we weren't racing (or she wasn't spooking), and he calmed down. Boy, I wish horses didn't feed off of each other so much. I'm glad this ride is going to have a ton of experienced horses, but I'm not sure we'll keep up to be around their better behavior. We headed back into the trails in the middle of the track which ended up being 8.78 miles total! Although much was walking, I was VERY happy with our progress and his attitude. All of the deer he saw called for a racing heart, a hop, and quickly calming back down. It was a great day, and ibuprofen gave me the rest of the night to relax and get started on my next graduate coursework. Perfect timing for great riding weather (who am I kidding - we just got 6" of snow today).

Barn kitty always runs you when she wants food. "Miminski"
After the two hour ride, I decided to try trotting on the lead again. After those miles, it was a great test. I tried with the crop, but it wasn't working so I had the woman from the barn chase Spyder in to a trot while I clucked for him to go. He wasn't all that willing, but I think he was confused. Since he trotted, I gave him a ton of pats, "good boy," and treats. Since this post is getting long, I'll keep Sunday's ride to it's own. I am so very proud of our progress and my questioning in gearing up for this ride. I still have to get some work done to the trailer and the truck, but I will have no choice but to put in the time to practice with it during the week. Daylight Savings is less than a week away! I have SO much more time to be happy and do fun things after work. WHOO!