Friday, October 31, 2008

Trail Riding with my herd

I found the time to get all 3 horses about 8 miles of exercise. The weather is amazing and so warm, we're breaking records (will be 76 on Halloween!). After work, I hopped on Rain and ponied Z and Gemini. Kendall was going to go and ride Rain, but some friends of hers showed up and that was all she wrote.

Typically, I ask my horses to canter off from home. This seems to get them programmed to leave home with some energy and I like that. Gemini has become quite a nice pony horse - staying in his "box" and not lagging or leading. Z on the other hand, much prefers to lead and she's so much faster. When we canter, she gets ahead and I have to remind her to stay in her spot. She's much better about quickly recognizing my "get back" ask, but she still finds herself out in front.

Rain, the horse I usually ride when I pony two, is the slowest. :-) She's gaited and although she can gait so fast Gemini and Z have to canter, when we canter she gets passed up quickly. It's interesting.

What I do these days is keep the Natural Hack reins on the horn and ride Rain "bridleless". The reins are there if I need them, but these days I rarely use them. I have a carrot stick which I use to talk to the pony horses and for Rain if she's not listening to my body cues. I think back to my riding 2-3 years ago and realize I have now developed a pretty good independent seat. Ponying two and riding one bridleless has really helped me improve.

At one point on the trail, we were cantering and both Z and Gemini got the adrenalin rush and started to get playful/energetic. I had Z on one side bucking and farting and Gemini on the other side determined to "win the race"! I had to laugh. I asked Rain to transition down immediately and both horses shot out ahead and nearly head-butted each other as the hit the ends of their lead ropes. I had a thought to let them go since they had so much momentum but I held on and it worked out ok. Again, so glad I've developed a good seat!

We went about 8 miles and came home in the dark. There was no moon and so, it was DARK!! I had Deuce with us, my lab/shephard mix, a great trail dog, and he tends to keep any surprises at bay. The horses are pretty wooly in preparation for winter and were pretty sweaty, too.

I trimmed Gemini's hooves after we got back. It's much easier to do after he's worked off some steam. :-) He can be quite a treat to trim. He's LBE and has a good time with me at trim time. He was actually pretty tired after the ride and the last mile or so, I had to keep asking him to "keep up". He's fat right now - I need to fix that.

A great night with my little herd of equines. Looking forward to finding more time now that my job is settling. I've got 2 months to get something sent in for the 3 savvy's (Liberty is in and started). After the new year, the assessments will change and I'm a little hesitant to change gears after I've worked so hard against the old assessment.

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