One of the things I’m seeing the kewl kids doing right now is keeping track of how many days they ride their horse(s) during the year. I remember the year I did this with skiing–got some great blogs out of it and rather enjoyed going back later and seeing what I had done. While I did keep a log when I was training Mocha, I never specifically tracked the days. I don’t know how good a job I’ll be doing with this now, but I’m going to try. It’s going to be interesting, plus it would be nice to see just how many days I am riding. And it’s a good way to get back into the blogging habit!
So. Here we go.
English tack. I’m riding mostly English this winter, because I’m finding it easier to get up off Mocha’s back at trot and canter for extended periods, and I prefer to do that with winter footing. Plus it’s easier to carry around in ice and snow. We’re not doing much in the way of hills, where I want that back cinch, nor are we doing road riding or long rides. Right now it’s light schooling in the pasture.
Today we did the usual bending work in serpentines, first with inside bend, then alternating inside and outside bend. I’m finding that doing this work consistently really seems to help keep her shoulders and neck loose. The other thing I’ve discovered is that since she’s living in pasture 24/7 and grazing, it’s easier to ask her to come on the bit right away. No need for stretching out after a period of stall confinement! In any case, the serpentines were accented by blowing wind and snow, along with the herd getting fed hay. Mocha nickered a couple of times as if to say “don’t eat it all before I get there!” Not a chance of that happening, of course.
After the serpentines, we did two-tracking, then rode to the pasture section that’s best for cantering/galloping. We did a length on each lead, but then the wind came up, blowing snow so hard at times that we could barely see the herd eating, much less the ranch buildings. Mocha jumped once when the wind hit her haunches just right. But there was enough snow for a good extended canter, and if it hadn’t been blowing so hard, and me still recovering from being sick, we would have gone longer.
Also, today she walked 50 yards to meet me in the field, with a slight diversion to make mare face and lunge at a new gelding in the field who thought he would be getting treats too. That’s a big change for a little mare who has previously been at the bottom of the herd hierarchy. But I’ve noticed this winter that she has become more assertive about her space. In her case, it’s something that needed to happen.
Bareback pad and snaffle. Light ride, to get her loosened up before the farrier came. Clear and cold, light snow in the small right-of-way we rode on. She wanted to do more and go–was full of herself this morning, complete with disapproving grunts at having to come onto the bit and WORK when she wanted to GO.
English tack. First regular schooling ride of the year where we went out of a walk. After schooling serpentines and two-tracking, we cantered the long length of the field, twice on each lead, then ended up with chained 180 haunches and forehand turns, 8 of those in each direction, then one 360 of forehand and haunch turns, in each direction.
English tack. First day of riding after being down sick for a week. I did not feel very ambitious, so we did serpentines and then a walk around the field. Did not feel like I had the energy to trot or lope. But hey, I got out and I rode, even if I was wiped out afterward!
Okay. So that’s a start. We’ll see if I keep it up…