January 19, 2020 · 9:52 pm
Snaffle and English saddle today. Sunny, temps in 30s. Snow still in pasture.
After the last ride, I figured I’d better bring the saddle and let Mocha canter/extend a little bit. The problem with cantering in the bareback pad in snow for very long is that I worry about slipping a little more than with the English saddle, where I can get up in the stirrups and off her back, and have a more stable and balanced position.
It worked. Besides the usual serpentines and two-tracking, I added in zigzag trot with a mix of forehand and haunches turns. It’s an attention drill, except of course Miss Mocha knows just about every drill by the book these days. On the other hand, it’s also good for trot departs and when the footing gets better, we’ll do it as a canter exercise. Plus the haunches and forehand turns are good schooling.
She extended nicely when we cantered. Like before, she eased up after the first length of canter to catch her breath, then was much more energetic for the next three lengths. Then we did the chain forehand and haunches turns, as well as backing in a figure 8. Up to three spins in each direction as well.
I had a moment out there when I was thinking “62 years old and tearing across snowy fields on a mare that’s going to be 20 years old in a couple of months.” That said, Mocha is doing well this winter. I think she’s at her highest weight of the last ten years. I’ll have to bring out the weight tape and see what it says, but I think she’s a wee bit over 1000 lbs right now. She doesn’t quite have a divot in her hindquarters where her spine is, but…it’s almost that much. Which would put her at the heaviest she’s been for a while. She certainly seems to be happy and content these days, which is good.
And fun to boot. I still love galloping across a field on a sure-footed horse that listens to her rider.
January 17, 2020 · 5:11 pm
Riding log day 6. Snaffle and bareback pad. 3-12 inches of snow, depending on drifts.
This riding day should have happened yesterday, but the weather had a different opinion. Late on Wednesday afternoon the wind kicked up hard, to the degree that the road by the barn was closed due to drifting snow. The winds continued for a good part of Thursday, to the degree that the barn owner posted she couldn’t feed hay to the big field yet for fear it would blow away. So I went down to the gym instead and worked out.
This afternoon, though, was clear and after some obligations in the morning, I went out and rode. It was Mocha’s Adequan injection day (for arthritis) so she got her monthly shot, and then a ride. I did notice that her neck is muscling up nicely. The current work is paying off.
We did the usual serpentines and two-tracking, then after a quick check of our usual canter area, four lengths of canter—um, well, it turned out to be gallop. The first length was subdued as she checked out the footing and asked to pull up to catch her breath. But after she caught her breath, she wanted to run. Would not have been so bad in the saddle but in the bareback pad? I’m not there yet. Still, we did three more lengths, albeit a bit faster than perhaps I would have wanted them to be. Think I’m going to take the saddle out next time. Finished up with the chained haunches and forehand turns, except that I added another set of 360 degree turns. I just read something talking about how forehand turns can be useful for building up the shoulder. Then, stopped about partway to the gate to do two spins in each direction. She was stiff spinning to the left and not quite into it, but lengthened her neck, stuck her nose out, flattened her ears, and gave me a good pair of spins to the right.
January 14, 2020 · 5:33 pm
Snowy day but not as snowy as day four. There’s six inches or so on the ground in the field right now. Because I didn’t feel like being ambitious, I rode in the bareback pad, plus I figured we’d get hit with a squall at some point, which we did by the end of the ride.
We still schooled serpentine, two-track, and the chained 180 forehand and haunches turns, with full 360s at the end of one side for both haunches and forehand.
Mocha feels more confident with the additional snow. We did some loping but not a lot as I’m still getting myself legged up after being sick.
The yearlings were in a playful mood, running and bucking with their tails flagged. The palomino, Colt, snuck into the barnyard when I was leading Mocha into the field. Fortunately, he followed her right back into the pasture, the little stinker. Meanwhile, the two bay geldings were playing bitey-face, kick and chase. One of the other yearlings, Magnum, hung around them and was nipping at butts when he could. He started to follow me and Mocha when we went further into the field, but as we picked up a trot he decided it was more fun to follow along with the big boys. His nickname is “little man” because last spring he was hanging out with his sire when Chex was in the field with the broodmares. He’s shown an interest in hanging out with the adult geldings for some time, just following along and learning. But like the rest of this batch of yearlings, he’s also very curious when I climb up on Mocha.
We also kicked up a pair of whitetails. They’re funny because they are much more spooky about a horse and rider than mule deer are. They’ll spook up even when I’m riding on the other side of the 50 acre field.