Today we headed down to Clark State Forest for our first training ride down there. It was good! I missed two turns on the way to get there though, but fortunately there were good places to turn around. Met up with Jacke and Chris, and the three of us headed down the trail after tacking up and letting the horses munch on hay.
We took the Mountain Grove Loop, and I have no idea how many miles it was, or even how many minutes we were on the trail. Too bad, but I know it was a good training ride for Arabee. It was challenging for her, big long steep hills, plenty of technical lets-figure-out-how-to-get-around-this-downed-tree stuff. She led, she followed, she was in the middle. She sweated, and she got to blowing pretty hard several times. We rode on the road for a little ways, which she was good about, and we even met a 4-wheeler, which was fine, even though I was nervous about it (she hates those things).
Jacke took her heart rate and she pulsed down really quick after the ride. She was hanging for a while, and really started dropping quick down to 60-something when I scratched her sweaty face for her. Nice trick to find out about! She ate the rest of her hay, I ate lunch, then I put her sheet on her (I was nervous about how windy it'd be going 70mph down I-65), but I wouldn't have had to, when we got home she was plenty warm. I handwalked her for a bit right off the trailer, and then hobbled her for some grazing while I took her sheets off, and curried and brushed her dried sweat off.
Turned her back out with Jack, and she was trotting around the paddock, and even jumped the mud puddle and cantered to the waterer. I'd say she was feeling okay even after all those hills!
I'll get her out tomorrow and at least trot her out in hand if not go for a short ride. We'll see, Sundays are always busy for us.
**I almost forgot to mention, but I had her barefoot (no boots) the whole time today, and I was very pleased with how she handled even the gravel portions of the trail. I was hoping she would wear her hooves more than she did so I wouldn't have to trim them myself....but she did great - she even gave me a nice power trot for a good portion of the gravelly section. Good job, Arabee!
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