Monday, March 29, 2010

Comment Lost

I think someone posted a comment over the weekend, but I never got to read it....somehow it got lost! So, whomever it was, I apologize! Go ahead and try to repost it, and hopefully it will go through this time!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

We don't have hills like that 'round home!

Whoooooweeee! I still can't get over the hills we did today.

Jacke and I did another training ride down at Clark State Forest - she picked me up a little earlier, we hit the trail around 9:30am.

If I'm going to be competing in April at Clark, I'll have to do the ride on Friday, which is 30 miles, due to personal scheduling, and besides I think the trail will be less crowded. Last year I scribed for the vet at the away vet check, and both the 55's and the LD's stopped at the away vet check, which is north of 160. So we knew we'd need to travel that section of trail to get there, and wanted to have done it once before competition.

It's a really pretty section of trail that takes you along a ridge - gorgeous view, really. The one problem with that of trail is a super steep section, like, almost slide off your horse steep. More than once on the way down as we were headed down that hill switching back and forth, down, down, down, down...I thought I was going to lose it. Glad my horse kept her head (and her feet) and was careful about it, one sudden move on her part would've sent me right on over her shoulder.

So the trail levels off at the bottom of the valley where the creek runs through it, and I see that oh, wow, the trail goes STRAIGHT BACK UP nearly as steep and long as it just went down. I turned Arabee the opposite direction towards the creek and hollered to Jacke "I'm going to offer her a drink first, hope you don't mind!" (in reality, it was me trying to get MY heart rate down after that not exactly terrifying, but certainly not relaxing downhill switchback!) So, I got calmed back down, and we bounded up the hill on the other side of the creek, then came out across Pixley Knob Road, and road the Flatrock trail ( I think that's what it's called ) to 160. I actually ended up dismounting and walking quite a ways, my hips were killing me from all that downhill/uphill/walking across the gravel we were doing, and the walk did me good. We came out at 160 and at this point we had planned on doing the Bowen Loop and coming out at the away vet check area, then heading back to the trailer. Well, when we got to 160 it was not particularly clear just exactly where the trail picked back up. As in, we had no clue! So rather than risking getting lost in the "wilderness" we headed back the way we came.

Arabee did some cantering (per my request) on the way back, the switchbacks didn't seem near so scary, and she had plenty of gas left in the tank. We rested up at the trailer, ate lunch, then rode again for another hour-ish near the Pekin Saddle Club. Honestly, I have no clue where we were riding around, but we went out for a half hour, then popped out at a paved road, then headed back. We did quite a bit of alternate trotting/cantering here - it was a LOT of fun.

I think we ended up w/ about 14 miles....the first 2/3 were some really tough miles with those steep switchbacks, and the last 1/3 was flatter but faster. Good ride!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Got the chance to get out and ride yesterday - it was a gorgeous day for a ride, or really for anything outside.

I'd planned to ride for 135 minutes (2 hrs, 15 minutes), which was 5 minutes longer than the last ride. I was really wondering how in the world I would find enough places to go to last that long!

I started South and rode around, checked out some new territory. Rode around in the Polly field - my rule of thumb for whether to ride in a field or not is to ride out into it a few feet, and if the hoofprints I leave are no deeper than what a deer would leave, then it's okay. Even with all the rain we'd had Sunday and Monday, I was good to go!

So we went around and around, back and forth in there for about a half hour, following the woods and the creek bank, then down to the next farm lane we'd never ridden on before. So altogether, we did an hour of riding South of the driveway. Then moved on to the pasture across the road, and rode around in there for another 15 minutes, then headed north again to ride the lanes, filter strip, and road for 45 minutes, then rode around in the hog woods for the last 15 minutes.

I have no idea how far we went, or how fast. No clue. But we did a lot of walking, and a lot of trotting, and a little bit of stopping at puddles. And wow, the 4-H Horse and Pony Superintendant was right when he said: NEVER let your horse graze while you are holding the lead rope, or while you are riding - it leads to disrespect and the horse loses focus on what you're doing (riding) and starts looking around for good grass to eat. Wow.....I about got my arms yanked out of their sockets umpteen times yesterday more grazing for her. Here I thought I was doing her a favor by letting her graze on our training rides - well...she's going to have to learn to fill up on hay instead - I will not stand for any more of her motoring along only to stop ABRUPTLY and start grazing and ignoring my hands and legs as I urge her forward.

But, I have taken the hint, the mare is hungry - so her hay ration has increased, and I dug my hands into the bag of senior pelleted horse feed (what we keep around for Jack) after the ride and fed her a heaping two handsful worth. She seemed to appreciate it!

Not sure what to do - I think I'll try to ride again on Thursday.....but whether to make it 2 hrs and 20 minutes, or what?? Got a training ride planned for Saturday, so I don't want her to be tired out for that, but seems like going from Tuesday to Saturday w/out anything is a bit excessive rest-wise. Or Maybe I'll just halter her and go for a walk/jog with her. It would be good for us both. Any votes?

Sunday, March 21, 2010


Yesterday was the first official day of spring, and I can't think of a better way to have spent it.

Jacke swung by with Phebes and we loaded my tack, and Arabee into Jacke's trailer (after I scrambled around the house trying to finish getting ready - Jacke is very timely!) we finally hit the road and headed to Clark State Forest to ride. We were the first to arrive at the parking spot, and headed out to do the Mountain Grove Loop.

Had a lovely day, both the mares and their riders got along quite nicely, we rode those killer loooong and steeeeeep hills and had fun doing it.

Arabee does not like it when we go up steep hills and her stifles bump the bottoms of my boots. I'll have to remember to keep my feet out from her sides!

Definitely looking forward to the next Clark training ride!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Thursday's Ride

Well I got out and rode yesterday.

Got some new stirrup "leathers" (in quotations because they're synthetic) - my old ones will now become my backup ones - I'd stretched one of them longer than the other, and uneven leathers are not good. So I put them on and had to work out the perfect length.

I strapped on the pommel pack to start getting Arabee used to the weight of the water bottles on her withers. I've had issues with the bight of the reins getting looped under the bottom of my pack, and I'd hoped that discontinuing use of the Dr. Cook's bridle might fix that since the cross-under pieces are so long. Well, the reins were still too long, so I shorted them a few inches and tried that out. Still a little bit too long, but I still have plenty of room to hold rein when she's drinking. Tonight I will shorten them another 2-3 inches.

I've also never drank from the saddle before yesterday, so I thought it'd be wise to practice that a little. She's fine, until I try to put the bottle back in the pack - she isn't fond of the sound of the bottle scratching the pack until it goes in. I've only tried it at the walk and whoa so far....perhaps someday I will be trotting along the trail, grabbing my water bottles on-the-go, and not missing a beat. Not yet~

I trimmed her feet on Wednesday night, and she was a little touchy on the road or driveway, but happy to move out on the dirt.

So basically we rode out and just walked and trotted whenever we felt like it, and worked out the bugs from the new equipment. It was a GORGEOUS afternoon, and I was glad to be outside, and on the back of my horse.

We encountered some serious drama when we were headed towards home, we were halfway between the top of the hill and Harlan's corner when a mo-ped (I think that's what it was) crested the hill behind us. Thankfully I had already finished drinking and had put the bottle back in the pack and had regained hold of the reins, or the outcome may likely have been different! As soon as she heard the thing coming up behind her, she whirled around to get a better look....and once she got a better look, she did the horse version of screaming bloody murder - she had the look (and feel) of pure terror, and leaped, lunged, jumped to the right and off the road to get away from the horrible monster. I'm SOOO glad she recognized the ditch was there, and she managed to keep from falling into it. I'm also glad the driver of the mo-ped slooowly continued driving right on by, because by the time she kept us from falling into the ditch, he had passed us and the threat was gone. So I turned her back around and urged her on after the mo-ped until it was out of sight over the top of the next hill. Phew! Adrenaline still pumping through both of us, I brought her back to a walk, when I heard a REALLY LOUD vehicle coming, it sounded like a big ole truck. I hopped right off of Arabee as quick as I could since she was still hyped up over the mo-ped, and as the little car (so noisy because the muffler must have gone out) crested the hill, I motioned the driver to slow down (he did) and mouthed "thank you!" as he passed.

I got back up, we trotted to the top of the hill, then took a walk through the hog woods to weave through trees and over fallen logs to help the both of us calm down. It was a good ride, we got a lot of tack bugs worked out, survived an attack by a mo-ped AND a car with muffler issues, and I think worked on communication quite a bit. Praise God for giving me the horse he did!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Well, my rain gear works!

So it rained overnight, and it was raining when we left for church, and raining raining raining! On the way home from church Matt asked me if I was going to ride....I paused...I decided that if the temperature on the car was above 40, I would say yes. It was 41! Not exactly real warm, but....enough that I had to say yes to riding! I regretted making that decision, but decided quickly that this was the perfect opportunity to try out my new rain coat. I figured if I can stay warm and dry in 40 degree weather in mid-March that whatever April and beyond might dish out at a ride would be no trouble!

Arabee was standing under the roof, wet and shivering. She didn't seem to be too keen on being caught, either, but didn't try too hard to stop me, but sure didn't help me either.

Saddled her up, walked and jogged her in circles on the end of the rein to warm up, got on, and did some walking and slow jogging to get her and her muscles warm. (I'm not going to do anymore play-by-play details of the entire ride anymore, I'll keep a log of that separately and just do the highlights on here) We walked and trotted and I left the rump rug on her the entire time. It wasn't raining hard, but a nice (nice??) steady drizzle. It was nice, my horse was paying attention..mostly, and we were working well together. The ride was 105 minutes long, and we went farther and faster than before. But I firmly believe I'm not pushing her too far, she had plenty left but it was a good workout for her - we did a LOT of walking, plenty of trotting, plenty of slipsliding around in the mud. I think a good balance.

I wish I could easily stick to the principle of increase speed, then distance, never both. But since I don't have a GPS that will tell me mileage, and I dont' want to be tied down to the same old boring route every ride, I'm going to just stick with adding 5 minutes to each ride until we get to 2 1/2 hours. I'm also going to add more and more trotting as it makes sense to do so, gradually and easily - if I'm out of breath, we'll walk....if horse is acting stupid, we'll walk....if Arabee's making it clear she's ready to walk again, we'll walk....but if we're having a nice time trotting along down the way, we'll keep trotting!

So the rain coat worked really really well....I pulled the hood up and wore it under my helmet, unzipped the pit zips for ventilation, and stayed PLENTY warm, maybe even too warm, but I had several layers on underneath. I feel good about my rain-preparedness. Granted, it was not a full-out downpour, but still....rain is rain, to a certain extent.

Had a good ride today, and I'm hoping and praying that we don't encounter any setbacks (read: injuries!)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Saturday's Ride

Rode today, headed North first to switch things up a bit. Trotting alternated with walking all the way to the stop sign, then to Harlan's house. Even when she wasn't completely focused on me, I still asked her to trot and worked on transitioning from walk to trot to walk, which not surprisingly helped get her focus back on me.

I tried to take her North across the bean field, but it was too sloppy so we stuck to the lane and then rode along the filter strip, then turned around and followed the river back, and I had her step up to the river's edge to drink (and she did!). I saw a live crawdad as we passed - it was threatening us with it's pinchers....I don't think I'd ever seen the actual animal before, always just their holes. This whole way still trot, walk, trot, walk...and doing really well with it.

When we got back to the lane, I decided to test the cornfield to see how wet it was...and it was okay so we walked South in the field in the combine track where the cornstalks had been smashed down and easy to walk on (not sinking in too much). In the field across the ditch a pair of deer, I'm guessing a doe and last year's fawn ran from the river back to the cover of the woods. Arabee walked the whole way in a half-circle pointed towards the barn....but stayed in a nice 4-beat walk. We followed the ditch, then followed the path where the silage chopper had been last fall where the ground was drier. I didn't really have Arabee's full attention, but she was quietly walking (with b.i.g. strides) on a loose rein so I thought it best to reinforce that nice forward walk by allowing her to do it! She gave a big spook when we reached the top of the hill at I don't know what, but calmed down quickly, and we trot, walk, trotted again until we T-ed into the lane again. I had her walk in the water-filled tire tracks, which she didn't much want to do, but finally realized I meant it and did so nicely.

As we came past Harlan's house we met him and his dog coming back from their walk, and stopped to talk for a bit. The dog thought he might try to run off the intruding horse, and lunged at her barking and growling, but Harlan hollered at him and he stopped. Arabee was surprisingly okay with that - she brought her head up sharply, but didn't move. Good girl! It was nice to talk with Harlan, and I spread the rump rug out over her hindquarters since her butt was to the wind, then we walked back to the road, and trotted up to the top of the hill and turned into the driveway by the toolshed. I dismounted there and handwalked in the rest of the way home. She's been giving me trouble walking past Marshall's, and I thought me being on foot might give her added confidence for next time. I rode for 1 hour.

When we got to the barn lot I pretended I had a heart rate monitor and pressed it against her side, then felt her back and rump muscles, did a skin tent test, and checked her gum, and did the same on the other side. We then trotted out, turned, and trotted back. I offered her a drink at the puddle, then wiped off her girth area and cleaned her legs just like I plan to do at a real ride. It can't hurt to get into the same routine at home as I plan on putting into practice at a ride.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Any Tips, Tricks, or Hints for our 1st LD?

Let's Imagine . . .

As you already know, Arabee and I are getting ready for our first AERC Limited Distance ride. I'm hoping things go as smoothly as possible so that we have a very positive start to our distance career.

The plan is to arrive in ridecamp the night before with a CLEAN horse, get Arabee settled in, take her on a walk to stretch her legs, maybe even saddle up for a short ride (say...15-20 minutes?) to make sure she's nice and loosened up. The trailer ride will be just a little over 1 hour. I'll get her a big tub of water, and put out plenty of hay for her to munch on at will overnight, maybe a salt block, or loose salt in a tub as well? Haven't decided on a restraint method: tying to the trailer, using an electric corral, or buying panels to make a solid corral. Vet in, then let her relax as we get the human camp set up. Arabee does not currently require being fed any concentrates, so I'll just be sure she has hay in front of her at all times. Will I need to put a blanket or sheet on her?? She is not going to be clipped.

On the morning of, I'll wake, get dressed, check Arabee's hay and water, then eat breakfast myself. What's left to do aside from tacking up as usual and heading to the start??

We'll complete the first loop at a comfortable, conservative pace then come in for the vet check and hold. I'll dismount, loosen the girth and breastcollar and walk her in, get my in-time, then take her to the water and offer a drink. Then to the pulse gate, pulse down, then to the vet, jog, hopefully pass (with mostly A's!) then to the crew spot for the rest of the hold. Here's the part that gets a little blurry when I try to picture ride day: Now what?? Take a bucket of water and a sponge/rag to wipe the mud off of my horse's legs and belly to check for any nicks and scrapes and get her girth area clean. Should the tack come off? If the girth or other tack is muddy make sure it gets cleaned. Check her feet. Stuff hay in her face, make sure there's a bucket of water she can reach easily. Keep her hindquarters from getting chilled. But I'm thinking the horse's job at a hold is to rest and eat and drink as much as possible before time is up, and probably for the rider and crew to get the necessities done ASAP and then leave the horse alone to eat and drink and rest. As for me, I'll almost certainly need to pee, put on a jacket to keep from getting chilly while holding still, eat a nourishing snack, replenish fluids....should I try to sit down and relax, or should I stand and keep moving? When it's about time to go, I'll get ready first, then get Arabee ready, give her one last mouthful of hay and then mount up to be ready to go when the out-timer says it's time. Then head out for the second loop!

For the second loop, while we'll certainly still be riding conservatively, if Arabee gets a good report from the Vet, perhaps we'll try to keep up a bit of a faster pace (trot more) than was kept at the first loop. But since my only goal for the first several rides is simply TO FINISH....conservative is likely where the pace will stay!

Upon finishing I'll plan on using the same strategy as I did coming into the vet check and hold. Unless there are only 5 riders (yeah right...there will be more than that!) we will not be anywhere near finishing fast enough to be able to stand for best condition judging. But I'm thinking similar practices will need to be done at the end of the ride as were done at the vet check. After receiving our completion, we'll head back to the trailer and untack, get the horse clean, park her in front of water and hay, keep her from getting chilled, but once she's clean and has feed/water just leave her alone to relax a while. Then I'll change clothes, eat something nourishing, rehydrate, and hopefully get to relax a little while! We'll likely head home later that same day, so we'll get the camp packed back up and ready to hit the road, for what will hopefully be a very restful night's sleep at home! the above is almost 100% guaranteed to NOT be the way it actually happens - things are going to come up, the weather won't cooperate, and who knows what all might happen. But....for anyone out there who is more experienced than me when it comes to endurance competition (which essentially EVERYONE!! :-)) there anything you see in my basic plan that is just wrong?? Or do you have any even small tips for me to help make things go more smoothly? I'll have at least one adult helper to crew for me, which already is making me feel relieved!

I'm starting to get VERY excited about the first LD of the season. Hoping it can happen in April, but if not, there's always May....or June....or who knows, anything can happen! But I'm still really looking forward to it, whenever it may be.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Monday's Ride

Rode on Monday night. The plan was to focus on trotting as much as possible. But always my focus is on having an in-control horse at all times, so if that doesn't happen we start walking again. And also....if the rider starts to get a stitch in her side from being so out of shape that she is breathing heavier than the horse actually doing the's important to take a walking break at that time, as well. haha

So we headed south again, and just halfway between the driveway and the ditch (where there's a steep dropoff on either side of the road) a noisy car comes up quickly over the top of the hill....I turn around to try to find a spot to get off the road safely, which meant that the car was coming up behind Arabee. Not what I typically like to do...I like to have her facing the traffic but she was good she mostly just scooted forward a bit as the car passed.

So I turn her around and then I urge her up into a trot all the way up the hill, past the one fence post that she ALWAYS tries to spook at, down the lane, except for a few places where it was too rutted to safely trot, trotted a little circle at the end to turn around and go back, and about the time we get even up with the woods she broke into either a spook or tried to canter, but I really didn't want to move that quickly headed back yet! So I pulled her back and we walked the rest of the way back to the road. Then headed South again, and trotted all the way til Dorothy's mailbox, then walked 50 ft, then trotted across the polly bridge, walked up the little lane (probably ~100 ft one way) walked back and then across the bridge and then trotted back, until we got to the strip of woods where I had her walk, then trot to the top of the hill, then walked down...but I heard a car coming so we ducked into the driveway, then back, then trotted up the hill, walked where the curve goes downhill and the road is uneven, and started trotting again until we got about halfway between the new toolshed and Harlan's corner.

Rounded the corner and then trotted towards the Red barn, then walked it out past the barn, 2/3 of the way to the stop sign, and we turned around when I saw that Matt and his dad had the truck picking up the silage wagons at the red barn, so I thought we better turn back around and ended up going all the way to the stop sign to give them more time - I didn't want the noisy wagons to spook Arabee. Well, once we did get turned around and they drove out with the wagons, Arabee starting calling out to the truck! She really picked up her pace and was whinnying mightily, clearly not wanting to be left behind! So I let her trot.....which turned into her elevator "let's move it out!" trot which made me quite nervous that she was going to just gallop off toward the truck and silage wagons as she was very intently focused on catching up. Another vehicle was coming, so I pulled her down to a walk, and she got even more behind and worked up so I decided it was best to keep walking until I got her focus back on me. That took a looong time. We turned off the road and went down Harlan's lane, Arabee weaving back and forth in the driveway like she was drunk....this went on for 1/4 mile! She'd turn her head hard to the left and I'd pull her back to the middle, and she'd veer right, I'd pull her back to the middle and she'd veer left....and on and on like that until finally she realized (I guess) that it wasn't worth it and I was more stubborn than she.

Since I didn't have her focus (not one bit!) I decided walking was a better idea until I did get her attention, and I never really did fully. So we walked all the way to the river, then followed it a little ways South, then a little ways back North, and finally turned around and walked...err....JIGGED back to the road. She did finally give me a (very extended) 4 beat walk on a loose rein, so we did end up making pretty good time anyway.

She's very good at noticing cars, and if I listen to her better I'll always be able to know ahead of time and get us off the road safely - last night she started being balky and acted as though she was afraid of Marshall's dogs (which she often is!) but I turned back and saw that a car was coming behind us. We had plenty of time so we turned back and trotted up the hill and got off the road by the toolshed until the car passed, but it would've been easy to ignore her and push her forward, assuming it was only the dogs she was worried over.

Went on past the driveway to the barn and down the hill, and asked her to trot up, then I rode into the barn lot and dismounted, loosened her girth and unclipped the breastcollar, and gave her a nice scratch - she'd gotten pretty sweaty but was not hot anymore, so I asked Matt to hold her by her hay while I got a bucket of warm water.

Last spring around this time we had an awful time with her girth area getting rubbed bare and swelling up, so I am going to be super-careful to keep her clean especially in that spot, and everywhere tack touches her body. So I wiped her down carefully between her front legs, in her "arm pits" and all over the girth area, then I had water left so I cleaned her muddy legs off too. sum up it was a little bit of a longer ride than we've done before at home, with more trotting at the beginning, and plenty of schooling at the end. I'll guess it was 5 miles, and the time was 64 minutes.

If we don't get the rain that's been forecasted for this week, I'll have PLENTY of riding options come this weekend, because the fields are nearly dry enough to ride in without causing problems when planting time comes around....but it almost surely will rain. I hope to get a solid 2 hour ride in over the weekend, with at least half of the time spent trotting.

(((my apologies for the poor paragraph structure and boring writing...if indeed anyone read the monotonous description of every.little.detail! that just comes along with the "training journal" nature of this blog)))

Monday, March 8, 2010

Hauled out and Rode on Saturday!

Didn't really get to ride much last week...rode on Sunday 4.6 miles in 70 minutes, handwalked for 45 minutes on Tuesday, and just jogged for about 20 minutes in-hand on Wednesday. So I was really looking forward to Saturday, because Jacke and I had made plans to ride together at her place.

Took a little over an hour to drive over there....but I'm not exactly sure how long because after seeing the angle of the driveway to the road that I'd need to back in I starting to panic slightly, and completely forgot to look at the time! But thankfully no traffic and I got the trailer backed in surprisingly successfully! Jacke let me use her bathroom and her home is just beautifully decorated. We chatted a bit and then headed out and I unloaded and tacked up Arabee, she got Phebes ready to go and we started off to ride her network of trails by her house.

It was the first warm day we've had really this spring, and not too breezy, nice and sunny - perfect spring weather! The trails were VERY muddy and VERY VERY slick, but breathtakingly beautiful - stunning views where you can view the creek, the woods with some stubborn snow that hadn't yet melted off, just gorgeous...words won't do it justice.

My horse really really impressed me - she was calm and very smart about putting her feet down just right and really did a fine job of taking care of herself footing-wise. I wish she would have drank some, but she never did..just wetted her lips several times as there was plenty of opportunity as the trail crossed water A LOT. We traveled down a VERY STEEP section of trail that I didn't think was possible and in fact it crossed my mind that Jacke was maybe trying to kill us (well...not really!) but she led the way with Phebes and watching her as she went down each time she picked up a foot and put it back down her hooves slid 3-4 feet each time! But we both made it! Confidence building, and grin-inducing once we finally got to the bottom without falling!

So we were out for 1 hour and 48 minutes, pretty much all walking except for a few short sections of trotting but it was a lot of uphill and down hill and watch your step because it's slick and winding in between trees and it was a GOOD workout for Arabee. Got back, she ate some hay while I untacked her and wiped off her super-muddy legs, put on her sheets, then we talked a bit before I loaded Arabee back up and I headed back home. It was a lot of fun to get out and ride, can't wait to do it again, hopefully tonight at home!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

nice not-a-ride yesterday

Headed outside to ride, and instantly became aware of the howling March winds! I thought...this could be interesting!

Jogged up and greeted Arabee who was standing alert in the corner of the paddock, and at the sight of me, leapt and bucked and twisted 5 or 6 strides, then trotted around the corner and stood under the shed. I thought....this could be interesting!

Saddled up, and did the usual "longing" at the end of the rein, where I have her walk in a circle while I flap the rump rug and wiggle the crupper as a reminder 'hey, this stuff is here, don't freak out!' then have her jog both directions. Nice little tool I use to gauge what her mind is like. Well, the gauge told me that it was not a good idea to ride the horse I had that afternoon!

So instead we set out in-hand down the road, and it was a good thing too - all the equine acrobatics she tried would not have been pretty undersaddle...well, maybe pretty, but it sure wouldn't have felt good to try to scrape myself up off the pavement when I hit the ground!

I was soooooooo glad I didn't try to ride yesterday, but also really grateful for the 45 minute power walk I got, and the confidence building/bonding experience we had instead. I'm going to say it was a Good Call!

I'll try to ride again tonight...hope the wind and her attitude is calmed down several notches!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Already re-thinking things

All right, looking for input again! I have to thank you, my readers, for all the comments you have left me in the past, and I'm sure will continue to leave - I have learned so much from you! You're great! :-)

We're at the point where I have built myself and my horse up to being able to walk/trot for a little over one hour. I also have a nice nearly 5 mile loop with varying terrain!

I know you are not supposed to add distance and speed at the same time. Fine, makes sense.

But which do you do first? Or can you flip/flop, say....Today increase speed, tomorrow distance, rest, then the next ride try the increased speed AND distance that you achieved previously.

If I increase speed on the same route, then I won't have ridden for as long of a time period...and if my goal is to increase time spent in the saddle, then what?

I am probably overanalyzing....but would love your input! Thanks!


Here's the monthly 'goal review.'

This was my list for February:
>Commit to riding 2-3 times/week.

>Ride in the arena at least 4 times this month, working on fine-tuning loose rein riding
*didn't happen - haven't been successful contacting the barn owner :-(

>Gradually increase comfort level with vehicles to the point where I can ride to and from Arena, rather than handwalking both ways.
*We're doing good on riding on the road. She still gets a little squirrely when the big dually diesel powered pickups go past...but who wouldn't??

>Begin short training rides from home (mounting up in the barn lot, and venturing out, going a little farther each time).
*Check! Yesterday went 4.6 miles in 1 hr, 10 minutes.

>Build up to being able to ride for at least 1 hour walk trot canter.
*Sort of check.....I am a big chicken, and wanted to wait to try cantering in the arena a couple times first...which I have not been able to ride in. But the one hour part is definitely accomplished!

All right...not bad! Especially given the ridiculous amounts of snow (compared to what we're used to around here) and other factors outside of my control.

So, for March:
>Continue to increase ride times and percentage of time spent trotting, so by the end of March are capable of 2 hours of more or less solid trotting.
>Haul out to ride at least 3 times on a REAL trail!
>Be consistent with Arabee, so she (eventually) comes to realize that I mean it when I ask for a 4 beat walk (not some crazy jig), and that I'm the one who controls trotting speed.