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 trotting....it'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.
So...to 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)))