Tuesday, August 2, 2011

I Rode Today!!!

In my NEW ARENA!!!

Okay...so maybe it doesn't have special, manicured footing (although my dear husband DID mow it short for me in a perfect 20x40 meter rectangle) and maybe there are no dressage letters (but it DOES have tiny, orange surveying flags marking the corners and well....okay....I guess there isn't a fence, or any boundary at all, actually, aside from the visual of short grass vs. tall grass.

But really, for me, it was extremely helpful to have a boundary line on a specific riding area. Helped me firmly guide Arabee where I wanted her, and where I didn't, and it helped me make my circles more or less round.

It was definitely a lot of fun - even if I had to rush because I only had an hour from the time Matt said "well, do you want to go ahead and ride, even though there isn't much time?" and when he had to leave to go back into work again. Hurry - take off my boots, peel off the sweaty jeans, and try to pour myself into my breeches, put the boots back on, catch Arabee, get the saddle area clean, tack up, pick hooves, re-adjust the stirrups, realize that my helmet was back in the house (and also needed re-adjusting), and mount up....with less than 20 minutes left to actually ride, really more like 15, because I still had to untack and rinse my horse off (who, even though it was such a short ride, had ACTUALLY sweated enough to warrant needing hosed off).

Anyway...it was a fun ride, short as it was :-)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Last Week

In preparation for the "big cousins weekend," where all the in and out-of-state cousins come in to the farm for a big reunion/get-together 3-day weekend - Matt told me that he thought I should be sure to ride Arabee so that she won't be too fresh for when the kids ride. The fact that my husband actually WANTED me to ride really made me grin.

So last Monday I saddled up and we "herded" the goats around the pasture - the one with a steep hill down to a creek bed, back up a steep hill, then around the pond. She was sore going uphill on the abscessed hoof, though on the flat or downhill she was good. I kept it short, and to a walk for the most part - it was definitely more of a mental workout - turning, stopping, walking with the goats to keep them moving in the way we wanted them to. Very fun. I keep saying one of these days we'll move on to cows.

So, I turned her back out to hopefully get stronger on her hoof, crossing my fingers that she'd be 100% by the time the girls came out to ride. And thankfully, she was! Well, on grass, anyway - still ouchy on gravel, but true and strong on grass. So, we kept to riding on the grass and all was well.

My husband's cousin's daughter (2nd cousin?) C is 13 years old, and had been taking lessons for a year and a half near their home in another state. Her family stayed at our house, and they came Wednesday evening, and she had asked ahead of time if she could ride Arabee. I agreed - and I am so glad I did - C did great, and so did Arabee, and it was fun. It was also so fun to get to watch someone else ride my horse - I got to see for myself what her gaits look like, and so on. C rode Thursday and Friday morning, and other cousins, L and C, who'd been taking lessons for a little longer though at a different part of the country rode on Saturday. It was fun to see their different experiences and personalities come out - I started each of them on the longe line, asked them to prove to me that they could get her to walk, whoa, trot, walk, whoa, change directions, then told them when they felt ready that I'd unclip them. I had to reserve the right to stay clipped on the youngest - she had been used to a more steady horse than Arabee. When they trotted, Arabee kept thinking she was wanting her to go faster by the way she was using her lower legs to hang on - so in the interest of safety she stayed on the longe line - but I hope she still had fun - I sure did! All three girls were a pleasure to work with, and I think showed quite a bit of potential for being excellent horsewomen!

So to recap, Arabee had to lug big ol' me around the pasture, and chase after goats on Monday, then got 21 days off.

On Thursday C rode on the grass in circles at the walk and trot. She tried canter but unfortunately the grassy area didn't allow for a large enough circle for Arabee to really feel balanced enough to canter more than a half-circle.

On Friday, C rode again - we started in the same area as she rode on Thursday, then we headed across the road to "trail ride" in the pasture, then went back to do more trot-work.

On Saturday, L rode for about a half an hour at the walk and trot, then it was her sister C's turn for a half hour.

Arabee got Sunday off - and I'm trying to figure out how I can build off of this good momentum of workouts and try to keep up a 3-4 rides/week schedule, starting with tonight. Maybe after the kids go to bed around 8:30?? It will still be light, but the mosquitos will be out....we'll have to see.