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.