conditioning · winter

Long, Slow; Long & Low

After a black hole in the middle of last week due to work and life commitments, I got (literally) back on the horse over the weekend for some more work.

Mostly we did some basic, easy conditioning style rides. Long marching walk warmups with trot intervals, focusing on keeping him loose and stretching through his neck and over his back. 5 minutes of trot, 5 minutes of walk. Repeat. Working on my own equitation: stay loose and soft and deep in my leg, not the jerky bouncing about of my ankles that I fall into so easily.

It’s been cold here: highs in the 30s, lows in the 20s overnight. We’re on the slow downward spiral to winter. More snow at the barn over the weekend, but none of it stuck for long. Fiance went skiing yesterday, so he’s happy as a clam. Me, I mostly want to drink endless pots of tea while under a blanket. Tristan is wearing his midweight most of the time now and happy as a clam.

I’ve been using a slightly different quarter sheet, and I really like it so far. It’s all wool, and the kind that goes underneath the saddle as well. So there’s wool + saddle pad + sheepskin half pad under the saddle. When I take the saddle off, his back is definitely quite warm. He’s been more willing to stretch out, and earlier. I feel like I’m finally understanding what people mean when they talk about cold-backed and warming the back up.

It’s not that I didn’t understand the need for a warmup: I am obsessive about long walk warmups. But the actual physicality of a warm-to-the-touch back is something new for me. Until now, I would definitely not have characterized Tristan as cold-backed, but I may need to revisit that slightly.

Today: massage and more conditioning, tomorrow possibly some longeing, Wednesday off.

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