I am exhausted and sleepy and lazy, so here, have some pics from my early Saturday morning ride out. 2 miles exactly in 36 minutes, some pony picked up his feet much better on his way back to the barn where breakfast was waiting…
Last night, I saddled up and we went for a longish hack. I’m working on three operating theories;
– I need to ride more, for my sanity and health and for Tristan’s health;
– All the reading I do indicates that metabolic horses need regular, consistent exercise;
– Long slow distance is the right kind of work for Tristan right now: low-impact, muscle-building, and when it’s done outside, good for his brain.
All those three things pointed to long hacks as our new standard ride, with occasional short ringwork 1-2 days a week.
So last night was the launch of some new metrics for our rides. I’ve used Endomondo before to track our rides, but last night I paid particular attention to distance and speed. I wanted to know how far it is all the way around the big hay field, and what Tristan’s speed would look like if I rode him on the buckle the whole time.
Quiet-ish hack on Sunday, snuck in between rain showers.
Not too many words here, just the beautiful place that is Vermont.
I borrowed the barn’s bareback pad to keep those short summer hairs from working their way into my breeches and I’m thrilled with how it worked out. I’ll ride a few more times in it and then see if I can find one with more of a cutaway for his withers.
Sunday was an hour of road hacking with a friend – up, down, up again. Tristan was jigging his way downhill again so I did get off and handwalk him. I am a bit frustrated by finding the balance between “nice big forward walk home” and “jig jig jig until you trip.” Sitting deep and quiet is one thing; hauling on his mouth to no effect is another.
That said: at about the 45 minute mark he gets much better. He eases into it and focuses on the road ahead instead of the barn behind. The solution here might be just to keep him out for longer. Possibly this Sunday we can hit another road and do 45 minutes out, 45 minutes back.
Before then, we need to get back in the ring. I haven’t schooled him outside of a lesson in 3 weeks, yikes. I am the worst. I just keep getting to the barn and tacking him up and then being physically unable to set foot in the ring, so we head outside instead.
Monday was shot #2 in his loading doses of Pentosan, and this should start to be the tipping point of feeling better – this week or next. We’ll see. Tonight the temperature will drop about 40 degrees and we’ll get an inch or two of that-four-letter-word-that-starts-with-s. Then tomorrow spring will arrive for good. (I know I keep saying and thinking that, but eventually it has to be true, right?)
when the world is mudlicious
says e.e. cummings, to continue the poetry kick.
Two very good rides. Long road hack on Sunday, with some short bits of trot interspersed. We stopped at a big puddle of runoff to see if he would want to take a drink (he loves his puddles), and he took a long drink, then splashed and splashed with his nose, curling his lip in disgust every other splash when water went up his nose. I forgot to turn on the GPS app, but I would estimate we were out for about 60 minutes.
Monday, a lesson. We focused on hind end action: both in flexibility and in push. WT put out poles, and wanted me to capture the feeling of that push and that activity in going all the way around the ring. When I was losing it, and falling into nagging, I was to go back over the polls. It worked really well. He was really motoring around, and sitting back, and lifting through his back.
In between, the focus was on really.going.straight. Lining everything up and not letting him trick me into overbending instead of really stepping through in the shoulder-in and haunches-in.
In all, I felt really good about where I had him. I felt less good about the consistency of it: keeping him there. And I felt not so good about my own position, which was sloppy at times. In particular, heels! I’ve usually been pretty good about them, but I am doing far too much pointing with my toes and pushing off the balls of my feet.
After the lesson, the barn manager gave Tris his first Pentosan injection. It was a lot – 6ccs – in the muscle, and I had bought a slightly larger gauge of needle than is usual (20). So he definitely felt it, but was very good. I think we’ll have to get further into the loading dose before he shows any results, but I’m optimistic.
Rest of the week:
Wednesday, longeing (maybe? work event that might keep me late)
Friday, dressage school