Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A Five Ride Week

While they are not all intense training rides we have been able to saddle up and ride the last five days. Ranae is still in Hawaii and it takes me longer to get everything done. Thursday and Friday were fairly short 45 minute rides down the canal bank. I'm still working on transitions and we do a lot of walk-to-trot, trot-to-lope, lope-to-trot, and trot-to-walk combinations. I would try 3 or 4 in a row and then just let her walk for awhile. Then we would do it again.

We also did a lot of loping. She has improved quite a bit. She doesn't have a slow WP lope by any means, but she picks up the requested lead about 90% of the time. Out in the open trail she does tend to speed up. The ground is hard and to add to the difficulty there are squirrel holes scattered about. She likes to ride right on the edge of the canal bank and scare the s**t out of me. I've been working on moving her over using my outside leg (the one dangling over the water).

Saturday we rode out to the development and stayed at a trot for most of the ride. This, too, has improved and Jessie will actually trot slow enough for me to sit the trot (but just barely).

Sunday was our long ride out to the city farm. A little more than 6 miles, we had to negotiate the way out all by ourselves. There was scary traffic and scary garbage on the side of the road and Jessie stayed brave and kept moving. We found a few irrigation water puddles to cross and had to walk by a staging area with 30 to 40 bee hives. She got a little nervous riding by the chicken farm and, since we were out there alone, I just got off and walked her.

I feel a little guilty. I haven't been doing much groundwork. Actually it consists of about ninety seconds of touch-and-rub forequarters and hindquarters, a bit a flexing, and we're off. It's more out of laziness. I just don't want to move all the horses around so I can use the back arena.

Monday night we got another hour long ride in. We worked on most of the usual stuff, but when we got to a part of the canal where there is a farm on the other side she got all wiggy on me and wanted to go her own way. I wasn't sure what had her concerned (whether it was the equipment, dogs, or the way the water looked) but I turned her back into the direction of what seemed to be frightening to her and we went back and forth across this area several times. She still wasn't paying attention to me so we did it at a trot. When that didn't get it, we did it at a lope. We worked at it for almost ten minutes and she finally started to respond and I let her stand for a minute or two. My frustration level was rising and had to do some internal coaching. She was really leaning on the bit and I couldn't figure out why(although I told myself it really didn't matter - she should be listening to me). The rest of the ride home was uneventful. Our path crossed a dirt bike rider and three other horses on the opposite side and she was fine.

We got our load of hay in on Saturday. I had a company move our front gate so the driver could dump it right on our property. (Unlike last year when they dropped it on the driveway and I had to move it to the back in 6 pickup loads). We only broke two sprinkler heads. They should be easier to fix than moving 88 bales of hay. The price of the hay, moving the gate, the new trailer, sometimes it feels like we're just bleeding money. Oh well, guess it's just all part of the deal.

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