Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Long Lope

Saturday I had some work here at the store to finish up in the morning. Ranae rode with her neighbor friend. It's still sick hot here but we decided (Jessie's vote didn't count) to go out for a ride. I've been wanting to lope her until she was tired for quite some time now, but hadn't found the right road or time (it's not something I can do with a bunch of other horses riding with me). So, by ourselves and an hour of sunlight left, we took off at a jog for the first 3/4 mile. Then I decided to lope her along the canal. I haven't done this in awhile because she tries to dive off the offside bank to get out of loping. While she drifted that way, I found if I had a left lead I could keep my right leg in her and go somewhat straight.

We trotted about the next mile and we got to our wide open spot. There is a 20 foot wide dirt road that goes for about a mile and ends near a big dirt mound. The area is flat, but off the road are a lot of squirrel and gopher holes, so I can't let her get to far off the road because she'll step in them. We started our lope and she would drift back and forth across the road. It was as if she heard the term "ride like you've been drinking". I tried to explain to her that was for the rider not the horse. At about the half mile mark she really started to worm out of it. I just turned her to the road and cued her again. Then she thought she could out run me. As long as she was straight I didn't care and it didn't take her long to figure out it was too hot to go fast. We made it to the mound and I thought she still had some in her so we did a big circle on one side, loped to the other side and did another big circle, then came back to the first side and another circle and I felt her say "enough". I keep her moving for one more circle and gave a cue to stop. She did and I gave her a few flexes and let her rest, although it didn't even seem like she was breathing hard. That was the longest I had loped with her and it wasn't very comfortable for much of the time. My legs were a bit tired from trying to keep her straight, and I hear people say you need to ride up on your crotch, but that's a bit hard on the old boy-parts. Maybe it gets easier. I sure hope so.

We lope/trotted most of the way home (we walked the last half mile or so). We were losing our light, so she got a quick bath and put up. Sunday's ride was pretty quiet. We went with our neighbor friend who said she wanted to do more with her horse. We did a couple of long trots that weren't all that long. We loped a little and played the pass the stick game where you ride side-by-side at the same pace tossing a stick back an forth. It was a good, quiet Sunday ride.
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