Monday, May 23, 2011

Jessie Hates My Ipod and I'm A Little Sore About It Too

Ranae had some Expedia miles to use and left for four days to visit a friend in Houston. That left me and the animals home alone. It also meant a solo ride on Saturday. Oh yeah! I had been looking forward to this. It's one of the reasons I took Jessie out and did groundwork along the canal. She doesn't like to be alone and when I remind her I am with her, it just doesn't seem to matter. Now we had prepared. Most of the spooky objects had been dealt with on the ground and it was time to see if the work had paid off.

I spent a little time in her pen doing some ground work and then spent some extra time grooming her. It was a beautiful morning in the low seventies and not a cloud in the sky. We had all leisurely day for this ride.

So many gadgets - I grabbed my phone, the GPS, and my ipod and while I had hoped I would not need it, I grabbed a riding crop - just in case. It was early and there weren't many people or motorbikes out - just a few cows in the pasture and some ducks in the canal. We kept moving. I had my ipod in playing my "Riding Jessie" playist.

Jessie went out very well. She stopped a couple of times to see if I was paying attention. I was, and the crop was not necessary. We made it out to our cotton field at a trot most of the way. There were a couple of dirt bikers out past the cotton field and she handled that very well. We even chased them for awhile. We worked our way to the Big Square and we started to lope. Just as we did, my ipod started playingSouthern Man, the live version from Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young's 4-Way Street album. One of my favorite songs, it begins with Stephen Stills (I think) saying "This is a usually a really long song, folks...and we're going to do it realy slow tonight." Checking in at 13 minutes 47 seconds I wondered if I could keep Jessie loping for the whole song.

The Big Square is more of a rectangle and, as usual she started off quick and crooked. On the long sides I required her to stay straight. If she veered off we did a circle (at a lope) in the opposite direction. Once she had that, if she went faster than I wanted we changed the pattern. We did figure eights around the cones, diagonals, and sharp turns. By the time we got to the second instrumental I was rockin' out and she was starting to get into it too (yeah, right). It occured to me that this was a combination of the cruising lesson and the post-to-post exercise. The difference was there were no fences and open spaces for a quarter of a mile in every direction.

Just as the song is building to the big crescendo at the end and I think we are going to make it, she starts speeding up. As the song ends, we are doing a circle to slow down. Everytime I let her out of the circle she speeds up. "No worries", I tell her, "I have losts of favorite songs I can listen to until we get this right." We power through about half of Dave Matthews' Kit Kat Jam before I feel she is staying relaxed and controlled enough for me to give her the "whoa" signal.

I let her rest for a minute and we headed off. The GPS rated our fastest speed at 13.4 mph - not bad for such a long lope. When we passed the development I noticed they had graded all the weeds and we just HAD to go try this area out. I started loping her and she was slow and relaxed. For the most part she stayed straight. We loped for about five minutes, then worked on our "whoa" for a bit.

When we got home I checked the GPS. We had ridden 9 miles and had an average of 5 mph. That's pretty fast. Most or our rides are in the 3.4 - 3.8 range. A fast ride is considered to be anything in the fours.

Ranae made it home early Sunday afternoon. She rested for awhile and we went out later together for another loop. Jessie was moving a bit slow, but no signs of soreness. I, on the other hand, was feeling it in my inner thighs, butt, lower back, and shoulders. I figured there was just one solution - yep, we loped some more.
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