New Riding Territory: aka every horse person’s fantasy

There has always been a golf course adjacent to my barn.  We used to pass along its fence line on the way to some of the trails, and the horses were quite used to golf carts zipping past on the other side of the fence, or golfers swinging their clubs.  I may have alluded to riding on it in some of my prior posts.

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As of about a year ago, the golf course has closed down, and we have been able to ride on it, thus commencing the fulfillment of every equestrian’s fantasy.

Just strolling along the golf cart path NBD
Just strolling along the golf cart path NBD

Out of respect, we have tried to limit our trotting and cantering to the actual golf cart paths so that we don’t tear up the grass.  They are crushed stonedust paths, which actually makes for excellent footing for conditioning trot and canter sets.

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Along with the paths, as typical with golf courses there are a few ponds, which of course are very pretty.  There are also benches and retaining walls, and assorted fencing, which make very fun impromptu cross country jumps (don’t ask me how I know this)

The golf clubhouse up ahead
The golf clubhouse up ahead

It feels surreal to ride on the road parts of the golf course, where the club house and buildings are, but Mabou loves everything about the golf course, especially the part where its out of the ring.

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So that’s our new riding territory, commence jealousy right about now.

Vacation planning time 

Hubby and I are beginning to plan our vacation for this year. He has his heart set on going to Oktoberfest in Germany, and I want to ride in Ireland, so we are going to do both!

Has anyone been riding in Ireland? Any recommendations on stables etc? We are going the end of September. 

Today’s ride featured: you guessed it- MORE SNOW! 



We rode in the indoor and Mabou was calm cool and collected, as there were two seriously misbehaving horses in there with us and he didn’t even bat an eye. Kept the ride short and sweet as a third horse came in who was snorting and bucking and it was becoming a little dicey in the indoor. 



When we came out of the indoor we were surprised that it had begun snowing HARD.  More snow, just what we needed! 





OK that’s enough winter

Just to start off- let’s take note that last night was a RECORD BREAKING low for this late in February!  I am SO ready for the temps to warm up.  I have been a good girl and keep the winter bitching to a minimum but today’s ride was just BRUTAL, my entire face was frozen.  Today it was 20 degrees but felt like 10 degrees.

MOTHER NATURE, YOU WIN NOW WARM UP PLEASE.

I am crying on the inside
I am crying on the inside

As always, Mabou was a really good boy.  Since it was cold, even with his quarter sheet on he took longer to warm up and we spent a while trotting on a loose rein to start.  With show season in sight now, I have recently begun doing my entire trot warm up with no stirrups- gets me working while he is warming up.  Once I feel his back start to swing and engage then I usually pick up my stirrups and contact and we get to work, unless I want to torture myself by continuing with no stirrups.

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I ordered a Back on Track quarter sheet from Tack of the Day when they were on sale a few weeks ago (and polo wraps and the mattress overlay), so I am hoping that it arrives while the temps are still cold and I get to use it.  I also think it will help with his warm up.

We did the usual flat schooling, lengthening and shortening of stride, transitions, bending and counter-bending, and leg yielding.  Nothing too exciting, but he felt great after he was warmed up.

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Tomorrow is supposed to be in the high 30’s woohoo!

Rainy Sunday No-Stirrup Ride

Today was a whopping 37 degrees, but unfortunately it was also rainy and wet!  The snow all began to melt, making a thick messy slush everywhere.

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I whipped out my rain boots and didn’t let some rain slow me down from enjoying the above-freezing temps.  Some of us (ahem TUCKER) weren’t as brave about the weather conditions.

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I got to the barn fairly early for a Sunday, so I was lucky enough to have the indoor to myself.  I was feeling ambitious so I did an ENTIRE ride with no stirrups.

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Mabou felt great, I find that I can ride a bit more effectively without stirrups and really bend him around my legs.  I also discovered that if you ride through the point of burning pain in your legs while doing no stirrups, eventually your legs just become numb and then you’re fine.

I started off with a trot on a loose rein to warm up, until I felt his back start to warm up and he stretched his neck down and forward.

Then I picked up my contact and started adding in a 20 meter circle at each end of the ring.  After doing this in both directions a few times I started to sit the trot and collect in the 20 meter circle and then lengthen his trot stride down the long side.

After he was all bendy and feeling great I just played around with lengthenings, leg yields, counter-bending and transitions all around the ring.

It was really good working on my sitting trot and lateral work without stirrups.  I could really feel Mabou’s back come up underneath me as he collected himself and used his hind end.  He really worked well through his back and his mouth was really foamy at the end of my ride.  (Excuse his eye in this pic but it really shows the foaminess!)

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I definitely am going to try to do a ride like this once a week (if temperatures cooperate).

How often do you work without stirrups?

Weekend Recap: snow and ice overkill

Saturday was too icy to venture outside, with a lovely one inch crust of solid ice frozen on the top of the foot plus of snow that we have, so we were relegated to the indoor ring.

I had an absolutely wonderful ride, despite riding around the lessons going on. Mabou felt like Gumby, he was so soft in my hands and bending around my legs. We worked on shortening and lengthening at the trot and he couldn’t have felt any better! (See my prior post about the rough rides I have been having)

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Sunday Mother Nature was gentler to us with a heatwave of 36 degrees. The ice on top of the snow was gone, leaving thick soft snow that could be ridden on.

Given that it was the 2nd of my 2 days a week to ride in daylight I happily hit the trail, just Mabou and me.  It was nice to spend some time with my boy, and be completely relaxed, taking pics and videos as I rode, without a care in the world. It was gorgeous, with snow as far as the eye could see.

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For those that have never ridden in the snow, you’re missing out on the one benefit of a Northeast winter! Mabou steps so high when we ride through the snow his trot feels like a big powerful passage.

Just like this

It instantly puts a smile on my face. His canter also feels so lofty and powerful. Other than being so fun, this is obviously great conditioning for his booty.

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I even took these fun videos (disclaimer they are so shaky!!!)

Ahhh Shucks

So after suffering through several weeks of limited riding motivation from the frigid cold and lack of any daylight hours not spent at work, yesterday I decided to leave work at 2 and try to get in an afternoon ride!

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I got to the barn, quickly changed and ran out to get Mabou from the paddock. After walking him into the barn I quickly realized he was missing a front shoe…. That damn left front shoe (repeat offender) to be exact!

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I cursed in my head and texted the farrier to see if he could get down to put a shoe on in the next few days.

Finally my luck turned around and the farrier could stop by in about an hour! Plus I got lucky and just caught him because in a few hours he was leaving to go away until Monday. Score for me!

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So instead of the ride I got planned a Mabou got a nice long grooming and his mane pulled while waiting for the farrier. It was nice spending time with him even though my riding plans were crushed.

Time with my horse just have a way of making you happy in a way nothing else can!

Have a great weekend!

Let’s Discuss: Liniment

In the past, I have used So No More liniment on Mabou aka Mr. Princess and the Pea with no adverse effects.  However, over the weekend after the pace I tried to use Absorbine Veterinary Liniment, thinking it would feel nice after the pounding of all the rather hard carriage roads and rocky trails.  After I applied a tiny bit my sensitive horse nearly fell down he was so crazed trying to stomp both his front legs at the same time.  I guess he hates the tingly feeling?  All of the other horses like it.  I have the liniment gel but now I am afraid to try it.

They look so innocent…..

Has anyone else had this problem?  Is my horse just weird?!