Yesterday morning I went out and rode Mabou before work… which is my weapon of choice against the lack of daylight during winter. There is something so peaceful about being there early when the world is still quiet, and starting my day with some horse time.
He felt wonderful– soft and working through his back, easy to bend, and just listening to everything I asked of him. I ended up only riding for maybe 15 minutes. When he is being so good, and is doing everything that I could ask for, I always end our rides early. Short and sweet rides are some of our best rides. Mabou has such a naturally good work ethic I try very hard not to drill him or make work unenjoyable. When he is great, his work ends pretty quickly and usually results in a walk through the trails (when I am not time pressed before work)
Does anyone else follow this train of thought? Or do you work on more advanced things when your horse is being good? Just curious about other people’s methods!
On Saturday, despite the rainy gross weather, I decided it was finally time to ride Mabou. His leg feels slightly better, but he is completely sound and he runs around outside like a big goof. Maybe the slightly puffy part of his leg is his new “normal”
I also picked up his foot and squeezed all along the back of his tendon and got no pain response, so that was good enough for me!
I limited my ride to walk trot but it felt so good to be back on my own horse. No matter how many horses you ride, being on yours just feels “right”.
As I sit here at work on this rainy cold Monday I am totally lacking in the motivation department! The forecast this week is just downright cruel (namely, in the 30’s and 20’s) and the lack of daylight is a major buzz kill!
Add in the fact that I now haven’t ridden Mabou in 10 days, and that makes one very bummed out me! As always, I have other horses I can ride but it’s not the same, and I certainly don’t feel like freezing to ride unless it’s to ride my own horse.
I tried the Back on Track wraps for one night before I went away, so I can’t really make a decision yet if they helped. Will try again more this week (but hopefully won’t have to!)
Since the ultrasound of his leg was clean, I am just waiting now for the leg to be 100% tight again. It is still a little bit puffy though, small enough that someone else would miss it, but enough that I notice it. At least he has been sound this whole time (knock on wood!) so it’s not bothering him.
We went on a bareback (with blanket) walk on the trail last night. I love that he hasn’t been ridden in over a week and I can still do that without worrying about him getting silly.
Fingers crossed I can ride my boy again this week!
So I finally discovered how I can defeat daylight savings and the riding in the dark doldrums: Ride in the morning before work!
I had previously not thought this was possible, as usually the barn is a black hole of time for me- but I gave it a test run today.
CONCLUSION: totally do-able
I can make this work if I go in to the office an hour to an hour and a half late. Which is totally ok by me, because I will just stay a little later in the evening. Really no motivation to run out of the office when it is pitch black out.
This is definitely a cold-weather only plan though, as I had to change at the barn and go straight to work! Who cares, I will definitely take the possibility of smelling like a horse in exchange for riding during daylight hours. Anyway, isn’t that what they invented body spray for!?
I now have a newfound enthusiasm for my fall/winter riding. I thought that I was fated to be a vampire and only ride in the dark or in the indoor.
I got the photo I ordered from the Sleepy Hollow pace- ta da!
I was wearing the JOTT (Just Over the Top) Vest for that pace that has seriously been part of my everyday fall wardrobe. I can’t say enough good things about it! Very thin and lightweight but SUPER warm!
This past week was very busy for me- work was crazy, hubby was on vacation so we spent a lot of time shopping for a new car for me (yay!), new kitchen cabinets, and new kitchen appliances. I was also trying to fit in after-work outdoor arena rides before daylight savings strikes this weekend and the clocks get turned back and relegate me to indoor arena only rides.
Although I love the fall, this time of year is kinda depressing for me, after a summer of a lot of riding and progress the fall is more of a wind-down into winter where I don’t do much riding once it hits around 30 degrees.
Mabou has been great recently, we have not been working on anything new, just really keeping him in shape for hunting at this point.
To cope with all of the dreadfulness that is the colder weather, I have been doing some retail therapy (of course). I ordered two more bridle charms, one is the evil eye (to protect us from evil) and one is a silver “M”. I also got two of the Essex Talent Yarn show shirts, which I haven’t tried on yet or obviously worn since I am not showing right now. A review of those will have to wait until the spring.
My favorite purchase that I made was a new show bridle! I got a Bobby’s bridle with a fancy stitched wide padded noseband. I love the look of the wide nosebands.
Right from the get-go, this bridle was buttery soft. It barely even needed the oiling I gave it. The padding is very soft and the stitching is impeccable. I am really impressed, as it is nicer quality leather than some high end bridles I have seen.
I cannot wait to see how nice it looks on Mabou! It also has the monocrown design for comfort, with a wide softly padded crown and padding around almost the entire noseband.
The matching reins are also super soft and flexible, and likewise felt great in my hands even before I gave them a coat of oil.
If you for a nice quality bridle at a good price point, I highly recommend the Bobby’s! I can’t speak to the durability at this point yet, but my trainer has a flat Bobby’s hunt bridle that still looks great after years of being abused in the hunt field, so that is saying something!
The pace was GORGEOUS!! Saw so many houses that were breathtaking
Which overlooked this view:
and had this barn:
The trail itself was nice.. a little rocky in the start, but decent footing throughout with beautiful galloping fields and inviting jumps. Somewhere along the way my horse threw a front shoe (UGHH). In addition to all the logs, coops, and smaller stone walls, we jumped two 3’3″-3’6″ stone walls. Jumping those made the day for me! My horse felt great, he was a good boy whether leading or following.
We also jumped an enormous hedge that was near the finish line. It was so big we went back on foot after the lunch just to check it out from the ground.
Just for reference the above person is only 5′
The best part is that the photographer was right at the hedge… so fingers crossed that the photo came out good!
Now for the one bad part- BRIDGES!! There were so many damn bridges!!
We do not have bridges anywhere we ride… so needless to say our horses were not really fans of them and the noise that the wood bridges made when they walked over them. There were at least 7-8 bridges and at each one I had to DISMOUNT off of my horse and lead him over the bridge so the other horse would follow. My horse would follow me through anything, as long as he saw me go through first without dying. At one very long bridge over running water my teammate’s horse wouldn’t even follow Mabou over the bridge so she had to dismount as well and lead him over. Which turned out to be a blessing in disguise because while we were off the trail finding something for her to stand on to re-mount, a loose horse came barreling up the trail past us. Lucky break!!!
The bridge fiascos made us come in with a total time of 1 hour 23 minutes. The optimal time was 1 hour 10 minutes. So we were not in the ribbons! But it was a great day all the same. The photographer took photos at a few different jumps and I cannot wait to see them, I will post the ones I purchase!
Today I gave Mabou off since we had a lesson yesterday. I was STOKED when trainer asked me to ride her horse for some conditioning.
Her horse was at a huge AA Barn and showed and won all over the place at big shows in the children’s and junior hunters…. until he promptly got burned out and would rear when he walked through the in gate. So trainer got him, turned him out for a bit to let him be a horse, and he has been a fox hunt horse ever since, with no real riding in the ring other than cantering to condition, which he LOVES. He is MY FAVORITE horse to ride other than mine. His gaits are literally like silk. I think I could eat a bowl of soup while he is trotting. He also is so naturally uphill and balanced it is the best feeling in the world to hand gallop him around. As soon as you sit in the saddle he shortens his stride, and all it takes for a lead change is to put your weight into one seat bone and voila, beautiful lead change. (which is a problem when people who are loose ride him, because they get accidental changes all over the ring hah) The sunset was gorgeous… what a great end to my Thursday!
Tomorrow is Friday woohoo then we get a three day weekend! Thanks Columbus!