I Ride Two Days in a Row
I, as planned, took Chance out to the pumpkin patch for a ride yesterday. We were out for about 45 minutes with two short, but nice sessions of trotting. Chance was a star on all accounts, except for two spooks.
First, however, was his absolute non-spook at birds suddenly flying up out of the cornfield on either side of the trail. The corn is too tall to see over at this point, and the birds flew up in a rush and noisy flutter. Chance only flicked his ear at them. I was honestly amazed.
Once we were out at the tree farm, all was well until we reached a spot where a bright white cultivator was parked. It really did look strange and the sunlight bouncing off it accented the sudden whiteness. Chance froze, then spun around to escape the "monster." I collected him back up, tried to go past it and again he spun. But I turned him back towards it, let him stand and stare at it for a moment, reassuring him as he did. Then, although quite tense an prancing, he did manage to pass by. The cultivator was about 50 feet off the trail, but still it was a big scary thing.
Then, partway into the pumpkin field, we had to pass by some beehives. These were gray boxes. Unfortunately, Chance was still a little unsettled from the cultivator, so he spooked and spun again. This time, I simply turned him up one of the other little roads through the pumpkin patch and we circled the field in the opposite direction. When we reached the beehives again, from the opposite side, we did end up taking a wide berth into the patch itself--a spot where there were no pumpkins, fortunately and some sparsely planted ground--and managed to get by just fine. On the way home, past the cultivator again, he hardly batted an eye, so I suspect the next time, even the beehives will not be too upsetting.
He started a tiny bit at a bicyclist riding up the road behind us on the way back, but that was nothing at all of concern. All in all I was delighted with him.
Today, I went over to Christina's barn to ride her Arabian, JJ. I took my Ansur dressage saddle and I'm really glad I did. It fit JJ just fine and really made me feel quite comfortable on a strange horse.
We rode in the grass arena for perhaps a half hour as I got used to JJ. He is nicely balanced and has a super good attitude. I did need to work at getting him to drop down on the bit for me. He had some tension, perhaps worrying about me and even being a little perplexed by the totally flexible saddle on his back. I got him going pretty nicely in fairly short order while Christina rode her young horse as well.
Then we headed out for about an hour trail ride. JJ was a nice solid ride under me. He as a bit lazy, which was fine, mostly because he was so relaxed. I'd like to think my riding had something to do with that, but I won't take much credit for it. He's a nice horse, and that's all there is to it.
And Nordisk, Christina's baby boy whose only been under saddle for a few months, was a superstar! He actually lead the ride for nearly the whole way. We just walked, but he was sensible and good about everything. He has an inch or two on JJ and his walk seemed to easily outpace us. He really is a lovely horse and Christina's done a fine job of training him so far.
I plan to go over to ride again Thursday morning. I'm sure my muscles will feel some of the riding tomorrow, but so far, so good. I certainly am physically fit enough with all the swimming I've done, but as we all know, riding does require its own set of muscles.
At this point, I am really looking forward to the pace on Sunday. We will not be competing for time as it's far too important to give Nordisk a good experience on his first time out.
Thought about going for a swim, but I decided to stick to my original plan for the week which was to swim on Wednesday and Friday instead.
Wish the indoor pool were closer. I miss the water.