Thursday, December 15, 2016

Time to ride, just in time for bitter cold

Wow what a two week time span.  Last week I was traveling for work and had no time to ride.  Well, I did ride quickly on Saturday but it was just a be-bop kind of ride, hop on/off.  When I got back, I went out on Sunday I lunged her to get some willies out so I could ride on Monday.  On Monday I went to the barn to ride and got caught in a surprise (to me) snow storm.  I left the house at 530p and it was barely flurrying.  No worries I thought!  By the time I made it 20 minutes into my (normally 45 min) drive, it was snowing really hard and the roads started to get slippery.  By the time I made it 40 minutes into the drive, I was going 30mph or slower as the road was now slippery, but to the barn I persisted.  I made it to the barn in 50 minutes, which wasn't too bad.  Except things were really slippery by then.  I got App and gave him a brushing and his bi-monthly shot of Pentosan.  While walking him back out, I almost busted my ass. Yeah....  I grabbed Mia and brushed her down and figured I probably shouldn't stay and ride.  By this time there were inches of new snow on the ground, things were slippery and it was still snowing HARD.   So I put her out, almost fell down, again, and made my slow trek home.  My little car really wanted to go into the ditch at one point, and seriously thought about it a second time, but I was able to convince it to stay on the road and I made it home in a little over an hour. Snow tires for the win!  We ended up with just over 4 inches of snow in the 2.5 hours it took me to go to the barn and back.  So yeah, Mondays ride was a fail.

The cats were very concerned when I got home and I shared my story with them
Tuesday I lunged her again as I hadn't ridden still and I wanted to enjoy my ride and that meant ensuring I didn't end up with a rocket on a string.  I had Mia do fitness lunging, having her trot for 3 minutes, walk for 2, trot for 3 minutes, walk for 2, canter for 3 minutes, walk for 2, canter for 3 minutes, walk for 5.  That did amazing things for her mentally and she was much happier at the end of the session than she was when we started.  She isn't nearly as explosive as most horses, but she was just so much more relaxed and happy after lunging.  I really do think she enjoys a bit of work.

It does make for a pretty picture though
Last night I was finally able to ride and since I won't get to ride until this weekend thanks to the single digit highs we are having, I was taking advantage of it.  Mia started out totally unable to go into the outside rein.  As soon as I let go of the inside rein, she tilted her head to the outside and wanted me to pull and hold her.  Uh, no.  We walked for about 20 minutes doing laterals, turns, serpentines, corners and pirouettes until she finally was soft and in my outside rein.  In taking the time to do that, she even started responding to my seatbones again and would make nice changes of direction with simple pelvis tilts.  How cool, I didn't expect her to remember that until she was back in work.  Training for the win!  She surprises me at times with the buttons she decides to suddenly remember.

I decided to alternate between sitting and rising trot, to really encourage her to slow down and try to get her to use her hind end and I think it worked.  She didn't really push off of her hind end, and she isn't really strong enough to hold me in sitting trot for long periods, but she stayed light in her front, responsive to my seat and didn't fuss much with her head.  Everything I was hoping to accomplish.  For a horse that had virtually 2 weeks off?  That is great.  She even gave me some great canter transitions, no bolting, no leaping, no dumping onto the forehand.  Just some sit, pick it up, stay balanced and a decent down transition.

It is cold outside, snuggles required to make it better
It is very obvious that both of us are not currently fit, I need to start cardio stuff again because....sheesh, yeah, I just do.  Mia needs semi regular work to be strong enough to hold these better gaits and to stay off of her forehand.  Not sure how well we will accomplish it during the winter, but I am sure going to try.


  1. Training in winter is hard. If December is anything to go by it's not going to be easy!

  2. Winter fitness is the trickiest puzzle imo