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I’m a little sore today!

That is because yesterday was a very difficult ride.  It really had its ups and downs.

I started out riding Bentley in the sand ring.  He hadnt been ridden for the past 2 days because of his cough, and I was just planning on riding a walk as we had done for the past week and a half because of that.  Well he had energy to spare, possibly because of the rest, because he was feeling better, and maybe because he has started on grain.  Once I got him listening, I decided to try trotting and see how his cough was.  To my surprise, he had almost no cough left!  He was really good in the trot at first, so I thought “hey, why not try canter”  Well, I learned my lesson!  He got a little crazy in the head and wouldnt listen to my instructions to halt or steer.  I ended up having to circle him tightly (narrowly missing a jump standard) and spiral in until we were trotting what literally was a 2 m circle, yes, his nose was almost touching his tail and he still wouldnt walk.  My horse is just too flexible!

After that, we had a lot of excited trotting, which meant a lot of half halting.  Several minutes later, he was trotting nicely, but still reacting to my leg when I would ask him to bend around circles and corners.  Probably about 15 minutes later after a lot of walking to trotting and bending at the walk, we were able to once again bend and stay very good at the trot and people were commenting their usual “wow he looks so good!” comments.  If only they knew how much it took to get there!

At this point, my sister Heather had come into the ring with Rurik and we planned on going out around the back fields.  We left the ring and our hack was going very well.  We went around the corn fields and down into the plateau where it was ok for Heather to trot.  Bentley seemed fine as long as Rurik was within sight (since he motors off ahead of Rurik constantly) so I gave her the go ahead to trot around the plateau.  Since Bentley was calm and responsive to all of my commands, I asked him to trot as well.  He surged at first, but with only a few half halts, he was even quieter than in the ring, doing a calm western style jog.  We did a few transitions and turns and he was just fine.  Even got him close to the jumps, where he sniffed them and dismissed them very quickly.  I even walked him over a small log that was flanked by large, broken jumps, and he didnt even stop to look at it.

We changed direction and did quite a bit more trotting since it was going so well.  That is… until Rurik got into a mood.  We are still not sure if he saw something, or what happened to cause this, but Rurik started getting faster and faster on Heather, until he was at a full speed gallop heading towards the exit of the plateau.  Bentley saw this and decided it was also a good idea to bolt after him as well.  I have to admit, I could have done more to get Bentley under control, but i was at that crossroads where I had to make quick decisions, and I couldnt let Heather get out of my sight for her safety, so I let Bentley run, while giving him constant reminders that there was a human aboard and he better not try anything.  We ended up running the whole length of the plateau (about 1.5 football field lengths), up the hill out the exit, and all the way back to the barn. 

Both of us were fine,  I was trying to yell out instructions to Heather as we chased herm but she couldnt hear through the wind rushing by.  Of course, I will not let Bentley learn that bolting is an acceptable way to go back to the barn, so we had to turn around.  Rurik fought it, but eventually Heather won and got him back up that way.  We walked for the rest of the ride, down into the plateau, and back around the cornfields the way we  came.  Rurik was calm as anything, Bentley was still a little riled up but calmed down relatively quickly.  They were both drenched in sweat, and still hot when we came back to the barn, so we spent probably almost another half hour extra cooling them out. 

And here I thought we were going for a nice Sunday ride!

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