It has been a very busy week for me, and I apologize for not writing, and in advance for this probable novel I am about to write. I guess I should go back as far as last Thursday…
Thursday I took work off so I could get 2 horsey things accomplished: Riding with Bob Coleman on his horse Helfire, and shopping for my years worth of gear at the Greenhawk warehouse sale. I also threw in an early morning farrier appointment for Bentley (since my schedule still had a few spare moments in it). This was the first time I held him for a trim, and I was very impressed based on how I am told he acted on his first time.
Greenhawk, I blew my budget, but that was not a big surprise. The big thing I got was a new helmet, my small tipperary with extra padding was still proving to be too large, so I splurged and bought the T2 which is available in XS. How my head is so tiny, I don’t know. I also got a lot of red “stuff” like food and water buckets, saddle pad and girth cover etc since that is going to be our theme colour. Also lost of fly gear first aid sort of stuff that I should just have on hand if needed. It adds up! Lots of things to buy when you have a new horse.
Then I hit the road up to Millbrook. Bob and i went for a nice ride in the forest, my Garmin told me we did 14.5 miles. Not bad! It was a beautiful day for a ride, sun was out, trails were dry. Only wish I had my saddle bag now… I was a little thirsty by the end of it! Helfire is a great horse, fabulously trained and quiet as anything. Hes an ex-racer so I only had slight problems when he decided to race Bob on Kashif, I wouldn’t let him so I got a playful mini buck. I am going to take him in the two 25 mile rides for Spring Ride.
Friday, I was expecting I would have to take it easy, as I had not done a longer ride yet this year, but I was not sore at all (with the exception of a sun burn). So I moseyed over to GEC during the day (yes I took Friday off too, made more sense) and took Bentley out for a ride. We walked around in the ring for a little bit with Heather S, but she had to leave before I was quite ready to hang up the reins. Bentley and i started working on our trotting and cantering, trying to keep things sane. Since he was being good, I started taking him over some of the small x-2′ jumps in the ring. He was an angel, coming back to the trot within only a few strides of the jump and jumping eagerly. Even the combination jump, which is new to him, was no big deal. I raised one jump to 2’6″ and we flew over it. He refused it twice when I pointed at it again, but the 3rd time I wasn’t going to let him off easy and we made it over. After that we lowered it back to 2′ and did a 7 jump course at the canter. What a great boy he was!
After that, I took him for a walk around the fields. We stopped for a rest in the plateau and he happily nibbled on the fresh grass. We went back to work, and did lots of trotting around the plateau, practising the not cantering thing. He still has a tendency to get excited and try to break into the canter in some places, but doing lots of trot work and not asking him to canter I think helps him. I set the limit for the trail, and I think he is cluing into the idea that we never canter outside the ring. We did a nice 2 mile trot and he seemed to take it easily. He was quite calm and relaxed, but we were still getting a 9mph trot done, and I am very happy with that! Overall we did 10.5 mile ride, and I felt like he could go on forever. After we rode, I tried to cool him down with a wet sponge and learned that he is VERY afraid of wet sponges. Grrr… not so fun!
Saturday I began my final weekend at Halton Place. I am going to miss those animals! Of course, as my last weekend there, I ran into several snags. One being that almost all the horses had sore legs from the week before, and had managed to undo their wraps and hide them in their stalls. Also there was a lot of spring cleaning to be done, which made some long hours both Saturday and Sunday. So Saturday i took a break from riding, I had worked my body hard enough!
Sunday, I rode Bentley again after work. It was a lot cooler than Friday, so I tested him with a 2.5 mile trot. After I had finished counting the laps, I pull him up and try to get an idea of how tired he was. Well he wasn’t puffing at all. I couldn’t believe it! And he was so well behaved too, no rushing or anything, just having fun trotting around the ring. My sister Heather came as I finished up 5.5 miles total, and we went out for a walk around the back. We went up the cross country steps a few times since Bentley loves it so much and Heather wanted to try it. Ended up doing 8 miles! And when I got back, Bentley didn’t have any sweat on him with the exception of both stifles. Which leads me to believe he is working much harder from his hind end than front, which is great!
Our total mileage since the mileage program started is now 41, and that’s with a lot of days off!
Monday night was terrible, slushy snow coming down heavily, so we opted to go grocery shopping instead.
This brings us to yesterday, Bentley had his teeth done including a wolf tooth pulled, so no riding since he was still stoned when I got there. That’s ok because I was there to go over the mileage program with the interested girls and their parents. It was great to see the girls getting excited for the program, and especially the idea of volunteering and possibly riding in the OCTRA events. Bentley got a mash and a snuggle and I came home relatively clean for once.