Gym Run: 30 mins and 4.75km (2.97 miles)
This week I am riding a HP horse daily in addition to Bentley. Monday’s horse was big boy Raz (hes about 18h). I described him as both lazy and hyper. While he dinked about the ring, with me constantly nagging for more, on occasion he would get silly. In particular, when I would ask for the canter, he would leap and buck and run. Raz the spaz! Good side is I got to practice sitting out the bucks.
I took Bentley for another bareback/bitless ride. He was happy and floaty and we had a fun ride. At the end, we decided to work on shoulder-fore and he nailed it! After too, he stayed in his beautiful dressage frame and we did more shoulder-fore, circles, serpentines all without losing the contact. The other riders in the arena commented about the beautiful show he put on, I could only see the front, but apparently he also had his tail raised in arab fashion as he danced around the arena- warmblood in the front, arab in the back. Overall, beauty in motion!
Gym Run: 30 mins and 5km (3.13 miles)
More of the same with Bentley. Bareback/bitless ride while putting on the “show” at the end of our ride. Had to make him work at least a little so we did 15 mins of canter out of our hour ride (rest was trot). At the end, it was apparent that my boot was rubbing the fur off one of his sides (they are winter boots, durable synthetic so less forgiving on his sides) so that will be the last of our bareback rides for the week and until I am satisfied he is healed up more.
Romance got the second ride of the day, and we spent most of the ride on relaxation. Lynn had lessons going on where they were going over poles. So several times I took the opportunity to go over them too. She seems very stressed about going over them, at one point she was just off her striding and instead stopped, panicked, and backed rapidly until she was kicking the boards at the back of the arena. I was worried she was going to rear but remained calm. Lynn explained that she thought she had done something wrong and was worried about being punished. She is very sweet, wanting to always do the right thing, but I worry about the way its coming out (hence why I mentioned we are working on relaxation!). Eventually we were doing well over the poles and she was relaxing into a nice frame… just in time to finish the 1/2 hour allocated to her and end on a good note.
This is when things got a little crazy! It snowed all night, so knowing the traffic would be horrible, I woke up early, cleaned off my car and set out to the office 30 mins early. Right as I leave town, I have to go over a bridge over the train tracks which leads to steep downhill with some blind twists and turns to a T intersection right beside the river. Well as I cleared the peak of the bridge, someone turned out in front of me (on a regular day it would have still been a safe following distance) I put on the brakes, despite only going 15-20km/hr and immediately the ABS kicked on. There was a half a foot of snow under the car. The ABS is still going, but my car isnt slowing down in the slightest (and yes, I have snow tires). I have 2 choices, to rear end this guy, or swing out into the oncoming lane around the blind turn. I choose the latter and fortunately there is no oncoming cars, but I am still going steady at 15-20km/hr due to gravity pulling me down the hill with no stopping in sight. Eventually there were oncoming cars, but I was able to slide in front of the van that “cut” me off and continue my slide down the hill. Of course, if I blow through the stop sign at the bottom, I either end up in someones house or the river, so I am still sweating bullets. With no shortage of luck, my tires grab just before the stop sign and no accident occurred. Now at that point, I can turn right and try and go to work, or turn left and go around the block to go back home. I look right, and up the hill, cars are spinning their tires, sliding around, and blocking the entire road. So even if I could somehow make it up that slippery hill, I wouldn’t make it past those cars. Left it is! But not before one poor guy reverses his whole way from the hill, over the river bridge, and back back back all the way to his house. Yes, it was a creative driving day for everyone it seems! Just get it done!
So with that tale, it should be obvious that I did absolutely nothing on Wednesday. I did attempt to get to the barn for my lesson after the snow stopped, some 10 hours later, but arriving there, I decided it was best to just say hi and let myself and Lynn go home before it was dark (as most of the roads to get there still were not plowed) I was the only one who didn’t cancel on lessons, and I was not going to make her wait for me. So instead I just helped her finish up the evening chores and went home for a lazy night.
Gym Run: 30.3 mins and 5.25km (3.28 miles)
The intention is to ride Bentley first, then ride GK while he dries out in his stall (or that was Wednesday’s plan, but it got deferred to my Thursday “off riding” day). Linda had been kind enough to offer to bring Bentley in for me.
But when I got to the barn, my plans changed immediately. Bentley was napping – HARD
Didn’t think so. So I decided I would ride GK first. It changed slightly again when I realized the lesson on at that time were leadline first timers. Probably best I wait until their lesson was over. So instead of riding right away, I just snuck into Bentley’s stall and snuggled up beside him.
This was when the lips started waggling – as if he were eating hay in his dreams. Ok, no more laying on his belly, I will let him have his deep sleep. At one point, the nose stayed rooted in the ground, as did his body, but his whole face scrunched up in a hilarious look, and he started swaying his neck back and forth, grunting the whole time. I did my best to stifle my laughter, no clue what he was dreaming about but the expression was new and he was thinking something HARD. Then the toes started twitching. Super cute! After half a minute or so of this, he let out a big sigh, and relaxed again, raising his head gently, but not waking up. Perfect time for a cute photo op!
Shortly after, someone came into the barn, and startled Bentley out of his deep sleep. He leaped up, looking both offended and guilty all at once. I took that as my cue to go tack up GK.
GK was frisky as anything, and trotted me around the arena like she had somewhere to be. I was just starting to get her to cool her jets and collect up when we heard Winnie, the barn dog, scratching at the doors down the link to the barn. This sent her into the biggest buck spree I have ever experienced, far superior to the Raz bucks. Somehow my hands stayed in their position (I assume they have a mind of their own and were working to bring her head back up) as my seat rocketed OVER them, landing my butt on my wrists, on her neck. The hands had stopped her, but for a moment I considered “do I fall off now?” “No I think I am good”, un-pretzeled myself and carried on like nothing happened. Though my left wrist felt stiff. As I am writing this (Friday) it is still very stiff and starts shaking quite hard when I try and stretch the wrist out. I don’t think there is any damage, just a pull that is irritating in the meantime.
Bentley was the opposite, still napping he dragged his toes around the arena like he was sleep-trotting. Its once in a blue moon that I actually have to ask him to go faster. Overall it was an uneventful ride, and we just trotted laps of the arena to get our exercise in. I decided to leave him in that night so he can continue on his good sleep. I think he has been lacking deep sleep due to the snow/cold, so it would be nice to afford him one night in to catch up.
Gym Run: 37.4 mins and 5.5km (3.44 miles)
Lee has been home all week on vacation. With the weather being terrible he hasn’t left the house really all week. So instead of riding, I went home and “let him out of his cage” and we went to sushi instead. Nice quiet night.
It started with the “Long Walk In”. In other words, the snow had drifted over the driveway to the barn, so we couldn’t get the car through and I had to walk from the road. It was quite beautiful at least!
I was expecting a trainee, but didn’t get one so it was on to the usual barn work. Got 4 stalls done, and Don came in and offered to do the rest while I started exercising the horses.
The babies were super hyper, and happy that they got to free lunge in the arena (we do this on the weekend because lessons go on during the day, so we have to be short and sweet)
I rode the mares during lessons, and they were good as gold. Grace Kelly was a bit distracting to the beginner classes though, she is incredibly beautiful so you cant blame the kids for letting their eyes wander.
The real fun of the day came when I rode Raz. I thought I had timed it so that we would be coming in during the coolout of the last ride. Nope, they were jumping. Raz hates being in the arena with other horses, especially if they get to do fun stuff and he isn’t. He spent a good 10 minutes leaping and bucking in the air, earning him the nickname “Rompin Stompin Raz”. Our gravity defying stunts were not met with dirt in my mouth, so I was quite smug afterward that Raz had not won the match. Makes me pretty confident too that if I can stay aboard through those, ponies shouldn’t be so bad. No video, but many witnesses can attest to the enormity of these bucks.
More fun at feeding time with the outdoorsies, take a look at this photo progression, clearly little pretzel is the boss.
Bentley was my last ride. Linda had arrived and been working on Sable while I got him ready. Sable was being a slug so we spent extra time cantering around them to try and encourage Sable to canter too. It was mostly successful. Bentley and I ended up doing 3 sets of 25 min trot, followed by 5 minute of canter and called it a night. He was very well behaved and willing, but happily tired by the end of it.
Full barn of stalls to do. Also rode Raz as he didn’t get much of a workout due to his Raz the Spaz behavior the day before. The other guys got a day off since they had been well worked. The babies also got their play time again, and Irish was a superstar in the groundwork (though I stopped rewarding her with treats because she is getting too muggy)
Linda came over mid afternoon to share a hack with us. I decided to just take the bridle out to Bentley again and just ride bareback over his blankies. We puttered around while Linda tacked up, and for the most part he was good, though I felt his back tense up with concern when viewing the dogs coming out of the barn.
We had a nice hour long walk. The snow has covered the ice enough and the plow has broken through enough that we can safely walk on the roads. We tried getting out into the fields, but with the drifting we would find that while the snow would be only knee deep on some places, it was impossible to tell where it would drop off much more. Bentley was happy to pull his bulldozer routine, but we will leave that until the big meltdown I think.