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Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance

December 21, 2008

Winter days bring contemplation

I always like to bring thought to our last ride, but first have a day to mull it over. It seems easier to part the mist and look at our ride objectively. We were met with progress in most areas yesterday.

Gaiting: First three miles were a train wreck waiting to happen, I rider fighting for control of my horse, and horse bracing against the rein to have her way. I pulled her up, and let Chris and her horse go on ahead as we stood motionless in a one rein stop, and then reversed to ride away, rather than follow. The separation was good. As for why she does not like to follow? Is it because she really is all that forward and driven, or is it because the last horse in the herd is most likely to be eaten? Once we moved up into front position and put several hundred yards between us and the horse/rider behind, she relaxed, her trot extended, and we were whizzing along through the muddy track at about 7 mph (almost the magic number).

Control: Again, an issue early ride that evaporated into thin air about 3 miles out on the trail.

Water crossing: We crossed water that was well above the knee for the first time. She was hesitant to step in, but when she saw that the flowing creek did not eat Toby (Chris's ride) she stepped right in and through.

Spooking: One spook yesteday when 3 large white tail deer came bounding across the trail ahead of us. She just spooked in place really and stopped in alert mode. She did not spin back which is a huge improvement.

Loading: She walked right in on the second approach when we left home. She was a little more hesitant about loading coming home, but on the third walk up to the trailer she stepped right in, major improvement there!

Barefooting: So little filly has done all her trail work totally bare, including some rock, and gravel. Once she is up to full speed, we will look at booting as our weekly mileage will increase dramatically with warmer weather.
As soon as her bridle gets here I'm going to try her with the S-Hack purchased from Running Bear. First we'll do schooling lessons in our paddock area to make sure she understands the different feel of the bridle and what I'm asking of her. Then we will try it on the trail, and I'll bring my Dr. Cook's as backup just in case.

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