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

April 30, 2010

Windy Blowy Nine Mile Day

Warm today at 82 degrees with a nice breeze, humidity at 37 %. The weekend is calling for Thunderstorms and since I didn't know if I'd get a ride in or not I opted to go out and get done what I could today. The footing was good, which is very unusual out here as the heavy clay soil holds moisture for a long time. We walked about half the time, and cantered and power trotted the rest, with many hills in the mix. I'm trying to build her up so that she is capable of cantering the flat field, on through the logging road, then up the long ridgeline which includes the hill up. We are only up to about half of it which is maybe a half mile, but we do it three times before we move on to slow hill climbing. You all probably think I do too many hills, but we live IN THE HILLS, there is no getting around it really without hauling somewhere. But since Clark is the slayer of granny riders & horses with its HUGE MOUNTAINOUS FOOTHILLS, I figure we need all the uphill we can get. Our cantering is pretty sloppy right now. She is trying to get her balance, and I'm trying to get mine, but when it starts working WOOOO WEEEEE....she's fast (maybe we are doing a hand gallop by that point?). I always return to a trot, or a walk, to let her heart rate go back down and make her think about what I'm asking her, and insisting on my speed. She is starting to catch on a little that just because we cantered here, doesn't mean we are going to do it all the time. Still about a 50/50 proposition though that I'll need to correct her.

We worked on a couple of other important areas today. One was "snatch & grab". I want her to learn to take advantage of our walking along time to grab at big bunches of grass without actually stopping. I had to keep tapping with the crop but she was beginning to grasp the idea. The other was "horse eating sponge", we stopped at the creek and I dismounted and kept throwing my sponge out into the water and reeling it back in. At first she thought it was definitely something that would land her in the horse grave yard, but after she found I was going to put the lovely cool creek water on her she stood still real pretty. Next time I'll try it from the saddle.

Her pulse down took the full ten minutes today which I didn't like. But our overall average speed was only 5 mph with all the walking intervals on the downhills. I cantered her part of the way home which I usually do not, so that was likely what popped her pulse up for a bit. She's used to walking in the last mile. She got to 68 and hung there , then dropped. I'll go back to the one mile cool down and next time I'm putting a bucket of sponge water in the barn so I can do post ride cooling more effectively since the weather is warming up.

Tired...but gratified. ~E.G.

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