Today was Journey's first ride away from home (at least under my ownership). Big Cree and my husband went along with Cree serving as an anchor of sorts on her first time out at our nearby state park. At first the gravitational pull of Cree was strong, and she offered to spin back and return to him. My job became to correct that using as little rein as possible. The first few times she got herself turned so I maintained the momentum to keep her in the turn until TA-DAH! She was facing the same direction she started. She found this perplexing, and after a while she would think the reverse direction, tip her head, and I'd correct. Mostly she wants to turn herself around in a counter clockwise manner. I found that if she was out of Cree's "morphic bubble" the pull became less...and less...and less.
Early on in our ride I also had to correct me. Phebes was always so explosive that I'd find myself always riding with contact (bracing for the next big blow out). I moved Journey up into a soft trot and found that old habits die hard. Caught myself taking the rein twice and immediately just dropped them. I want a horse that can relax and move on a soft rein, and that is how we must ride. She wasn't overly high headed after the first five minutes or so. Her head kept dropping. Ears tipped forward with interest. She found a few things in the woods that bothered her, such as a huge pile of gravel that was out of place. We stopped, we looked, we let it soak, and I asked her to move closer in increments until she touched it with her nose. Just like that it was over. When we crossed water she quietly drank. When I dismounted and hand walked her now and then she grazed along side of the trail. We got back to the trailer and she tore into her feed and hay with a cocked rear leg. My spotted wonder has a few areas that need work, but the core basics are there. She has a good mind.
What I really wanted out of today was to give Journey exposure to my primary away training trail. For her to experience it without any real pressure, and to start learning to take care of herself.
Trail savy: B+ (she doesn't watch her feet around roots and uneven ground, may be the boots as they are fairly new to her)
Spookiness: A- (one little spook in place over a downed cedar)
Buddy Sourness: B (but only in the beginning really)
Trailer Loading: C (we went and came back but it took two of us to coordinate it fully)
Booting: A (she is getting that process down)
Hill climbs and decents: A- ( a little rushing once but otherwise really good)
Ready for the rush of an endurance start?
But definitely solid enough to start some increasing trail miles and work in a little intermittent trotting. Solid enough to try more away rides (but must get the trailer issue beaten down first). ~ E.G.
Discipline: LD/Endurance, CMO, Trail Rider, Cartoonist, Writer, Co-Director/ Green Bean Endurance
Favorite Links for training, gear, and memberships!
- National Association of Competitive Mounted Orienteering
- HOW TO CMO
- What is CMO?
- Old Dominion Endurance Rides
- Renegade Hoof Boots
- Riding vs. Racing a discussion with the Duck.
- Trumbull Mountain's INTRO TO ENDURANCE RIDING
- Principles of Conditioning
- Conditioning the endurance horse by SERA
- Short Article: Feeding & Training the Endurance Horse
- Feeding the Endurance Horse, Swedish Author
- Preventing Dehydration In the Endurance Horse, Ontario Competitive Trail Riding Association
- Jim Holland's fantastic training links here!
- South Eastern Distance Rider's Association