I got to ride so much in the last three days. I rode four times!
Four times you say? How could you manage to do that with only one horse? Did you ride him multiple times in one day?
The answer to that is no. I got to ride two horses in one day! XD But that didn’t happen until Sunday so let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Friday I ran again for probably the first time since my half marathon. I shouldn’t have let it go so long as all of my endurance totally disappeared but it is what it is. It was only a short two mile run but I could still feel it. Riding was a bit harder as a result since my legs were quite tired. This week has been a lot more exercise than I’ve been able to get recently. I’m very happy with this but the result is that I’m extremely tired.
Scarlet was well behaved and we did a bunch of simple changes across serpentines during the ride. But I was honestly too tired to really ask for much more. I’m hopeful that my stamina will improve now that I’m getting back to my normal routine. (My tiredness is probably not helped by the fact that I stayed up late three nights in a row to read)
Saturday, I meant to get up before it got hot out to ride but did not make it. I had wanted to get out to the barn around 8:30 but that was when I woke up. It probably ended up being 9:30 before I made it out there. It was hot. Hot hot hot. It was one of the first days that I felt like it was really uncomfortable for both me and Scarlet. My plan for Saturday was to ride him longer and get him really working but I did not. I gave up to the heat (I’m a weenie sometimes).
Sunday was awesome. I am friends with a lady named K at my barn. Our paths don’t cross too often during the week since we have different schedules. On the weekends, if I get out in the morning, we can generally say hi or go for a ride together. She has three horses and offered to let me ride her horse M. I jumped at the chance. K is an eventer and M has gone up to Training level before. She is a much more trained horse that I’ve had the chance to ride outside of a lesson in a long time.
I set an alarm so I’d get out of bed on time and met up with K at 8ish at the barn. We got M and another of her horses, JC, ready for the ride. K had put up a grid of fences for the ride with her first horse and she adjusted it down to a trot pole, cross rail to another pole that would eventually be a vertical.
While I warmed up, M made me work for the ride. Not that she was naughty or lazy but she made you ask for real work and ask properly. A lot of my warmup involved really getting her through the outside rein and her shoulders not popping out toward the rail. We did a lot of circles and spirals in and out. K coached me a bit on how I needed to ask her. It took a bit but I got the hang of it.
One amazing thing about riding M was you could immediately tell if something wasn’t right. If her shoulders popped out, her trot got very bouncy and almost gaited feeling. It was really difficult mentally and physically to keep remembering what my body needed to do. Scarlet isn’t micromanage-y like that but he also doesn’t have a ton of difference between his bad and good gaits so I don’t know as quickly if there are problems.
There were a few trot poles set in the arena. One set was a bit short, so I had to remind M to keep it slow and steady. The other was set a bit long so I had to ask for a more open stride. I must have asked too well because once we got over the first pole, M CANTERED through the trot poles. It was the weirdest and funniest thing I’ve had happen to me on a horse in a while. K was laughing as well and pointed out that she got all her feet in between the poles. Mare is flexible obviously.
After we finished warming up, K pointed me toward a couple of fences and reminded me to commit to the fence and taking off where I want to take off. My bad habit of throwing my upper body at the fence emerged and I had to remind myself at every stride to think “Sit back.” We got several good trot fences once I reminded M that we were waiting until we got to the fence, not taking the spot that is twelve feet away. We repeated for the canter.
Sufficiently warmed up, K sent me through my first grids ever. We trotted in and over the cross rail. The pole was left as is until I went over it a couple of times. K had to remind me to not act like I was jumping the pole, let it come to me. I also needed to lower my hands and let them follow M’s mouth. I did my best to improve and M seemed to appreciate it.
Then K set the pole as a vertical. M loved the extra jump and rocketed through the grid. Not that she was being overly fast. She just has this… force to her jump that I’ve never felt before. Mare reaches under herself and really gets up and over the jumps. It was fantastic. It felt so powerful and so much fun. We called it after a few go-throughs as the horses were sweating and the lesson kids were showing up. We put the jumps back in their original places and hosed our horses off.
Scarlet got a really short ride again as I was exhausted by the time I got on him. I did get him over a crossrail a few times at a trot and canter. I wanted to see if I could feel a difference keeping myself back better over the jumps. I think I did feel it a bit but I’m not entirely sure. It’s a very different feel on him since he is a full 5″ shorter and not nearly as powerful.
I’m really grateful that I got to ride M. K would like to do it again as she thinks M needs to get out and be ridden more often. She gets her three out as much as possible but its not easy when you have three to ride and a day job plus a family. I’m very much on board with this plan.