Sunday, January 6, 2013

Bright The Day

I met Nicole at the barn at 9:30 or so this morning. We spent the first fifteen minutes or so examining Cali and talking to Jean. Cali was stocked up in three legs, despite being ridden yesterday. We are moving in the wrong direction and Nicole is at her wits end. After talking to Jean they decided to put Cali on grass hay and cut the mix she's been getting. Diane had recommended that Nicole feed the mix to increase her protein levels, but now Jean thinks there is a possibility the protein is now responsible for the swelling in her legs. If it is the protein, the swelling should go away pretty quick. If that's not the problem, then they will have to look elsewhere. It would be nice if the protein is to blame, because that's a pretty easy fix. Cali's had swollen legs since the second week in November, when she popped the splint.

We rode out anyway, since exercise is the correct way to treat stocking up and Cali is swollen but sound. It was a gorgeous day and I talked Nicole into going on the Van Bibber Creek trail. We started in the indoor and warmed them up.

Ashke did so much better today with the new bit. I put it in his mouth and he played with it for a couple of minutes and then left it alone. His mouth stayed moist and he was licking and chewing a little bit but not to excess. He is much more responsive to the bit and I haven't used the running martingale at all. Hopefully, on Tuesday night there won't be as many people riding in the arena and we can work on circles, walk-trot transitions, and cantering. We did canter today in both directions on the correct lead. My lower back is very sore tonight, but I am finally beginning to feel like I am riding the canter correctly. Ashke was relaxed and comfortable at the canter, finally.

After half an hour or so, Nicole and I were ready to ride out. We had to hand walk the horses down the road to the trail head (I think there is another way for us to get there, but that will be a ride for another day.) We chose to hand-walk because both horses were pretty spooky, but they settled down pretty well when we reached the trail head. Well, mostly.

We probably could have ridden a bit more of the road than we did, but we were in no hurry and we both would rather be safe than sorry. 

The trail was nice. There was some elevation rise and drop, but not significant. At one of the small hills Ashke moved into a nice collected canter and we went up to the top. Cali isn't supposed to canter right now, so we slowed and waited for them to come up. Ashke loved it though. The trail was really nice and a good change of pace from the Mesa. 

There was something funny that happened, however. As we were riding up the trail, I looked out at the soccer fields and there was a coyote standing in the field watching us. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. I asked Nicole if she could see the coyote. We were talking about it when a guy walking down the path told us it was a statue of a coyote and that there were several in the field to help keep the geese off the grass. It was a very realistic statue and it must have worked, since there were no geese out there.

We went out about two miles. The swelling in Cali's legs had gone down. Ashke did pretty good on the way out, although we did go sideways unexpectedly a couple of times. Man hole covers are very scarey and they jump out of the bush at you.

I think Cali really enjoyed the trail, although both horses were a bit more up on the way home.

Ashke really didn't want to stop and take pictures. It was pretty much the only time he fought my hands all day.

On the way back, Ashke did not want to walk. We did a slow, dancy canter in place a couple of times. It made Nicole laugh and suggest Ashke become a dressage horse, since he can canter in place. That's one of the things you are supposed to do when you do dressage. There were a couple of times when I made him stop and relax before we went on.

Doesn't he look magnificient? He sure loves to go. He was just as energized when we got home as he was when we started out. He listened really well, even when going sideways and didn't try to get away from me, even when startled. On the ride home there was a woman running who came up behind the horses and startled them. When she ran past Ashke tried to run after her. He does like to go fast.

Almost five miles in an hour and 20 minutes and that included some time spent standing outside the indoor arena getting coats off and stored in the car. The only bummer of the day was losing my work glove somewhere on the trail. We didn't find it on the way home.

Not a lot of elevation, nice fairly easy ride. We will do hill work next time and see about building our butt muscles up.

And the trail map of our ride. We should have been able to ride around the lakes, but the trail was closed. And honestly, we had gone as far as we were comfortable going today. It was a great ride and I really enjoyed talking with Nicole.

We are going to try the indoor arena on Tuesday night right after work. If it's okay with my mom, who is visiting.

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