I need to remember to go to the bathroom BEFORE riding out for two and a half hours.
N needs to ride Cali the three days leading up to Saturday, so Cali is respectful and knows what is expected.
Those three things contributed to a ride that wasn't nearly as much fun as the week before, since the first two contributed to Ashke or myself not being comfortable riding faster than a walk, and the third contributing to lots of arguing between N and Cali.
Additionally, the ground was really mucky still. I think our last storm on Weds. had a lot of moisture in it and the weather hasn't turned as warm as it did last week. Knowing the ground was soft and slick in some places put a damper on what could only be called carefree cantering last week. Add to that the very real fear that I would pee all over both Ashke and myself (there are no places to pee along this trail. Too many other users, plus no bathrooms, or even ground cover for that matter, left me in a painful state by the time we got back to the barn) and we were inhibited all the way around. By the end of our ride, Ashke's front right foot was sore again, even though I kept him on the grass the entire way. Hopefully, the boots will give him enough protection that he can grow his toe out again.
Cali was frustrated and arguing with N. N was frustrated and arguing with Cali. There was bucking and kicking and even a moment when I really thought there was going to be a rodeo. N did something in that moment I had never considered when faced with the issue of a bucking horse and an imminent meeting with the ground. She raised her hands and the reins over her head, forcing Cali's head up and raising her nose toward the sky. This had the effect of stopping the bucking (which really does require a rounded back and a nose pointed toward the ground). I was impressed, because I would never have thought or reacted that way. My reaction would have been to clamp down, pull in and shorten up, which has the effect of trapping all of that energy between the horse and the rider, which does result in explosive outbursts.
That incident was the most excitement we had. Ashke and I were riding a long, calm and in rock avoidance mode, when N, completely fed up with Cali and her antics, swished her dressage whip between Ashke and Cali. Cali exploded into bucking and Ashke went sideways, trying to figure out what he had done wrong. He settled quickly, and we watched in amusement as N got Cali back under control. I locked the technique away in my vault of a brain. I don't know if I'll ever need it, but it is good to have the idea stored away for future use.
Cali at the beginning of our ride, experiencing some of the issues that teenagers have to go through.
J and T had a much better time this week. We packed lunches, which they shared sitting by the lake waiting on N and I. Food always helps when you are thirteen. T also knew what to expect as far as the ride went, and was mentally prepared for the uphills.
Ashke enjoyed being out, even though his front feet were tender. We stayed off the rocks as much as possible.
J and T rode at their pace, meeting up with us a couple of times, but mostly just figures at a distance.
One of the places where we cantered. J said Ashke was cantering with his head up and his mouth wide open. I'm going to reinstall the breastcollar and martingale. We are still struggling with his understanding of what I want. He braces against the pressure on his mouth, instead of giving to it. There is also the issue of my not really knowing what I am doing. Western riding was so much easier.
Those are not happy ears. Cali doesn't look happy either.
(I'm so funny.)
Looking back down the hill we had just ridden up.
Fixing the derailer helped with a lot of the issues T was dealing with on our last ride. He rode the entire ride (versus walking) and was happy. He did awesome.
This was the scariest of the four bridges we crossed today. It has water running underneath it, which Ashke eyes with an ear cocked toward it as we ride over.
Not having fun.
The other disturbing news is the possible outbreak of ringworm at the barn. Everyone is freaking out. We are all going to the barn at 10 am to clean stall walls and feed bins, tack rooms and the wash stall. From everything I've read, this thing tends to run it's course in six to 15 weeks (granted that's a bit long) and it is stimulated by damp and moisture. One of the best things to do with a horse that has ringworm is to put them in the sun. Sunlight destroys the fungus. Additionally, the horse shouldn't be blanketed, since blankets capture moisture and are dark, which fungus loves. T is convinced he has ringworm. I had ringworm as a kid and it's itchy and annoying, but not life threatening like pigeon fever.