I thought it would be fun to ride down the canal to the bike park, see the boys ride, and then ride back to the barn. It would be the same ride I did last weekend, except we would take the canal home. I suggested to N that we up the pace a bit, trot more and walk less, to help build stamina and improve conditioning. Both horses were feeling pretty good, except Ashke was favoring his LF foot. I got off when we reached the bike path at the end of the neighborhood and checked his boots. (I have to tell you I am getting less and less impressed with them each time I ride.) There were two rocks in the tread on the outside edge that were causing pressure on the outside hoof wall. N laughed and accused Ashke of being the Princess and the Pea. He is.
We trotted a lot. I was working on asking Ashke to move in a rhymthic and collected trot next to Cali. We had a couple of issues. First, asking a gelding to trot in close proximity to a mare (who drives him and herds him whenever they are out together) while ignoring any of her subtle and not so subtle signals to him was challenging. It was easier to fall back behind her and follow. The second issue I was having was with carrying my dressage whip. I have been carrying it because of our issues during our lesson on Saturday (couple of weeks ago) and Ashke's refusal to move forward. My issue on our ride was the whip was hard to hold, it kept whacking Cali in the face, it made my arms ache and it pulled on the rein in the hand I was holding it in. And Ashke kept catching it out of the corner of his eye and reacting to it. Based on how our ride finished in the outdoor arena, I have decided to fore-go the dressage whip going forward.
We made it past the house with the golden labradoodle type barking dog (without incident) and trotted up the long rise to a hill that the trail bends around hiding the trail. We walked around the bend (very rocky) and saw this:
Only the one being pushed toward us had an infant carrier on one side, a toddler on the other, hanging toys, water bottles, and a completely clueless woman jogging behind it.
N and I had pulled off the trail and turned the horses to watch this very scary contraption approach. Ashke was okay with it, but Cali reared and spun, trying to get away and head home. The woman kept running toward us. N yelled at her and asked her to hold still. The woman stopped, looking surprised at the request, and N apologized for making her interrupt her jog, but pointed out that if she didn't stop N could be killed by a frightened horse. The woman acknowledged that N had a point. We walked past this very scary image, then moved down the trail.
The ride was ruined. Cali went from calm, relaxed and forward, to pulling back, rearing, spinning, and not calm. The opposite of calm. Which put N in a place of not calm. We pushed forward to the end of the canal trail where we could see the top of the hill that had the bmx park, but decided to turn around. I called J while we were waiting there to tell her we were heading back and then we saw the second apparation. It was an Asian woman with a large broad hat, panniers on her bike, coming down the trail. N yelled and asked her to walk her bike past the horses. She did. We headed home.
N and Cali were tense and uptight. Cali never really settled down and N never really relaxed. We went back at a trot, the same pace we went out (I suggested that we not let them run home, since we are already having issues on this trail with the horses not going out.) And both of them were a bit warm when we got back to the barn. I opted to pull Ashke's boots and take him into the outdoor arena to work on issues I felt we were having. I finally figured out the issue we were having with the dressage whip and dumped it with my boots. After that I was able to get Ashke to trot in both directions and canter in both directions. We didn't canter for very long, but I think we both did a better job of cantering in something closer to a frame. I took him up and untacked, then rinsed him off in the wash stall. Then we wandered outside to graze for a bit in the sun, while waiting for J and T to make it back.
Clean water buckets and some carrots to tuck him into his stall (with his full portion of grass hay) seemed to content Ashke. He gets Sunday off and I will ride Monday night in the indoor. We have a lesson scheduled on Weds and J says she will come out and take pics.
This is a bit misleading. We did the ride in 1 hour 45 minutes. Our speed was 3.58 mph and our average was like 4.7 mph. Somehow the app got turned back on when I put the butt pack in the back of the truck and kept running while I was riding in the arena, washing down the horse, etc.
And then the app was reset before I got a picture of the map. This speed graph is pretty cool though, and I am thinking of incorporating it going forward.
No pictures. I forgot.