J got on her bike and I got Ashke saddled up with the 12 mm pads from Easyboot in the front and 0's (in blue) on his rears. He did really well walking barefoot to the car and back, but I wasn't about to ride him without boots. Overall, I think we had a great ride. He had a couple of missteps but I think that was due more to the footing than his tootsies. We have a trim appt on the 25th, so we will see how he is doing at that point.
Crossing the field between the barn and the street, heading toward the subdivision.
Crossing first bridge
We trotted and cantered every place we could, but some of the trail needed to be walked. The rutting in front of Ashke is due to the flooding that happened last year and continued this year with the heavy rain.
It started out in the low 80's, but we reached the 90's before we made it back. J had heat stroke nine years ago and is very sensitive to the heat. We were both pretty sun tired by the time we were done.
A dressage rider I met at the barn, who boards at her own house, told me we could reach the open space by going up this sidewalk to the housing development, behind the houses and then North along the fence line to the open space. We tried it.
By the time we got to the fence bordering the park, there was no trail. Ashke and I could have ridden practically any where, but there wasn't so much as a deer track for J to ride.
Indian Paintbrush (red plant in background), Sage, Wild Daisy and Lupine.
Indian Paintbrush is my very favorite.
The last hints of trail. We had to back track and try another way.
We went through a pretty fancy housing development. There were human made ponds in between the houses that stretched a couple of blocks, complete with little waterfalls, cattails and bridges. It was pretty fancy.
I was hoping this sidewalk would take us to 1) Leyden Creek Open Space and 2) around in a circle back to Tucker Lake. My deepest desire is to find a ride that is 15 miles in a loop from the barn back to the barn. We were somewhat successful. (I am a strong believer in a different trail home.)
Lots of prairie land to ride across. Alas, it was easier for J to stay on the trail. She had a pocket full of peppermint treats and I told Ashke that if he caught up to her she would feed him one. Everytime we stopped, Ashke reached out and asked for a peppermint. Such a smart horse.
The trail in Leyden Creek Open Space was very nice. I would love to ride there some more, but it was straight down the valley and then back up. Poor J. It was a lot of work.
We could have ridden for a much longer time, but it was finally getting hot. One of the things Ashke is learning is that he is allowed to take mouthfuls of grass if he continues walking. This, I have on good authority, is a necessary part of being an endurance horse. Ashke likes that.
We cantered most of this in both directions. We ended up stopping for lunch right across from the big, bushy, green tree on the right. There was a pond there with fish in it. J lamented not having a fishing pole. Lunch was PB&J.
Ashke got peppermints.
This was what we did before we stopped for lunch.
We were so close to making a loop, but honestly, I don't think it can be done in that direction. We will try again on another day. It was a good thing we turned around. J was pretty much done.
Tucker Lake in the distance on the left.
That's J, coming up behind us. She's a rockstar!!!
A brief glimpse of our canter
And the canter from a distance (And sometimes not in the frame)
Second loop. Did better on the speed.
And the trail home.
I let Ashke canter whenever he wanted. We trotted when we couldn't canter, with the exception of a couple of downhills that were too steep to trot. Or where the trail was angled on the side and we had to be on the sidewalk. For the ride, we did 12.2 miles in two hours and 44 minutes or thereabout. I figure 4.4 or 4.5 mph.
When we hit the last open space, we cantered. We trotted through the neighborhood and then cantered across the open field in front of the property. When we got to the barn, we walked. I took Ashke inside and stood him in the crossties. Even before I stripped tack, I grabbed my stethoscope and took a heart rate. He was at 48 bpm. We stripped off the tack, rinsed and scrapped him and took another twenty minutes later. He was at 39 bpm.
I know, based on those numbers that he is very well conditioned and his feet weren't hurting him. I can begin to push both the speed and the distance. On thing that is a concern is that he would rather canter than trot. I'm not sure I can do the canter - walk combination and still complete.
Ashke back in the cross ties. He's finally put on weight again.
He's not standing square, but I wanted to take a picture of his withers, since I was staring at them today. I'm hoping to see improvement in the symmetry between the two as we go on. His left is so under developed due to his compensating for his right hip, which is also smaller. Diagonal, dude!
Lots of lateral work in our future.