Life was looking up, back in June. I had my first Working Equitation Clinic/Play day and Schooling Show. In July, I had the Nuno Matos Clinic. At those two events I began meeting the riders that enjoy this discipline in the Front Range area. My summer and fall schedule began to fill up.
I had a play day, then a schooling show in Fort Collins the first and third weekend in August. I got registered for a Mark Rashid clinic the end of August and then had a two day show (all three phases) the first weekend in September. Then VSV happened and all of that went in the crapper. Everything was canceled or postponed. Our barn was under quarantine and we were asked not to trailer out.
Now that it's September, things are creeping back on the calendar as we wait for the last vestiges of the VSV to disappear. However, I am a mean mom and have forced my one and only cave-boy-troll to participate in Cross-Country, which just happens to have their meets the same weekends as all of the Working Equitation stuff going on around me. I can't, even if I might want to, miss his runs, especially since I am the driving force behind him doing this. So. No Working Equitation for me. Except maybe the WE schooling show the end of September (and clinic). Keep your fingers crossed. It may be the only thing that saves me.
So, in the meantime, I have been scoping out trails. Ralston Creek trail has been mapped, ridden and memorized to death. I think my horse might rebel if we ride that series of trails one more time. I have spent some time looking at other trails in the area (Chatfield and Cherry Creek are both closed at the moment) and was delightfully excited to find a trail that runs 19.5 miles in one direction. The trail is crushed gravel and maintained, with only 200 feet of elevation gain and loss (long rolling hills) and plenty of trees and stuff to look at. I must say, I was giddy with excitement when I first found it. There are also lots of side trails into the rolling foothills that make loops and detours we can explore as time goes on. It is, finally, a place where J and I can ride at speed for as long as we want while I put some miles on my boy (endurance rides next year!!). I have spent intermittent hours looking at maps, plotting courses, planning snacks and meals. Saturday was going to be the big day.
And then . . . they are predicting snow for the Front Range on Friday. Ties the second earliest snowfall on record. (Typically these storms bring snow by the inches "this is how people used to die in the west" type storms.) Hopefully, if we get snow it won't stay on the ground.
I am so done. We are riding anyway. J is game to try the trail in the snow and we shouldn't run into too many people that way.
Now, for some updates:
Squeaker (now named Snickerdoodle) has a new home. He lives on about an acre with two horses, a garage and a barn to call his own. He follows his new person all over the place when she is outside and seems to have settled in nicely. His new person says he is sweet and very loving. He knows their property and stays around. He is fed and loved and able to play outside to his heart's content. And Lily has gone back to staring at the cats and daring them to run. The cats ignore her completely.
My ride last night was good. Ashke is still struggling to maintain the left lead without cross-cantering when we ride in the circle. I could feel him getting ragged on the left lead last night, but he switched his back lead before I could bring him down to a trot. We immediately went back to the canter, and then I brought him back to the walk. The leg providing the most impulsion at the canter when on the left lead is the right hind leg. After talking to Saiph, I think that lateral movement in both directions (leg yields) and turns on the hindquarters combined with trot-canter transitions should continue to strengthen the leg and retrain his mind. I think that this is a pattern of adaptation for Ashke: a habit more than a necessary compensation. He rarely does it on the trail. My plan is to work on trot-canter transitions, slowing and collecting the gait, since he rushes when it gets difficult, and finding a happy medium with the amount and type of contact he wants/is happy with.
This is actually a topic I have been discussing with Saiph at great length via texting. The whole modern dressage vs baroque dressage vs what we need to compete at WE dressage vs what I was being taught last winter vs how I want to ride on the trail vs what makes Ashke happy. At some point, I will be able to put my thoughts and ideas and concepts into words on this blog for your entertainment and derision (although for the most part the derision is kept private) but not today.
Today, I am looking for a dance that will keep the snow away.