After that race, we didn't have the energy to do anything other than Costco.
Saturday, J and I did a ride. We opted for Ralston Creek trail, mostly because it was tree lined and Saturday was as hot as Friday. I could feel the sweat dripping from the back of my head to my shoulders and back as we rode. Ashke was less than enthusiastic about going out alone (he thought Cali was coming with us - sorry N, I have to ride out as much as I can before the weather turns and we are stuck in the arena again) so the ride out was slower than the ride home. The really interesting thing was when we reached the part of the trail where we hadn't ridden before, he got very interested and forward. I think he gets bored with the same trail all the time.
One of the biggest issues with the trails around the barn, is that to get long distance on them, you have to ride on the sidewalk a lot. That little trail to the right there, is too narrow for Ashke's boots. It causes him to twist at the ankle and since I don't want to deal with a ligament strain, I prefer to ride on the concrete unless the footing is good enough for us to trot or canter.
J looking buff on her steed of choice.
There were the prettiest red leaves in amongst the willow branches. Some kind of ivy that had turned a brilliant red. As a public service announcement for Colorado, this week is supposed to be prime for Aspen viewing. I looked at pictures on the internet.
I really like this pic. There were leaves falling all around us. Some of them were horse eating monsters in disguise. It was hard to tell which ones until Ashke startled.
I know it looks like J spent all of her time in front of me, but really, we spent most of the ride side by side, unless we were cantering, then we followed her.
When we stopped for lunch, I stripped the bridle off and put the halter on. Ashke was feeling pretty full of himself, having just been stopped by a couple of teen girls who took selfies with him. The grass where we stopped was knee deep and I got him settled grazing, while I started on my sandwich. As I was eating the last half, Ashke walked over and tried to take it out of my hand. I broke off a small bite and he gobbled it up. It reminded me of the trip home from Texas, when he ate part of my PB&J then half a loaf of L's bread. Ashke kept asking for bites until I finally stuffed the last bite in my mouth and told him to go back to eating grass. It made me smile, though.
We went out 8 miles or so and the trail started winding through the suburbs, with street crossings and sketchy footing. We opted to turn around at that point, even thought the map says you can go 13.9 miles (probably about 2 more mile from where we were) before reaching the connection to Clear Creek trail. If I can figure out how to get from Clear Creek to the barn safely, we might try it at some point. On the way home (at about mile 12 or so) I walked Ashke into the creek and offered him the chance to drink. He did. Not a lot, but some.
I look like a buddha on a horse here. That's my elbow not my boob.
Longest ride to date. We made up speed on the way home and raised our average from 4.2 to 4.5, just from feeling more confident about the footing and Ashke knowing we were riding home.
Pulse rate at the barn was 42 five minutes after I dismounted and put him in the crossties.
Saiph says I'm ready for a LD at least. :)
One of the things I changed was his bit. I purchased a kimberwick bit:
It is a solid, unhinged bit with a low port and no slots on the sides. It is stainless steel (no sweet iron or copper) and came in the 4.75 width. He was pretty good in it on Saturday, but the real test was when we were riding with another horse and he wanted to race. Or if he had different ideas about what we were going to do. That test happened on Sunday.
Sunday, we rode fairly easily for about 40 minutes with Cali and N in the outdoor. Ashke and I worked on stopping on verbal command, giving at the poll and relaxing at the canter. We had a couple of brief conversations about wanting to be with Cali at the other end of the arena, but they were quickly quelled. He was relaxed and very collected at the canter and I feel like I am making strides every time we ride. I have no doubt that by next spring, we will be able to compete at WE at Level 2, if not Level 3. Level 3 will require a flying lead change, so that is definitely a goal for this winter. We did long stretchy (I might want to roll in the sand) walk in between canter sets.
Finally, after talking to Saiph about nutrition, and then researching a bunch of stuff online, I changed Ashke from the Smartpaks to Vet Flex (Diane's recommendation) and took him off of the Ultium and moved him to a lb of Triple Crown Senior with his supplements. So, he is getting a lb of grass pellets, Equipride, TC Omega Max, Lysine and TC Senior. The barn crew has been feeding the wet food at their evening feed times. On Saturday, we got done with our wash after our ride just about the time the cart was coming around. I have never seen Ashke so eager for his mash. He was nickering without stopping and stomping by his door in anticipation. Today, I pulled his mash early and fed it to him when we were done with our ride. Then N and I drove the outside horses theirs in the paddock, then came back to put the bucket away. As we were leaving, I stopped and checked on Ashke. He was carefully and persistently licking the last vestiges of mash from the sides of his feeder.
I guess he really likes the TC Senior.