Friday, June 8, 2012

Riding Willow

On Tuesday, our farrier along with his apprentice came and gave Willow two new front shoes. She'd thrown her off one awhile back, shortly after having her near one replaced. Turkey Willow. So Wednesday and Thursday were great fun for me, getting back on her.
Wednesday afternoon was spent mostly jogging, with just a little canter. She has a really lovely, slow jog which she seemed pretty happy to maintain as it had been awhile since we played. She even gave some time to Seth on the lunge line where he could safely test his balance at the trot on a horse for the first time. They were great.
Thursday was even better, as Lianne and I rode Summer and Willow in the outdoor. Willow was practice for Lianne in bridling because she holds her head down and simply takes the bit, which gave Lianne the confidence to bridle Summer, who was wonderful too. It was a bit cool, which was perfect as we worked pretty hard (for us!) and ended up taking off our jackets. When I hung mine on the fence, it dragged a bit over Willow's head and she rolled her eyes at me and winked. Good girl. She was showing off her excellent Trail Pony skills to Lianne.
Winking Willow

"Scary corner" didn't even bother Willow - she recognized it and kept her ears up but moved on with no hesitation. Good girl, Willow.
Lots of laps of sitting trot, both slowly and a quicker speed, and a nice posting trot for me to practice my posting, seat and leg position. I need more practice, but was really happy with my work. I'm also working on transitions so I can be sure Willow will slow down when I ask her. So that means trotting for 10 steps and walking 10 steps (drives Marie crazy, she's thinking "just fly!") - we did quite a bit of that. This seems like boring "work" to some, but I really like how it works. Lynn is a fan of it and I love how she and her horses ride, so I'm a fan too.
One test for me as to how I worked, is my knee. When I'm sloppy, which most often happens when I'm complacent or on the longer rides 'cause I'm not in good enough shape to maintain posture, it hurts the next day - no pain today. We also had some nice cantering, some larger circle-like (circles are freakin' hard!) figures and some long, fairly straight ones. We had fun and it "pepped up" the ponies! Which infected us as we were loving their waking up and "let's go!" energy. More trotting in all different directions, playing follow-the-leader. That was good for me as I've ridden a couple of slightly stroke-inducing rides where my horse didn't love the horse behind/beside rushing up to them. There's nothing quite like the feeling of hearing a commotion behind you at the same time you feel a commotion under you! Willow felt Summer behind her and when hearing her canter, changed her energy but stayed with me. Good girl, Willow!
When we had about ten minutes left, Lianne says - "Ten minutes left, let's go trail riding!" So we went through the vineyard towards the beach, up Bud's road, across the front lawn and back down the driveway. That was such fun, too, although we'll think it laughingly short very soon. Both horses and riders were happy and calm and relaxed although alert - what an incredible feeling.
Thursday afternoon, Marie and I rode across to our place where Marie saddled up Mister and we went for a ride down Leland's road up to the apple tree and had some fun riding in the field. Leland has just mowed it (all the better to spy the tiny fawns with their moms). Marie and Mister have spent some time there but it was a new deal for Willow. She was pretty funny, looking around and stepping high and going where I asked her, sometimes leading and sometimes following. This was our first trail ride this year, just the two of us, and we're going to have lots more!

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Sponsors for the Autumn Run 2012

Tidal Treasures Stables, along with Lucy and Elwood, are grateful for the generous sponsorship from the following and we encourage ACTRA riders and family to support them:

Say it with Stitches

The Distance Depot

Taylored Tack

Barn Braids

Fredie's Fantastic Fish House

Fiske’s Animal Care Products

Falmouth Farm Market donated a 50lb bag of carrots

Bits and Bridles Tack shop donated a 40lb bag of HF/HFiber

Pam Thornton made a financial contribution

Sherry Brooks donated Distance Depot items