I have the hardest time balancing all my commitments in life and staying consistent with each one. As I mentioned in my last blog Bear is a whole different horse when he is worked regularly. The trick is making that happen. I feel like I should be out there everyday, but to make that happen I feel like I am squeezing it in and letting other areas of my life fall to the wayside. Its a tricky balance that I need to sort out quickly, because I feel like we need to start looking for a dressage trainer so that I can get back into lessons. If I'm paying for training, we darn well better be doing our homework between lessons and keeping up a certain fitness level to make it worthwhile! Now that the weather will be clearing up it will be the real test since I can no longer blame it on the rain!
Friday afternoon was gloriously sunny! That alone is enough to get me excited to ride, but with rain predicted for Saturday and Sunday I was even more anxious to get out and take advantage of the day. So I took off at 5 on Friday to ride. It was well worth it (even though the consequence was going in to work on Saturday to finish the grant report). The sun was perfect, and the timing was just right. I tacked up both horses thinking that if no one else showed up I'd just ride both individually since the old mare probably could use a tune up. Luckily my mom drove up the driveway just as I put the bridle on the second horse! So while she looked for some boots, I trotted Bear around the pasture and worked on a couple things to warm up for maybe 5 minutes. Then we were off!
He does surprisingly well on the trails considering he is used to getting lunged first. He wasn't antsy or excited or spooky or anything! We went down the road and decided to check out the trails for the first time in about a year. Right now everything is overgrown and unused so the trails really only consist of deer paths! Hard to follow, and not great footing. Add to this that it is very hilly, has lots of gullys, switchbacks, and tight squeezes between tress, and it makes for a pretty challenging ride. So it would have been logical to have the old mare lead and let Bear follow along, but I knew which of the deer paths were trail to where I was looking to go, and which not trails at all! So I lead, and Bear did great! It was amazing, he totally listened to wear I needed him to go, and just plugged right along no matter how hard the trail got. I was SO proud.
We were only out for an hour, so we didn't continue down the trails very far. It was enough to test how he would behave on trickier trails, and see what state the trails themselves were in. I had forgotten how bad the poison oak was down there! But by the time we were done Bear was hot, tired and sweaty. Hills are a workout!
It was a great way to end a Friday, and a good step forward in training. As predicted it rained pretty good both Saturday and Sunday, so I didn't get out to see him again except to drop off feed. The good news about the rain is that I think the show was rescheduled for next Saturday, so I might get to go after all!