Oh what a glorious fall day!
I had arranged to go out with a friend to ride Bear and Lola at the lake today with the idea of doing some trot and canter work out on the beach. At the last minute she had to cancel, but I was still so excited about going out that I decided to take Bear out alone. Its been AGES since I've taken Bear any where with out Lola. She goes out to things alone all the time, but he tends to be the one left behind if I can't take two. So he was a bit vocal about being put in the trailer all alone!
I took Bear because he's been so sluggish in the arena. He's obedient, he'll move forward when asked, he'll trot or canter when asked, but I do feel like I'm nagging him to have a little more energy with every single step. I figure its a twofold problem: I don't feel like I've really gotten him back into good condition since the summer so he tires quickly, but mainly he is getting bored with circles in an arena. So we took the trail ride to help with both of those problems, good conditioning ride, and there's nothing like an open space to make trotting and cantering fun again! It worked like a charm. I can hardly get him to work hard enough to get warm, let alone break a sweat. Today we got hot and sweaty and had a blast!
Bear was calling for Lola the whole way to the trail parking, and he was super jazzed up for the beginning of the ride. He was a little spooky on the trail, but nothing unexpected since he hasn't had to brave the trail solo in a long time. We did spend about 10 minutes slowly approaching a log though. He was convinced it was hiding a monster.
We had spent about a half out on the trail just walking along and getting all the benefits of climbing the big step ups and rocking back on his haunches to go down the hills. By the time we got to the beach he was nice and warmed up, and had settled his nerves a bit. We started out trotting because every time we got to a divot where last week's major rain storm had created streams down the beach. He slowed to look EVERY time! So silly! So we made a point of trotting over these for a while, then started trot over the drift wood and logs out there. He just felt so great! He'd trot up to the smallest logs and gracefully canter away. I had a blast! We cantered around a bit and I'd like him start to lengthen and really stretch into a big stride, but I don't think we are mentally or physically fit enough to go for an all out gallop. I was certainly sitting myself up straighter than usual! The best reminder not to lean in front of your center point is the threat that your trusty steed is going to slam on the breaks suddenly! I was so impressed with my boy. Each time I asked him to come back he'd collect back to his lovely rocking horse canter and then into a great balanced and relaxed trot. Really I'm still floored how much great trot I got today! I mean on the bit, swinging trot and stepping right into the canter! What an awesome horse I have.
We made it a point to walk around a bit on the way back to the trailer. He was all sweat from ears to girth, so I wanted to make sure he was well cooled. The trailer parking has a great wash rack, so I cold hosed his legs and at least washed his sweaty girth area. The rest of the sweat needed to dry before getting brushed away, so we just hung out in the gorgeous fall sunshine and he snacked on grass. What a perfect way to spend a Saturday.