Yesterday was about as perfect a riding day as we’ll get in the Twin Tiers. It was sunny and cool, but warm enough to ride without a jacket. The breeze was still, yet it’s too early for flies.
I took advantage of it with outings on the two mares I ride, Starlight and Hudson. Starlight went for over an hour, walk, trot and canter, on a hilly dirt road nearby. When we were done, she looked like this:
|"Ho-hum. What's next?"|
Hudson went for a mere half-hour to the top of our property and back, and when we were done, she looked like this:
|"I can run like the wind, jump like an antelope, pull like a ... phew, I'm tired."|
The back story: Starlight is obviously in better condition, naturally smaller and while fat, not as bulbous as Hudson. She and I have been conditioning since the beginning of April and she is a mare who conserves her energy. True to her stock horse ancestry, when she sets out, she seems to have the expectation that we are going to be out on the range for the day, mending fence and chasing steer, and she uses just the right amount of energy to accomplish what needs to get done.
Hudson, on the other hand, was on her second ride of the year. She seemed to set out with the attitude that she was wearing her PF Flyers and was determined to run faster and jump higher. (The Baby Boomers will recognize that reference, anyway). If there was a six-inch trickle of a stream, she gave it a good three feet on either side. If there was 10-inch log, she gave it the three feet on either side and an extra two feet up. If a trot was called for, it was a big, boingy trot. If we flushed a deer, her spook was a super-charged, off-track locomotive. You get the idea.
Ten minutes in, and she was huffing and puffing like a steam engine, but this did not diminish her enthusiasm. All this from a 1300-pound half-draft pinto who is grossly overweight but thinks she’s Zenyatta. And that’s why I waited to ride her until my knee was further along in it healing process.
Lucky for me, I now know the secret to keep my saddle from slipping while riding a rubbery, witherless barrel, so the Freefrom stayed put on her, as it did on Starlight. The secret, by the way, is having long billets and a short girth that buckles just a couple inches above the elbow. More info can be found here: http://treelesssaddle.com/fitting/
|With my constant goal of dropping stuff that doesn't help and maybe impedes the horse, I have ditched nosebands (unless required for competition.)|