Sunday, June 6, 2010

Trail ride + horseback riding lesson = exhausting day!

Getting my horse ready for a trail ride

Panama and I both had a big day Friday. We went for a trail ride in the morning, and then had a lesson in the afternoon, with only an hour's break in between. I think it would have been better if we'd had no break in between, because I actually had more energy right after the trail ride than after I'd sat around and relaxed for an hour!

The trail ride was actually a pretty easy one, but it was hotter than I'd expected and I was dressed a little too warmly for it. (I had just hooked up my iPhone and was using their weather app, which apparently isn't very accurate — it predicted a full ten degrees lower than the day actually was!) We had five people on the trail ride — bigger than usual — but the two who set it up were Zans and Shadoman's owners, who like to let their horses graze a lot. Lady's owner and the mother of one of my trainer's other students (who also sometimes takes lessons) came too.

We did the usual loop, which Zans and Shadoman's owners really like, but I am getting very bored of it, and especially bored of all the grazing. Like I've said before, I've found that a few bites here and there calm and reward Panama when needed or deserved, but I don't want to spend my time sitting on him doing nothing while he eats! Zans's owner always says, "It has to be fun for them too," but I think that's discounting the fact that most of the horses really like trail rides (as opposed to riding in the arena).

Anyway, I discovered on Friday that not only does Panama prefer to lead, he is starting to get downright antsy if he's not leading — and he nearly had a complete meltdown when we were last for a short stretch! I've come to realize that his speedwalking when behind another horse is probably his attempt to pass the other horse and get in front again. We didn't work on it much on Friday, but I know I've got to break him of this — he needs to be able to handle being anywhere in the line of horses. I can't have him melting down every time we bring up the rear!

Trail ride on my horse

When we got back from the trail ride, Panama's buddy Spaghetti was getting worked, so I rode in the outdoor arena with his owner for a few minutes. Spaghetti, who is a BLM mustang about the same age as Panama, but not as far along in his training, was having a really bad day — he kept ignoring his rider's commands and trying to play with Panama while we were riding, and then finally he laid down and tried to roll with his rider still on him. She managed to get out of the way and get him to his feet again, but not before he rolled on her knee a little bit!

I realized I'd better take a break before my lesson, so I unsaddled Panama and put him back in his corral while I hung out and chatted with the other boarders. When it came time for my lesson, though, I was more tired than I'd been right after the ride, I guess because I was so relaxed from my break. The good news is that Panama was tired and relaxed also, so although he didn't mind being ridden again (he greeted me with a nicker when I came to get him), he was much less eager to run than usual. As a result, we did some great work at the canter!

It was an exhausting day, but so satisfying — for both of us, I think!

After ride treat for my horse!



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