Sunday, July 22, 2012

Sunday on the Trails

We met Kat at the barn today again, and also invited our friend Gay. Megan couldn't make it, so we were four when we hit the trails again. The day was actually coolish, and it felt glorious heading out.

We started with a modification of our previous route in mind, but we'd never done the exact circuit we had in mind, so weren't 100% it would all string together the way we hoped. But it did, and it was awesome. We were on gravel only a small amount, and the rest of the ride was either on dirt or grass.

It's part out and back, part loop, and it's a neat ride with several long, open dirt section with trees lining the path. Steen behaved very well almost the entire time.  The only time he got a bit upset was when we passed a pasture that contained four horses, who were all curious about our group and inclined to romp around on their side of the fence. Steen stiffened up. Doc got a little upset as well. I worked on asking Steen to bend from one side to the other, not releasing until I got a break in his poll and his loin. A couple of times when the  pasture horses took off, I brought his head around. In retrospect I probably didn't need to, but he was tense enough I didn't want him getting started on anything and creating a domino effect with the other horses.

After that he was great, though. We did a lot of long trotting, and for the most part he was moving at a nice even pace, not trying to escalate his speed all the time. When he did get a little foreward I would check him with one rein and he'd relax into a better pace again. We also did a bit of loping towards the end, and this was beautiful. He moved into a nice rolling canter when I asked, and again didn't try to run off when I gave him his head. When I asked him to stop, he stopped, even though the horse we'd been next to kept going, and settled back into a nice quiet walk. That was a nice feeling, and a new achievement for us on the trail.

We've decided to make the Sunday ride a standing tradition, at least through the rest of the summer and fall.

Ride Time: 2:00
Horseback hours YTD: 85:20

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