5-23-2012

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I so love this picture of The Bean. It’s not great by any means … the fence line obscures his nose and the resolution isn’t the best, but I love the fog, the spider webs clinging to the line and the fact that Beanie was alive and well at the time. He was waiting to be fed and not amused that I was taking pictures instead of taking care of him! He was such a pistol, that boy, and so missed. (Click on photo to better see details)

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I got out on Dharla today. I met up with the endurance ladies I talked about in an earlier post. I almost didn’t go because when I went out to the barn to get ready the sky was black with storm clouds. I’d checked the radar before I had a bite to eat and changed my clothes, but the sky certainly didn’t look like the image I saw on my computer! I called the girls and hedged. They had already loaded their horses and were about to head over to the trail head so we decided I’d wait fifteen minutes or so and see what the clouds did, then make my decision. Either they’d see me on the trail, or not.

About twenty minutes later the sky improved and I decided to take my chances. It was too muggy to pack a slicker and my saddle doesn’t have any means to carry anything anyhow. If we got a sudden soaker I was just going to have to get wet. Dharla and I headed off in the direction we were supposed to go and about fifteen minutes later I saw the girls coming my way. Once we were together we had to figure out where we wanted to ride. It’s been raining quite a lot and we concluded the woodsy trails would be pretty slick. Because those trails are narrow and hilly, we reluctantly chose to stay on the Airline Trail, which is flat and rather dull. One advantage of riding the Airline Trail though, is that you aren’t constantly getting slapped in the face with wet leaves like you are on the woodsy trails after it’s rained!

I don’t know squat about endurance riding except to say that those ladies M-O-V-E! Thank goodness my sweet girl is in tip-top shape because we did one fast hustle down the trail! Actually, I like the fact that their horses walk out very fast. Dharla’s walk has gotten a bit poky from riding with Bullet, who has the slowest walk on the planet. So it was good for her to have to shake a leg to keep up! Trotting speed was no problem, she staryed right up with them. The lead horse had a wonderfully steady pace which is good for Dharla, who, in her inexperience, sometimes struggles to keep a steady rhythm going.

I must say that my horse performed beautifully. She was in full-blown standing heat and this was only the fifth time she’s ridden with a strange group of horses (and only the second time she’s seen this duo). She was a perfect lady the entire time. No fussing, no insisting she get too close or sniff anyone, no squealing and whinnying when we parted company a bit later. Gosh, I’m so thrilled with her temperament! That’s not to say she wasn’t a little amped up when we started out as a group … she was. But she quickly learned that she needed to conserve her energy for the long trots and pushing her speed wasn’t a good idea. I just kind of let her figure things out in her own head and only gave her a few checks here and there.Her recovery after every long trot was amazing … her sides weren’t even moving! Ah, to be young and be an Arabian!

I, on the other hand, was exhausted when I got home. My lower back was shot from so much posting. Even though I ride all the time I’m at such a disadvantage with my back problems. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about that, but I’m thinking I need to increase my core training a bit to try to compensate. In all fairness, some of my discomfort was due to the fact that I’d been doing a lot of work around the house prior to riding, but still. It’s frustrating to be so uncomfortable.

I’m back to riding lessons starting next week. (Yay!) It’s about time! I lost the entire spring with my eye issues. I’ve got some things I want to work on. I know it’s a hunter/jumper barn, but I want to work on my basics. I started doing a bit of jumping at the end of last year, and as fun as that is, I don’t think I’ve mastered some of the more subtle stuff I’m looking to improve. I know I give the appearance of having it together, but I want to fine-tune my timing, cues and feel. I know it would be best if I could board Dharla and take my lessons on her (or haul her over), but that’s not possible right now so what I may do is ask my instructor if she would come here once a month and work with us. We’re only a ten-minute drive. We did that a few times last spring and it really helped. We’ll see!

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