We rode about 8 miles of the trails in the rural Maryland countryside - I'm so jealous of how beautiful it is there! Lots of trees and hills and fields that make me feel like I could be in another time.
|View from the barn|
|Nimo very carefully planning his steps - photo by Charles|
Nimo actually did a couple of other short canters up hills, and each time went very well. I'm pretty sure he's been watching Lily do it on our other rides, because I could literally feel him thinking through how he was going to move his body so he could canter.
I should probably mention that I give Nimo a lot of autonomy out on the trails. I feel like it is a good counterpart to the micro-managing I do in our dressage work. And to manage every step for 25, or 50, or 100 miles seems like insanity to me. We're supposed to be partners out on the trail, and I think it is important for our relationship that I let him make as many decisions as he can with the understanding that I will step in if I think something is unsafe or somehow not appropriate. Pace is typically a decision that I give to him whenever possible. He rarely does more than he can for the footing and he's really honest about how tired (or not) he is feeling. Because he has lacked confidence out on the trails, I think giving him some responsibility is necessary to building his confidence. That he is now feeling comfortable doing some cantering out on the trail is a great sign because I think it means that not only is his fitness improving, but so is his balance and confidence.
It was a great ride, and I can't wait to share how Nimo continued to improve at the Glenmore Hunter Pace in my next post:)