Saturday, December 29, 2018

And we're back at Whitney

I met a friend again today at Whitney State Forest for a quick ride in what is starting to feel like never-ending mud.  Over an inch of rain yesterday did nothing to improve the trails in the area, but we managed to eek out another hour-long ride.

We just walked the trails except for one short stint of trotting where the footing was still intact.  But it was a beautiful day (with sun!) and the temperature almost got to 60 degrees, so it was easy to pretend it was March instead of the dead of winter.

Nimo got lots of practice with water crossings, which he kind of needed.  When I spent so much time riding with the friend that I broke up with over the summer, Nimo got out of the habit of crossing with confidence because the other horse almost always went first.  (My friend didn't have a lot of patience for waiting for Nimo if he crossed first because it will sometimes take him a few seconds to a minute to judge the footing, so she often insisted on going first so she didn't have to wait.)  By the end of today's ride, he was doing quite well and back to his usual self, which is much appreciated.

Back at the trailer after the ride
I am still loving the current set-up that I have with the saddle, saddle pads, and girth.  Although, I do need to order new and longer tug straps for the breast collar because it is currently on its last hole and I have extra clips extending the length.  Part of the reason the extra length is needed is probably the change in saddle, which has d-rings a bit farther back than my old one.  However, another part of it is all the muscle Nimo has put on in his shoulder area.  It's a great tangible result from all the training we've been doing.:)

2 comments:

  1. That is a dramatic photo of Nimo with the shadows chasing his legs!

    I still ask myself how there can be people out there who offer to ride with you, but will not participate in the training of a horse, which is, IMO, integral to riding-out. Unfortunately my current riding partner isn't aware of these unwritten but obvious rules. And going back, benefit of the doubt, I can imagine times where I would not happily wait for green horses. I should not judge, but yet I do. People, let us help each other without the need to sign a verbal contract before a trail ride. Just be patient and helpful. It's called etiquette.

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    1. It's interesting that you bring up the idea that people who ride with you should also help with the training of the horse. I actually just saw an article on that very topic pop up on my Facebook feed that was published by The Horse. There were 8 rules of etiquette to follow when trail riding with others, and a lot of them had to do with things like allowing a break for a rest or fixing tack, going slow enough for the least experienced horse/rider, etc.

      I have to admit that my way of thinking on this issue has definitely evolved over the years. When I first started trail riding with Nimo (even before I to bitten by the endurance bug), I spent all of my time trying to keep up with the others I was riding with. That idea of having to keep up or not be a burden on others stayed with me (and still does, if I'm honest). I never want to slow someone down on their conditioning ride or feel like someone is waiting for me to deal with a training issue. And yet, because of that, Nimo's education and conditioning often suffers. While I can certainly understand not wanting to have to wait a lot or go slow when you can go faster (I've certainly experienced that feeling myself!), it would be nice if there was a more disciplined approach to riding with others.

      The friend I'm riding with the most right now has a young horse. He's come a very long way, but he's still green, so I do my best to remember to ask her if she wants to trot or if a hill is too steep or a water crossing too much. My horse used to be young and inexperienced too, and I wish I had had the benefit of more rides with someone helping us along the way than either having to ride by myself or constantly feel like I have to push my horse to keep up. I try to remember what that was like and help someone else out when I can.

      And if I really feel the need for speed, I know plenty of endurance riders who train for 50-mile rides who would happily ride with me at a faster pace. So it isn't necessary for me to try to force someone less experienced or with different goals to try to keep up. And if we need to spend an hour at a water crossing while someone works with their horse, then I figure it's good practice for Nimo to learn to be patient:)

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