Long summer weekends
Is it just me or does the first day back at work after a long weekend hurt more than a normal Monday? Thankfully I only have a three day week and I had plenty of horse fun on the weekend to tide me over today.
Three days off meant both the horses got ridden everyday over the weekend. I have always felt a bit guilty about riding both of the horses both weekend days but I have decided that if I want to keep them both fit enough I need to suck it up and get on with it. The only person who worries about it is me, so as a compromise to myself I made it out early to ride and be done with the horse chores by 10 each day. This worked well as it still gave me plenty of time to spend with Andrew and time to do things at home too.
Saturday I hacked Henry in the bush and he was fairly relaxed until we met the park runners. I have avoided riding at park run time but I totally forgot this week and we hit the trail just as they would have been starting. I thought about changing my plans but decided that I needed to be brave and do it anyway. Henry and I were chatting to another person when we met the first runner coming down hill towards us. I reacted about half a second before him so got him turned around to look before he could spook too much. He was on edge after that and he was ready to run away from the next few runners he saw should he need to but he stood and watched them since I asked. He calmed right back down when we left them behind and so hopefully next time we meet then it’ll be even less of a big deal.
I jumped Coolie too, and I really expected him to be strong. I decided to see how he was in his dressage bridle because he has never been happy in his gag. The breaks work in it but there has always been a lot of head tossing. So I was prepared to have a ride where we worked on rhythm and going slow, and set up an exercise accordingly and told myself no matter what, I wasn’t going to pull.
Well, I was blown away when instead of pulling I threw the reins at him and he anticipated my pull and pulled back… to nothing! I could tell he was a bit confused by it, and so he just kept the same canter instead! He responded well to my body in the session and we had some great jumps. He was so good I probably only jumped about 15 fences. I was thrilled with him!
Sunday we took Coolie to the beach and before we went I flatted Henry. Henry was distracted and spooky and I got a bit fed up and frustrated and to reacted to him. Except instead of letting that moment affect my whole ride, I took a walk break, breathed deeply to myself, reset everything and went on to have a positive ride. It was by no means perfect and he continues to not be as relaxed as he usually is but it is a really big step in the right direction. I think it’s the hay that is making him fizzier, he was switched to meadow from Rhodes which has very low levels of sugar. I am hoping I can get some Rhodes hay soon and we will see a change in him.
Coolie had a lovely time at the beach. I was expecting his usual theatrics of not wanting to get onto the beach, not wanting to get into the water and spooking at everything and nothing. Instead he walked quietly to the beach, right to the water and practically cannonballed in. We had a lovely time and it was probably the best fun we have ever had at the beach.
Monday was hot so I was up with the sun to ride before it was too hot to move. Coolie was very bouncy for his hack, he feels so well at the moment. I love every second of it. Then I jumped Henry and had quite a good ride. He was a heap more relaxed and we had some good courses. I rode well and made good choices. He jumped massive over the oxer in both directions, and got all his leads. I am so proud. I need to sit up after we land faster and I need to continue to ensure I have jelly arms but things are on the up. He makes it feel so easy!
I spent the rest of the weekend, cooking, cleaning and eating so it was a good weekend all round! Plus lots of dog walks with Rosie. Today I have been mulling over what jumps we will jump next time, and I think I am going to do some xc style fences on the arena. Change it up a bit!