You Get What You Need

Friday, June 5, 2015

As I rode around the “neighborhood” I couldn’t help but sing along in my head…

you can’t always get what you want…. oh you can’t always get what you want…. you can’t always get what you want…

but if you try sometimes… you just might find…

IMG_9610That’s what riding Friday felt like. We had planned our weekly trio girl ride and the plans fell apart. First one of the group had a family need come up that took her out of town, then Friday morning woke up to rain showers. Not surprising, it rained all week.

We decided to “punt” and see how the day went, but it didn’t look promising for loading up on trailers and making a production of it. How disappointing. I got a ride in midweek on Faygo, but between the rain, thunderstorms and other responsibilities, I hadn’t ridden Khaleesi since last week. Some endurance prospect team we were.

I took care of some business at home and some errands in town and decided I had to get on that horse today. Even if it was raining. She just needed to be ridden. Endurance training isn’t for sissies right! Get out there.

IMG_9599I went to the farm in light drizzle and saddled up. Just a short ride was all we needed, just to get out there and keep in shape. This would be her second “alone” ride.

Not long after we saddled up the rain stopped again and as we rode there was even a little sun. We did a short ride and she was just lovely. I was able to open gates from her, and even close one or two from on her. I was able to focus on her completely and it felt like being out with a friend. There were a few times she refused to go on, but I grabbed a little branch and switched her but once or twice and she always went forward eventually. We will get past that I’m sure with some time and experience.

IMG_9581I had gotten her back boots “customized” this week when my farrier visited, and a shorter ride to try them out was really smart.

[Aside: That was a fun experiment! My farrier was a good sport considering he’d never done anything like it before. Khaleesi did great with lots of pick up her back feet, try the boot… put them down again… grind some of the glue out… pick them up… put them down… He also used a power buffer to clean up her feet and she just stood quietly for that. There are some things where she’s much better behaved than even Faygo now.

IMG_9584We added some hoof glue inside the boot (it hardens into a polyurethane ‘shim’ to make the boot fit tighter around the sides of her feet) this SHOULD help the boot not to twist or come off on rides due to being slightly loose on the sides.

The next question is… on our short ride, did it work. Kind of.

IMG_9589The boots fit better, but her one back foot.. the white one… it is the problem foot. We rode through muck and rocks and the boots all stayed on- but very close to home, on a rocky uphill that she tried to canter up we lost the white foot boot. I was paying attention, and we walked back to get it. I thought I’d find it in the muck puddle we walked through- but nope, it was sitting on the trail where the footing was a bit washed out and rocky, and I remember her trying to take some canter steps to get up it (I discouraged that, but remembered it).

The previous boot loss was in a very similar spot, slightly uphill, she was impatient and she started to canter, slightly rocky ground. This is the pattern, at least I know that.

So… I can try it a little tighter next time, and I might try a smaller boot for that foot and see if that helps. And if we never sort it out and it’s just not worth the trouble, we’ll consider putting metal shoes on her. That’s not the end of the world, I just want to try barefoot first.]

Working on the hoof boots on a rainy evening
Working on the hoof boots on a rainy evening

Back to Friday: it’s also not good for her to only take her out on long rides. I once heard in an interview “Don’t ask your horse for 110% every time, they’ll get tired of it and not love their job.” We needed a 2 hour ride at a wandering pace to just enjoy being out together- not keeping up with anyone, not training group trail manners, just spending time together in familiar territory.

At one point we were walking through the very place that it began to snow on our January pony ride that I wrote about in my first blog post. It was a very sweet moment when I thought about riding through there dreaming of riding the horse I was ponying along, wondering what that journey would be like. Now we had “snow in June” (which is what our riding circle calls the mountain laurel in bloom) and I was riding solo the horse I hope will be my 100 mile partner. I took a little video:

Even when the rain threatened and the dark clouds gathered, the woods were beautiful and calm. The ferns are growing in and the canopy is thickening. It was like riding through the secret garden, or a fantasy land from your favorite youth fiction. In the end I thought, sometimes… you just might find… you get the ride you need.

IMG_9601

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