Love the one you’re with!

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

I spent the last week in Charleston, SC working with great teachers and students in the American Music System. We had a fantastic time and I enjoyed the sights and tastes of the beautiful historic city. I was inspired by fellow musicians and encouraged by wonderful students.

But it’s always so good to come home!

Considering I gave the girls a week off, will be home just over a week and then gone for over a week before the Iron Mountain event at the end of the month, this week is ride every day – and maybe twice a day to get both horses out – week.

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So far we are on a good track. I got home mid-day on Saturday in time for an amazing wine dinner with friends, then Sunday late afternoon Khaleesi and I took a great ride with Laurie and Levi. Levi is a mover and we had a nice pace for a really pretty ride. The flies are horrendous right now, but I do love that time of day as the light changes over to evening. I even got Khaleesi to do some side-by-side riding with Levi which is not always easy for her yet. (Of course Levi is the golden boy though- and both my girls love him)

On the flip side being back in the saddle after a week off I was a riding disaster! I had picked up a new adjustable (Wintec) saddle on my drive home as the other saddle I was using I believe was pinching her in the front- it’s a great saddle, but felt different and a few times I was so off balance when she picked up speed I’m shocked I didn’t fly right out! I had adjusted my stirrups and hadn’t gotten the buckle all the way back in place and that was rubbing my thighs (why on earth did I not just fix it!? – At the time I thought maybe that’s just the way the saddle was…)

We also lost a back boot AGAIN! I was frustrated until I found the boot on the way home and realized that the cables had come clean out. Apparently I hadn’t tightened the screws down enough… so not boot malfunction as much as operator error in fixing the cables.

I keep saying we’re going metal shoes next year… then realizing that the other 3 boots were excellent through all our footing, walk-trot-canter, and the one that came off immediately was not put together properly… can’t exactly say the boots aren’t working from that.

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Ok- they continue to get another chance…

Monday was my weekly working day, but I got up early and took Faygo on a quick 2-hour ride to get her on track. I always love riding that mare. In fact, true to the song (Love the one you’re with) I always think the girl I’m riding that day is my favorite. What a nice problem to have… two horses you love so much you can’t figure out which one you like more…

As Laurie and I were talking about the two girls and their different strengths, and how far Khaleesi has come this year she said something that rings so true it has stuck with me:

You have taught Khaleesi, but it was Faygo who taught you.

That explains our relationships so spot on and I had never thought of it that way before.

And speaking of loving the one you’re with- she was convinced we were meeting Levi at “the red gate” and was calling and snorting her way over there… once we got to the gate and no Levi, we continued on the trail. She kept sniffing the ground (of course she smelled him, we’d just rode there last night) and sniffing the air- she called and hollered for him until we’d rode enough to realize the disappointment – there was no Levi today. I was bummed out for her most of the ride. I’ve never seen her so hopeful and then to have her hopes never realized… She looked for that horse around every bend in the trail.

Tuesday was a big horse day as one of the families from Mill Run Farm was visiting and I always love to help them enjoy their horses.

We began in the “garden arena” riding their nice TN Walker- thanks to Pam I’m getting some ideas of what to do with someone in an enclosed space and not only trail riding (which sometimes younger-inexperienced people aren’t ready for), then I took the college-age daughter on a really lovely 3 hour trail ride where she rode Faygo and I rode Khaleesi.

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We walked the entire ride (which is why it took 3 hours) and I never do this, but I have to say it was a good thing to do once in a while. I find walking so long a bit tiring on my body- but the horses figured it out quickly and even fast-Faygo seemed to relax into our walk in the woods. She even drank at almost every water crossing (because she wasn’t feeling so amped up and hurried).

I thought again about how I had very little experience when I started riding Faygo, and she always took excellent care of me. She was just as fabulous on that ride and never got hot-headed or tried to push home. Khaleesi seemed to enjoy the walk as well- because we began the morning in the arena, we didn’t get on the trail until late morning, so it was the warmest part of the day and it was nice for them to take a leisurely pace.

Faygo... aka "the camel" actually drinking!
Faygo… aka “the camel” actually drinking!

I also found I was more able to really tune into my horse and ride more intentionally, and feel her footfalls and the rhythm they make- relaxing my lower body to be in better sync with hers. I was a much better rider that day! (AND – all boots stayed put!)

3 thoughts on “Love the one you’re with!

    1. Yes! Mentally I was ok because I found a ton of opportunities to connect better with my horse and walking really let me feel the footfalls and release the tension in my hips- but physically it is a bit draining still – it was its own challenge and the girl I took was just not ready (I asked) to try a slow-gait speed.. And I noticed her balance wasn’t great in the saddle (she was a bit tilted right in her hips) so I thought it smarter to stay at a wall until she gains some confidence and is a little more centered – today it’s just me and the K on the ridge trail. Great for trotting out long stretches!

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  1. I’m enjoying your blog very much and can’t wait to come out and ride with you. I just wanted to say that walking is highly underrated in my opinion as far as horse fitness. Mental fitness of course but really really physical, especially walking up and down hills. My ottb has benefitted tremendously from hill walking. It’s underutilized by distance folks sometimes (well, and by every other discipline known to man but that’s another story). BUT… walking long rides (as in more than 4 miles) is very hard on my body. Much harder than alternating with other gaits. I’ve walked up to 14 miles in a ride, and let me say it is hard on your body. Thanks for sharing your adventures!

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