August 28, 2013

First GPS Ride

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right - for you'll be criticized anyway."

- Eleanor Roosevelt

Note to self: skipping dinner and then forgetting to eat breakfast makes for a crappy, unbalanced ride and an angry pony.

After missing every week night of riding due to real, but stupid excuses (raining, sick, barn too busy etc...) I finally got to Gem Sunday morning to ride. She let me know her thoughts about it by high tailing it away from me with a loud snort and a tail in the air that looked an awful lot like the horse equivalent to the middle finger. She tore through the trees and with shocking grace jumped a 3 ft wide by 2 ft deep gulch without batting an eye. Why doesn't she do that under saddle? Could it be the screeching, tense, death gripping rider on her back? I don't know.

Gem's pasture
More of her pasture

I finally remembered to grab my Garmin watch. I want to track mileage and pace. It also helps to have a watch so I don't think we are done at 10 minutes into it. After what seemed like ages tacking her up, we headed to the arena. The thought was for 30 minutes of solid heart rate increasing work followed by 30 minutes of solid brain work on the "trails". Neither one of us were moving that well. She trotted sooooo slowly in the beginning. It was actually a nice pace, but I'm so used to her speeding around. I didn't want to jump her so we just worked on keeping a good trot and some short canter sets as well. She has started a new bad habit of trying to bolt out the arena gate. I've been nice so far about it, but not this time. I turned her sharply around and kicked her up into a canter which I made her keep past the gate several times. After that we were on the same page again.

The arena

The hubs showed up with W at the half hour mark which was good timing because the lack of food since 12 the day before was starting to make itself felt. I was hungry and my legs were getting weak feeling. This made my seat all floppity up on Gem and she was clearly not amused by having to work harder to balance me. It is quite clear that she feels that I am my own responsibility up there. She does her job and I need to do mine. There are horses out there that care about the rider and will go out of their way to compensate for anything. Not Gem. If I'm off, she won't make up for it.

The grassy area of death beside the arena

With things looking like they would be going downhill soon and a son who needed to see the doctor for antibiotics, I called it quits and cooled her out for a few minutes. I'm glad I did. Having a workout plan is great, but I'd rather end on a good note than leave soured. Once I got home (after the doc visit and grocery shopping) and downloaded my watch, I was pleasantly surprised and re-invigorated. This is doable :)


    • 31 minutes
    • 2.46 miles
    • Average pace: 4.7 mph
    • Fastest pace (her temper tantrum at the canter): 11.8 mph
    • And..wait for it...elevation gain: 4 ft :)
Why does this piddly amount make me excited? Because the mileage I can get in the arena really isn't all that bad. I rode for only 30 minutes which was half that of the previous week. That means the week before we did at least 5 miles. Also, we went pretty slow compared to the previous week with a lot less canter work and a slower trot, so we probably did closer to 5.5 or 6 miles. Once I get up to 2 hour long rides, we can get 10-12 miles in. Yes, the arena still sucks and that long will test our mental stamina, but it is still doable. Also, we averaged a decent pace. Her average trot pace looks to be about 6 mph. To finish a ride in time you need to average about 5.5-6 mph total which we can do. I'm excited! Once we get out on the real trails a day a week, we can work on hills, terrain etc...


Now to add 47.5 more miles :)


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