"Be like a postage stamp. Stick to one thing until you get there"
The endurance season came to an end for the year and Gem and I were back in the indoor arena again. I wanted to work on her cantering still and keep her in shape. Even with the bad experience at the Halloween ride, I had hoped to do another LD 25 in the spring, move her up to a LD 35 in early summer and then a 50 in the fall. Having been through two rides, I was pretty sure the ride itself would go ok without a buddy to ride with. It wasn't like we were completely alone without any other horse in sight ever. I was concerned about putting in the conditioning miles though because those would need to be solo at some point. However, I could happily ignore that until the trail reopened in the spring.
I had also decided that my Wintec had to go. It wasn't working for me at all and hurt my knee while putting me in a very unsecure position. It still fit Gem okay, but was beginning to be too narrow for her new fit figure. What a royal pain the rear saddle shopping is! I'd rather sit at the horrid potluck every night than saddle shop again. It doesn't help that Gem is a terrible horse to fit. She has an extremely wide, but short back. Ok, go with a saddle made for wide horses such as the Duet. But wait, she also has tall withers and those saddles assume the wide backed horse has low withers, so they won't work. I tried a least a dozen different saddles on her. One would fit her amazingly well, but was very uncomfortable for me. Another was the exact opposite. I tried cheap ones, expensive ones and even a treeless saddle. Nothing was working, I was running out of money to spend on shipping and returning all these saddles, and had completely run out of patience. The one really good fact with all this is the Her Royalness was not shy about her thoughts on a saddle. If she didn't like it I knew right away, so the guess work of maybe it fits, maybe it doesn't, was taken out of it.
Nothing super exciting happened until Christmas when the hubs set me up with some awesome new gear. He got me a super nice halter/bridle combo in red and black to match our endurance colors. The is an amazing piece of tack. The head stall is built mostly like a traditional bridle, but the nose band is thicker like a halter and has rings to attach a lead rope or cross ties. The reins and bit snap on an off independently, so I can keep her safely tied to the trailer with it as a halter or attach the reins and get on and ride. I LOVE it. He also got me pads for my stirrups to make life a bit more cushiony. Lets see, I also became a member of AERC and the local endurance club. I am currently no longer a member of either and I don't know if I will be again or not. Maybe I will make that discussion a whole post to itself. Finally, he got me a horse heart rate monitor. This definitely deserves it own post, so look for that in the future.
I continued riding her and made small, but very real improvements. She cantered much better by the end of the winter and we were jumping more complicated grids. She would have random days where all she wanted to do was run. So, I let her. We would spend an hour zooming around the arena in a semi controlled canter and I got better and more confident each time.
|Do not interrupt me while I drink!|
The hubs had some
bad influences old high school friends reconnect with him through FB the year before. They used to do a lot together and were now big time into running marathons and longer distances. This got the hubs into running and was the reason for his half marathon the previous May. Not wanting to feel completely left out and lazy, I had begun to run as well. I got up to around 4 miles 3 days a week without wanting to drop dead the entire time. I must admit, running helped my riding a ton. The stamina and leg strength I got really helped my position in the saddle. Why is this important? Ah! Keep reading!
I began to semi enjoy running and obviously loved riding and since the hubs loved running and semi enjoyed riding, I thought we could combine this. There just so happened to be a little sport known as the Ride and Tie and luckily for the hubs, yet again, there was a 12 mile R&T scheduled in the middle of May. This would be an even better start to the season for her and it would be going solo (without being totally alone, explanation to come), so I signed us up :)
Prior to ride day 2 big events happened:
We went to Rolex in Kentucky for my 30th birthday and came home with my new endurance outfit - a super comfy pair of back and red riding tights, a matching black and red riding shirt and a new saddle! It had everything I wanted and one thing I didn't. It was lightweight, had an exchangeable gullet to accommodate her changes in build, comfy as could be. All things I wanted. What didn't I want? The price tag, but it ended the shopping, so it was worth it.
I ran my first half marathon! The hubs and I went the day before the race to sign him up and I really liked the t shirt you got as a participant. I looked at him, said I wanted to do the half, keep in mind I had never run more than 4 miles at a time, and signed up. Conditioning be darned I was going to run! I actually didn't do half bad all things considered. I finished in 2 hours 23 minutes and enjoyed it enough to want to do another one (or 4 as it turned out).
|I don't think Gem looked this bad after her first 25|