April 3, 2014

Gem Redeems Herself

Well, kind of...sort of...

Tuesday night was magical at the barn. Gemmie and I were the only ones around except for the bats flying over head, the birds chirping off in the sunset and the barn cats using the arena as a litter box. It was still in the 70s as the sun was setting and the breeze alternated between refreshingly cool and refreshingly warm. As the sun set, there was a bright crescent moon rising. It was a night made to be at the barn.

Maybe Gem felt bad for her naughty behavior on Sunday. Maybe she was feeling good after the work out and day off. Maybe she had a stroke and forgot how she usually acts. Either way she actually walked right up to me in the pasture for the first time ever. And all I had in my hands was her bridle. No bright red bucket of treats (supplements).

Even in the fading light I could see how much better she is looking. I know it is in part due to her shedding that winter coat out, but I have to think the supplements are doing something. Her coat is beginning to gleam like it used to and I love a shiny horse. Some people just carve out a saddle shaped patch when the groom and I don't judge them for that. But I am downright anal about grooming her each and every time both before and after we ride. I check her over from head to toe, pick out her feet and make her shine. The only thing I am not anal about is her tail.

We walked over to the arena and I thought 30 minutes would be good. The footing is extremely deep in the arena. Part is due to how dry it is right now so the top layers are not getting packed down and the other part is how much traffic it now sees with trainer lady being there and giving lessons. With it being so soft and deep I worried about her bowing or tearing a tendon and so I didn't want to over do it. Plus I wanted a lighter work out after Sunday to start the week. If things go well this week I am hoping to get back on for a more rigorous arena ride Thurs or Fri and then I should get on the trails again this weekend, but instead will be trailer training.

I remembered my Garmin, climbed on board and hit start.

We walked around scaring off the barn cats for 5 minutes and then we started trotting. She gave a decent show of being scared of the jumps, the barrels, the fence, but I wasn't having any of it and she settle din nicely. Historically Gem doesn't care for deep sand. Our two LDs were on a lot of deep sandy trails and she spent the entire time hugging the side and ripping off pieces of my flesh on tree limbs. She wasn't particularly happy with the footing and I didn't even think to ask her to attempt the jumps in that footing.

About 15 minutes in she got tired of trot, trot, trotting and picked up a superbly lovely canter. It was uphill. It was smooth. And best of all it was rate-able. No rushing off on the forehand barely in control and taking corners as sharply as possible without completely falling over. She was steady, slow and calm and it was a gait I could have sat for hours. We worked both directions. I gave her lots of trot breaks, but she kept asking to canter. I think it was easier for her to canter in the footing versus trot and I also think her muscles get sore from so much trotting on the trail so the arena is a nice place to canter. She is more efficient a the canter as well and back in my heart rate monitor usage days, 9 times out of 10 her rate drops in the canter versus trot.

She managed to work up a nice sweat and was breathing pretty good so at 20 minutes I called it cool out time. I didn't want to put her out sweaty for the night. We walked around cooling out and I debated about un tacking her and riding bareback for a bit. Even if I fell off the footing was inviting enough that it wouldn't hurt too bad. But I decided against it and called it a night.

She was a little sweaty and I let her cool out next to the trailer before giving her her supplements. She eats the powder plain (ick). I mix Pete his with a couple crunched up alfalfa cubes because he is a normal horse and won't eat the plain powder. When I put Gemmie out, I took Pete's with me a fed him.

It was a night to renew my faith in my gorgeous mare. She always does this. I just need to remember how far we have come and all she has put me through. She tests the waters and then the next ride it is like she realizes she pushed me too far and is a saint. Oh, don't get me wrong. I don't have my heads in the cloud with the trailering issue. I know she won't load without a ton of work. But I can ignore that until the weekend and for now bask in the glow of a wonderful night with my mare.

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