With the pressure of real conditioning gone, I've been taking what little time I have at the barn to work on getting Gem to just relax and enjoy the spring sunshine. I rode her two weekends ago at the barn and she was a hot mess. She was jittery, spooky and unreliable and the ride was both extremely not fun and short lived. Part of this is directly related to her endurance riding. It has not only gotten her excessively fit, but has also taught her that trail time equals go time which isn't always the safest choice. If she would just go straight I would let her run, but the tracks were wet and slippery and she was looking for reasons to jump out of her skin.
Saturday night I took Einstein for a 3 mile run which didn't go so well although looking back there was no reason to expect otherwise having not run much in 2 years and not at all in 2 months. Sunday morning my legs let me know what they thought of my abuse the previous night. It was too beautiful out to care, so we loaded everyone up and went for a hike in the morning anyway. Wyatt got to splash in the creek and create havoc while Einstein and Bones enjoyed the sunshine.
We got home right around nap time and Dusty offered to stay home so I could get some family free barn time in. Gemmie saw me coming down the road and while she didn't meet me at the gate, she at least didn't run to the far corner either. That's about as good as it gets with her most days. I pulled her out and it was already 75 and sunny at 12 pm. She has already shedded mostly all the way out and I was a little bummed to see her coat looking less than stellar. It was dull and boring and that just isn't her. Since she is on a less than ideal grain, I am keeping a close eye on her hoof and coat health to make sure she is faring well.
I tacked her up and we headed out on the tracks. I wanted her to just be calm and relaxed without looking for a fight from every turn, bush, stump etc... She didn't disappoint!! We walked calmly, but forward around the 1 mile track by the geldings and she didn't spook once. The second go round I asked for a collected trot and she gave me just that. It was like floating on air. We glided around twice more then called it quits.
It was 78 degrees and sunny when I stopped, but since we barely worked at all she wasn't sweaty in the least. With the great temps, I figured it was high time for her annual bath. She only gets real shampoo once a year to avoid stripping her of important oils and I am always excited to wash the winter grime off her. She was a perfect lady in the barn cross ties and even propped up a hoof to accept the pampering.
When we were all done and I took her back outside I was surprised to see how the pastures had greened up since I had been there. When I pulled in at 12 there was a greenish tinge to the ground the suggested a future of grass, but by the time I left around 5 pm the barn was just brilliant with new spring grass. What a difference the sunshine made!
Dusty and Wyatt showed up just as I was letting Gem shove her face full of clover, so I tied her back up at the trailer and brushed her until she was mostly dry. I was absolutely thrilled with how stunning she looked with all that grime washed away. No more dull coat :)
|The picture is actually smooth, but some how it ends up looking all pixelated and fuzzy on the blog. Anyway..she was sleek and looking svelt after her bath!|
I put her back out and watched her roll in the mud then gallop off up the hill to her herd mates. Since Wyatt had just shown up he was in a great mood and Dusty had thought to bring along his digger and dump truck. I set him up between a mud puddle and the saw dust pile and he was a happy camper. I got a chance to speak with the BO while Dusty pulled Pete out. Apparently there are trails cut through the woods behind the pastures as well. He wasn't sure what condition they were in, but I offered up our services next weekend to go walk them with a chainsaw and clippers to make them serviceable again. There wont be many just given the size of the woods, but ducking into them and then back out into the lanes will allow more flexibility and give a great chance to re focus her.
Dusty got a chance to ride Pete for the firs time in over 6 months. That gelding is amazing and is the perfect hubby horse. He is the same if you ride him once a day or once a year. Gemmie could learn a thing or two from him.
We finished up our sunny day by heading to my parents house for a pizza picnic on their back lawn. It was a much needed relaxing and wonderful weekend.
I'm not sure what this season has in store for Gem and I, but the next plan is a 30 mile ride and tie the beginning of May at our home trails then the moonlight 50 July 31 and possible the ride and tie regional championship in TN in September.