Friday, September 3, 2010

Out Riding in the Field

I am starting to feel the slow pull of fall, even though the weather's still mostly summer-like. The regular routine of classes and weekends begins to sound appealing, after a summer spent running around like crazy. The idea of constant lessons, schooling shows, and shows makes me want to go crawl in bed and take a nap. It's not that I'm getting tired of riding - not at all! It's just, well, it's been a long summer.

I have a schooling H/J show next Sunday and then a Pony Club eventing rally the following Friday and Saturday. After that, I think we'll be pretty much set for the season. Then we'll follow the usual pattern: light riding and lessons through the fall, kick it up again after winter break, maybe a few schooling shows, and be ready to swing into full work by spring. It works for me.

So, because of my growing desire to slip into autumn, I have had three great low-key rides this week out in the big hay field. McKinna had some pretty intense dressage training rides while I was gone in Taipei (they went quite well!), and it seemed to me that she was asking for some chill-time. The weather has been just gorgeous in the evenings - cool but with a warm breeze, quiet, lovely sunsets. So we headed out for some calm hack-type rides, just wandering on a loose rein, maybe trotting or cantering up the long hill a couple times, then ending with work on a big circle asking for a relaxed but proper working trot. A little canter work, still asking her to just chill out, relax, no big deal.

Last night I used the jumping tack and we did a little more fitness work, trotting up the long hill twice and then cantering twice in each direction. Mixed that in with good doses of easy long-rein walk. One funny little spook-bolt where she actually took off with her head in the air for three or four strides...silly mare. I still have no idea what she spooked at. She settled back down, though. Then we ended the ride with some more work on the big circle. It took a little more finesse last night to get her to settle down into a quiet working trot, but she eventually gave it to me.

I find that lately, when it's time to get the working trot, I end up looking at myself rather than her to figure out what I should change to get the relaxation. Usually if I am less busy with my aids, a little more patient to give her time to come to me, a little steadier and more elastic in my contact rather than working against her, she comes to it much easier.

Bath day today for her. She is ridiculously dirty. Also, is anyone else's horse already shedding summer coat to reveal the longer, fuzzier beginnings of winter fur? This is not okay with me! Eurgh!

Jumping lesson with Devin tomorrow, our first in quite awhile. I'll ask her to take it easy on us. I have a call in to the chiro, because McKinna's been a little grouchy about the saddle and when you adjust the saddle pad lately, so I'm thinking it may be time for another adjustment. She made weird faces at me when I poked around in the area (not literally - I was using the heels of my hands). One rude face as if it hurt, but then she made happy faces and leaned into me when I pressed and massaged one area, so I'm not sure what she was trying to tell me. We'll see.

Hope everyone else is having a lovely end-of-summer.


Leah Fry said...

Even though it's still hot here, my horses are shedding out. Not woolly yet, but definitely dropping summer hair.

What did you do in Taipei and are you back to school yet?

manymisadventures said...

Vacationed, mostly. We lazed about trying to recover from jet lag, got manicures and massages, visited tourist places, shopped at the night markets...

I'm back to school on the 27th, so I have some time left yet. September is my most summer-y month so far, as I've actually been HOME for the vast majority of it. Very nice feeling.

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