Join Date: May 2009
Location: Mid Northern TN
And days like today are why I ride with a bit when I'm not in an arena, even though the vast majority of time my guy would be (and often is) fine in a halter.
It's about 15 degrees cooler today than yesterday, and it rained hard overnight, and my horse was hot hot hot today. I figured we'd do a longish easy ride. Long, slow distance for endurance conditioning to help get him back to being fit is the theory. A couple miles out on the route, there's a good stretch of good footing though, so I figured we'd canter that and then trot the rest, maybe 12 miles rpundtrip or so.
Well, we did that, after walking and then trotting the trail to get there and get warmed up, and he was really good. He gave me a nice canter, asked to slow down, responded to my leg, etc. We got started on the rest of the trail I wanted to go on, but it was no good. Too much rain, too much slope to be worth continuing on, so we turned around to go back the way we came.
That is when the crazy appeared. He was on rocket fuel. Wanted to gallop back, so we went another way. He didn't want to trot. If we were walking, he was moving, if we were trotting, he was trying to canter, if we were cantering, he wanted to gallop. So I took him on the old gravel road to help work on conditioning his feet. It's not too bad, gravel-wise, most of it has sunk in and grass is growing over it, but it was enough for him to watch his feet rather than getting all squirrely about wanting to run and he trotted nicely. Then we cantered back away from home another mile the way we had come.
Turned towards home, and again with the rocket ship and head-tossing. So we did a mile of trot-canter-trot-walk transitions. He was sweating and breathing hard, but finally started to relax and listen rather than just trying to pull my arms out. We walked the last mile back on an old worn bike path. He actually lifted his back noticeably, presumably to un-weight his fronts, while we were walking on it, which makes me wonder, but watching his footing was enough mental work for him to actually relax, cool off and dry out a bit before getting home.
Not what I had planned for the day, but on google maps, we wound up doing 10 miles with the back and forth, and most of that hard work for him, harder work than I had planned on asking him for, so I suppose we'll call that good for conditioning anyway.