Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Building Up That Fitness

I have a friend who used to do endurance (and may again!). Over the years, I've ridden with her occasionally, but generally speaking I am much too slow to keep up. 

These days, she has a new little horse who can be a bit of a handful for her, so she's more interested in slower miles than previously. That's a good thing for me and my fat ponies!
Everyone enjoying the sun pre ride. Bridget loves her cat.
 We met for a ride yesterday afternoon, and I have to say it was one of the best rides I've had on Ms Bridget. The sun was shining, the weather was warm, and the horses were feeling good! We went out for about 2.5 hours and got quite a bit of trot and canter in, but with plenty of long walk breaks as well. At first, Bridget was like "That horse is CRAZY, lets just walk back here and catch up to him later." But, by about halfway she got her game face on and got the idea. She was a bit sweaty and tired nearing the end, but really wanted to canter the last big sandy part of the trail, so I let her. The little monster then tried to take off on me in a bid to 'race' the horse in front! As some of you will know, a baby cob gallop really sounds and feels impressive, but the overall speed isn't really quick at all, so it was just funny and not at all scary. I let her think she was racing for a bit, before quietly reminding her a more sedate canter was the appropriate thing to do. It's a fine line - I want to encourage her to think forward and not shut that down when she offers, but I don't want her ignoring her rider either. She was pretty done after that, so we stuck with a walk the last 45 min to let her cool out and feel refreshed. It must have worked because she was on her toes and really spooky the last little bit to the barn. Either her new grain is working, or someone is getting an idea of how good it feels to move out a little bit :) Her overall fitness is actually not bad at all, as some of you have mentioned, all those long slow miles really work!

 I think if I'm going to ride with L more often I will need to invest in front shoes. My girls both have wonderful feet, but a lot of the road and trail surfaces here are shot rock or crushed granite and Ms Bridget's toes are currently wearing down at about the same rate as a trim - there's not a lot left for the farrier, even at 8 week intervals. If I start putting more miles on those surfaces I may need shoes to stop them wearing too much. Something to mull over - my end goal is obviously not endurance and trotting miles of rocky trails. I just want to have her fitter and thinking more forward for ring work and jumping! I'm reluctant to put shoes on when she has such great feet.
Our big loop outlined in white

Random pic of Ginny from yesterday - her mane is growing back!

8 comments:

  1. It's so nice to have a riding buddy (I'm jealous!). You could always do shoes in the summers and let your horses be barefoot in the winter. I have a few friends that do that.

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    1. Bridget is so easy she has no shortage of riding buddies. Poor Ginger only gets an invite once in a while lol But yes, we are lucky to have so many fellow riders in the area!

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  2. Yay for awesome weather and a fab way to spend a sunny day in the saddle.
    I'd talk to your trimmer about the foot wearing issue on the trails. Maybe hey could suggest boots or trim more regularly or something to avoid shoes if you would rather not put them on

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    1. My farrier has advised front shoes for when the ground dries up. I'm just being a whiner because I hate the transition back to barefoot in the winters :) I've used boots in the past but haven't had a ton of luck with them unfortunately.

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    2. I have to say I've been really lucky with transitioning mine. They have great feet and are rarely ouchy - i saw rarely as K is a giant dummy and paws the ground for attention when tied and/or feeding time so she wears her front feet unnecessarily. Basically if she wasn't a numbnut I'd be golden *knock-on-wood*

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  3. that's a big loop!! sounds like a fun ride too - esp for the horses! we get out in the woods frequently in good weather - but never really get more than 3-4 miles. i suspect isabel could do much more, but our companions aren't usually that fit (and our woods are kinda small)...

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    1. That loop is about 9 miles with some big hills...I was impressed Bridget had no issues with it at all. I bet Isabel would do just fine too!

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  4. Long and slow is so great for horses, especially when building fitness!

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