After ten years with very little trail access, you'd think I couldn't be any happier boarding in a place where I can literally ride off in any direction. I mean, ask me to sum up my horse life in one word, and I'll say trail rider (okay two words).
Absolutely I'm happy overall. I do love those trails. A couple I even see as my own. I "unwilded" them enough to make them rideable. I cleaned them up. I moved Razz in, and with the help of google Earth, my husband and I made our way through forgotten paths that others had not attempted. I can't tell you the thrill I get from turning a corner I've never been around before, or cantering down the trail and having sunlight bounce off your face sporadically between the tall, skinny pines.
My pony loves being in the woods too. But he also enjoys jumping. And the longer I go without popping over a fence, the more I realize that I actually enjoy jumping as well.
What? Not me...I was always the one who had that slightly chicken shit feeling approaching a jump. I think its fair considering I didn't start leaping over things until three years ago when I got Razz. And I've never seriously jumped a horse other than Razz. He's not too educated in jumping either, but he is really confident in himself and we would charge over things together.
Never thought I would say it, but I miss jumping. It is something I want to incorporate to keep me and pony entertained and to keep him fit. The long trail rides are too tiring to take every weekend. We're talking four hours plus. Through deep water crossings that just continue to get deeper. Because it can't rain a little bit and give us a break here along the NC shore. We have at least one significant rain event a month with several inches. Last week we got seven inches between Thursday and Sunday. I am sooo completely over this weather pattern. When the temps are as low as they currently are (20s-30s) I don't want to ride my boy into chest deep water. I care about his comfort more than that. If there were a diphtheria outbreak on the other side and children needed the vaccine, no problem, in we go. But there is no outbreak on the other side, no where I have to go when it's this cold, my horse is not Balto.
I think proper jumping will help keep my boy fit and feeling young. He will be 17 this year. Or maybe he already is, there are no papers on him. But the teeth tell the story. Best thing for me to do is find a coach willing to come out to the barn and give me a riding plan appropriate for our needs. There are a few coaches in my area to pick from. But the stupid weather makes everything difficult. Our arena is plain sand and it doesn't drain very well. It's been a mess in there more than it hasn't. The bean field has been absolutely wonderful for flatwork, I have accomplished some really productive riding in the field. We've had a few frustrating rides as well, and I'm noticing a few of my position faults when left to my own devices and judgement.
If weather isn't the issue, my schedule certainly will be from now until April. My daughter is a member of a highly competitive winter guard team, and this is competition season. I will be travelling with her team to Virginia, New Jersey twice, and Ohio this year. They are currently ranked 10th in the world (yowza!!) in WGI scholastic A division & are trying for another successful year. Maybe some of you were in guard and are familiar with this scene. My time with Razz and my riding will take a direct hit as I travel. I'm not so concerned about losing ground on any gains we might have made. He generally picks up right where we left off, even after a week or more. But I am on a mission to muscle him out better. The irregular schedule over the next couple months will not make achieving that goal any easier.
Speaking of his body condition, as it relates to nutritional issues this is another area in which I'm learning more about. Razz has made the transition from small, dry lot paddock (city horse), to pasture grazing country boy. This farm keeps horses on large turnouts with shelter access at all times unless the weather is super nasty. Like freezing rain, nor'easter or hurricane nasty. I think the horses are happier when allowed to spend their days as part of a herd in a large pasture. I want my horse in a good place mentally so I don't mind the liberal turn out. However, I am having to adjust his feeding schedule on a more fluid and routine basis which is a slight challenge. He was pretty fit when we moved. Now he has developed a hay belly and I've beat myself up over this quite a bit for being a bad horse mom. Nothing good comes from the energy wasted on giving myself a hard time. But I can't help it. Hay belly isn't completely bad but it isn't completely good either. I am determined to help him gain his fitness back and ensure many more happy years with my trail partner.
If you're still here reading after all this mostly lackluster ramble about my riding woes, thanks for stopping by and listening to what I have to say. I am having to find my place in a couple areas. The trail rider is finding herself wanting to jump. City horse still has a bit of adjusting left to country life. The ultimate take away from all the thinking I've been doing leading up to this post is:
- stay positive & do the best I can with the conditions I am given the next few months, be it weather or schedule
- figure out who I would like to possibly begin training with come this spring
- sell or trade my trailer, I need a tb size (not touched on today but will cover this in a future post)
I feel like a big part of my gloomy mood is a lack of vitamin D. If you have never put on a tank top and ran outside to absorb sunlight when it first appears after several cloudy days, you should try it. And just to close on some positive news, I galloped Razz faster than ever before today. Not my fastest gallop of all time, but fastest for Razz and I. It was on his request and I happily obliged.
|my cheeks are still red from galloping thru the cold air, he's mostly cooled out w/muddy field feet|