Monday, 13 September 2021

Kind of A Clinic

 On the downside, my much anticipated trip was a no go this weekend, so no new saddle fitting or EC lessons for me. I'm going to try to set up lessons in a couple of weeks when my work schedule relaxes, and it sounds like the saddle fitter has a wide area she travels to so one of the upcoming visits to areas around me will likely work. All is not lost!

Sometimes we ride on the ferry, sometimes it is broken and then it's a chain reaction of side effects in our isolated town.  

On the plus side, there was a clinic at home, and while I was too late (and thrifty, after buying a trailer and planning for a new saddle the horse budget is tight) to sign up, I did go audit and volunteer to take photos. So that was fun. 

Sophie's boyfriend looking pretty cute

The really good decision I'm glad I made, though, was to load up Sophie with friend S's horses and have her hang out all of Sunday. I treated it as a practice show/clinic outing for her.

The clinican is a regular and he's great - you all probably know by now that I can get a little weird about riding in front of new people, particularly shows or clinics, but zero anxiety about it in this situation. He's kind of one of the gang at this point and the clinic is pretty relaxed, so it was fine for me to bring Sophie along and ride on the periphery (provided I gave the paying folks space and priority :)

<I'd insert Sophie pictures here, but did I take any of my own horses this weekend? no, of course not >

And, she was absolutely fine - a little aware of all the horses, people, and vehicles coming and going, but honestly the arena itself was pretty tame considering what it can be like when a few people are riding with less organization ;) She's still a bit looky about horses cantering towards her, or hearing them coming where she can't see them, but it's pretty easy to refocus her. I don't think she'd be happy in a crowded warmup yet, but we're light years from where we started and every horse was cause for distraction. She was very quick to settle and let the anxiety go, and I had zero moments of concern about there being any pony antics beyond my capabilities.

A previous barn friend she was happy to see again.

She was great in her stall, but she'd kind of had enough by the end of the day and was getting excessively dramatic and flirty with her neighbours. I moved her a couple of stalls away from everyone and there were feelings expressed for a while, but nothing too terrible.

All in all, a couple of very long horsey days. I managed to get some nice photos of everyone, plus I got to cheer on everyone's successes, learn a little for myself,  and give Sophie a bit of education too. So productive!


Wednesday, 8 September 2021

Some Things We've Seen Lately

 We're super spoiled here for trail riding - at the place I was boarding there was a nice lake about a 30 minute hack away, and tons of nice forested trails.

A typical scene

Moving where I have, I'm in a more residential area. When I had the horses at home years ago, I usually had to spend a bit of time on paved roads and sidewalks to get to the better riding. But, across the street at S's, she's built a lovely network of trails that directly access unlimited amounts of crown land. We could literally ride for weeks and never touch pavement.

I've been doing the odd neighborhood loop anyway, and it's somewhat amusing - Sophie happily walked everywhere through the forested part, through ditches, over bridges...but a fire hydrant and a storm drain almost had her pooping herself :) Civilization isn't something my two have seen a lot of, apparently. Bridget being Bridget, she's fine with everything, but the noise of the city bus driving past us had her looking twice.

Mostly, though, we've been hitting the new to us trails and enjoying some new scenery.

Look closely and you'll see some friends we took for a walk last night. They went ahead for a while, then hid in the bushes and let us pass, then popped out to follow us for a while longer. Bridget and her chestnut eared friend think they're big dogs and barely pay attention to them.

Friend S enjoying a spectacular view across to Vancouver Island.

600 privately owned waterfront acres that we have permission to ride on and rarely see anyone - just us and the wildlife. Just a little spoiled.

I'm terrible for not taking trail riding photos, which is a shame because our surroundings are stunning. Perhaps the different sights and new areas to explore will change that? I'll try!


Monday, 6 September 2021

All The Things

 What just happened?! I’ve gone from spending most of my riding time solo, to having some kind of social riding adventure organized nearly every day this week. Which, actually, is all sorts of fantastic and motivating.

One downside to riding with friends is we have so much to chat about we don’t get finished riding til dark

S and I have been good friends since we were kids, so this move to her place has been easy. I feel right at home and the transition for everyone has been seamless. In fact, it’s been so much fun we’re just going to make it a semi permanent arrangement and I’m going to stay indefinitely. My own place is right across the street and I still plan to move them there, but there’s plenty of work left to be done before it’s ready (if you hadn’t already guessed from the lack of barn progress updates this past month!) 

The girls might be happier here, there is a lot more grazing space

Bridget of course settled in as expected: located source of hay, had a nap, made friends with the over the fence neighbours later on her own time. Sophie of course doesn’t work like that at all at is sporting some interesting bite marks on her face, likely a result of bringing too much enthusiasm to the table. She’s not figured out keeping it low drama and having a respectful personal space bubble might earn her more friends, despite Bridget telling her quite clearly to behave herself. I have no idea why Bridget ever decided to take responsibility for raising Sophie right, but I 100% support her efforts :)

Cute temporary accommodations.

B has been out for a couple of nice trail rides this past week, and she was so HAPPY to get out there. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut of same old, same old, and forget how much horses like to see some different trail adventures and buddies now and then. So, that’s been wonderful - few things are better in this world than a nice trail ride on an enthusiastic Bridget pony, and we’re very spoiled for trail options right now. 

Sophie’s been surprisingly good too. Friend S has a ginormous trailer, so we’ve just been popping Sophie in hers and tagging along with them to the arena. Shockingly, she’s had zero drama surrounding that - not at all worried about the other horses, the different trailer, leaving Bridget at home, riding in a group. I’ve been able to hop on and have productive rides and she’s pretty much got right to work with minimal opinions. Who is this pony? 

Just chilling at the exhibition grounds and minding her own business.

In Sophie training updates, I’m still over here just trying to build strength and topline. She’s beautifully consistent in walk now - I have tons of adjustability and can pick up or give the reins without it affecting tempo or turning her into a giraffe. Trot is really solid again too, it’s mostly just the transitions where she loses balance a little and things can get funky. Still, it’s improving all the time. Today’s exercise was 15m to 20m and back spirals and she had some lovely moments when I got smart enough to use the leg yields to help set up the up and down transitions. You’ll still find me limiting most rides to less than 30 minutes - once I feel her starting to tire I give her a break, then go a little more so it’s me making the decision that we’re done, not her.

It’s been such a hot summer, everything bloomed and went to seed early. We’ve had cooler days lately which is a relief, riding and barn chores are much more bearable!

Mostly I’m just grateful the wild child of last winter seems to be on a long term hiatus - having a pony who shows up ready to work makes everything so much simpler and more fun. 

Bonus gratitude for changes resulting from last week’s sketchy situation resulting in nothing but better things for myself and my lucky is that!