Monday 28 February 2022

Spring Fever

Friend S and I got out 3 times this past week for some trail riding, which we're chalking up as a big win given work, the still too short daylight, and the return of the monsoons. There's a figure eight type loop we can do right from her barn that's mostly on her property and completely away from any public roads. It takes about an hour and has a nice mix of terrain too - I'm feeling very spoiled!

Bridget continues to be absolutely ridiculously spicy - it's still hard to believe she used to be so quiet/dull. I still believe she must have just not liked life as a sport pony because she is definitely on the hot side and absolutely full of opinions since we moved 'home'. On one hand my supposedly well trained pony should be able to stand still and wait patiently,  on the other hand meh, she's done her time and I'll pick away at it if it persists -  for now I'm happy she's happy being No 1 Trail Pony.

Sophie started out the week excellently and devolved from there. I hate to blame it on hormones/being a mare - but maybe? We trailered to the club grounds yesterday and while there were plenty of the other horses there, she found one to be completely obsessed over to the point she could not think of anything else. Said horse was minding it's own business being longed and ridden on the other side of the arena. You know that noise horses that are strangers to each other make when they touch noses (and the striking and kicking)? S incorporated that into daily life for about half an hour, non stop. My ears! You can imagine her feelings when her new friend did not show any interest in her and left for home (Sophie: "without even whinnying goodbye!" lol). The other people in the area went to use the indoor (I wouldn't have wanted to share space with us either, honestly) which left us alone. Surprisingly that didn't trigger anything - it was just that one bay mare she could not reconcile living without. She's normally aware of what the other horses in the area are doing but not to the point of any prolonged distraction, or any drama at all, really. This was definitely an out of character reaction to that one horse.

So, a much longer longeing and groundwork session than I had planned, until I finally had her full cooperation. I felt kind of zen about it  - such is sometimes the way with younger horses, particularly ones who suddenly have an immediate urge to randomly scream, strike and kick at the air rather than just trot forward consistently.

Insert zen scenes from weekend hiking here

Previous me might have been worried about my horse not seeing me as an effective leader, etc, but I think the reality especially with young higher energy Sophies of the world is that it's give and take and there are still going to be days she finds harder than others to be a horse (and I ponder not owning horses)
Hiking is a great hobby ;)

I did get on eventually for a short ride, but pony was already so overdone she was a sweaty mess. No productive riding accomplished, more of a cool down. She did feel fantastic for the short ride I had and settled very quickly - perhaps I need to consider sucking it up, getting on, and giving her a job immediately next time. (Note to Universe: please no, lets just never revisit this weekend's drama)

We returned home to an unexpected welcoming committee -  Friend S's gelding had broken out and was trotting around the front yard looking for perhaps it is just spring. Bridget and S's other geldings were unconcerned so perhaps they haven't caught Spring Fever.


Tuesday 22 February 2022


 The last couple of weeks have definitely felt like spring is coming, but we're in for some freezing temps for a few days this week. Since most of the ground is still very wet and likely to freeze solid, I expect the ponies will need a day or three off from riding. Which is fine, we've been taking advantage of the trails and arena the last couple of weeks and are slowly getting back into the swing of things.

Bridget's up to about an hour's walking on the trails and we did a short arena ride this weekend too. She feels like a total mess in the ring, but what can I expect - we haven't taken anything seriously there for a while. It's a bit sad, but on the other hand it's interesting to me to compare Sophie pony who is the opposite and wants to carry herself forward and in balance, despite being younger and far greener. B is Best Pony Ever, but she does not find it so simple.

I wish previous me understood that better - logically I knew I was working very hard with Bridget, but at a base level I always thought I wasn't doing it 'good enough' because so many others seemed to have such an easier time of it with their horses. It was very easy to get discouraged with my riding. While I am sure there is some truth to that (I am lucky to know some very talented ladies) I think I need to give myself a belated pat on the back - B really makes you work for it!

 I'm just trying to keep her at a base level of fitness this year so being in foal isn't too hard for her. I have no plans on setting the show world on fire and the appalling flatwork will improve again as we both gain fitness. 

So cute tho

She's been very excited to be out and about and pony prance is a thing a lot of days so perhaps fitness will come sooner than expected ;)

Sophie has been fantastic. She's walking with a bit of trot in the arena now and has come back ready for it. She's filled out a bit over winter and generally seems to have continued to mature mentally. I hop in the saddle these days and am very happy with how she feels.

Happy ears <3

I had a 'cowboy clinic' penciled in to the calendar for Sophie in March/April, but we've since changed that to a two week visit, likely mid to late March. The 'cowboy' has access to extensive trails and they go out in large groups. They also hold busy events at their barn. Our quiet little lifestyle and rocky, walk only trails don't compare so I think two weeks trail riding and living at their barn is going to be excellent mileage for her and a good prep for life in general. A friend is sending her young horse too. We're hoping to get over there for a couple of long weekends of riding (it's on Vancouver Island so a bit of a journey for us), otherwise the crew there will be getting them out for us.

I'm pretty excited for this - we can do all the clinics we like but it would be hard to round up a group of people here to go for a gallop or even a more adventurous trail ride. I feel like this will translate really well to busy warm ups, cross country schooling, showing in general and of course having a solid trail horse! 

I would like to have Sophie quite fit prior to her going so that's adding to my motivation to get her out often this next month or so.


Monday 7 February 2022

Blah Blah Blah Horses

What did I actually even do this week? It really feels like time is flying.

A quick look through my camera and cell phone pictures shows that I actually did plenty. The weather was quite nice this past weekend and is projected to stick around most of this week. It's tricking my brain into thinking spring is here and it's time to get back to work on the barn and to tidy my garden spaces for planting.

 Since it's realistically only the beginning of Feb and we're far from free from potential freezing (and lots of mud) those inclinations will have to wait. Luckily, I also have spring horsey goals and this time of year is perfect for preparing for spring by getting the horses in shape again.

Sophie continues to be longed or hand walked on the trails every second day. I took her for her first public arena outing of 2022 this weekend and she was super chill and happy to be out. I just brought my longeing gear, thinking she'd be a wild child, but I really could have just hopped on and rode. I don't know if I've mentioned here before, but she sees the trailer getting hooked up and gets really excited - she loves outings and trailer rides, even if she's going solo. I was happy to see that hasn't changed over winter. She's so cute.

Less cute was farrier day when I almost suggested leaving her hinds for next time. She's such an awful mare some days, then sweet as anything the next. She's well aware of boundaries, but in typical mare fashion likes her opinions on things to be known. Luckily (?) she's super busy minded so you see what she's feeling in the moment, then it's on to the next.

Not like Ms Holds A Grudge For Eternity over here lol

Bridget gets a longe and a couple of outings a week too, but more to just keep her sane. She's been WILD, which with Sophie being quite businesslike and agreeable, makes for a funny contrast.

She thinks she's seriously intimidating and my laughing is not appreciated

Older does not equal quieter (or wiser) apparently. 

We did out for a nice hack with a friend yesterday. Given the warm weather and Bridget's shocking winter coat, she came back a sweaty mess after 45min of walking. 

The sun is shining! Unlike Sophie, B is NOT excited to go back to work.

Which brings me to the exciting bit - all the horses are shedding their winter coats! Spring really is coming (sometime ;)

I'm going to be covered in hair for the foreseeable.