Boy do I love a long, fast ride on my boy Red.
Beth is here to visit for the weekend, so we got up this morning after a lovely evening spent catching up & enjoying great burgers and awesome microbrews at Fitger's Brewhouse (http://www.brewhouse.net/2005/), and headed out to saddle up. I had ridden Red over to Meadowbrook last night and he hung out in the round pen overnight. He also managed to rearrange some of the round pen panels overnight...silly boy. Thankfully no injuries from that little episode! We tried Beth's saddle on both horses to decide who she would ride - it fit Rhio better, so she rode him. I was happy to ride Red, as I don't ride him as much as I do Rhio, since Red is not being conditioned for competition this year. I booted Red's fronts (1 Epic & 1 Bare, as that's what I have) and Rhio all the way around (Renegades in front, Gloves behind plus fetlock boots because he interferes behind when in hoof boots).
Red hanging in the round pen Friday night (and worried about the alpacas all the way across the farm!).
We set off down the road to Jodi's house and ran into a lot of traffic on Emerson Rd, which is a paved road with a very narrow shoulder and one of my least favorite places to ride. It's the easiest/shortest route from my house to Jodi's, however, so we endured it. The horses were behaving well and Beth was getting to know Rhio a little bit. Jodi & Rhonda tacked up quickly when we got there, and all four of us set off for a fast loop through the gravel pits, ski trail, & snowmobile trail near where Jodi's in-laws live.
I was very happy to have Red's running martingale tucked in my saddle bag, because I sure needed it today! It's been a long time since he got to go for a zippy ride in a group, and he was pretty excited. The running martingale reminds him to stay in my zone! We stopped for a quick tack adjustment before crossing Rice Lake Rd, about a mile from Jodi's, and I quickly added his running martingale and had a great ride from then on. That first mile he wanted to run, and wanted to lead, and wanted to ignore me! As soon as the martingale is on, he listens and still moves out strongly but doesn't try to rush.
We had a fast ride through the trails, which is a balance challenge when you're not used to it (for horses & riders alike!) and Beth was a champ keeping up with an unfamiliar horse and not being used to that kind of speed when riding. All the horses behaved very well, and we did a total of about 16 miles in a little over 2 hours.
Beth & Rhio as we set off from Meadowbrook.
Jodi & Rana on the left, Beth & Rhio on the right, and Rhonda & Snickers in the distance on the right.
It was interesting & informative to watch Rhio move with the boots on. I haven't been able to see him move booted before. I thought he looked good in the back end, and actually didn't seem to be forging all that much, but I wasn't too pleased with his movement in the front end. With the boots, he has a lot of extra knee action (from the weight? or just the feel of boots?) and really seems to slap his heels down. He also didn't seem to extend into his floaty trot. When Beth & I arrived at Jodi's, he had managed to twist his left front boot on his hoof, so it was all caddy-wampus. That was a first. I fixed it, and he didn't seem to have any other boot issues. After the ride, he had no rubs anywhere. But, watching him go did confirm that I would prefer to have him in shoes. I hope this hoof crack from his coronary band injury this winter grows out soon!
We noticed on our way home past the little lakes in the area that the dragonflies are out en masse! That must mean the nasty biting insects are out too, and I did notice a surge in the mosquito population when I was working in the garden last night. Red is especially bothered by the bugs, even ones that don't bite, because he hates having anything bonking him in the head. I had a lot of head tossing while we trotted through the swarms of darting dragonflies! He is famous for tucking his chin to his chest anytime he has to move into the rain, as he hates having raindrops hit him in the face as well. Silly boy!
On the way home - both of us are sweaty, tired, and happy!