Rhio looking ahead to trail he's never seen before
Disclaimer: In case you are excited to read about our encounter with a moose, I want to dash your hopes right now. This ride has absolutely nothing to do with a moose encounter. I have not yet had the "pleasure" of encountering a moose while horseback.
Thursday morning I had the great good fortune to be able to borrow Christine's truck and trailer, and take Rhio to Gesa's house to do some hill work. We have about 1.5 miles of road riding to get to Moose Mountain, a grassy two-track trail going up to the power line through the Moose Mountain Scientific & Natural Area (state land). The road to get there is particularly unpleasant, with narrow shoulders and many uneducated/inconsiderate drivers plus a small bridge to cross (no shoulder here at all) that has a hill on both sides (so it's hard to see traffic before you cross). But the half mile of hill up to the power line is golden! What a great training hill! I'm sure there is a way to figure out the slope with my GPS, but I don't know what it is. I do know the hill starts gradual, gets very steep, and levels out at the top. We did it a total of 4 times, 3 at a trot all the way and 1 cantering most of it. Both Paco & Rhio had heart rate monitors on, though we had some technical difficulties with Paco's. Rhio's heart rate went to about 175 when trotting up the hill and just topped 200 at a canter.
Our first trip up the hill
We also did a little exploring to augment our hill work, meandering along the power line to get a nice panoramic view.
Me & Rhio posing by the power line - the view is much more magnificent in real life than this photo can show!
Gesa & Paco enjoying the view as well
And to cool down, we explored a 4 wheeler trail which lead, via some deep sticky mud, to a deer stand and then out into somebody's field. The mud got the best of the Renegade boots, sucking them off Rhio's front hooves, but luckily I happened to glance down & spot them so was able to retrieve them. I attached them to his breastcollar for the rest of the ride, which made for a funny view from the saddle and made my white horse absolutely filthy where the mud & sweat mingled & slid down his shoulders!
View from the saddle - just above the lime green saddle pack you can see the Renegades hanging off either side of Rhio above his shoulders. Unfortunately they are dark green, so they kind of blend into the grass background.
We made it home without incident, after a very enjoyable two hours and about 8 miles total (it wasn't a fast ride, that's for sure!). I loved doing this hill work, as I felt my horse got a good strength & cardio workout without it being too stressing on his legs. The footing is good (I wouldn't have needed the boots at all) and there was plenty of green grass to munch & puddles to drink out of. I think the horses enjoyed it, too.
our happy companions
Rhio post-ride and pre-hosing, hanging in Gesa's barn (and I forgot to take the "after" pic to show how pretty he looks actually clean!)