Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Monday, August 9, 2010

Gold Star

Kathy & Stormy on left, Gesa & Paco on right
One day last week we planned our last significant conditioning ride before Thistle Down Run next weekend, and Gesa's new boarder Kathy & her Quarter Horse mare Stormy came along.  We made the quick trek up the road to Boulder Lake; we haven't ridden there since May because it is typically horrendously buggy, but we thought we'd take our chances.  We were thrilled with few bugs (a sprinkling of pesky deer flies would bother the lead horse, but the followers were safe) and excellent footing, despite all the rain we've been receiving.  Red & Paco really needed to put on some decent trotting miles, but Kathy was willing to ride alone if it didn't work for her mare to move out at the speed & distance we were planning to do - so we set off through the trails at a walk to warm up. 

Red anticipates the trail ahead
Red was happy to lead, and set a nice trotting pace which Stormy had no trouble maintaining.  All three horses seemed comfortable together, and after the first few miles, Red was willing to give up the lead, and we switched places often.  Kelso ran along with us, with his bell on so all the horses knew where he was, and was happy to take a break when we came around to the lake the first time.  None of the horses drank from the lake either time we approached it, but both Stormy and Red dove into several mud puddles on trail and sucked them nearly dry.  That is something Paco will have to work on for the endurance trail! 

Kelso cooling off in the lake
After completing our loop in the "normal" direction, we turned around and did it again "backwards," so the horses got almost 14 miles of conditioning in 2 hours, mostly trotting with a little walking and some cantering, too.  Kathy & Stormy had no trouble at all maintaining our pace for the duration of the ride, and both earned a great big gold star in my book.  By the end of the ride, Gesa and I had started working on Kathy to sign up for a novice ride at Thistle Down (unfortunately not going to work out) - and to think about doing an LD at Point Chaser, the last MN ride of the year in October.  Hopefully we can get them to come to that one!  They both appeared to have enjoyed themselves immensely.  And Gesa & Paco, and I & Red loved having new, compatible training partners.  

Kathy & Stormy

Gesa & Paco, with Kathy, Stormy, & Kelso bringing up the rear

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