Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Saturday, October 13, 2012

In Which I am Reminded to Dress More Warmly

The sun was still shining as we tacked up.
Friday afternoon, October 12.  Temperature 41 degrees.  A light, chilly breeze.  A bit of damp in the air.  Thickening clouds.  G and I loaded up Gimi, Rhio, and Kelso for a 10 minute ride up to the North Shore State Trail parking lot.  I, unfortunately, have been stuck in a rut thinking it's warmer and more pleasant outdoors than it actually has been recently.  I had just a bandana beneath my helmet, cotton tights, and summer riding gloves (read: completely uninsulated in three vital areas.) 
G and Gimi ready to ride!
For Gimi, this was his third trail ride away from home.  Everything was new and different.  We walked along getting comfortable in a new place, and I tried to ignore the tentacles of cold creeping into fingers and toes.  Rhio was settled and calm, which was great since he hasn't gotten out to ride in a couple of weeks.  Kelso's bell jingled pleasantly, and we watched or heard a total of four grouse flush away at our approach.  Gimi seemed to be handling the challenging terrain without missing a beat (this is our hilliest local trail) and I noticed that I could post the right diagonal just as easily as the left.  Wow!  This is new!  Typically, Rhio and I prefer to post the left diagonal - he breaks into a canter going up hill if I post the right diagonal, and on the flat he frequently bumps me back to the left if I am not paying careful attention.  I work on this a lot, and we have improved, but it is still very clear that his left diagonal is the easier one to post (for both of us.) 

So, what has changed since the last time I rode him?  Well, Dr. Claudia (http://www.claudiacottrell.com/claudia/Animals.html) did his first chiropractic adjustment.  I've never had him adjusted before, and I wouldn't say that I had a specific reason to have him adjusted now, but he has been competing at a higher level this season than ever before and I just wanted to do anything I could to support his hard work and keep him happy and comfortable.  We have one more ride coming up in a week - a 2-day 100 mile event, our first back-to-back 50 mile rides.  So, I had a performance horse wellness chiropractic visit, and only told Claudia that he is always tight on the right.  She didn't find any major issues, but the small issues she did find were all on the right.  I have to say, given yesterday's ride, this adjustment made a really big difference!  I am impressed, and now I know exactly when I need to call her again - when his right diagonal starts to feel difficult again.
The trail as we know it (yep, already bare of leaves...we won't see green leaves now 'till May!)
What the trail now looks like where they're logging.
Another issue we've always had - cantering on the (you guessed it) right lead.  I don't believe we've EVER cantered the right lead under saddle (he has no issues with either lead at liberty or on the lunge line.)  I wondered if the new development of easy posting on the right diagonal would translate into a right lead canter.  In short - nope.  I think, though, it is rider error plus perhaps he doesn't know at all what I want.  It would be great to take some lessons this winter. 
The whole gang crosses the bridge together!
We rode to the river, took Gimi across his first wooden bridge, and turned for home.  Along the way, our trail landscape has changed immensely with an active logging operation.  The horses were unfazed by the distant, noisy machinery.  I'm sure the logger never even knew we were there.  Beneath the darkening sky, the temp was dropping and I could barely feel my fingers.  We did a little more moving out on the way home, not asking too much of Gimi for either his mental or physical abilities, but trying to stay warm.  It's awful cold just sitting on a horse walking down the trail. 
The redone girth in action.
The sorry state it was in after its accidental washing.
I was happy to have my custom mohair girth back in action.  After the 75 miler at Charity Cup, I inadvertently tossed it in the washer with some polarfleece coolers, and it didn't fare too well.  Luckily, Vicki at Traditional Mohair Cinches  (http://traditionalmohaircinches.yolasite.com/) was able to repair it and it performed as well as ever for our 8+ mile ride. 
Just happy to be out - trying not to focus on being cold.


  1. Looks like a great day riding! I am so happy Rhio is performing better after his adjustment. We all do better if our spines are checked periodically...it affects the nervous system...and that controls everything. Hope the next ride goes well.:)

  2. I've notice a nice change in Bashir after his second chiropractic adjustment late July. Due to his left front club foot, he tends to carry himself a bit crooked and definitely favors the right lead. His sacrum can also get out of alignment due to being out of balance. He is now travelling straighter and feels great.