|Yup, I'm a champion. Now feed me.|
Since then, we've been plugging away at flatwork and conditioning rides, balancing days of more intense dressage with trail riding and long trots and canters around the property. While we're still resting our 'arena' field at home to let the grass really get a good start, the footing in the back of the property has dried out enough to allow for regular hard work to resume.
Last weekend, in keeping with my efforts to do more trail riding this year, we headed out to Tyler State Park with some foxhunting friends for the first really long, fast ride of the year.
And folks, when you trail ride with foxhunters, it's never leisurely, even when one of them is 78 years old! These people don't know how to relax.
Dino was, as per usual, true to his nickname of Wonder Pony. He's undoubtably the fittest of the bunch at this point in the year, and tackled everything we came across with ease. While he was certainly tired at the end of the 2.5 hour ride, he showed a lot more spunk than the younger horses on the way back to the trailers.
|U got any cookies??|
We also schooled a couple small XC fences and a very spooky looking ditch on our friend's property, which he was great for. The ditch was set into the terrain without any clearly defined borders such that it looked like just a dip in the grass until you were RIGHT on top of it, and then the narrow, dark hole appeared. Dino wasn't a fan! He had a bit of a "WHAT THE HECK IS THAT?!" refusal the first time over, but after a few passes back and forth he was cantering up to it, coiling up, and springing over.
I really felt like I re-established my cross country seat on this ride as well. Obstacles that usually make me very nervous, like fences with drop landings, down banks, and downhill jumps (do we see a pattern here?!) didn't cause me any anxiety whatsoever, and I was able to just sit chilly in the back seat, let my hips follow the motion, slip my reins, and ride forward. The fact that Dino was forward and locked onto each obstacle gave me a HUGE confidence boost, and I never felt like he wasn't going to get us down or over whatever was in our way.
So, we should be fine at our first horse trial of the season next week even though I haven't had a cross country lesson since last summer.