Fitter Than I Thought

This post brought to you by one hungry donk
It's been a productive week of riding post-event. I did a little dressage school on Tuesday, did a flatwork-intensive trail ride Wednesday, and Thursday I decided to do a conditioning ride.

I wavered back and forth over whether or not conditioning was a good choice for a 90 degree day, but  it was also nice and breezy, and I figured that it would be a good barometer of just how fit we were and help prepare us for less-than-optimal competition conditions. Since I plan on showing in July and August, it's likely that heat and humidity will be a factor.

So I took it easy and started out with 3-minute trot sets with 1 minute rest periods in between. Dino was bright and handled the hills easily, and I asked him to come on the bit occasionally to reinforce that, yes, he needs to carry himself when I ask because 800lb is too much for me to hold up in my puny little hands.

I just adore this handsome dude. 
Then a dog came blasting out of the neighbor's house barking like crazy and spooked Dino pretty badly, and it looked like it was considering chasing us.

So at that point I decided to take our ride a little closer to home and out of dog-chasing range, and finished up the trot work in the big field.

Remember how the last time I did canter sets I forgot my watch and just rode 3x around the big back field and called it good, assuming each go around lasted about 1 minute?

Well I remembered my watch this time, and it turns out that each loop takes 1.5 minutes, so three loops was was 4.5 minutes. I kept each canter to 3 minutes this time because of the heat, but it really made me feel awesome that Dino and I easily completed 4-minute-plus sets last time with plenty of energy left! Yet another small step towards Beginner Novice.

After two very nice canters with neither of us feeling like death, I took the WonderPony for a walk in the woods to cool down in the shade. I also discovered a creek back there that I had no idea existed! Dino was not as excited as I was about using it to practice for the water complex.

I squeezed and kicked and tapped and poked and cajoled, and Dino made it very clear that he did NOT want to go in that creek. So I hopped off, and walked him up to the edge on foot, where Mr. I-Don't-Like-Puddles reached down and sniffed the water. He seemed to feel better about it after that, and I got back on to continue the process of getting him in the water with me on his back.

While hesitant, Dino waded into the creek after he was given time to investigate. We splashed around, came out, and went back in 3 or 4 times until he was walking in calmly and without hesitation. EuroPony got lots and lots of pats and praise for braving potential crocodiles and wading in the creek!

We are gonna walk in that dang creek every single day from now until he's broke to the water.

This might take a while.


  1. getting chased by a dog is very high on my list of 'things i hope never happen while riding'... very neat that your conditioning work is paying off too. i actually don't really focus much on actual straight up conditioning, tho maybe regretted that while walking our course at waredaca. isabel made it through ok... but we can probably do better with a little more planning. also - good luck w the creek! maybe Dino will end up with the opposite problem from isabel: creeks are from the devil but nice manicured water complexes are nbd haha

    1. Yeahhhh the dog freaked me out even though he didn't ACTUALLY chase us... the fact that he was thinking about it was scary. You also have the benefit of riding an Arabian! I don't think I'd focus so much on fitness if I rode an Arab or a TB, but with a Cushingoid WB pony, I like to err on the side of him being over-fit. I think Dino and Isabel are both too cautious about water for their own good!

  2. Aww not a water baby. :) Whenever horses lean in my hands I think of the aliens from the simpsons saying

    1. I LOVE THE SIMPSONS. That is a hilarious mental image!

  3. Creek crossings. UGH. Unless they are incredibly inviting (like, imperceptible slope down, sandy, etc) Dassah throws a fit. I just found a creek crossing close by on our trails so I am determined to cross that creek at least once a week.

    Huzzah for being so fit!

  4. So cool you have a creek to practice with! I have a water hating horse, and it's bone dry where we board.

  5. Practice, practice, practice! You guys will get it soon!


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