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Selena Ride 34; Wizard Ride 106: How Mr Spanky got lost in the woods

October 7, 2009

Barn Kitty Autumnal Still Life II

Monday, 10/5/09

Rode Wizard on the trails with Mary the Morgan and her owner. The daylight faded as we headed out so it was dark before we even finished the first leg of the trail. The moon was bright so it helped us when it peeked out from behind the clouds. The main trail is covered with a light-colored sand so it is easy to follow even in the dark. The trail from the road to that main path, on the other hand, is quite dark, narrow, and winding.

It was the ultimate trust exercise to allow Wizard to work independently of me. I could not see the dark trail so I had to rely on his navigation skills while keeping a light contact on the reins. Mary’s owner and I kept talking as we rode, both to scare deer away and keep the horses focused on each other. We wore reflective safety vests and Mary’s owner also wore a blinking light on her back to alert drivers when we crossed the road to and from the barn.

Wizard was quite good on the main path- he broke into a little trot a few times but a half halt brought him back easily. The dark trail back to the barn is very difficult to spot from the main path, but Wizard knew exactly where it was, way before I realized it. He brought us back on the trail back home with no problem. On that trail, he began to do his speedy Wizard Walk, which left Mary at a disadvantage. While Mary has a lovely walk and will surely get great scores for it in dressage tests, it is not quite as fast as Wizard’s so we kept creeping ahead of them. At one point, Mary lost sight of us and both horses got a little jumpy but it was over quickly. As we got closer to the barn, Wizard fussed a bit and did one crow-hop but continued his walk and halted when it was needed.

For the entire ride, I kept my dressage whip (playfully named Mr Spanky) tucked under my arm. Wizard never needs a whip but I carry it just in case. On the way back, I forgot about Mr Spanky for a moment and lifted my arm. He fell into the woods and there was no way I was going to hop off and find him in pitch black darkness. Mr Spanky is a lovely green Fleck whip and I’ll have to send out a search party one of these days.

We arrived at the barn (ahhhhh- bright light!) without further incident. It was a great experience for me to ride Wizard in a more challenging situation because it showed me that we are beginning to get more comfortable with one another.

I scrubbed his legs (yes, we still have bugs!) and gave him his bedtime alfalfa.

Selena’s ride was far less exciting ;^) We warmed up in the indoor arena at a walk, first walking on the rail, then doing circles at intervals. We worked up to a trot and I worked on broken lines and circles at intervals. She’s beginning to relax her neck and round it a bit. After working at the trot, we did some walk-trot transitions at the base of the circles, followed by shoulder-in at the walk. I cooled her out by asking her to stretch her neck down at the trot and then the walk. Selena is getting fitter and more supple. It’s interesting how we hit little plateaus every few rides, followed by breakthroughs, which seem to happen after she gets a few days off.

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