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A Summer of Thoroughbreds… Colby’s Story

June 3, 2013

4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding- intake photos for Helping Hearts Equine Rescue

I wish the month of May was 57 days long. There are not enough hours in the day to attend all the horse shows, races, and events that I want to see each year. On Memorial Day weekend, I visited Helping Hearts Equine Rescue in Perrineville, NJ and took some photos of the rescue’s newest intake, an off-the-track Thoroughbred named Colby.

With a quick glance, you might guess that Colby is older than he really is. Although he is turning 4 in mid-June, his thin frame and the long guard hairs in his coat give him the look of a horse many times his actual age. Under his patchy coat lies a case of rainrot. His left knee is swollen, and he’s recovering from a whopping hoof abscess.

4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding- intake photos for Helping Hearts Equine Rescue

As a newcomer to the rescue, Colby will spend 30 days in a quarantine stall and paddock. While he acclimates to the farm, his treatments and medical evaluations will begin. He will be evaluated by a veterinarian, dewormed, his rainrot will be treated, and he will be put into a specialized feeding program.

After quarantine ends, Colby will meet his fellow rescues, and spend time grazing, playing, and de-stressing in the farm’s large pastures. When he’s ready, his training evaluations will begin, and he will prepare to become an adoptable horse.

4-year-old Thoroughbred gelding- intake photos for Helping Hearts Equine Rescue

Colby’s body tells the story of a difficult winter, but the sparkle in his eye and his baby-faced expression tell the story of his bright future. In the capable hands of Lisa Post and the rest of the Helping Hearts team, Colby will receive the rehabilitation and training that he needs to start his new life.

If you’re interested in donating to the rescue for Colby’s care, you can send a Paypal donation to hheartsequine@optonline.net, or visit the HHER website for other donation options. HHER is a 501(c)(3) charity, and horses like Colby are nursed back to health through the generosity of donations and the commitment of dedicated volunteers.

Please check back for new photos and updates about Colby, as well as other Thoroughbreds I meet this summer.

Wizard Rides 493 & 494: Walking With Thee

June 2, 2013

The wonderful Wizard, all gussied up for springtime photos

Sunday, 6/2/13

I took Wizard on a trail ride with Kris and Sunny. For the first time, we rode in the LG Bridle- I’ve used it in the arena before, but never on trails. We rode at a walk, and went just under 3 miles. The LG Bridle was fine for what we were doing, but I definitely felt a loss of refinement and control. Wizard was more independent and also a bit more “looky,” but nothing that was bad enough to prevent me from riding in it again.

Saturday, 6/1/13

Wizard got his monthly dose of Pentosan, and I rode him in the outdoor arena. My back is recovering from a three-day photopgraphy spree, so I had to take it easy. We worked on our walk-trot transitions, and he volunteered a canter depart or two. Because he had a few days off, he was full of a little steam, so I used that extra spring in his step to my advantage, and we diligently worked on our lateral work, both leg yields and shoulder-in. I also did an exercise that has no name and that I sort of made up: I ask him to trot down the center line, and then ask him to swing his hindquarters to the right, then left, then right again. It helps me keep my leg aids even, and it helps to keep him even.

We trotted a cross rail, and Wizard ignored my back stiffness and leapt over it from three feet away. Fortunately, it did not jar anything loose, and I was fine. By the end of the ride, I was sunburnt, and Wizard was pretty sweaty, so he got a nice hosedown. Ahhh, summer.

Wizard Rides 490, 491, & 492: Heat Wave

May 29, 2013

Wizard

Tuesday, 5/28/13

Before work, Wizard and I went on a short and sweet trail ride. We covered about 3.3 miles at a walk and a trot, in a reverse and shortened pattern from Monday’s ride. We have a heat wave on the horizon, so I was glad to get a few cool-weather rides in before we see temperatures in the 90s.

Monday, 5/27/13

Wizard and I went out for a trail ride with Christie and Brigid. We covered about 4.3 miles at a walk and a trot, down the big long field, around the edge of the Horse Park, and up the back of the bowling pin field. This was our first ride with a good amount of trotwork in the company of another horse this year, and Wizard mostly handled it really, really well. He scampered into a tense canter once up a hill when the horses were more bunched together, but he was great the rest of the time, and even let Brigid ride next to him and pass him for a few moments. Baby steps make a great trail horse.

After the ride, Wizard got a bath and I took some conformation photos. I also found some %&$*%&$* ticks at the very bottom of the dock of his tail, where I missed with the Frontline spray. I need to be more thorough next time.

Sunday, 5/26/13

Wizard and I rode in the outdoor arena with Christie and Brigid. We did a less thorough warmup than usual, because I did not want to do jumping work at the very end. We walked on a loose rein at a productive walk, then trotted on large circles, then worked on transitions from walk to trot to walk. We did some shoulder-in and then trotted two trot poles to a cross rail, followed by a leg yield to the edge of the arena to keep him focused. Then, we took the same jump line from last time, trotting a placing pole to a cross rail and cantered one stride to a small vertical. I was hoping for a nice approach to the jump line due to all the nice flatwork we’ve been doing, but Wizard exceeded my expectations and gave a round, balanced approach to all the fences. I was really, really happy with the way he jumped, and ended on a good note.

Wizard Rides 487, 488, & 489: Bummer in the Summer

May 26, 2013

No bit? No problem for The Wizard. He takes his cross rails much more seriously than his friend Sunny does.

WHAT is going on with this weather? Remind me next year that it was so cold and rainy that the horses had to wear sheets on Memorial Day Weekend in 2013. Where is summer?

Tuesday, 5/21/13

Before work, I rode Wizard in the arena. I took him through all his paces, warming up at a free walk, then working on a large circle at a trot, then working on transitions between walk and trot. We worked on serpentines at a walk and a trot, and then popped over the cross rail a few times, followed by a gymnastic line with a pole to a cross rail with one stride to a 2′ vertical. We then worked on just a few canter departs, which were still rough, but I felt a little improvement.

Wednesday, 5/22/13

On account of all the ticks we have in New Jersey, I applied Frontline spray to Wizard’s legs and tailhead. He had a few crusties on his tail, and I’m guessing they are bites. My vet advised applying the spray every two weeks.

We rode on the trails as the sun set. We only went 3.68 miles (walking and trotting) because we were battling darkness. Wizard was responsive, but pretty keyed up, and was on alert for every little sound we heard on our ride. He walked home nicely, and was a good navigator when we had to get through an unfamiliar treeline gap.

Saturday, 5/25/13

In the evening as the weather changed from cold and rainy to milder and blustery, I rode Wizard in the outdoor arena. Before I rode, I turned him loose in the ring. He ran and ran and ran, tail flagged, snorting merrily. He enjoyed the run.

I tacked him up, and warmed up at a marching walk on a loose rein, followed by trot work in half the arena. The wild wind had Wizard on his toes, and he was a hot ride. He was responsive and forward, but did not have a lot of step in his gaits. He did the “sewing machine” trot for a lot of the ride. The wet arena did not help his stride length, either, despite the face that I saw him gallop around the arena like Secretariat while he was loose ;^)

We did our walk-trot transition work, but it made Wizard curl behind the bit. To get him back on the aids and to open his throatlatch a little, I added some lateral work to the repertoire, with leg yields and shoulder-in at a walk and trot. We trotted over the little cross rail just a few times to spice up the ride, and leg yielded after it.

I also worked on a leg yield from the quarter line to the rail, with a canter depart when we reached the rail. This exercise really gets Wizard on the outside rein and keeps him on a nice bend, which gives us a better transition to the canter, and a better chance of picking up the correct lead. The right lead transitions were best, interestingly, since left is usually his “quiet” lead. But on the left lead, he threw one fair-sized buck, followed by a few slightly better canter transitions. Practice, practice, practice.

He was pretty keyed up from all this “exciting” work, so I played quite a bit with getting a walk out of him without him curling behind the bit or chewing too frantically. It took a while, but he was back to some semblance of relaxed by the time our ride ended.

Wizard Ride 486: This Will Be Our Year

May 20, 2013

Wizard

Monday, 5/20/13

I don’t know if it’s the magical saddle, the magical new bridle, the spring grass, the riding lessons, the Pentosan injections, or a combination of everything, but Wizard and I had one of our best rides ever, and certainly the best ride of the year. We rode a loop around the park at sunset, walking and trotting for about 4.1 miles. I’d guess that we trotted between 1/3 and 1/2 of the ride, including the HORSE PARK! Yes, Wizard felt comfortable enough on the cross country field to trot in a sensible fashion in the footsteps of my eventing idols. In the past, Wizard could only muster a tense walk or a nervous bounce, but he was loose and willing and relaxed and snorting happily through a good portion of the field.

A really nice thing that I inadvertently taught him is to walk when he feels unsure about something. If we rounded a corner at a trot and something looked out of place or like something that required a second look, he did not scoot or rush, but instead slowed to a walk. That is a great way to handle things in my book! And his downward transitions feel really nice, as if he’s taking a page from our riding lesson books and applying it to our trail work.

Around curves, I was able to ask for a little bend. Wizard felt surefooted and relaxed throughout the entire ride- no stumbling or hinting that he would like to go home. It felt like he would have ridden another 10 miles if I let him. The weather sharply changed from the cool mist on Sunday, and the air was pretty warm and humid. I saw indigo buntings, rabbits, and deer. The air is heavy with that summertime scent- I’m not sure if it’s honeysuckle, but it’s the smell of summer for sure. And I saw my first firefly of the year.

We trotted up the red sandy path, and when we reached the final stretch toward home, Wizard relaxed into a swingy, rhythmic walk and strolled all the way home.

His weight looks just about perfect. He’s gets 4lbs of feed twice a day. He’s eating a mix of Pennfield Energized Senior (for flavor), Purina Ultium (for calories), and Triple Crown Senior (for fat). The spring grass in his pasture is doing the rest of the wonderful work. This weekend, I “banged” his tail, taking about 4 inches off the bottom, both cleaning up the sunbleached ends and shortening the tail a little for tick protection. It looks very sharp, and he looks a bit like a proper show horse. Now we just have to act the part :^)

Wizard Rides 484 & 485: Miles Away

May 19, 2013

Trot poles to a little cross rail

Saturday, 5/18/13

I discovered runmap.me and I’m hopelessly hooked- I can map my trail rides and measure how far we rode. I’m sure I could do the same thing with a smartphone, but that would require me to get a smartphone (I’m stubbornly avoiding it).

On Saturday, Wizard and I rode for 4.68 miles. We rode past the log cabin, out the side field, and trotted up the “bowling pin” hill. Wizard was so fresh and happy to be out that he was purring/”truffling” LOUDLY- he was so snorty it made me laugh. He sounded like the racehorses when they step out on the track for a morning jog. We rode across the fields in a serpentine pattern as a schooling exercise. When I crossed my own path, I could feel Wizard nudging me to head back to the barn. He listened, though, when I told him to go on. He was very good when we rode through the Horse Park, and spooked once for good reason when some clumsy creature crashed through the treeline. Wizard was able to hold his trot on a variety of terrains without breaking to a canter. He stumbled a few times in the beginning of the ride, but as he warmed up, he felt more surefooted. When we returned to the barn, he was sweaty under the saddle, but cool otherwise. I cleaned my tack while he enjoyed some fresh spring grass. His weight looks just about perfect now- the grass really filled him out nicely.

Sunday, 5/19/13

Kris and I took a walk in the Assunpink for about 1.8 miles, followed by a short ride in the outdoor arena. I only had about 12 minutes to ride in the arena, so we did some trot, walk, canter transitions. After a few attempts, we actually got something pretty nice at the canter. I brought him right back down to a trot, and we took a tiny cross rail a few times at a walk and trot, followed by a leg yield to the rail. When he tried to rush it at the trot, we walked to it. For a quickie ride, we got some nice work accomplished.

Wizard Rides 482 & 483: Heaven and Hell

May 17, 2013

No bit? No problem for The Wizard. He takes his cross rails much more seriously than his friend Sunny does.

Wednesday, 5/15/13

After work, Wizard and I went for a ride in the Assunpink for about an hour. I focused on “equitating” during the ride, keeping contact instead of dropping it, and being more aware of my seat and hands. We did little trot sets for a few minutes at a time, and even got brave and walked through the edge of the Horse Park again. Wizard was a little looky, but behaved throughout the ride. When we returned, I rode him in the arena for about 20 minutes, doing a little canter work and working on our bending exercises in preparation for Friday’s lesson.

The slow turn from spring to summer seems to be starting here in New Jersey. The grass in the fields is springing up, and the TICKS are out in full force. Baby rabbits are everywhere, and the twilight lasts just a bit longer each day.

Friday, 5/17/13

Before work, Wizard and I had a lesson with Lisa. I had him warmed up at a marching walk when Lisa arrived, and we picked up contact and began our work.

All my homework of bending my elbows and sitting in the saddle instead of hovering seemed to help, because Lisa did not have to remind me about either of them much during the lesson. We started out where we left off in our first lesson on about half the ring, establishing a rhythm in the trot and asking for softness with the inside rein while keeping the outside rein steady for him. Once we got some moments of good bend and contact, we opened up the trot work to the entire arena a few times, keeping our 20-meter bend around the entire ring, followed by walk-trot transitions. When we transitioned to a walk, Lisa was clear that we should go “forward into a walk,” in order not to fall into that bad habit of sort of slumping from a working trot into a lazy walk. We also worked on the walk-to-trot transitions, oozing up into a trot instead of jolting out of balance.

We did a few smaller circles at a trot in each direction, transitioning to a walk when we reached the rail at the end of the circle. The transitions got Wizard engaging his hind end more, and took him a little off his forehand. In the beginning of the ride, he tripped once or twice, but I felt nothing clumsy for the second half of the lesson as he got more supple and balanced.

When our trot work was looking good, Lisa asked us to do a canter transition. We did the left lead first, and it was not pretty. All the nice bend and engagement that we had at the trot flew out the window. Wizard reverted to his nervous habit of curling behind the bit and slinging his neck downward. I sat up, continued my conversation with my inside rein while using my inside leg to get him back into some sort of bend. Lisa was more interested in the transitions, and not as much in cantering around the arena a zillion times. We picked up the right lead on the second attempt, and although it was less pretty than the left lead, I had a plan, and was able to keep him together a little better. When we transitioned to the trot, Lisa had us do a circle at the trot. All the little pieces and patterns helped both me and Wizard. We were not just floundering around the ring aimlessly. We had transitions to keep us balanced, circles to keep the shape, and the tools to work on this cantering stuff.

We ended the lesson with trot work, trying to get Wizard to open up his throatlatch and soften his trot, like he did in the beginning of the lesson. Often times, it’s tempting for a rider to end with the “exciting” stuff, like cantering or jumping, but it’s helpful for a horse like Wizard to have a cooldown period to get back into the happy trot work and then cool down from the ride. He wanted to ride behind the bit, but I used my leg to push him up and forward, and gave a little flick of the outside rein when he slung his neck down. Stretching into the bit is good, but when he slings his neck down or swings his haunches to the inside, he pushes through the aids. It took a few minutes, but he softened and we ended the lesson with a nice trot.

Our homework: Work on the transitions at all gaits. At the trot, go “forward into a walk” for four steps, and ooze back up into a trot. Use the circles to work on bending. Keep tackling the canter work in small pieces as movements and components, like a dressage test. Do the excellent exercise of a leg yield at a trot and transition into a canter when we reach the rail (great way to get the horse on the inside leg and outside rein). Incorporate jump and pole work into our rides. Trot a cross rail, and then leg yield after the jump. Don’t let him get into the mode of ’round and ’round the arena. Use the exercises to keep Wizard keen and balanced. Work toward being light and lifting the withers. In the words of the great Walter Zettl, ride up into heaven, not down into hell.

Wizard Rides 477, 478, 479, 480, & 481: Nature

May 14, 2013

No bit? No problem for The Wizard.

Oh boy, I did that thing again. I might be missing a ride in here somewhere, but this is basically how we spent the last week…

Monday, 5/6/13

Kris and I took Wizard and Sunny on a quick trail ride before work. Mostly walking with a little stretch of trotting.

Wednesday, 5/8/13

The weather conspired against me, and left the arena a little too sticky to do more than some simple trot work. It was a shame, since Wizard was feeling WONDERFUL from his Pentosan shot on Monday. That stuff is great- it helps him feel very fluid and very responsive to the aids (in a good way). We kept our work to straight lines and very large circles and ended our ride at dark. I tried to make sure to practice our work from our lesson with Lisa, since we have another lesson scheduled for next Friday.

Friday, 5/10/13

After work, Wizard and I headed out into the Assunpink for a quick ride before dark. Interestingly, I’ve come to the conclusion that he seems to ride best on the trails alone. I’m not sure if it’s a competition thing or a walking speed thing, but we’ve had some AMAZING rides alone this spring. Friday was no exception, and Wizard earned some extra carrots for his bravery.

We rode out past the log cabin and did some trot work on the “bowling pin” hill. As we crested the hill, I saw two deer at the treeline. The deer saw us, but were frozen. I could not tell if Wizard saw them, and I was afraid we’d get really close to them, flush them, and scare the horse. So, in typical Jersey Girl fashion, I hollered at them to move. I shouted, I waved my arms, I clapped my hands. Nothing. I hope they figure this out before hunting season!

When we got a little closer, they decided it was time to melt into the woods. As they left, I felt Wizard shudder, crouch to the right, but hold his ground. Before we could see it, Wizard heard a THIRD %^&*$&*@ deer, who bolted across this gigantic field RIGHT past us and toward his friends. The deer startled me as much as it startled Wizard, but to his credit, he kept his feet planted and just watched the wacky deer, who had 6,500 acres of wilderness to run free, come within a few feet of horse and rider. GOOD, GOOD Wizard!

I continued my Jersey-style yelling at nature when a cat refused to get off our path, telling him to get out of the way of the giant horse. Nature just doesn’t respect me. Maybe it’s because I broke the silence of a beautiful evening with my nagging of the deer and felines.

Sunday, 5/12/13

The folks at Jersey Fresh really lucked out with weather this year. Minutes after the cross country, the thunderstorms began. Saturday’s rain left the arena wet yet again, so I took Wizard out on the trails again after work on Sunday. Before I rode, I turned him loose in the indoor arena for a few minutes to let him blow off a little steam. He appreciated it, and leapt around like a fool. Funny, since he has a few acres of grass and a hill where he lives 24/7, but for some reason, turnout time in the arena is often playtime. We were chasing daylight (as usual!), and trotted all the fields on the way out and walked all the fields on the way back in. Wizard got an A+++ for the ride. He was willing, responsive, and it felt like he was enjoying himself. A year ago, he was not able to trot on the trails much without breaking into a tense canter. All our miles have helped him, and now he’s getting the hang of it.

Monday, 5/13/13

Before work, Kris and I rode in the outdoor arena. The footing was slightly sticky, but good enough for circle work and a few little cross rails. On the flat, Wizard was a bit of a bugger, ducking behind the bit and riding behind my leg during our warmup. The geldings in the adjacent field were in a tizzy over the cycling mares, and one was glued to the fence watching Sunny. Wizard was NOT pleased with this, and put on his best cranky face every time we rode anywhere on that side of the arena. It took a bit of focused work and changes of bend before he settled in and began to listen to me. Once he was on the aids, we trotted two trot poles to a tiny cross rail a few times. He bustled through it the first two times, but then we re-organized and had a much better attempt the last time. We moved on to a placing pole 9 feet before two cross rails one stride apart. Over the first line, I realized I was getting ahead of him, so when we took the second line, I really, really focused on my hip angle. I waited and worked hard not to duck or get ahead over the jump. I was rewarded with a perfect jumping effort, and Wizard was rewarded when I dismounted immediately after his excellent effort. I find that it is a nice reward for him when I occasionally jump out of the saddle immediately following a really nice effort like that.

Wizard Rides 471, 472, 473, 474, 475, & 476: Big School

May 4, 2013

This kinda tells the whole story of our schooling adventure at a local dressage show on Sunday... Me: "Thanks for not bucking me off today." Wizard: "I wanna go HOME!"

Wednesday, 2/24/13

After work, I hustled to the barn and rode Wizard out in the grassy paddock behind the outdoor arena. We’ve never ridden in that field before, and it was a great exercise for our upcoming schooling session at the dressage show on Sunday.

Except he pulled his left front shoe about 10 minutes into the ride.

Note to self: don’t ride anything faster than a walk on the grass with this horse.

Thursday, 4/25/13

With Wizard’s new shoes on, I rode in the arena with Kris and Sunny. We worked on our lateral exercises at the trot, and I decided to do some canter work with him. It was the most we’ve cantered so far since I got the saddle. It was good, and bad, and sometimes ugly, and then good again. We got a pretty good canter going to the left, and then ti took a bit of doing to get the same result to the right. He likes to throw his hind end to the inside of the circle to the right, so I worked to keep him straight. We ended on a good note, with a promise to do more canter work again soon.

Friday, 4/26/13

I took Wizard out on a trail ride out in the park. We did our usual trot work in the long, flat field, and were out for about an hour, walking most of the rest of the way.

Saturday, 4/27/13

Wizard and I had a really nice ride on Saturday. We did quite a bit of work on our bending and lengthening our trot. Hopped over a few cross rails and trotted over poles. Ready to roll for the schooling session on Sunday. I gave him a bath and cleaned my tack for our big day.

Sunday, 4/28/13

The big day was finally here! Wizard never schooled at a show before, so I got a schooling pass for a little dressage show at the Horse Park so I could see how he felt about the show environment. I parked my car at the Horse Park with all my post-ride stuff, and walked back to the barn. Once we were tacked up, Wizard and I hacked back to the Horse Park, which is a little over a mile from the barn. He was perfect for the entire ride over, even when we got to the cross country field, where the Jersey Fresh jumps are set up. We rode through the trailer parking area and into the schooling ring, and I felt really good about him.

And then, he lost his mind.

We warmed up at a walk while we waited for Lisa (we were having a mini lesson in the schooling ring). Wizard got more and more agitated by the show environment. I kept him in about 20 meter circles, but he started waggling and swaying and pitching a little like he wanted to buck. I dismounted until Lisa arrived. Wizard could not keep his feet still. He danced and whinneyed a few times. Once Lisa arrived, I remounted and we worked in the ring.

I knew we were in a spot of trouble when Lisa called out, “A bucking strap might be helpful next time!”

Oh geez. We were that horse and rider you see at every show. You know, the ones who are looking a little like they’ve never been to a show before. I’ve been to a zillion shows, but Wizard is quite green about this all. He was very, very agitated.

Schooling at the Horse Park

I’m so glad Lisa was there, because we were able to get a little bit of a good trot in each direction and an actual stretch at the walk before we ended on a good note. Wizard settled when I SAT in the saddle instead of hovering above it. He also settled when we leg yielded in and out on a circle. When he slung his head down to buck or porpoise or whatever he was trying to do, Lisa asked me to give him his head and not pull it up. She is all about subtlety and gentle riding. She’s a REALLY good match for us, because she understands Thoroughbreds. She got both of us unfrazzled. We weren’t able to ride anything bigger than a 20m circle around her before Wizard hopped around again, so we kept the “bubble” around her.

Schooling at the Horse Park

The moment he settled and swung his back a little at a walk, I gave him a pat and dismounted. We were both exhausted. Wizard was so fried that his eyes were a little bloodshot. We weren’t working very long at all, but he looked like he had just run a race.

Mission accomplished, but now I have to decide if I really want to keep putting all this training time into getting him ready to show. It’s a big commitment, especially since it took close to 5 years to get us to the point we’re at now with our training.

I hand walked him home, most of which was him dragging me to the barn. He got a good hosedown, a probiotic paste, and an electrolyte paste, and then was fed and allowed to just chill out for several days.

On Tuesday, the vet came out to do his spring shots, and check the growth in his mouth. She said the growth looked a little bigger and advised doing a biopsy.

On Thursday, she called with the VERY good news that the growth is NOT cancerous. BIG sigh of relief. Now we just need to keep an eye on it. Right now, it’s not affecting his eating and it’s nowhere near the bit.

Saturday, 5/4/13

On Saturday, I tacked Wizard up in his LG Bridle and had a pretty relaxed ride in the arena with Kris and Sunny. We walked and trotted, and did some bending exercises before we hopped over a few little cross rails. One was two trot poles to an x, and the other line was one placing pole, then 9 feet to the first x, then 18 feet to the second x. He took both lines really well. He must have enjoyed his little vacation.

Wizard Ride 470: The Silver Lake

April 23, 2013

The Wizard of the Lake

Tuesday, 4/23/13

On Monday, I took Wizard for a hand walk in the north end of the Assunpink. It was swampy and damp, despite the recent dry spell. I was glad to get Wizard out of his comfort zone in preparation for further adventures this summer, but I think we’ll have to wait until a dry spell in the summer to ride in that end of the park.

On Tuesday, I met up with Rachel and Lily for a ride in our regular part of the park. We were out for an hour. Wizard was great when we rode solo out to meet Rachel, and was mostly great on the ride. He got a little grabby on the bit from time to time and kicked about 3 times, but maintained a good walk for the whole ride. We rode up over the edge of the bowling pin field, and down the red clay trail to the lake, where Wizard pawed and splashed and played. Rachel and Lily were good sports about the splashing, fortunately!

We rode around the edge of the large side field, and parted company by the Horse Park. Wizard got a little anxious when we started heading home down the road, but I worked a little on our dressage contact and worked on bending my elbows. On the last leg of the walk home, we got a nice, swingy, connected walk going. We were home before dark, and I gave Wizard his snack and put him to bed.