[RC] Sunday Training Ride - AprJhn
I wasn't planning to ride. I wanted to ride, but with the recent ice storm and subsequent melting the ground was ICKY. Some of my trails get pretty slippery, so I was thinking to just skip the long training ride this weekend.
On Saturday afternoon, I spent some time with Tanna and Serts trailer training them. We added a divider and butt bars to our trailer and all the sudden neither horse wanted to get in the trailer anymore! Time for more training. It was a frustrating and slow process. But finally, I had both of them getting in the trailer and called it a day.
Sunday started cold, but was warming up quickly. As I thought more about it, I decided to risk riding at Percy Warner Park. It's a fairly nice park and they take excellent care of their trails, so hopefully, it wouldn't be too icky. I kept asking Daniel if he wanted to come along until he finally said no, he'd work around our property.
So it was just Tanna and me. I blanketed Tanna and pointed him toward the trailer. He jumped right in.
Before I loaded Tanna, I'd fed him and given him a dose of electrolytes to hopefully encourage drinking while on the trail.
When we got to the park, there were a couple of trailers already there. As I saddled, two or three more trailers showed up. I carefully hooked up my heart rate monitor and turned on the receiver. Nothing. Something was definitely wrong with the thing. Have to figure that out. But I was going to ride, so I unhooked the monitor and left it in the truck. I kept the watch. Nice to have the time and a stop watch. :)
We started out before any of the other riders that had shown up about the same time as I had. Good. I didn't want to have to be passing them! :) Tanna was feeling good. Not uncontrollable in any way. Just eager to get out on the trail.
We trotted along for awhile, Tanna throwing in a few steps at the canter every now and again. I had been on the trails before, but had never really gone on all the little trails and loops available. The night before I had studied the trails map and had a much better idea of how to maximize the mileage available. We zipped to the left at the first opportunity, trotted through a crossroads, circled back around to the same crossroads and took it in another direction. We were doing great and Tanna seemed to be having a lot of fun. After 3 or 4 miles, I began to have Tanna canter more. He's doing so well in his canter these days. Nice and strong.
The trails were somewhat muddy in places, but overall, the footing was very good. Just enough muddy spots to send Tanna trotting through them. An excellent training opportunity, because Tanna generally wants to walk over mud. By the end of the ride, I even had him cantering through some muddy spots.
After awhile, I headed back to the trailer. We'd gone about 11 miles or so. I put water and beet pulp in front of Tanna, loosened his girth, and threw a blanket over him. While it wasn't very cold, he was still sweaty and there was a slight breeze blowing. I was taking no chances of him getting a chill or a cramp. Tanna nibbled at his food, but like last week, didn't take much of it. He also blew the water around some, but wouldn't drink either. I wonder if I'm going to have to hand feed him carrots through every vet check???
After 20 minutes, we headed out again. This time I decided we were going to step up the speed. I've been told to increase speed or distance but not both at the same time. So I cut the distance and added speed for this training ride. I decided we were going to canter where it was safe (uphill or on the straight) and trot the downhills. So off we went at a good canter. Tanna still favors his left lead in the canter, but the more we canter, the more he switches to his right lead.
There were more people out riding by the time we started our second loop. The first people we passed were a man and a woman on two dark bays. They were both riding bareback with only a rope halter with the lead rope held in one hand. Very interesting! We exchanged pleasantries and parted. It would have been interesting to stop and talk, but I'm really not one to do that much.
The next pair of riders I met were going the opposite direction from me as well. I had just put Tanna into a canter when I saw them. It took several strides for me to bring him down to a trot and then a walk to pass them. The women were pleasant and warned me that there was a guy ponying a youngster just ahead of me. I thanked them and took off again. I cantered until I saw the guy and then brought Tanna to a nice slow trot, then down to a walk. The guy moved off the trail and I admired the youngster. A gorgeous buckskin. Nice looking animal. We passed at a walk and then moved on down the trail.
Seven miles passed quickly and very pleasantly. Tanna was responsive and strong. When the GPS batteries gave out (forgot to get my spare set out of the charger :( ), I decided to head back to the trailer. The sun was dipping toward the horizon and I knew the temperatures would start to fall after awhile. We were about 1.5 miles out, so I decided to trot the last. But Tanna objected and so we cantered more than I intended. So much for him being tired.
I finally did manage to get him to walk when we reached the steeplechase course. We walked slowly along the side of the course instead of heading directly for the trailer. I found us in the middle of a field of grass. I hopped off Tanna and fished his rope halter out of our cantle bag and switched his bridle for the halter. I undid his breast collar, loosened his girth and set the stop watch running. I wanted to give Tanna some time to munch on the grass. Especially since he hadn't eat his beet pulp earlier. I have a problem with sitting around doing "nothing." So I needed the watch to remind me that I hadn't been sitting there for eons. :)
After 10 minutes, or so, we went to the trailer and readied ourselves to leave. I was all ready to load Tanna and he decided he didn't want to load. Argh. I thought we worked all that out! Guess not. We'll have to go back to working on trailer loading. But in the meantime, he was getting in the trailer. I swapped out his rope halter for his nylon one and got my whip out of the bed of the truck. Now, don't panic, I didn't beat him into the trailer. I have taught him the go foward cue. Tap on his butt and he moves forward. With his blanket on, the taps sounded like a low volume pop and seemed to work a lot better than without the blanket on! After a couple of false starts, Tanna got into the trailer. I closed the butt bar and then the gate. Off we went back home.
Fun ride. I got home and loaded the information from my GPS. Our last loop (around 8 miles) we averaged 9.3 mph! Our fastest sustained effort ever. We did a total of 18.5 miles with a combined average of 8 mph (again minus the 20 minute break). And no, he was not tired. I let him out of the trailer and he could barely stand still long enough for me to strip him of his blanket. As soon as I let him go, he was trotting around, doing the Arab head toss, pushing his buddy around the pasture. Not a tired horse at all! I fed him his beet pulp/grain mash that he'd refused at our break. He scarfed it down like I hadn't offered it before and he was starving. I just don't understand why he won't eat at our breaks. And he didn't drink either, despite the electrolytes given in the morning.
Still, he's doing really well with his training. I quite enjoy this horse!
PS. My husband looked at my heart rate monitor and discovered that the receiver only picks up a signal if it's within 4-6 inches of the transmitter. Any further away and the receiver picks up nothing. I've read that this means the battery needs to be replaced. So I'll pick up a battery and hopefully that will be the fix. The battery, when placed on the tongue, gives a little charge, but who knows if that means the battery is good or not. We have a battery tester, but of course, couldn't find it anywhere. I really hope the battery fixes it. I've only had this monitor for 6 weeks or so.
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