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[RC] getting our act together - Deanna German

Thanks Steph, Jean and you other endurance riders who had thoughts to offer
about how to make my young horse less spooky. Thank you Susan Vuturo for
your nice comment about my mare. (I lost your email address, can you send it
to me at finishis2win(at sign)columbus.rr.com?)

One of my friends who read my posts wanted a buddy to ride with this last
weekend. Turns out she kinda hates riding alone too. I never knew. We'd
ridden together before, but her very sensible mare is in her teens so I
thought she was just being nice and letting me tag along since my goofy
mare's gaits are so much bigger than her mare's. So I made the decision to
shorten up my mare's gaits most of the time (I really tried Karen!) so we
could ride together. I decided to put some of the advice given here to work.

It was a fast-paced CTR, pushing the 7 mph limit our CTR organization has,
two-day 50, 4 loops of the same 12 1/2 mile trail. Good training ride. 3 of
the 4 loops I had the horse I love. She lead comfortably (not needing a lot
of leg and not constantly applying the brakes) and the spooks were of the
variety that I can live with, the things she was spooking at were
spook-worthy and even the big spooks I easily sat through. Of course, I was
often just chatting away with my friend and overall I was very relaxed. I
don't think riding every stride works for me. I was doing that and it
obviously wasn't working for me.

I found that saying something in a rhythm (even if it's just "trot, trot" or
"canter, canter") helped keep my horse going forward. (duh!) We had a
wonderful stretch between paved roads of her glorious huge trot (no spooks!)
that I could ride for hours; we were leading, and I do mean the first ones
down the trail (we passed the first riders out).

The 4th loop much of the time I had the horse I hate. I was tired and cranky
and I honestly think she was bored and had way too much energy left, way
more than me anyway. She started the silly, monster spooks that beat the
snot outta me and the more she did that, the crankier I got. When Salina
gets into spooking mode, she's beyond rubberband; she's a sling-shot.

Oh well. 37 1/2 miles out of 50 is an improvement. If Karen can put up with
me, we'll ride our next two rides together. I had a great time with her and
I think her mare has a terrific sense of humor. (There I go, labeling an
animal with human qualities!) Karen has spent more time than I have
schooling various young and green horses and probably has a couple of
thousand miles divided between CTR, LD and endurance under her butt and so
was able to help me with some well-timed riding tips. So, until we meet
again, I'm going to take some riding lessons and start running to increase
my fitness level!

Deanna


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