Quick recap, I had a horrible ride, then it basically rained for 3 weeks straight so I was able to take a much needed break without feeling any guilt. Bella’s in like, fantastic shape while I have been desprately just trying to get back into any kind of shape after riding so inconsistently since last May. However, being at such opposite ends of the fitness spectrum was definitely causing some issues between us. The mare gets bored and wants to do more than I can physically ride (at least, ride well) and has no problems letting me know.
So after spending a couple of more weeks, after my short break, getting her back into shape I set up a lesson with someone I’ve known for as long as I’ve had Bella. Despite us being similar in age I’ve shared the ring with enough of her lessons to know that her training style was really dang close to what I’ve wanted in a trainer. Despite teaching Hunters, she’s super knowledgable (and Bella could always use some “slow and steady” bumping around in the back of my brain).
My lesson nerves this year (it’s been maybe a little over a year since my last lesson lol) were not as bad, which was great. But I definitely had a few and so when the opportunity to go down to the Walthour-Moss Foundation to ride with an old barn-mate came up, I jumped. We always have a blast at Moss! It’s a great place to get your zoomies out (after very carefully checking for any other riders anywhere nar you of course). My friend and I met up, pretty sure Diesel and Bella remembered one another from the countless other rides they’ve been on together. The moment we were mounted off they were in sync and ready to get moving. It was pretty awesome.
One thing I’m hoping to focus on this year is doing some good long fun rides! To map these I’m using an app called “Horse Riding” which I’m pretty sure I’ve shared rides from before. I’m excited because it means I can track our pace around the road ride available out where we board (nice comfortable shoulders that keep us off the road and polite drivers make it possible)! But also so at Moss I have a GPS map to help us navigate back to the trailer (without getting lost).
Here’s the map from our most recent ride (at some point I’ll share a few others for comparisons when I have a couple of more).
This is probably one of my favorite ride maps, and the stats on this compared to some of our other rides are super fun to look at!
This doesn’t even show how big Moss really is but the speeds on this map have me BLOWN away! We went out to have fun and we did, really. Bella, despite having a turbo boost when she’s really moving, never once felt out of control. She wanted no part of being pulled up but honestly she was just having so much fun! On our third gallop, coming back on the straight away of an old race track, I distinctly remember glancing down, we were pretty close to some sort of shrub and I was checking to see how close (don’t look down, it’s bad) and just remember seeing how far she was stretching out in the front. Considering half of our winter was spent with her shoulder being funky, it was amazing. I was thinking we’d made it to 40 MPH but honestly, not far off.
Stressing her body like that with “unnecessary miles” isn’t my favorite thing but honestly, it’s just so good for the soul (both of ours) and she has so much fun doing it that I have a hard time not being able to justify it here and there. Of course, after this ride, and getting real hyped up to run, we had to come home and be able to take a lesson in two days.
Day 1 she pulled a shoe, day 2 shoe got put on so she got the day off. Day 3, we rode with new trainer for an hour and got our asses handed to us. I mean, ouch. We rode well, Bella was predictably tight (as she has been for a couple of months now) but by the end of the ride, very much with B reminding me of all these things I used to know how to do, we had her relaxed and me riding harder than I’ve ridden in a long time. Way harder than my lesson last year. She listened to me, pushed when it was appropriate, and I honestly never once got super frustrated.
So guess who has a second lesson at 8 am this week? That’s right, this girl.
Right now my “homework” is:
- Fix left hand (okay both hands- I’m real bad about “piano hands” I’ve been working on it but having someone get after you as it happens is way better).
- Fix outside contact (my hands are kinda my biggest weakness I feel like).
- Focus on circles and getting her reeeeealllllyyyyy relaxed and low, down the longside only once she’s really nice, and never letting her speed up! Mostly circles. A lot of circles.
- Stop throwing away my aids into canter and thinking about riding her more into it, which is super fair.
I’ve gotten really bad about protecting my shoulders and trying to avoid being yanked on all the time anytime we do something, and also really working on not grabbing Bella in the face and keeping a lighter contact because she really does not want you fucking with her a lot. But obviously all these hand issues are just something that needs to be fixed so that we have a more consistent ride start to finish.
I’m really excited about the steps we have taken and more excited that I got a legit sunburn today (oops, time to get some sunscreen) because it means that spring is here! Summer is right around the corner! We are officially going to be able to hit full work mode (as long as there’s no more crazy stuff popping up) and that means I’m going to be much happier and far less stressed out, and also might actually have some serious progress to blog about someday!