|Not too shabby at all.|
Her head was cocked slightly to the side constantly if we were moving along a curve in the trail - which is pretty continuous for a lot of our riding because these trails are old logging roads that hug the side of the mountain. She was focused on the trail ahead, ears pricked, looking to and fro a bit, but not in the manic looking-for-monsters manner she has exhibited in the past. I could practically see the cogs whirring in her head as she worked through things.
I slowed Q down a little more than I usually do. Looking at the data on endomondo (the app I use to log our rides...and to log all of my outdoor pursuits of multiple miles), it shows 7 significant walk periods throughout the ride. Slowing Q down to let her look at things and settle for a few minutes really did the trick, I think. ...and somewhere in my stubborn head, I knew that would be a valuable tool to utilize. I just didn't do it enough before.
|Pre ride. So happy to be clipped finally! Both horses fell asleep during their clips last week.|
Any time I can get this horse to lower her head and neck, I'm thrilled. She's always so on-edge about potential monsters. She lets her stress build up and build up and won't find a release from it...until she spooks. I've always heard that a horse who lowers its head triggers the release of hormones/chemicals/what-have-you that help with relaxation. A horse who won't (or physically can't due to needing an accu. / chiro appt. (true story, happened to your most recent Old Dominion 100 trophy winning horse)), can't relax as much or as easily. Slowing down for periods of time on our ride allowed Q to settle out of any anxiety she was building. She even lowered her head to sniff at the trail here and there when she wasn't moseying along with a low western-esque headset.
Other than having a non-spooking, confidence building ride at a respectable distance and pace with some solid climbing (this seems like a lot, but let's keep in mind that I've been working with this horse for going on 5 endurance seasons now; expecting respectable distance and pace with climbing in our workouts is not completely out of this world), I wanted to work on switching my diagonals consistently throughout our trot work. Q loves me to be on her right diagonal. If I try to get onto the left, she will do one of three things to get me out of it: go into the canter, stutter step such that my rhythm is altered to back to the right diagonal, or spook so that I'm forced to the other diagonal. If she's ever going to move beyond 50 miles, we've got to be solid at both diagonals. No more excuses for either of us. And, I can honestly say, night one was a success and a step in the right (or rather the left) direction. ☺
|Looking great post-ride. She pulsed down quickly, was alert, and had an appetite.|
I hope our subsequent rides continue to align with the theme of last night's ride. That's the horse I knew was hiding behind Q's various insecurities. That's the horse I know can be a viable distance partner through 100 miles. ...even if I have to sing "My Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music to her over and over and over again as we move down the trail.