Friday, March 27, 2015

Running with Q and Griffin

In an effort to mix things up for the horses and also keep myself at the fitness level I have achieved through skiing all winter, I've been running with the horses lately. Well, rather, I've been running and I've taken each of the horses once so far. (My other runs tend to be from my doorstep instead of from the barn.)

Running in front.
Griffin seems to be a much better partner than Q on first impression, granted the running environments for both horses was quite different.

I did a 2 mile run with Griffin on the road by the farm a week or so ago. He was a GREAT running partner! Demanding in the best of ways by keeping the pace going. His ears were up and he was alert for the whole thing, too - he seemed to enjoy himself quite a bit.

Griffin chose to run beside me and even in front of me (we did some tailing), but never behind. There were several times when I just put my hand on his neck or withers and let him help my legs into an even faster pace. I had fun throughout the run trying to pace my feet to his front feet hitting the ground. It was fun having such a game partner who kept me motivated to push myself.

Q and I did a 3.5 mile run on the trails earlier this week. Leaving the farm, she weaved very shallow serpentines behind me, clearly confused about what her job was when the human was running where she would typically ride! We walked up the first STEEP hill into the woods, and then I took off running again...only to have Q apply the brakes and refuse to move out. As she is typically prone to be sticky through this short section of trail when we ride anyway, and as it is the muddiest of all the trail we'd be on, I hopped up on her and rode her about 0.2 mile to better footing for me. (Avoiding excess mud in my shoes early on seemed wise.)

In which the human runs and the horse wonders, "What fresh hell is this?!"
Once on better footing, I dismounted and off we went. Q followed the whole time. Our run away from home was all slightly uphill. On the steeper of the uphills (still not very steep!) Q would slow to a walk, forcing me in my already out-of-breathness to cluck and kiss and encourage her to move out again. Come ON, mare! Perhaps she thought my heavy breathing indicated I should take a break or else I would die, Strange running human might die. Must make strange running human stop. However, once we turned for home (backtracking), Q was more apt to keep pace. Running on a slight decline and in the home direction likely aided in this.

I ended up having to ride Q for about 0.4 mile as I had *something* in my shoe that wouldn't come out and was causing quite a bit of pain in my foot. I dismounted in the creek to rinse off my feet and legs, but the pain didn't subside. I would discover afterwards that with the help of mud and debris in my shoes (it was a muddy, wet trail in places) I'd managed to get a freak blister on the arch of my foot...and then burst said blister. OW. At least I had Q there to carry me for a time so it wasn't any worse!

I look forward to more runs with the horses both on the road for self-trimming and on the trail for cross training!

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