Sunday, January 16, 2011

Splash VS Sister

January 15, 2011 and the sun was shinning and the temperature was mid-50's in NE OK.  Ahhhhh.  I missed the ODS/AGM but couldn't miss a riding opportunity.  I just haven't figured out how to do 2 things at once... So...

Mallory, Roxie, and Mattie met us (the girls, Sunny, Pico, and Splash) at Che' Cheval for a horsey Saturday afternoon.  Mallory started with Raffles and I saddled Sister.  Raffles has been off for a couple of months and Mallory worked him pretty hard in the round-pen before mounting and then rode lightly for about 30 minutes.

Sister started out very distracted and was fairly fresh on the lunge line.  Also, the footing was a bit slick under the sandy layer but she settled fairly quickly considering there were several stumbles and slips.  Mounted, we warmed up at the walk and then trot before we worked on bend (when asked) and straight (when asked)....  Pretty good, but I was timid about canter because of the slips.  So, we worked on backing.  1) ask for give to the bit; 2) as gently as possible, ask for back - keep hands even, legs off, and use as little pressure as needed.  Sounds easy.  But, Sister would back a step and then fall right with the haunches.  I would try right leg pressure way back to prevent the fall out.  Meanwhile, my hands would contradict my leg and then, more falling out.  Ugh.  So, several more tries to keep hands EVEN and leg right (not to strong but strong enough).  Next try, and haunches left...  More tries and Sister got mad. Finally, an almost straight back without a fight.  Yeah, good place to stop for the day.

Next up, Splash.  I finally got my new webbers so I could FINALLY try my new Isabelle (Christmas present from my favorite husband).  I lunged Splash before mounting and he slipped and stumbled and tried to drop gait every 4 steps.  Mounted, we tried trot without whip, spurs, or German neck stretcher.  OMG.  5 minutes and I was sweating.  I LOVE Sister - she will GO.  So, we worked at trot, post/push/post/push etc.  Whew.  No push = STOP.  Stop is important, so I guess I love Splash too.  Clearly, the many months off for recovery (Splash) has resulted in Loss of ALL my Splash "leg fittness."  So, in the interest of aerobics, Splash is now officially back in training.  And so am I.

Sunday dawned COLD and the plan was to take 4-H kids to Sheppard's Point at Lake Heyburn to map horse trails using GPS.  How cold is to cold?  We decided to go and got lucky with weather - it was a beautiful winter day.  Sunshine and calm.  The woods were beautiful and the lake bright.  We divided into 2 groups - riders lead by Ruth H (Friends of Heyburn) and walkers lead (?) by me.  I had a rough map of the trails in the park and the riders went to map a trail in the ACE wilderness area.  Riders included:  Melodie, Mandy, Teresa, Dorie, Tami, and Abby.  Walkers were: Ivy, Alaina, Lyndsey, Glenna, George, Diane, Michaela, Kelly, Charlotte, Paige, and Brook.  Dean stayed at base camp as backup.  George kept up with the kids while the rest of the adults brought up the rear.

Riders headed out around 2pm and walkers were right behind them to map the Yellow trail.  Walkers completed the yellow trail in about an hour and then went back out to work on the Red trail.  The pace slowed a bit and walkers returned to base camp about 4:15.  The riders had finished up in about an hour and a half.  All the GPS units will be delivered to my GPS guru (Meredith) for data download and map generation - we will try to get the kids to the lab to finish the map in the next few weeks.  No 4-H members were lost on the trail and Sheppard's Point will be a great place to ride.

The Friends of Heyburn have done a wonderful job marking horse trails and I hope to get back there soon.  ON a HORSE.  YaYa!

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