We kicked off hunter pace season last month (And The Hunter Pace Season Has Begun) but it’s been almost a month since Old Chatham. This weekend kicked off the weekly paces from now through mid-November. I’m not sure yet whether I can go to them all but if I have transportation I am going.
This weekend I had a fun adventure with both gentlemen.
I work for a lovely woman Monday evenings, helping with cleaning stalls and feeding dinner to her horses. At the moment there are three well behaved equines that call her place home. I’ve been helping out since January and we’ve developed a great friendship. Earlier in the year she brought Tiger and I to a jumping clinic with her own horse and student. We’ve been talking about bringing one of mine over to ride in her arena and this weekend we finally had a chance to do it!
Since I was planning to ride Tiger at the hunter pace I decided to bring Nahe on Saturday. It would give me more experience jumping him in a flatter and more controlled environment. Although he’s done (and won) all the hunter paces last year he and I haven’t made enough progress together for me to confidently ride him over larger fixed obstacles.
I was also excited to show my friend what an amazing mover Nahe is. Although he’s very large he floats along. His movements are large and he extends nicely. From the ground you wouldn’t expect him to move as well as he does.
We got him to my friends farm and I rode for a while on the flat. I worked on rhythm and some lateral work. He’s not used to being asked to yield or halfpass and in an arena the straight length of fence really helps to practice. I can practice at home but there’s something about an arena that makes me enjoy this type of work.
My friend joined us and set some smaller jumps up for us. She gave me some tips for how to help Nahe collect himself into a more complete package and better prepare for the jump. He and I were both thankful for the helpful advice. I think Nahe is bored with the smaller jumps so it might be time to challenge him more.
Nahe and I walked around the block to cool down and said hello to one of her horses, Cassie. Cassie is a beautiful paint mare; a reverse of Nahe; her dark spots are where Nahe’s light spots are and vice versa. He gawked at her for a while but ultimately decided that he should help himself to the lush green grass after his workout.
Tiger was ready to go Sunday morning as we waited roadside for my other friend to arrive. We were loaded onto the trailer and headed to the Wethersfield Fall Hunter Pace by 7AM. It was a chilly morning but we were forcasted to have a lovely sunny day. My helmet cam and phone were both charged for some fun tools during our ride.
For this pace I decided to dress Tiger up in the Weatherbeeta’s Autumn Sky Ombre set. They were expensive but worth it; the color simply pops on his dark coat.
Tiger was very anxious at the beginning. We were two teams of two and decided to try riding altogether. Within the first 10 minutes we realized our four horses were far too hyped to make our ride enjoyable. We ultimately divided back into the two teams and went along in pairs.
It was the best decision we could have made. Within another ten minutes Tiger and Cassian were moving along happily and much more relaxed. We trotted along, cantered a bit, and galloped for a little while. We made sure to give the boys (and ourselves) breaks when needed.
The trail took us over some beautiful countryside. Over natural jumps and around some larger scarier jumps. We mosied through the woods and wound through a woodsy area with statues and marble arches.
We came to an open field and tackled the picture jumps. We jumped a kayak and cantered around a pond. The horses were tired but they still had energy by the end of the 7.5 miles (ish). I was grinning ear to ear because Tiger was the horse I adopted a year ago on this pace. After we rode through the temper tantrums he rode softly and quietly. He carried himself and kept his ears forward. He responded to the lightest touch. That has been my goal all year for him as I feel like we have been arguing far too often lately.
I have two new “gadgets” that I was really excited to use. The first worked swimmingly as an aopp on my phone….it’s called Equilab. I can’t wait to tell you more about it but for the purpose of today’s article I’ll give you the facts.
According to equilab we traveled 7.7 miles in about 1hour 51 minutes. We spent an hour walking, 30 mintes trotting, and 12 mintes at the canter with a max speed of about 14mph.
The other gadget I brought with me on Sunday was a helmet cam. Last fall I purchased a Cambox. I used it the first time in Spring but the camera fell off during the next trip and was cracked. I just received a new one and I was really excited to get footage of the ride and the views.
Unfortunately I failed to make sure the angle was correct. I knew the battery wouldn’t last the whole ride so I tried to set the angle at home and “wing it.” BAD IDEA.
The angle of the camera was too low and as a result I have 75 minutes of Tiger’s ears. Cute ears…..bright orange happy ears…but a whole lot of ears and not much more. I didn’t get any scenery and you can only see the jumps a few strides out. Lesson learned. Next week I will be sure to check and adjust the angle.
We also have some nice photos from the picture jumps, but I’m going to wait and purchase them all at once after the season ends….so stay tuned.
During this season the horses are spending a lot of energy and working hard. On top of the demanding work they can also get stressed from the trailering. To support them I add flakes of alfalfa to their daily feed (in addition to the pellets at mealtime). Alfalfa has added protein to support muscle health and calcium to buffer the added stomach acid. They usually split a flake (they are dense) every night but on event days they each get their own. I find it helps the one that’s performing but also keeps the one left at home happy and relaxed.
What’s not so fun is transporting the alfalfa. They come in large 100-120lb bales. Now that we have a truck it shouldn’t be much of an issue but this week it was raining (I was out and needed it that day) and since the bales last for weeks (1 bale every 2 weeks) I didn’t want them getting wet. Hence I did my tried and true method….my car.
FUN FACT: A Chevy Cruze can fit two bales of alfalfa if you position them right.
As always, thanks for stopping in; without you I’d just be a rambling goofball shouting out into the void. Your likes, comments, and shares keep me going.
Also…if you were looking for this week’s Sunday Review I owe you an apology. IT WILL BE OUT THIS SUNDAY. I got a bit behind in articles this week but the routine will resume. Check back in THIS SUNDAY for the next review, and NEXT SUNDAY (back to back) to resume your normal Sunday Review programming.
Hint about what’s in store this Sunday…it’s good prep for November.