Friday, December 25, 2009
THIS is a Wonderful Life....
Anne, Lorri and me...Can you believe that Lorri and I both have Anglo Arabs? They are SO different!
Linda on Red (Missouri Fox Trotter), Anne on Allie (Arabian) and Lorri on Ozzie (AngloArab)
On Wednesday we had wonderful 68 degree weather and it was the perfect day for us to hit the trails! I haven't been riding too much in the past month with sickness and weather getting the upper hand. Oh. And work. And the kiddo. There were actually five of us who rode out, but we took these pics without our friend Kathy (later pictured in pink) because she was being a slow butt... :) J.K., Kathy!
We took along tools to clear some trail, officially beginning our work on the annual Triple H Equitherapy Scavenger Hunt. We have changed the date from June to early May because we think the cooler weather in May will attract more riders. Adding new trails and obstacles are imperative to keeping the interest and freshness of the ride alive. Three of us cleared branches and forged trail on foot, while two held the five horses; I'd say we spent 45 minutes clearing and the rest was a relaxing, invigorating ride. Even though we waded streams, and traveled at a pretty fast pace for five riders, it felt as if we were all very much in sync and we all had a ball. If you have ever ridden with this size group, you probably know that this does NOT always happen! :)
As we rode, I reflected on the past year a bit, and how far I have really come with Jackson. When we trot now it feels like another extension of me; we have both gotten so much better at this gate, I am no longer thrown up into the heavens gulping at the stars. We can canter. Collection, check. (OK. Much more collection than ever before, how's that? :) On the bit? Most of the time. Doing things with such comfort and ease that they are automatic? OH YEAH! :) Lost 54 pounds? Done that too. That in and of itself has helped my riding immensely. There are people out there who are overweight and ride superbly. I am not one of them. I was a thin person in a fat body. Seriously. At my thinnest I weighed 127 lbs. at a height of 5'10. Of course, this was at the age of 22, and I was VERY thin. Realistically, I will be happy to lose another 10 lbs. for a happy 135-140. My horse loves the weight loss too. Did I lose the weight for my horse and to be a better rider? Absolutely. My dressage lessons have also been a wonderful thing we have started this past year. With Allison my instructor(who is 79 and was a Grand Prix XC rider in her time), it has really been an eye opening experience, and benefited my riding more than I can say. Although I don't know if I will ever be what you call a dressage rider, I DO take lessons to help our partnership, further our learning, and to aid in mine and Jackson's jumping abilities down the road. I firmly believe if you can perform classical dressage (at least the basics) you are ready for anything! In the next year it will be time to add the next piece of our challenge. JUMPING! We will also be working on obstacles and add a few competetive trail rides and our usual trail riding to the mix for variety and to keep it fun! They don't call him a sport horse for nothing and we both love changing it up!
Back to our ride. We did lots of different and advanced terrain: small spaces, up and DOWN steep hills, deep streams, switchbacks, etc. All the horses took it in stride. We even did a couple little jumps over a log and one drop off. Kathy was riding a seasoned Warmblood XC jumper, and Lorri did them at a wild hand gallop (gotta love those mares!), but Jackson is nothing if not practical, and is so attuned to me. He is one smart guy, and knows just what I am ready for these days! We popped the jumps at a trot...Don't get me wrong. This horse is SO MORE THAN capable of a wild, fun hand gallop in a heartbeat, and could run all day, but he knows that we have that on the list for next years post! :) What a good boy!
As it neared 5pm a really cool mist hung like a light cotton batting with the sunlight over the water. It looked so cool. I am in the light blue in the pics below...wish they were better, I had my camera, but Linda actually remembered to grab hers and take a few! Sometimes it is not a picture taking day, I felt the need to commune with the day, my horse, and my friends...
All I could help thinking was, THIS IS THE LIFE!
Happy Holidays and a very Merry Christmas to you all!
May your rides be many, fun, and fill you up in 2010!