Today Lara picked me up about 7:30 am and we went out to pick up Sinwaan and trailered him out to Bennington Lake. Lara rode Rocker as she is trying to get her conditioned for our LD ride. Lara used the heart rate monitor on Rocker today to see how her recovery was. Since she is not an Arab we wanted to be sure she could handle the extra stress of harder riding.
We started out walking down a gravel road along the creek today to warm up and it was more of a mosey than a warm up, with the horses stopping often for tall grasses. We saw a matching pair of Lippett Morgans coming the other direction ("his" and "hers") and we had a short chat with the riders. The woman said Sinwaan was a "very pretty little horse."
After that we decided to take a side trail that winds through the woods. It was very close quarters and all sorts of twists and turns. We trotted to get the horses going and Sinwaan was a little nervy. Coming around a bend he saw a rabbit and did a little spook and as a result stumbled and for a minute I thought I might capult through the air. I kept my seat and we pressed on.
Once we got to the turn we picked up a trot and moved out until we saw people with a dog walking towards us. We slowed to a walk and eventually stopped because I did not like the dogs posture. It looked like he was getting ready to hunt some horse. The woman walking with him stated "Sorry, I don't have a leash, but he should be fine...once we get past you..." As they went around Lara said the dog dove back at the heels of her horse. Thankfully they moved on and no harm was done but we were a little peeved. The dog had a collar, she could have held it as they walked by! It was not a short dog!
We reached the "spillway" (So DH tells me its called, its a concrete empty opening for overflow water into the lake) and Lara asked me if I was ready to pick up the trot and keep on trotting all the way around the whole lake this time. Sure! How hard could that be?!
Sinwaan was ready to go, he was warmed up and eager and tossing his head a little. I told Lara to lead the way but we quickly passed her as Sinwaan lengthened his stride. This lasted a little while until Rocker passed us, we played leapfrog a little. I was doing just fine until about 1/2 way around and then I started to feel it in my thighs and abdomen, all that posting for an extended period is hard work! Our trot varied in speed every so often, which gave me a bit of a rest at times. We came to a large hill and walked down it but picked up the trot again soon after on an extra loop that I didn't know exsisted. That was a fun loop, a section of wide open spaces bordering a treeline to the right, then entering the trees with a sharp turn right, then more twisting and turning, rights and lefts, Rocker went ahead of us out of sight, man that mare can boogie! Sinwaan got a little concerned so I gave him his head and he safely darted us through all the turns and when Rocker could be seen again he went into a canter with a few turns left and I could feel him switching leads through the turns, it was so cool, it felt like dancing.
We rode back up a large hill, at a walk at first, but soon a sweaty shirtless jogger threatened to overtake us and Sinwaan was doing a fast sidepass up the hill to keep an eye on him so we soon took up the trot again and got away from him.
Reaching the Lake, Rocker went right on in up to her belly to cool off and played in the water. Sinwaan doesn't care for any of that nonsense so I borrowed Lara's sponge and gave him a good soaking once I figured out how to plunge the sponge in the water from the shoreline. Ha!
All told we figure we trotted 3 1/2 miles on that first loop.
We had a very nice rest of the ride around the Lake and on some other trails, all told about 2 1/2 hours of riding. A couple times we were trotting along and Rocker did a jump sideways upon seeing a cyclist coming at us. We also had an incident with a fellow horsewoman, we came up behind two riders, slowed, and went into the other lane to pass. We were scolded on passing too closely as her horse kicks. The other rider told us we had done nothing wrong and all was fine. So that was kind of a strange occurance.
I am happy to report that Rocker was pulsed down after our ride within 3 minutes. Her starting resting HR was only 33. So I don't think we will have any trouble with this mare being able to complete. She and Sinwaan get along really well and seem to be well matched, I don't anticipate any problems for our LD ride.