Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Back in the saddle

Yesterday I was out at the barn helping Lara load up hay for her trip east, and was able to turn Sinwaan out for a couple of hours to nibble on weeds and stretch his legs. Lara decided to turn Imaginn out with him and he promptly whirled around and kicked her. Nice.

This evening graced us with delightful weather and I knew I needed to get Sinwaan out on the trail again and keep racking up those miles for our next ride. A quick glance at the calendar and WOW, Renegade is only a week away now. Yikes!

Sinwaan was happy to see me and practically put his head in the halter tonight. I groomed him and tacked up with my Wintec. I have decided I am just going to stick with this saddle and I am not sure what to do with the Abetta. Lara was supposed to borrow it to see if it fit her horse any better but I don't know if she was able to get to it. Because I had adjusted the breastcollar for the Abetta last time I was out, I didn't bother with it tonight - not enough hills anyway. When I checked his front hooves, I didn't see any caulking blocking debris from getting under his pads so I wondered about that. It didn't take long to tack up and I was quickly in the saddle.

Riding down the driveway, I saw a little pickup headed our direction on Braden Road so I stopped and waited for it to pass. The little truck slowed and put on it's blinker to turn into the driveway, so I had Sinwaan walk on down the road. Well then he spotted a horse-eating stroller so he stopped and stood and just stared at it. It was heading our direction - a double jogger with a small woman pushing it. She was talking to her kids, which I think helped. With a lot of encouragement Sinwaan hesitantly walked down the opposite side of the road and she was soon past us. I heard the mother say "Yes, that girl is riding her pony" Grrr.

After that the prancing and head tossing began as I held Sinwaan to a walk going away from the barn. Since he hasn't actually bucked, I find it somewhat amusing that he suddenly has such a tantrum when he is alone. We just work through it. I make him walk on the pavement and then once we get to the gravel we trot onward and from that point he was really good this evening. I noticed the field to the left had been cut and baled (alfalfa) and the wheat on the right was looking close to being ready. We did a lot of trotting, and my goal was to get in a seven-mile ride in a reasonable amount of time. Since Sinwaan was doing quite well tonight (no stop-and-go away from the barn) after the first mile or so I pulled him over so he could have a bite of fresh alfalfa along the edge that was missed by the cutter.

Tonight I decided I would take him straight to the end of Elliot Road before turning around and then making a left onto the dirt road. He did well, with a lot of trotting. Not his big trot, but he was moving right along. At the end I let him graze a little and we had our back to the paved road that intersects with Elliot (gravel). All of a sudden his head came up fast and off we went at a dead run. It sure caught me by surprise, I was leaning back and had my hand with the reins pulled way up over my head trying to slow him down. What a spook! The first thing I thought was "Oh crap! Woah!" and then I thought about the downed barbed wire fence hidden in the weeds so I did what I could to get him back over on the gravel road right away. Soon I had him under control and stopped and turned to look around at what might have scared him. There it was, a cyclist zooming down Birch Creek Road. Sinwaan hates bicycles.

Well now we are headed back in the direction of home so Sinwaan gives me his huge ground-covering trot, and soon breaks into a canter. I pull him back to a trot and we make the turn onto the dirt road. He feels good so he continues with his big awesome trot. I could hear him clipping on the uneven ground and hoped he wasn't loosening up his shoes. This was the best part of the ride this evening, trotting along the wheat field with the sun setting in the distance. We made it almost to the end and then where it gets really rocky it was also quite wet tonight from the sprinklers so I turned him around a little earlier than planned. There was a mud puddle that he sniffed at and then played in, which resulted in a big glob of mud on his nose.

After turning around we were headed for home again so here is his giant trot, which it seems he almost shifts his front end to the left in order to make room for the drive of his hind end. It is interesting to ride. We had a little bit of cantering when it was safe and soon were back to Elliot with a mile and a half to go towards home. Sinwaan was still feeling good so we cantered on down the long stretch and then I encouraged him into a gallop for about 1/2 mile. We crossed the railroad tracks and walked for a little bit, letting him nibble on stray alfalfa occasionally. Then we trotted again, most of the last stretch.

He wanted to trot on the road all the way home so I got him over on the shoulder where it is at least dirt and he wouldn't risk slipping. We walked up the driveway and called it a job well done. He was pretty sweaty this evening so I put him in the cross ties after untacking him and hosed him off. I did notice tonight that he had clipped his hind fetlock on the right side, it was bleeding and the size of a nickel. His left hind seemed fine. I noticed the horses had been fed while we were out, but I turned him out into the bigger paddock anyway so he could be in the sun to dry. Of course he had to lay down and roll right away but at least it was in dirt and not manure. :)

While he was turned out, I mixed up Grace's medicine (bute/applesauce) and pulled her out of her paddock. She takes her meds really well and that was quite easy. Then I hand-walked her for about 15 minutes. Lara is out of town visiting her mom right now so asked me to look after her new mare. When I got back with Grace, Sinwaan was ready to be put back in his paddock, so I did that and he dove right into his dinner of grass hay.

It was a great evening.

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