This past weekend we had lovely winter weather, finally! The temperatures were in the 30’s, with sunshine and light breezes. No rain, no snow, no sleet! With a bit of layering clothes, it was really very comfortable. Most of the mud was dried somewhat so can’t complain about mud. The main arena at the barn was still pretty solidly frozen, although sections of it had thawed and didn’t feel like concrete underfoot.
The woods were lovely, with bare trees, sunshine peeking through in spots, and a soft, leaf-padded footing for the horses. The field arena was full of soft, moist earth that provided just a tiny bit of give under the horses hooves.
Buckshot and I rode both days and had a great time each day! On Saturday, our class walked through the woods to the field arena, and spent some time doing normal arena work there. After ensuring that we had walked for our twenty minute warmup, Buckshot and I trotted. He had good energy and seemed so glad to be trotting. It had been over a month since we have done any of our normal arena work. I was delighted that he was energetic. I had to make sure not to indulge my desire to trot, trot and trot some more, and not overdo it for him. So I alternated walking after trotting.
One time when I asked for a trot, Buckshot responded with a powerful trot that changed into a canter! I rode it for four or five strides before bringing him back to the trot. I was glad he felt like cantering, even if I hadn’t specifically asked for it. We trotted and walked and trotted some more, feeling like we were flying! The weather was just nicely cool, and the footing, nicely padded, and since we hadn’t worked like this in weeks, it all just felt heavenly! When I dismounted later, I told him what great work he had done! I hope he felt proud of himself.
Sunday Buckshot and I went out with a different group of riders through the woods and to the field arena. We walked and trotted and did a few canters. It felt wonderful! Buckshot had pretty good energy again, although he didn’t canter quite as easily. Still it was a good ride. When we had ridden long enough in the arena, we headed back through the woods. The BO wasn’t on this ride so I was leading. I missed a marker (all the paths are covered with leaves and looked identical!) and started leading Buckshot straight through the woods. The girl behind me stayed on the correct trail and called out to me that I had missed it. I finally got Buckshot back to the trail just fine, but I may need a GPS next time :).
After untacking Buckshot, I walked him very slowly back to his pasture, letting him graze more than normal to thank him for being such a great horse. This was after the post-ride carrots and apples and horse muffins! (I really believe in treats for him!)
I heard once that a horseman judges a horseperson by how they treat their horse after the ride. I think of that and try to show my appreciation to Buckshot after our rides. My perspective is that he has done very good work under saddle, with a still-learning rider, and together we both got back safely. To me, that is a great ride and worthy of my appreciation to him.
Speaking of appreciation, I want to thank Mare of Simply Horse Crazy blog for awarding me my first blog award! I am thrilled; thank you so much! I know that I am a relative newcomer in the horse blogging world and so receiving this award is such an honor! As soon as I receive the check (I’m sure there is a big check that goes with this, right?) I will fulfill all the requirements. I’m going to take a few days to come up with my list of seven things about myself and fifteen new great blogs to pass the award to. I don’t read a huge number of blogs. I read about twelve blogs faithfully, and explore others when I have time. Otherwise, I’d be on my computer all the time! But I will pass the award on as required. Thank you, again, Mare! It’s great reading about you and your wonderful horse!