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In Loving Memory...
~ Gogo Fatale ~

6/2/01 - 10/11/11
~ Forever the Marest of Them All ~

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Waterhorse

I would like to know when November decided to cut the rest of October off and just jump right in the game. It's been freezing and cloudy all week! Also, WHAT is going on with my "posted at" times? Pretty sure I am not writing some of these posts at 3:45am. Maybe I have it on the wrong timesetting, but I don't think I am techno-savvy enough to figure out how to switch that.

Anyway. I've been a bit of a slacker when it comes to writing this week... I've been very busy and a bit mopey due to the cold weather. I seem to be making my yearly transition from violently active warm-weather athlete to cuddled-in-warm-armchair cold-weather hibernator. I did manage to squeeze in five great rides on the woman this week, and gave her two days off, despite wanting to do nothing more than ride and sleep (mmmm.... warm bed). Starting with last Sunday, I hopped back on Gogo bareback for a 45 minute jaunt around the property, just to start her moving again after two weeks of being off. I tried her in something new, a rope indian bosal from the same lady who makes Tamara's tack, just to try something for light trail riding that doesn't involve a bit. I thought for sure she'd love it, given her history with contact issues, but I was wrong. Apparently, and thankfully, those days are long gone. I can honestly say that she really just seems to do better in a bit. She was responsive to the turning aids in the same sensitive way that she always is, and stopped with a verbal "whoa", but as for actually stopping from a rein aid? Nope. Didn't get it. In her usual way, when we got to trotting up the far hill, she broke into the canter and frisked about. However, with the hackamore, she had enough the ability to put her head between her knees and get halfway up the hill before I managed to slow her down. I thought they had a little more sting in them... apparently I was wrong. Oh well, it will be good for trail riding at least...

((Gogo says, uhhhhh....))

After work on Monday, I tacked Gogo up for our weekly road hack, and set out to try and beat the sun before it went down (so early these days!). The best way for me to really assess Gogo's soundness is by sitting on her and trotting her on a hard, flat surface, and I take advantage of my time on the tarmac by spending a minute or two trotting on a loose rein on both diagonals. Even though she was doing her typical look-around-side-to-side-nonstop while trotting, which makes it a bit awkward for steering, she felt exactly the same going from one diagonal to the next. Sweet! I kept the trotting to less than a minute or two, and spent the rest of the time cruising around on the buckle, admiring the fall foliage. Gogo was a crazy half-saint as always: at some point, she and I walked around the corner near a house that was flush with the road, and in the yard was a GIANT blow-up ghost, RIGHT there, hissing with air and waving its giant arms around. It couldn't have been more than three feet away from us. Did she even bother to cast it a passing glance? Nope. What DID she spook at? The yellow mailbox, a few feet down the way. Mares. The whole ride totalled an hour, and it was perfect.

Tuesday we had an excellent work on the flat. Warming up in the early morning chill, we walked around the hills of the property for 15 minutes, and then moved into the outdoor to do some walk/trot work. It wasn't complicated, and I didn't canter due to her level of fresh (didn't want her to go galloping and leaping off after two weeks off), but we did some basic lateral work and some bending and stretching. She also gave me some amazing moments of suspension and lightness when I asked her to move out in the trot down the long side. Every lengthening prior to her injury always had a bit of a rushed, groundbound feel to it - not bad per se, but more covering ground without cadence. These were UP and forward, with power. I think there's a lot to be developed here!

Wednesday, I had the best day of all. Despite the fact that I was off and had every right to sleep in as late as I wanted, I bounced out of bed at 4:30am for no reason at all and woke up a sleeping Chris with, "I am going to go take Gogo to the beach for a sunrise ride!!" (I am lucky to be dating someone who takes my totally random early morning whims in stride) Somehow, I managed to get myself, my trailer, and my horse ready and out the barn door by 6:30am, when it was still dark. When I showed up to the barn, I fed Gogo, and then collected all her tack outside of her stall. She saw me coming in with the halter and had OTHER ideas, promptly turning her butt to me and slowly backing in my direction, which is exactly what she did the morning I went to take her to see Dr. C. This brings the grand total of times she's done this behavior in her life to two. Both times, she got the snot beat out of her in response, so hopefully this will be the last... bad, bad mare. Not tolerated. She was on her best behavior after it though!

Unlike the last two times we went to the beach, this time she was totally relaxed, and she plowed right in to the water like she had plans to swim across the Sound to NYC. Running dogs, people casting fishing lines, drydocked catamarans... nothing phases this mare!

If you turn the sound waaaaaaaaaaaaay up on this video, you can hear me yelping when she went in deeper than I expected and soaked my feet through my boots. Salty wet fail!

Just look at that sunrise. It was amazing! And yes, I MAY have been wearing a scarf at the beach.... it was not quite 40 degrees.

Two days off, another light 45 minute bareback hack yesterday, and one final day off today in order to get us back on track, and we are back to our regular schedule. Stay tuned for more adventures, there are some BIG ones coming up!


Sydney_bitless said...

Way to go for trying bitless. If you want to know anything about bitless bridles please don't hesitate to ask.
Fall is the best time to ride at the beach IMO.

Veronica Lodge said...

Gotta love beach sundays :)

Kate said...

Ahh that beach ride sounds amazing!!! can you ride to the beach from your barn or did you have to trailer her there?

Andrea said...

Sydney-bitness, I do have some questions, but mainly about what kind of control they offer. Last time I had her in a hackamore it was a shortshank one and all she did was figure out how to curl her neck in away from it and avoid it (as a youngster, many years ago...) Any tips on the transition? Pressure on it kind of just made her head go higher and higher, like she didn't understand quite what I was saying.

Kate, I have to trailer there, but it's only about half an hour or less so it's not bad at all!! Not many beaches around here that you can ride horses at. I am lucky for sure.

Kristen Eleni Shellenbarger said...

Oh dream beach!!
Btw-sydney helped me and Laz out a TON with our bitless transition :) She has my kudos!

I can only assume cool salt water has great benefits for horse legs!!

I attended a MSU seminar on strength training a couple yrs ago, and the one vet talked about how the BEST footing for strength training is wet sand 10-20 ft off the shore where it's wet but firm.

Funder said...

Hey Andrea - go to your blogger page, then click on the tab that says Settings, at the top under Eventing-a-gogo. Then click the one that says Formatting, under and a little to the left of Settings. Time Zone is the 5th option.

Love the water pics!

Michaela said...

Your so lucky your horse actually goes in the water. Last time I went to beach, my horse, Indigo, was not too pleased with the though of getting wet. But he did enjoy galloping down the bank thing or whatever you call it. The only time I actually went to Penfield was two years ago, and I am only fifteen minutes away. I really want to go back soon. Have you ever gone to Huntington State Park? The entrance in Redding has nice trails, lakes, and bridges. And to the left are HUGE fields that are amazingly fun to gallop in. I went there for the first time Saturday. And also- I don't know if you ever get to school XC often, but I know this nice place right by the Fairfield/Westport border that is free to school at.