Back in the Saddle: Fifth Ride

Tuesday’s ride completed the first week of work under saddle for Ragtime.   He’s now fine with the ride length of 15 minutes.  It was a lovely ride (again), this time up the east side of the dry woods,  with only one hesitant moment from Rags, when he heard Tigger calling from the barn area.  But he went on, ears forward and looking alertly around when I gave him a nudge.  I thought he’d like that route…it opens up the view, and was also new to him.    We left the mowed path for the burned area, and I rode a loop “down” into it and back up to the trail home.  Rags continued willing and brisk until we reached the SE corner of the dry woods, where he wanted to go on “home” and I turned him onto the trail leading west, across the front of the dry woods.   I was going to turn back about halfway across…just needed to use up another couple of minutes…but he spotted the Fox Pavilion trail he went on about a year ago and turned toward it.   So we rode up into the increasingly rocky area and got as far as Cactus Flat.  There I found an area free of cactus just large enough for him to turn around in and headed him back out of the dry woods, which he was glad to do, and we turned onto the main trail home.  When he gets his next hoof trim (about 4 weeks), he’ll be measured for hoof boots on the fresh trim, and once he’s booted I’ll take him back up to Fox Pavilion.

Unfortunately, a few hours later I was attacked by a gut bug, and it persisted off and on until now, so I’m not riding today–I’m sure he won’t mind a day off.  He’s definitely lost some weight (which he needed to) but he doesn’t need to go too low, either.   I mind, but it’s a cloudy, dull day after a foggy dawn, so I mind less than if it were beautiful, sunny, etc.   I keep reminding myself (because I’m not the most patient person in the world, esp. with myself) that there’s no rush in getting Rags fit, better trained, etc.   I’ve enjoyed riding him this past week; he appears to be willing and reasonably happy to be going out and seeing new stuff.  If it takes six weeks to work up to hour-long rides…so what?  (Nonetheless, if this miserable digestive tract will please settle down, I’ll be delighted to get on him later this afternoon…)  In this next week, if I can ride five times, I’m sure we can get to half hour rides.  I’d planned to do the first increase, to 20 minutes, today.  Oh, well.

Things for me to work on while riding: posture (no slumping, no collapsing a hip), position overall, clarity of aids.   Things for me to work on while not riding: mounting/dismounting practice, strength of legs and core, flexibility (all over).  Things to work on with Rags while not riding: ground handling he’s still not perfect on, grooming, fly spray, tacking up, etc.  Things to work on with Rags while riding:  flexing at the poll, better halts, quicker response to aids, leg yield, maintaining a regular walk, straightness, lateral flexibility, backing up, standing still   Nothing dramatic yet, just both of us continuing to learn each other and become smoother partners.   I won’t put my old western saddle on him until my riding weight plus the saddle’s weight is well within his carrying capacity.   He’ll stay in the lightweight English saddle until then, and maybe after (depends which he seems to like best.)

If I can stray far enough from the small tiled room this afternoon, I’m going to move some poles and jump blocks into the north horse lot and set up a defined straight-sided area to do some exercises now and then.   This makes it easier to clarify, for the horse, the cues for things like leg yield and shoulder-in, and easier for me to tell if we’re achieving those goals.  It can’t be a standard dressage setup, but it can be sortakinda like that, even if narrower (because of stuff.)   When we get to longer riding periods, at least two a week will involve part of the time spent in the “school.”

Yesterday was really a lot of fun.  I haven’t ridden in that part of the land at all for almost 40 years.  It’s a big open sloping area, partly terraced.  This spring I’m going to seed the part that was burned with a shortgrass mix and see if I can get a more turf-like cover on at least part of it.    (Hmmm…clouds starting to break up.  Stomach-ache still not gone, alas.)


2 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle: Fifth Ride

  1. The good part of the day sounds delightful. The not so good part ,I can sympathize with. Last year someone suggested the FODMAP diet for figuring out precisely what causes my severe intestinal distress. It’s an elimination diet, so after one has been on it about 6 weeks one starts adding things back in to see what one should or should not eat. I felt so much better I was scared to add anything I had eliminated.

    The idea is to avoid food with certain sugars which can ferment in the gut and cause havoc. Google turns up the details in a flash.

    I was lucky because I was already GF, but unlucky in that as one who recently gone vegan, I found just about every vegan source of protein must be eliminated. What convinced me that I could do it was that dark chocolate is okay.

    The long and short of it is that once I got used to meat and low lactose cheese (yay Vermont cheddar and parmesan) for protein it was easy.

    Slowly I am trying things out which I have avoided for the last year. Just one at a time. And now I’ve discovered that dried onion doesn’t seen a problem, tho fresh is. Reasonable amounts of dried fruit are okay too, so I’m now working on favorite veggies, like green beans. Come summer I’ll try stone fruits.

    I have gotten really good at experimenting with dairy free frozen desserts, discovering some I prefer to ice cream. I found a pasta made with edamame which does not cause the same reaction as dried soy or wheat. Even better, it cooks in 4 minutes! And berries are about the best fruit one can eat, giving me an excuse to eat them more often.

    So no bean or lentil soup yet, but I’m learning how to make
    great soup with cheaper cuts of beef, chicken, turkey, etc. I’m shopping some stores I would not usually visit for sale items. The small amount of meat to veggies, rice, potato and broth keeps the per serving cost very reasonable.

    My plan for the 2022 garden involves some changes in what’s going to be planted. And the blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are already getting more attention. All of which should tell you while it seems impossible that I should feel so much better, I do. And I’m happy to do whatever to stick to the regimen. I’m even loosing weight too … a lovely bonus.

    So I would suggest giving it a try. And Happy New Year.

  2. Linda, I’m glad to know you’re feeling better. So am I, overall. We think my gut thing was his gut thing first, because he got sick one day, and two days later I did, same way. Kinda speaks for contagious person to person, since we hadn’t eaten the same thing.

    We have been cleaning up the garden space again, though it’s frustrating here when we can’t water it and the rains don’t come. We have the storage tanks, but depend on them to keep the horses watered and help out a few of the trees. I want to go back to having *something* I grow myself again. Parsley, beans, lettuce in very early spring, tomatoes, etc.

    Happy New Year, BTW.

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