Back in the Saddle, Ride Six

Today wasn’t foggy at dawn, both cooler and crisper.  I’m expecting a business-related delivery today, so wanted to ride early.  As always, getting ready took longer than expected but I was finally up on Rags.   Slightly more difficulty mounting, probably the result of my day off yesterday feeling icky and a slight remaining internal wobble.  However, I rode without any problems.   It was the first ride of the second week, and so we went 20 minutes, not 15.   Down the near meadow, crossing the old ditch  as a ditch (dip and rise) then up the west trail to the Dry Woods’ SW corner, and turn onto Center Walk, with the expanse of the West Grass (quite different from the East Grass)  on both sides, and a few scattered trees or clumps.  Lots of tallgrass–Indiangrass, Little Bluestem, a few clumps of Big Bluestem that we planted.  The Little Blue has migrated upslope from where we first found it (with some help from me, stripping the seeds in the fall and tossing them into a south or west wind.   The upper slopes of the West Grass, nearer the north fence and the dry woods, range from shortgrass (higher, on thinner soil) like curly mesquite, purple three-awn, Texas grama, through the improved pasture grasses planted by the farmer who leased it when we moved here (King Ranch Bluestem, Silky Bluestem, both African in origin) down to the now spreading tallgrasses.

  Little bluestem (brown) stripes on either side of King Ranch Bluestem and Silky Bluestem (pale)  This picture is from weeks ago; Little Blue is now copper-colored.   Rags regarded copper grass higher than his knees as something to reach out for.  He will be allowed to graze some of the native grasses (it’s good for them as long as they’re not grazed down too low)  once he’s in serious work.

I rode him down to the “crossroads” where the trail that runs along the front of the creek woods crosses Center Walk, turned him around in the intersection, and rode back up to the Dry Woods, across the front of it, then down the east main trail into the Near Meadow.  A very pleasant walk for me, and he was more energetic headed home than going out (typical of a horse that’s not kept stalled…he isn’t bored and restless from being stuck in a stall hours every day.   He’ll do another 20 minutes tomorrow, weather permitting (some Weather is forecast), then 25 Saturday, skip Sunday (unless it’s perfect weather but Monday or Tuesday’s predicted to be too cold or stormy, which it’s not right now.)  The ride after Saturday’s will be 25-30 minutes, and the final ride of the week will be 30.   If he continues to handle that progression well, then next Wednesday is planned for 35, Thursday for 35, Friday for 40, Saturday 40, then Monday and Tuesday following Sunday off will  both last 45 minutes.  By then he will have carried me, or been led (for the trickiest trails, that take him right beside the perimeter fences, mostly barbed wire) except the rockiest, for which he’ll wait until he’s got hoof boots.  When he’s up to an hour of being ridden, I’ll start showing him the trails west of the creek, eventually all the way to Owl Pavilion.

Ideally, his “trail” work won’t take him exactly the same route two days in a row, even when he’s doing a daily round of fence checking and wildlife water checking.  Variety is good for horses’ brains, as it is for ours.  The same trail changes with the seasons and weather, too, which is fun.

  Trail between Fox Pavilion and N. Fence, part rocky

  N. Fence Trail between DryWoods and creek, nearly all soil

  N. Fence Trail top of dry woods, very rocky

  Creek Woods outside trail, grass/dirt

A few examples of the trails.  Views from them (walking or riding) vary as well.  From the North Fence trail up on top of the rise, you can often see out to the north part of that property and a busy road….until the thickets of roughleaf dogwood, cedar elm, etc. close in.  There are views south across the West Grass to Cloud Pavilion in the breaks of the inner fencerow.

4 thoughts on “Back in the Saddle, Ride Six

  1. Glad you were able to ride today, and are on the mend from whatever upset your stomach. Also glad Rags is enjoying himself, even with Tigger calling him back. Lovely to see the trails too, you write well, but a picture shows so much that would take a ridiculous amount of words to describe.

    Do you think you are putting on muscle or toning it or both with the riding?

  2. Toning it, right now, but since I haven’t been doing the run-and-walk exercise this past week (because the prep and after for riding takes so much time for me, the forgetful slowpoke) I may be losing it in the running muscles as opposed to the riding muscles. I can feel changes in both back in general and core, esp. the deep core as my position and posture both return to more what they should be.

    I expect to build riding muscle seriously again when Rags can start trotting and I start posting and 2-point. But I need to get back on the long walks and run intervals to bump off the rest of the weight in my plan, and build better legs. Also weight work (doing a little every other day) for upper body. I’m somewhat happy w/myself today that the longer ride didn’t wear me out. 20 minutes isn’t “long” but I started back on Rags with 5…

    1. I’m enjoying it SO much. The weather’s been cooperative, but is about to change (tomorrow, Saturday the 1st) to something more winter-worthy. I hope the riding tights I have, the ones with a little fuzz inside, are up to it!

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