Thursday, January 5, 2017

Riley's best day ever

Riley, of course, being Brita's golden retriever puppy. And it was her best day ever bc this puppy just loooooves water and mud. Both of which were plentiful when Brita and I (and Bella and Charlie) bundled up in a few extra layers to hit the trails (finally) at OF.

this angle makes it almost look like that quarter sheet fits him haha
And what follows is totally and completely unapologetic photo spam. Alas we can't claim to have captured any of the grandeur of fall foliage (like when I had Bali out through these fields last year, right before breaking my leg lol). But the dreary drizzling gray weather is sorta kinda charming in its own kinda way, right?

no joke, this puppy LOVES puddles. that coat was 100% powerless against her intense need to slither across the ground like an otter
Poor Charlie. Guys. This horse desperately needs to hack out more often. He's such a natural at it!! I had actually initially felt a little guilty stuffing him onto the trailer for this outing, bc it's been our impression that homeboy doesn't really love being exposed to the wetter elements....

brita and bella!
But my overwhelming need to get out of the arena for a longer ride beat out my sympathies for Charlie's perceived delicate constitution. So I borrowed a fleecy quarter sheet and told him that his vocab word du jour was forbearance.

how i love these fields <3
My concern for Charlie's potential discomfort was entirely misplaced tho. He was immediately right at home out in the fields. Easily out-walked Bella with his long long legs, despite sticking to a relaxed amble. Happily turned us through gates here, and trail heads there.

At one point I actually only half-jokingly asked Charlie if he had been here before in another life haha. He seemed to know his way around!

blurry selfies > no selfies
I mean. Obvi the rain was kinda a nuisance and it was slightly cold... But it was exactly what I needed. And maybe Charlie too.

it was obviously EXACTLY what riley needed haha
I've read and heard a lot about what long slow hack miles can do for a horse still letting down from the track and rebuilding their muscles in a new way. Plus Charlie has a lot to learn about terrain in general. Ground that slopes up and down and all around is still relatively new to him - especially while under saddle.

bella handled all the gates for us like a total pro, tho charlie was quite happy to wait patiently for her
And it turns out, unlike Riley, Charlie's not fantastically fond of mud or puddles. I already knew this from past lessons when he avoided walking through puddles in the arena.... But this'll need to be addressed if he has any hope of being an event horse. Hacks across nasty ground are the perfect setting to let him figure that out for himself tho, without me needing to force the issue.

cross country jumps!!!!!!!!!!!
Plus I obviously had to take every opportunity to point out all the fences that I had jumped with other horses. From some of the novice stuff with Isabel, even to the BN/intro stuff I did with that little pony Krimpet last summer haha (my last time schooling xc, sob).

The idea of jumping Charlie over anything of any size right now is borderline unfathomable bc of his awkward "OMG LEGS EVERYWHERE" style haha... But if Krimpet can do it, he sure as shit can too.

water water! i spy water!
We took advantage the water complex too. Alas Charlie proved a bit reluctant so I settled on walking him in and out a couple times (usually with the aid of bold Bella leading the way) instead of actually trying any of the up or down banks like I had wanted. Oh well, there will be plenty of time for that later.

i kinda love the austere landscape of woods in winter
There were more opportunities for low-key, almost-incidental schooling elsewhere too tho. Brita is still learning the woods so we kinda just sniffed around different trails, trying to make the ride last. One fairly narrow path had a steep dip down to a tiny rivulet, then steep climb back up. Total change in height of no more than 4-5 feet. Steep but short.

We ended up doing that twice in a row too, as our trail dead-ended soon after and we turned back around. Charlie led both times, and was a little hesitant about the water both times - but did the thing, and did it more quickly and easily the second time. Good boy. Repetition is definitely his friend!

this farm is so freakin pretty!
And hopefully repetition is in our future. Personally I love trail riding for so many different reasons. Mental breaks for the horse (and rider). Low key strength-building miles. Opportunities to experience wide varieties of terrain and visual landscapes. Oh. Plus Charlie is totally broke to puppies running around every which way now too haha. Bonus!

Rumor has it that there ARE actually trails at Charlie's barn. Modest in length, but enough to get out for 40min if you wanted. Which sounds perfectly sufficient to me! The trick will be finding someone to ride out there with us, as I'm not quite ready to go all solo-expeditioner with the big guy yet, even tho he's been to be totally chill. Hopefully someone will want to go soon tho!

57 comments:

  1. That puppy is so cute! I'm glad Charlie is his usual self out on the trails :)

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  2. Love love love trail riding, it's so good for the horses' brains. We've got a lovely lake trail that passes by our barn and I think I utilize it the most out of anyone. Time to get the new girl trail savvy!

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    1. Oooh that does sound lovely!! Hope the new girl likes it!

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  3. What a lovely hack, even if it was cold and rainy! Can't wait to hit the trail with you guys sooooon!

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    1. We neeeeed to make this happen!!

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  4. aw that looks so fun!! I dont mind going out for a trail ride even if it is raining.

    how does brita like the back on track hat for her mare? i got one for runkle but havent used it yet...

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    1. I think she likes it tho I'm not sure it makes a huge difference? Idk I will ask her for more details

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    2. Seems to make no difference. Bella is a cool cucumber anyway so not sure if I needed it but had to have it......🙄

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  5. Replies
    1. I gotta get him out there more often!

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  6. Trail riding is the best! Although you're more dedicated than me, I'm typically too wimpy to go in inclement weather haha. Glad it was such a good experience for Charlie!

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    1. Honestly I definitely thought about cancelling. But it's so hard to find time, and last time we wanted to go my truck broke down. So it just seemed like an opportunity I didn't want to miss. And the weather actually wasn't that bad

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  7. I miss hacking out! You're making me jealous.

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    1. Ha I miss it too!! Tho our weather is still good enough for it, I just have the hardest time making it happen!

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  8. Oh man, I looooove hacks and they are SO good for keeping brains fresh and building fitness and muscles. Just looking at your pics brings back so many memories of winters in Maryland. Gorgeous, if dreary!

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    1. i do really love a good maryland landscape! so much pretty farm country, and OF is just such a lovely well kept property!

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  9. I loooove trail riding. Especially if you can use flatter portions to do some work.
    Something tells me if I had a quarter sheet I could ride in California rain. Or at least poke along down a trail.
    Looks like it was a blast. Especially for Riley.

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    1. ya know, i've actually never really been a fan of doing much 'work' out on the trails. not sure if that's the wisest tactic or not, or if there's any real rhyme or reason to it... but i just always kinda wanna let go and just let it be out on the trails

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    2. Maybe it's because I spend my whole horse career riding trails. I get a little bored rising the same trail over and over at a walk. :)

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  10. Trails are so good. I am hoping to go this weekend actually. Looks like you both had a great time, what a good experience for him!

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    1. ooooh i hope you can make it out this weekend too! tho it looks like it's gonna be colllllld, brr

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  11. I hope that one day I can trail ride Miles with Kona pup!

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    1. i hope so too - it's a great way to get everyone out for some action!

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  12. You guys have some really great adventures together, its gotta be so nice having a wonderful friend like Brita around!

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    1. we are honestly both a little sad to not be boarding at the same barn anymore.... but it's worth it to find time to still ride together!!

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  13. Aw, great job hacking, Charlie! Wandering along trails might just be my favorite thing on any of my horses. I don't often take the dogs along, as Lurkee is apt to wander off and Buttons tiny little legs are just too small to keep up for long stretches of time! Looks like a fun day, despite the weather.

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    1. definitely a fun day despite the weather!! and i know that feeling about the dogs too haha, i'd be way nervous to let a dog off the leash but brita's done a good job instilling that skill in riley since day 1 (puppy has been going to barns for a long time already)

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  14. Replies
    1. haha that was one happy puppy!

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    2. 45 min bath after......so. Much. Hair. (You know the feeling)

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  15. I used to LOVE paying out in the rain on days like that. Being all bundled up and on a trail horse like Charlie sounds fun, too!

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    1. haha definitely fun ;) nicer weather would have been better... but we'll take what we can get!

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  16. Puppy! I hate riding in the rain though. I'm a total wuss.

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    1. yea it's generally not my favorite either. sometimes tho my need to ride overruns my need to stay dry haha

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  17. Well hey if I'm ever in the area visiting (I've got a friend that drives the trails at Fair Hill), we should hit the trails together sometime (:

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    1. definitely! there's a bunch of folks around the area who would love to be part of a big fair hill ride. figuring out the timing for that seems to be the tricky part (it's about an hour away for us)

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  18. Aw he sounds like he's going to be so fun. :-)

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  19. Yup, trail riding is so fun! Gives those young horses some new life experiences you cannot multiple in the ring!

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  20. So much fun! And don't worry about the water. Violet used to absolutely refuse to walk through puddles, and was sticky at the cross country water, and now she's like "WHY ARE WE STILL TROTTING THIS!" Just keep at it!

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  21. I'm glad Charlie handles the trails just like everything else! If you ever decide to do a trail ride over at Fair Hill, let me know. Batty would love to join in!

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    1. i definitely have every intention of making that a reality at some point - just not sure when. regardless, you'll be seeing an email from me when we try to pull it all together!

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  22. It's great that you got a day out and about on trails! Sorry it was a bit damp, but any time on the horse is better than time at home, right? (I say this having rolled in from a quick jaunt down to the covered bridge and up the hill to the red house - about an hour ride - in 27F flurries winding up at 5:40 PM. Had to take the easyboots off by flashlight, but gotta get those early marching-walk rides in for conditioning, so... yeah.)

    Charlie seems to be taking to it like a natural, though, so hopefully we'll have more out-n-about pix from you guys soon. (I should take a camera along when we go, at least for the daylight parts.)

    That sheet-skirt thing that Britta has on her horse. Can you tell me about that thing? That looks like a thing I might enjoy.

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    1. that is a quarter sheet!! and yes they are absolutely fantastic. charlie is wearing one too in the first picture - tho his was a little small for him.

      there are a couple different styles of quarter sheets: you can see the one charlie is wearing fits underneath the saddle flaps, and the one bella is wearing goes over the rider's legs. both had advantages/disadvantages and it basically depends on personal preferences.

      they're really great for cooler weather like this too - or for warming up the horse (most you can take off mid-ride if you wanted)

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    2. Cool! I'll have to look into that -- have an xmas tack store gift cert burning a hole in my pocket and a lot of chilly riding ahead of me en route to the end-of-April 30 miler.

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  23. Nothing beats a trail ride. Except a trail ride with furry and human friends!

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  24. This looks so fun!!! So happy to hear that Charlie was so great!

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  25. Looks like you guys had fun! I haven't been able to trail ride in forever. And soon you & Charlie will be hitting the xc course!

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  26. Such a good day!!! Riley loved it and after a while kinda didn't pay attention to the weather!!!

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  27. Sounds like a great ride! Charlie will be jumping all the XC in no time :)

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  28. Looks like you have some gorgeous trails! I just cannot wait to get out on the trails with Solo. All ice here... I can't help but reminisce to last year cantering Paloma through the belly deep snow. Sigh.

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  29. Good boy, Charlie. Maybe one day your momma will bring you to WV to see our trails ;-)

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  30. Yay out of arena riding, good horses, great buddies & a 100% adorbs pooch - pity about the rain. Sure beats our ice & snow that insists on ruining my weekend plans for forestry strolling

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