Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Heading Uphill

Sofie has been improving. She is still a little out of shape and not at her best. She needs to build some strength and I think she is still experiencing a bit of discomfort. But she has been very willing, and I'm working on slowly building her up again.

We've been able to ride outside the last couple of times. On Thursday I rode out in the yard with a friend. We did lots of trot transitions, both in the indoor warming up and out in the yard. She trotted wherever and whenever I told her to, and even trotted up a hill without any hesitation, which is quite a big deal. The places I prefer to ride are nice and expansive, with lots of little hills, which is very beneficial, except when you have a horse with bad hocks. There are times when she just can't tolerate even the slightest little slope, and there are times when she can charge up hills all day long. Shortly after we trotted uphill, she started stopping as I walked her around, which seems to me like an early warning. "I'm getting uncomfortable...I can't do this much longer...it's time to quit." She didn't stall out completely or anything (she doesn't really know how to do that) and I'd much rather she communicate with a few unplanned halts than some of the other stuff she could be doing.

On Sunday it was really hot, and I didn't even want to ride, but we went out around 5 and brought the horses in so I could ride in the Big Field, which I hadn't gotten to do in forever. It was surprisingly pleasant while I was riding, and the bugs didn't seem to bother Sofie (at least not enough to make her throw her head). She went around well for not having been out there in over a month. She was wary of the woods behind the back fenceline, and she spooked once at birds taking off noisily behind her, but she was very good. I didn't ride for very long because she felt a little off and I didn't want to push it and set her back. But we did get some trotting done, and some hill work done, and I ended the ride after she trotted away from the barn on floaty reins without drifting or weaving.

I'm optimistic about this fall. Hopefully we'll get lots of nice weather and be sound and have a great time!

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