"And, when you want something, the entire Universe conspires in helping you to achieve it." -The Alchemist, by Paulo Coehlo

Thursday, September 12, 2013


We did our first solo ride in the woods behind the barn. It's about 3/4 of a mile ride to get to the woods, following a bridle path past the big indoor at the neighboring farm, a couple of turnouts, and following the fenceline of a private property (we're allowed to use it.)

Lily was an absolute superstar.

She walked out eagerly onto the bridle path, occasionally looking around, but focused. There was a slight moment of hesitation when I asked her to turn away from the barn, but she never really stopped. There was another slight hesitation when she saw the horses in the turnouts over by the indoor, but again, she never stopped.

We continued on our way into the woods. As soon as we were within the trees, she asked to trot. So I let her.

We did 4 miles in 55 minutes. 60% of that was trot, and the rest of it was walk, except for 3 very short canter sets. 2 of those were uphill. We did 2 loops around the main trail, adding in the new section that Phoebe and I cleared last week, which is barely discernible unless you've gone through there before.

New trail section

New trail disappears briefly.
Check out her happy ears!
She LOVED the new trail portions. She WANTED to trot those sections, despite there not really being a trail to speak of, and she was more than happy to turn wherever I told her. Again, she totally surprised me.

We rode all the way down to the bridge, and this time, her 3rd time seeing the bridge, she didn't even falter: she walked right over it, no problem.

On the way back home, there is a really steep hill that is optional but it is a shortcut. It is at a good 60 degree angle and the trail winds up it in a series of slow serpentines. I asked her to gallop up the first time, and she immediately asked to walk once we reached the top. I patted her and, instead of heading home, we repeated the loop.

She could clearly see the fields beyond the woods at the spot where I asked her to turn back. She had been gearing up to head home when I asked her to return. Despite this, she happily turned the way I asked her, and continued in her second gear down the main trail again. No hesitation, no looking back, not even the slightest attempt at trying to turn around. WHAT A GOOD GIRL!!!

We took the hill the second time at a trot (the gait she chose), and then I dropped the reins on her neck and we headed back to the barn. She marched us through the fields at a confident, swinging walk. She was dripping sweat, but no panting/blowing whatsoever.

I gave her a bubble bath and poulticed her legs this time. It was HOT today, even by Lily's and my tropical standards. I put her away in her stall afterwards, where she immediately urinated and then proceeded to dig into her hay. She's getting to the point where she's going to have to learn to pee on the trail: after every 3+ mile ride, she's had to urinate by the time we've gotten back to the barn. 2 of those 3 times, she's peed in the cross ties because she couldn't hold it anymore!

I hung around the barn until 4:30 pm or so, then headed home. Charles and I went for a run. It was still hot as blue blazes even after 6:00 pm.

Really beautiful balcony

Green still dominates the scenery
Someone had written this in chalk on the sidewalk.
I thought it was awesome.

Green rules, but we're seeing more and more of this. :) Hard to believe the heat index today was in the high 90's!
We did 3 miles in 40 minutes of run/walking. We then walked to the grocery store to get more cat food. I left Cyclemeter running up until the moment we got home: we did a total of 4 miles between the run and the grocery store stop.