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

Monday, January 13, 2014

All-Terrain Pony

Yesterday was the warmest it's been for the last two months, with temps hitting the 50's. EVERYTHING had melted, so the fields were muddy mess. Kathy and I had made plans to avoid the mud on the trails by riding out to Four Corners, but it was really windy out and Queenie had not been turned out in almost 3 days (the stalled horses had been kept indoors due to the inclement weather). As a result, she was quite "up" when Kathy was bringing her in from the field. The arena was being used, which prevented her from letting Queenie get all her high spirits out, so she chose to stay behind. But..she offered to take photos with her Super Awesome Long Lens, which I was SUPER excited about!

Lily was somewhat of a fire-breathing dragon on the cross ties, swinging from side to side constantly, screaming at every horse that walked by, and pooping every 5 minutes. Yep: the Mareface was in heat. One thing I hate about winter is that the second temps hit above 40, she gets her panties all up in a bunch. At least I can sort of predict it, I guess...

Kathy had to hold her for me to get on, because she did NOT want to stand still by the mounting block. Too much going on: horses galloping in from the fields for dinner time, the wind blowing, the sun getting lower, the round bales hanging out in the fields, the unmoving fencelines. Everything was a source of distraction, whether it was moving or not!

We rode up the bridle path to the longer hill, where I warmed up with Lily by going up and down a couple of times, first at the walk and then a trot. The footing in the bottom of the bridle path was a mucky mess, but it wasn't bad at all on the hill. Lily was more than willing to trot up and down when asked. When it comes to footing, I trust her 100%. If the footing is too bad do do a certain gait, she will not pick up that gait. She's smart like that.

After that, we did canter sets up the hill, then trotting down the hill, for about another 10 minutes.

I will post the photos from the photo shoot later in a separate post, but here's a teaser:

Video also taken by Kathy. Here's Lily owning that downhill trot. My feet are bouncing to absorb the shock; I'm not kicking her forward. She trots great downhill if I sit in a sort of three-point position. Sometimes she'll ask me to post. 

Kathy then returned to the barn and I thought I'd do a couple more trot sets on the hill. We rode all the way to the end of the path, down to the property that owns the indoor arena, thinking I'd use the entire length of it for the trot sets...and then figured we'd see what the back woods looked like. And once we were in the back woods, I thought, "Well, maybe the footing's good over by the soybean farm." So we kept on going.

Lily alternately offered to trot and walk depending on the footing, and I let her choose what she wanted to do. She picked up this small, super smooth trot that made her feel almost like a gaited horse. It was adorable, faster than a walk, but very controlled and deliberate. I have an all-terrain pony.

Wet mowed corn field

The dirt road that runs between the soybean fields was washed out, so the tiny gravel had disappeared and the footing had packed down, making it perfect for picking up a bigger trot.

I tried getting a trot video but Lily was all like, "Pay attention! Both hands on the reins! Stop trying to film things!"
So I got a photo instead.
We trotted all the way down the road, up to where it turns into a private driveway and then veers left onto the gravelly road that goes to Four Corners. The spot that leads off of the driveway was both muddy and deep, and after 2 steps in the muck, I turned Lily around. Yes, she is very sure-footed, but there was no point in risking our limbs just to go a little farther when the footing is so bad.

We trotted back up the dirt road, then walked the rest of the way back.

Riding past the mowed corn field on the way home.

We did the loop in the back woods, and right at that moment I realized that Runmeter had recorded nothing beyond our first mile! So I have no idea what our pace was nor how long we were out, as I had not taken a watch. Based on past rides, we did about 6-7 miles.

This is the path that leads back to the bridle path from the back woods.

I continue to be surprised by, and love, the changes in Lily since being turned out 24/7. This is the same mare that used to be afraid of mud!! She now negotiates it like no big deal. It was a great ride.


  1. It definitely doesn't look like you are kicking her downhill :)

    1. Lol I'm glad! Dressage riders on those big WB with the huge gaits do the same thing and I've heard people say, "why is the rider kicking the horse all the time?" Haha

  2. 24/7 turnout + increased riding on trails/out of arena + your boosted confidence riding her these past many months = amazeballs on both of your parts!

  3. She looks amazing. And it looks like you were almost posting without raising all of the way up, which is how my dressage instructor talks about sitting the trot.

    Why didn't the Runmeter work?

    And . . . I can't wait to see pictures!!!!

    1. Thank you Karen! I'm not even sure how to describe what I'm doing. I used to hate the sitting trot and got away with avoiding it for years! Haha I had to work on it for dressage and also bc Lily prefers it for warming up. Having a good hip-heel alignment helps, but you basically carry your weight on your inner thighs and let your ankles absorb the shock. At least, that's what I do. :) Cassandra might have a different method.

      I thought about this later: I set Runmeter before getting on, and I think it accidentally got closed when Kathy borrowed the phone to get the videos. She initially couldn't find the phone's camera app. Oh well. We got 2 cool videos in exchange. :) There's a canter video that I'll post later too!

  4. I so miss riding between soy fields...