Monday, November 19, 2012

Rainy Day & A Ride!

Yesterday was literally the most PERFECT weather to ride in.

It has been raining the last 2 days or so, and for California people, this is quite the shocking change of pace.  For some reason, when it rains around here, people forget how to drive, go into hibernation, and complain on Facebook.  I, on the other hand, LOVE the rain, and look forward to it on a forecast!

I spent most of the rainy Saturday at the barn, of course.  I teach a lesson/horse camp every Saturday, and I cannot cancel on that poor kid, no matter what! J  Once my day was over, I blanketed all the babies, fed them their supplements, and let them have the rest of the day off. I was going to ride with Erin, but as soon as we got around to tacking up, DOWNPOUR. Fun!

Rainy day! See the horse on the end reaching for a drink? hehe
So, that left me with Sunday.  I had no real plans, so I knew I had most of the day to hang out and get things done around the barn.  I arrived and took everyone’s blanket off. Thanks to the End of the World, it was supposed to be in the 70s that day…Yes, the day after a rainstorm.  First up was Rio. He’s a fairly ‘clean’ horse, so after a quick brush off, I tacked up, and headed for the hills! (Quite literally)  He was a little hesitant to go out on his own…He will, but he is a very sociable horse, and loves to have a buddy. As soon as I got him out on the perimeter trail, though, he was fine, and we got into a working trot to warm up.

Rio runs a bit differently than most horses I’ve ridden. Normally, I’d walk in an extended walk to stretch out a horse, and then work them into a trot, but Rio has never required that. This horse has more stamina than I’ve ever seen. In fact, I’ve never felt him have a lazy day.  I ride with little to no leg at all. Mostly voice commands, or driving with my seat. He is SO much fun to ride, and picks up on the tiniest of cues.  Additionally, I will note, he has the most interesting pattern of gaits, and I will not ride him bareback! Not to say I couldn’t…He has more control than 80% of the horses I have ridden, but he’s a bit of a rocky road. Hee hee!

We crossed the bridge over the LA River, went through the tunnels under the 134 freeway, and around Martinez Arena, passing several rental riders as we went. It was kinda funny; as I kept hearing kids say, “That horse’s tail is EPIC!! SO COOL!!!” (Oh, remember when I said people drive like idiots when it rains? Exhibit A: There was a massive car accident right at the Martinez Arena intersection, where a girl my age plowed through a hydrant, and busted a water main). 

There’s a bit of the trail that curves around Martinez that is wonderfully flat, and a great place to pick up a nice canter. I asked Rio to lope out, and we went sailing past all the stopped cars…Best feeling ever.  Went through one last tunnel, and let him loose up the hill. This horse packs some POWER in his hind end, so it feels great to have that underneath you, but he is also conscious of his rider, and will not take off, as to let you fall behind the motion. He will usually pick up a bit, and then with a slight release of the reins, I confirm to him that he can move up and take off up the hill.  I keep my legs against his side to support him (And let’s be real, to hang on) but he does all the rest! J

He’s a pretty smart horse, so once we get up a mile or so up the trail, he bring me right over to the water fountain/trough thing the Parks Department has for both people and animals…sounds great, but it’s really not that bad LOL.  This time, he doesn’t opt to drink, and just lets us stand there and take in the views and fresh air.  A minute or so later, I ask him to move forward, and guide him down one of the 4-point trails.

Rio modeling the trough. Look at that view! *Pre-blue tail*
Now, don’t get me wrong, because I love a good, solid trail ride, but when you keep going over and over through the same 5 or so trails, you have to start getting creative.  Sometimes it’s working on leads around the curves of the trail, other times, it’s finding new ways to traverse the terrain…Rio is game for it all!  Finding deer trails, joggers’ paths, etc. It’s fun for me to see my horse thinking his way though an obstacle, or actually looking at the scenery surrounding him. I catch him all the time looking around, just as if he’s a person, checking out the sights. I wonder sometimes, if they miss the Kentucky surroundings…open pastures, greenery.  In any case, they get MUCH more attention out here with me, than they would out there!

We head all the way down the hill and back to the barn without much of a to-do…I brush him once more (He’s not sweaty AT ALL…remember that stamina thing?) and put him away…NEXT!

Next up, riding Bea for Erin.  Beatrix is a gorgeous Baroque style Friesian (AKA oinker), and Regina’s new BFF.  Seriously, they are joined at the hip!  Erin is gone for the day, and I jump at the chance to ride her mare, what a sweetie.

I tack her up in her stall, and just throw on a bareback pad and her bridle.  I hop on and out we go for a quick workout.  Bea has a bit of energy today, so she’s quick to pick up a nice working trot that actually feels like a solid driving trot underneath me.   It’s fun!  We do this about ¼ of the way around the perimeter trail, and then pick up a soft canter.  Riding Bea in place of Regina is fascinating. Interesting to see how, although alike in many other ways, their gaits are so different. Regina tends to be very linear and predictable with her stride. Bea is a bit dramatic when transitioning into her canter, and feels very…medieval…if that’s even a feeling.  Both horses are amazing, graceful, and fun to ride in their own ways.

BeaCam, creepy edition!
We make our way back to the barn (told you it would be quick!), and I untack her and let her stand in the crossties.  She, on the other hand, has managed to work up quite a sweat from our half hour outing, and I want to make sure she is completely cooled before I let her go back in her stall and eat her lunch.

By this time, I’m feeling the workout in my legs, and decide to give Regina and Hatchet the day off…Can you blame me??  They didn’t seem too upset.  I blanket everyone back up again, feed supplements, and head out. Good day at the barn! J

1 comment:

  1. I envy you, having different horses that you can ride every time you want. I’ve been in Equestrian Australia and I saw a horse exactly on yours.