When I got home from vacation at the beginning of July, I told myself not to worry too much about having any sort of consistent riding schedule. The days were insanely hot, and there was little relief in the early morning or evening times. My horses’ feet have also taken a beating with this DRY heat. Cracks and chips and pulled shoes–the whole nine yards. So, I just allowed myself (and my guys) to take a little break.
I tried to use the time to relax and enjoy the quiet around the barns. I’ve had a slow summer, but boarders are slowly starting to trickle in for the fall semester. Three horses came last week, four more will come this week, but the majority will arrive the third week of August. It’s about to get busy, y’all. It felt like the weather somehow sensed the impending start of school and cooled off dramatically this week. Cooler temperatures, combined with a couple serendipitous time blocks without children made me think this was the perfect week to start back riding Hot Rod and Kona.
Don’t you love beginnings? Even though we had a short break, it’s an exciting feeling to get back in the saddle. It made my heart happy to give them a really thorough grooming, too. My horses seemed to appreciate the extra grooming and attention, too. I think we’re all ready for a fresh fall start! But first, we need to get back in shape.
Monday morning I decided to ride Hot Rod and longe Kona. I’ve never had Hot Rod buck or do something silly after a break, so riding him was a no-brainer. He was definitely more forward than normal! It’s hard to know how hard to push an out-of-shape horse when you’re first starting back in a conditioning program. You know that feeling when you haven’t been to the gym for a while, but you’re like, “this is no big deal! I got this!” And before you know it, you’ve pushed yourself too hard and you know you’re going to regret it the next day? That’s how Hot Rod felt. I could’ve fed off his energy and just let him lope and lope ’til his head hung low, but I made him quit while he was ahead. I’ll slowly push him into work.
Kona, on the other hand, absolutely could not handle his energy in the round pen. I seriously thought he was going to give himself a nosebleed. I mean, the dude can straight-up run at a 45 degree angle for quite a while! And that’s what I call #roundpeninsurance. I tried to get him to slow down and focus on my commands, rather than just running himself into the ground, but he wasn’t super interested.
I pulled them out Tuesday evening and rode both of them. I hopped on Hot Rod immediately and did super light work while chatting with a boarder. I longed Kona first, and then rode him. Not a single bobble going into the lope, even after time off! He’s getting more broke ALL THE TIME! It was a glorious two hours spent outside by myself with my ponies. If that’s not therapy, I don’t know what is.
While I spent time with my guys, I tried to think about goals I’d like to set for my riding in the fall. I usually like to set specific goals for riding, but I think what my horses (and ME) need the most right now are long rides and wet saddle pads. It’s a pretty simple goal, but I feel like long rides make broke horses, and the more broke they get, the better! I’m thinking about signing up for the AQHA Horseback Riding Program to help track my rides. If a show comes up at the right time, I’d like to go for fun. Same for a trail ride. But, my main focus will be getting in some long rides and wet saddle pads. This might mean only riding one at a time, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Who else is compiling goal lists for the fall?