Sunday, February 14, 2010

Surviving the Gallops!

The weather has gone from cold and rainy to bright and windy in the past few days, and the horses have definitely been feeling the change! Ringo and I joined a big group of folks heading up to Rainbow Ranch on Saturday to get in our first real gallop since well before Thermal (the rain having sabotaged several planned outings in the meantime); I was very excited to go because Rainbow is probably my favorite place in all of California. My spirits fell a little bit when I went out to catch Ringo and, even with a giant handful of sugar cubes, had no success at all!! After much bucking, rearing, charging, and racing around his paddock, I (with Bec's help) finally managed to get a hold of the dude and round him up. But I could quickly tell what kind of ride we were going to have out on the hills!

For the most part everyone was actually better behaved than I had expected (though my expectations had been very, very, VERY low). Everyone was peachy up and down the first big hill and up onto the ridge line. When we went to canter along the ridge, though, things got a little western! When I put my leg on Ringo to ask him to canter, he exploded into a series of highly athletic rodeo leaps, one of which very unfortunately made contact with another horse's gut! Luckily no one seemed worse for wear, though I was pretty mortified. Once we got going Ringo was very good, though he was pretty darn unhappy with being forced to the back of the group for the duration. It was great to get to practice my galloping position, which has to be so much stronger on Ringo than it did on Dually, and I was happy with my overall level of control. Everyone else had a good time, too, though I think everyone was also pretty happy to get back to the trailers in one piece given the level of excitement in the air!

Today I went back to Rainbow for a second day in a row, this time with Kiki!! I went with Laura Warner, who had agreed to help babysit Kiki on her first outing away from Rancho del Rio in California. The vibe was, right from the start, 100% calmer (Laura's horse Cedric was a great influence) and Kiki was absolutely PERFECT from start to finish. We took the same track as the day before but went at a slower pace (much more walking and trotting, with just a few cantering sections), and I was super pleased with every aspect of Kiki's performance: she was quiet, she was calm, she didn't mind being left behind when Laura had to push Cedric on a little bit (as this was their last gallop before going Training at Twin), she felt great, and she didn't come back as tired as I feared she might. YAY KIKI!!

I'm definitely feeling a little tight and stiff from my extended hours in galloping position over the past few days. I think, as much as I hate to say it, that it's time for my dressage saddle and I to get reacquainted.

Random photo of the day:

(Dually and I enjoying the gallops at Rainbow last May; things were much sunnier and greener these past few days!)

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