I had a fantastic morning ride to the top of the ridge today, about 7.4 steep miles in an hour and a half. It was a little chilly down below, especially at the bridge over the creek, but by the time we charged to the summit (it really is a good long steep hill, I’m always kind of re-surprised at how steep it is) it was probably 60 degrees and bright blue skies. Cantering along the flat at the top of the ridge was fantastic, I couldn’t force the grin off my face if I tried. I carry my crop when I ride from home and I’ve found it very useful. Desire has a tendency to drift to one side of the road in a casual attempt to turn around for home. Blaze did something similar but Desire is a lot sneakier about it, lol. I try to keep her to one side of the road in case we hear a car coming (it’s paved road for a mile and then a very wide dirt road up to the top of the ridge after that). She always has other ideas and tries to choose HER side to walk on. We have discussions about it and sometimes a little sharp tap to the neck with the crop will snap her out of it and refocus her forward. When I ask she willingly trots out and we had some really nicely paced short canters today as well. But at any speed when she felt me start to ask for slowing down she would immediately angle her hind end to be ready to stop and turn for home, Lol! It’s a little annoying but not that bad, especially since she always easily goes into a higher gait when I ask. She isn’t turtling it like Blaze does but she does take advantage of any attention lapses, that’s for certain. We had a couple of long, sustained 6 mph jogs on a loose rein on the way up, it felt fantastic. Of course once we turned for home we were having talks to stay at a walk and at the trot I was having to fight to keep her below 10 mph. Mostly we just worked on walking home. I’ve found that circling her doesn’t do a whole lot of good, it’s too easy for her. So today when she tried to break into a trot downhill I immediately stopped her and then collected her and asked her to back uphill. It took about 4 attempts per gait-break for her to continue on at a walk, but that’s better than the 10+ circles I had to do in previous attempts. Backing uphill ain’t easy and though she smoothly did it, by the last time around (let’s see, probably a total of 14 reps of 3-step backwards uphill) I could tell she was getting a little muscle tired. About a mile out from home she finally found her loose relaxed walk again, that’s pretty standard for her. She isn’t racy or pushy about trying to break gait at least, just persistent, lol. We had a brief moment of spazz on the way home on the very last flat stretch on the dirt road before the pavement began again, she wanted to trot faster and faster and break into a canter and I was asking her to slow which became a half trot/half canter head shaking/mini crow hop protestation. Pretty funny and I did my “EH EH” naughty noise and we were back to a walk with no further issue.
The Bomber is back home this afternoon, after a new fuel pump, some hoses, and O-rings. I’ve got plans to ride Friday and possibly on the weekend, and meet up with my riding buddy C again at the lake next week, now that she has her saddle back from refitting. I’m milking this weather all I can but the dry dead grasses around are pretty worrying! It’s supposed to be lush and green right now. We’ll see. When we got home with the Bomber I was hugging and scratching on Sheza, boy oh boy she is big now!!