I went out Friday and had a ride on my crazy mare. It was very windy – a storm front was blowing in – and Dixie has come into that first raging spring heat. She had completely forgotten all of her ground manners – she kept trying to run over me as I groomed her, and she tried to yank her feet away. The first mile had a lot of stopping to stare and hope a stallion came charging out of nowhere for some sweet lovin. We did the scenic hills and the mines – a pretty short ride.
Garmin – we did 6.99 in 1:40, average of 4.2 mph.
The full mines trail – what we did Friday – has a lot of very twisty singletrack. One day we’ll be able to trot it or rack it, and I suppose I should go ahead and push Dixie to try it, but it’s not the easiest trail in the world to head down at speed. More importantly, I wasn’t pushing her too hard. I was very happy to just be back on my horse, back in these mountains I’ve come to love so much, watching a storm front roll in. She’s just starting to shed seriously, and it was surprisingly warm (mid 50s) but with sustained winds of maybe 40 mph. Just didn’t seem like the kind of day where you should push your horse to work hard, and I wasn’t in the mood to work her hard.
Anyway! Comparing today’s ride with one month ago, I see some nice improvement. (Oddly, one month ago was almost the same pace/time/distance.) Dixie’s walk is improving – once she hit her groove / became resigned to her fate, she kept up a very businesslike walk above 4 mph. Her mid speed and her canter are improving in duration, too. The middle speed is switching around quite a bit – seems like it’s trot maybe 1/3 of the time and something else more comfortable the other 2/3ds, probably a bit of RW and a lot of step pace.
Digression: sometimes I get incredibly discouraged that we’ll never finish a 50 on time because she isn’t making heroic gains in her cardio fitness / middle speed duration. It’s cause I’m fat, or maybe cause she has cancer, or cause she’s a gangly Walker and not a teeny narrow Arab. Then I breathe slowly and deeply, back away from the ledge, and talk sensibly – she IS making reasonable progress. That’s why I have the blog and the GPS, so I can look back and see how she’s improving. The winter coat will fall off, and she’ll cool off faster, and I’ll lose some weight now that the bar’s over, and if she does have cancer that’s just shitty luck, but she doesn’t look in any way unhealthy. (If you’re a somewhat new reader, I lost my heart-buddy gelding to fucking liver cancer, of all things, almost a year ago.)
Anyway. I don’t know of any other endurance wannabes, much less non-arab endurance wannabes, who have posted GPS info as they first legged up a horse. If I had someone else’s progress to compare to, I might feel better (or worse). But we’ll muddle on through.
Today was stormy, and hopefully tomorrow will be clearer. I am going to rig up some cross ties and try to get off the loose winter hair, whether she likes it or not! Then we’ll head out for a long ride, maybe 15 miles?