Sunday, February 26, 2012

And Off We Go!

Got in two good rides, last weekend and today.  Pat and I trailered down to Valley View Training Center, about 10 miles, with my goal being to get both Maddie and I back to work:  not only are we both out of shape from the winter, but we both have left-over confidence issues from the wreck last June.
Although Maddie was okay two weeks ago for west-side-guy, there had still been a couple of moments when she threatened to freak, and I got that nasty churning feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I am determined to build us both up, physically and mentally, to be ready for the KVTR Clinic on the 18th and 19th of March.
Last week the most I could convince myself to do was walk around the arena--constantly reminding myself to breathe!  There were two other riders besides Pat and I, and a couple of people and horses putzing around in the cross ties just out the back end of the arena.  Maddie was on alert most of the time, but, other than getting stalled a few times, she was cooperative.

We trotted!
Pat and Rambler and Maddie and I had the whole place to ourselves.
Maddie jumped a little as I mounted, but I stuck with her (she had moved too far away from the mounting block for me to retreat to safety), and she settled again quickly.  The corners of the arena were full of goblins, which made for some gawking, but since Pat had already been working for a bit when I got there, she just stood and watched while we worked on getting past the sticky spots.
Took a deep breath and nudged her up to a gentle jog.  Maddie was ready.  Around the outside, and some big circles and such.  She would occasionally get bent the wrong way (bringing her haunches in) but a quick circle to re-establish the correct bend usually did the trick.  Then we played follow-the-leader with Rambler for a bit.
At one point I had the fleeting temptation to move her up to a lope, but decided I didn't need to push my luck.  We'll take whatever time we need to keep going in the positive track we've gotten started.
The weather hasn't been helpful--last weekend (when I had three days to work with her!) the wind was so bad that Monday was the only day we worked.  Yesterday was our local 4H tack swap, and by the time Pat and I got back from town, the wind was blowing again.  This morning, we managed to hit a two-hour window between gray skies and spitting snow, when the sun actually came out for a bit.
Maybe next weekend I can get out with her both days--AccuWeather sounds hopeful.  I've paid for a month of haul in to Valley View, but Pat's starting to talk about hitting the trail.  We'll see...


  1. The wind was crazy here yesterday too! I'm thinking as the weather gets better and better (and it will, it must) you and Maddie will have much more fun with this "building up" project. Nice to read about your progress!

  2. Good for you for getting out there and getting started again. I've been riding Dawn now almost every day (in the indoor at the new barn) and it's been good for my confidence. And Pie and Drifter move on Thursday to the trainers - the beginning of a new, and I think good, chapter for us.

    Here's to spring and getting going again!

  3. It may be cold and blowing now, but warmer weather is just around the corner - soon you and Maddie will be hitting those trails I'm sure.

    It seems the older I get, the more I fear taking a tumble - I don't ride, but hiking on slippery trails gives me a much greater sense of anxiety than it did when I was younger and before I had an accident that caused back and hip injuries. Confidence building takes time; I look forward to hearing the progress reports.

  4. Good for YOU!!!!! (both of you!)

  5. You and Maddie made great progress, despite the uncooperative weather and wind. It is challenging for me to get out and ride during the winter too. After a gap in riding, sometimes just walking around in a big, creepy indoor arena, with all the commotion of other riders and people, is a big win.

    Maddie is sure cute! Keep the faith that warmer weather is on its way.

  6. Wooo, what a great day! Congrats! One day, spring will come, I'm just sure of it. :)

  7. Sounds like you and Maddie have been making a lot of progress. I think just walking and trotting in the indoor is a great confidence builder for both of you. I wouldn't be anxious to get on the trails until I felt really comfortable with Maddie and she was confident in herself. Great work!

  8. Oh my, I could copy and paste almost all of your post and put my name and my horses' names in instead. My story is so similar to your's!
    I vowed that I would get back to work. Get the horses in shape... get me in shape... breathe.... get over the 'heebie-jeebies' and get ready for a driving clinic on the 17th!
    Good luck! Maybe we should sign a pact together... we can do this!