Saturday, December 31, 2011

Last Ride of the Year

It was 50 degrees. We planned on riding outside but the winds were kind of outrageous, so we just rode inside. It was a pretty good ride. I was hoping for just a nice, relaxing time with my horse.  This week I was tired and we didn't get out to the barn much.  I usually have a slow down with winter.  Maybe that is starting to happen.

The ride was good.  Bear and Steen were both warm and a bit sluggish.  Bear was actually very stiff in his lower legs when we were doing some groundwork, but he seemed to loosen up pretty quickly.  After I had been on for just a few minutes he was much, much livelier.  When we started trotting and working on some transitions he kept telling me the next transition should be into the lope.  Since he was stiff in the beginning I wanted to keep warming him up, but I guess he was good.

We started loping and it was very easy and relaxed.  He was moving good and staying on the rail and not trying to get out of it at all.  Robin said he had that happy Bear expression on his face.  It was truly the best indoor lope on him I've ever had.  We went for quite a few minutes.  He was certainly worse going to the right, but now that we've got a good base of fitness going, I'll feel better about pushing that direction more.

After the running around we worked on 'the routine.' We had not done this in a while, and I messed up on the first round.  Then we got three pretty good ones in a row.  For the first one our timing was decent, but Bear kept dropping the trot and I had to work hard to keep him going.  After that he figured it out and was much better.

We rode for an hour, and that gave me 109 hours and 5 minutes for the year.  Sometime last spring I noticed that if I just averaged 10 hours a month that I could get over 100.  So that became my goal.  Not a very big goal, but it was enough for me to really accelerate my abilities on horseback.

Here is the month to month breakdown if anyone is curious.

January 0
February 2:35
March 4:30
April 9:20
May 14:50
June 10:30
July 5:05
August 11:15
September 12:15
October 12:40
November 12:55
December 13:10

Not the most even of years.  The spring was a long build up until some great riding in April and May.  That is when Bear got super fit.  Then there was a lull in the mid summer.  Bear had a super minor injury, and it was hot.  So we didn't ride much.  Things got going again at the end of the summer, and then we attended the Buck Brannaman clinic and the stuff I learned there really carried me through the year.

Next year I think my goal will be 150 hours.  Not huge, by any standards, but it will be a little bit of a challenge.

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