As the shorter days of fall and winter descend upon us I am trying to fit in as much riding time as is humanly possible. I love the weather this time of year, I just wish the daylight hours in the day would remain the same instead of shrinking!
All too soon it will be too dark to ride except on weekends. I was hoping to have a couple of lights up around my arena by this time, but that just hasn't happened. Hay is a priority and with it not exactly bursting from anyone's barn this year, it's a pricey priority and arena lights are on the back burner for the foreseeable future.
Kayleigh and I went for a ride last night and rode until the waning daylight made it impossible to see anything. She rode bareback and Chief was a champ.
I popped Gabe over a few small cross-rails before it became too dark to do it safely and he seemed to love it. His ears prick forward eagerly, his body compresses and his stride animates when I turn him towards the line and he realizes we are going to go over it, not around it. My goal this month: Get my jump standards and a couple of gates, brush boxes and coops built. I'm pretty sure I have enough extra lumber just laying around the property to build a few jumps without having to buy a thing. I'm excited to get an actual course up and I think he will be too.
I've been riding him in a running martingale for about a year because he had a nasty habit of tossing his head high enough to crack me in the face when he was up and feeling his oats. Last night, I didn't put it on. He tossed his head a couple of times and squealed in his girly way at the beginning of the ride, which is typical for him, then settled into the work with no major head tossing issues. Wonderful boy! I don't think I'll need to put it back on for arena work any more, galloping and full course jumping maybe, but I'll cross that bridge when we get there.
I have definitely noticed how all my hard work out of the saddle has affected my time in the saddle. I've lost 40 pounds and gained strength. I'm jogging about 3 miles 5-6 days a week and lifting weights. I don't have the six pack yet, right now I'm just pleased to be able to see a two pack! I feel wonderful and feel so solid, balanced and strong in the saddle. Gabe has definitely noticed too, not just the weight loss, but the ability to better balance and control my own body seems to give him confidence. Being in control of ME gives him the chance to balance himself and not have to worry about me throwing him off.
I have many more pounds and miles to go, but I'm on a roll and I don't intend on stopping any time soon. My goal? Not only feel good and confident in the saddle, but look damn good in a pair of white breeches! Ha! And find that six pack that's hidden under there somewhere.