Friday, May 1, 2009

The Project Begins

One of my goals this year is to ride in the Northern most Competitive Trail Ride sanctioned by NATRC. The dates of the ride are July 17 and 18. Since I haven't ridden my mare since October I have a long way to go. I thought that creating a blog would "encourage" me to stay on track and ride every day possible.

I'm a 50+ lady (eligible for the senior discount this year!!) who has been riding since I was very small. I was a heathen child that would ride anything anywhere. My cousin and I lived and breathed horses. We were lucky that we had ponies and many places to ride them on the family farm in Oregon. I have a 13 year old daughter who will ride if I make her but is just not into the horses like I am. I finally gave up with her last year when I came to the realization that she had a pony because I wanted her to have a pony. My husband rides but prefers his snowmachine and four wheeler.

My mare is a registered gray Paint named Vooshka. I bought her at a garage sale as a two year old. She came with very few man made issues since she had been running in a herd on several thousand acres since she was weaned. Her biggest issue was claustrophobia. She had been caught just before she was two, halter broke then loaded into a 4 horse trailer with 4 other two year olds. (That's right 5 two year olds in a four horse slant load.) They were hauled from South Dakota to Alaska in four or five days. She was so leg weary when she was unloaded. All five of the horses came out of the trailer and laid down on the gravel. It took me over a year to get her back in a trailer. She still doesn't like a two horse straight but loads on command in my stock trailer.

On Monday evening (April 27) my friend Stefanie came over to put the first ride of the year on my horse. Stefanie is young and still bounces. Voosh saddled, lunged and rode like she had been ridden the day before not five months before. Stefanie walked, trotted and loped both directions in the arena. Then I got on and did the same. What a great feeling to know that the two years of groundwork and Stefanie's 45 days of basics two years ago stayed in this horse's brain.

So tonight I brushed and brushed since Voosh is still shedding. Then I saddled her and rode in the arena for about an hour. We mostly walked and worked on forward. This horse is lazy. I've been reading Mugwump's Chronicles and put into effect her suggestions for getting a horse to move. By the end of the lesson Voosh was moving off in an energetic walk with just a smooch and making the transition to a trot with the same cue. We also worked on moving each part separately.

The weather is supposed to be in the high 60s this weekend but the trails are still mooshy. Voosh gets her front shoes on the 22nd so we'll be riding mostly in the arena until whatever happens first.

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