Monday, November 17, 2008


… Enjoying a steamy cup of coffee, I watched the first sunlight peek over the snowcapped Swan mountains , and I thought …

….Freedom is exactly what I needed a dose of today. A way to free my thoughts of deadlines, deliverables, meetings and conference calls.

I had a few household chores that I wanted to get out of the way (yuck) and then, I was headed out the door to get a dose of my freedom.

Vaccuming and 3 loads of laundry done, phonecalls from family wanting a piece of my time politely dodged, I was out the door and saddled in no time. I knew at some point, I would pay later for choosing horse activities over taking time with family. Nothing new, I was used to it.

I would have to settle for a ride today that would follow one of the two same routes we usually condition on. It gets a little boring but I am limited to where I can ride from home without trailering somewhere. It didn't matter much. I was happy to be out in the fresh air , on my horse. I thought we might plan for an 8 mile ride today. With the darkness beating me home most days of the week , I have been limited to saving longer rides for the weekend.

JB moved along at a steady, average pace for him. I let him pick the speed but had to encourage him to keep a steady rhythm. Occasionally, his mind would wander back to his herd at home and he would slow his pace, trying to look back towards home. I don’t know that he was enjoying the time out as much as I but he carried on at my suggestion. After 2.5 miles, he decided to walk and I let him. We walked along for about a half mile. I was distracted by the two redtail hawks performing some impressive aeronautical tricks, screeching and diving. We stirred up a clutch of pheasants and interrupted the path of three deer who stopped and watched us pass by. It seemed everyone was out enjoying the sunny mid November day.

As we picked up a trot again, we hit the 3.5 mile point and turned around to head back, only to detour and headed up another road that offered new scenery we hadn’t visited recently. I had hoped it might offer more interesting distractions for JB, like cattle and other residences with horses. The horses seemed to interest him, reviving him with a bit of speed as they trotted along their fence line with us for while. The cattle were too far off in the distance to be of much interest. At the 4.5 mile mark we had to turn around again and join back up to our main road that headed back towards home, 3 miles left. Initially I had planned to go on and take the other road that would give us our 8 miles but feeling JB’s energy and pace wain just a bit, decided to let him choose to see what he would do. Besides, today was about freedom. I didn’t want to make any more decisions that needed and once in a while I allow him to have a bit of say so in what happens on our rides. He chose to turn the corner to head home…of course…as any horse might. We joined back up to the main road that would take us home and JB offered a nice canter, which he maintained for about ¾ of a mile and then down to what I would guess to be about a 6.5 mph trot. JB has one of the nicest , smoothest trots I have ever ridden in a horse.

We happily clipped along at this rate until we were a ½ mile from home, when I reluctantly asked for a down transition into a walk. I was enjoying the pace and wished we could go on forever but JB was showing some sign of feeling a bit tired and was more than willing to walk.

When we arrived back , I decided as further cool down I would work on some lateral work, hind end releases, shoulder-n, leg yields. Occasionally I like to end a ride and use some of these exercises as a post exercises stretching routine.

We completed 7.5 miles in 1 hr and 12 minutes. Not the fastest, not the slowest but no less, the best time I had had all week. It was food for my soul.

Thoughts of next ride season are constantly on my mind these days. I can only hope that with ongoing conditioning and getting his sore feet squared away, JB will increase his willingness to move along at the speeds I know he is capable of.

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