I took time off work yesterday and today just because. I needed a few days to catch up on things and just have time to myself and not worry about being somewhere at a certain time. Yesterday, I paid bills, ran errands, and got groceries. Today I went riding, a long slow 12.5 miles. A friend joined me today but in the last two weeks I have logged more miles than I have all season. I guess with no one to distract me (husband) I found that riding was as good of a distraction as any, and the weather is finally cooperating.
This past week , I managed to go out and hit the trails 3 times. That has to be some kind of record! Maggie is slowly coming back into condition but it's taking a while. Today she was tired when we finished out 12.5 miles and we didn't ride fast at all. The last few miles she started getting a bit stumbly. I'll give her a few days off, which probably works out best since driving in this valley on the Fourth of July with a horse trailer is nightmarish. People seem to come out of the woodwork.. I guess it's all the summer residents with their fancy lake homes.
I think I am starting to figure Maggie out a bit. When I ride alone, she is getting much more confident and is much more relaxed on the trail. I actually prefer , and I think she does as well, when we are alone. We can trot along the trail in a nice relaxed trot, loose rein for miles on end. It's absolutely wonderful.
Add another rider and horse, she gets competitive and racey. It's not enjoyable because I am constantly having to be on her mouth half halting and getting her to slow up. She assumes MACH CHICKEN speed most of the time and trying to find a rhythym in her trot is impossible. I just have to get in two -point and stay off her back a bit. There is NO posting to that gawd-awful pace! Today we clocked a 14 mph trot. Those are the times I think, " I should just sell her as a harness trotting horse!"
So, as long as I don't ride at any gait other than a walk when another rider and horse is along, we're fine, right? Problem solved.. BORING!!
I will say that Maggie is a total ROCKSTAR on those narrow windy trails that have tree roots and rocks. She's like a cat, and it seems the faster the trot, the better she is. She just picks her way effortlessly as we fly through the trees. I never have to worry about her taking a missed step. It's a pretty cool feeling to ride a catty little horse that handles technical terrain so well at speed.
So I guess the plan is that we'll keep working on pacing at home, and getting Maggie to listen to half halts and hope that it continues to translate to the trail when others join us, but if any of you have suggestions out there for a race brained mare, they are more than welcome here.