In which we practice what we preach, and everyone practices something

 "Take us with you on the trails!" Kolton said to Patty and me after our lesson this week.

A few new Suspects are added to the group
(not pictured:  Duana and Hana.  They took the photo!)

Kolton and Meagan want to do some distance riding in 2016.  Jonathan claims to mostly be a dressage rider, but we may someday convince him that trails are fun!

Pre-flight equipment check

Today, we took the first step:  a Green Bean ride on trails.

Trails were soggy, but the skies stayed (temporarily) dry

After publishing the Endurance 101 book, I find the question that people ask most often is, "how do I get started training for endurance?"

Here's how we start new horse/rider teams:

Experienced rider(s) at the front, experienced rider at the tail.  
We walk.

The skills we need first have nothing to do with increasing speed and building muscles.  We will start that kind of work in a month or two.

Before we add any speed of any kind, we start with straightforward trail stuff: wide trails with a lot of puddles.  Some branches to step through.

A narrow bridge 

Deep sand, sloggy mud.  Patty did some coaching, helping the younger riders to support their horses up and down hills.

Then we got a little more complicated:  narrower trails, sharper corners.  Logs over the trail to step over.    Steeper downhills.  Still walking.

I led through those.  Patty was feeling a little worried, not because Flower was behaving badly, but because Patty still hasn't recovered entirely from the emotional injury of her dramatic non-flying dismount.

Fiddle and I were the strongest and most experienced team on this outing.  (What a strange thought!) We practiced our own stuff as we went along--me working on strengthening my right leg, her coaching the younger horses over various obstacles.

At one of the very steep downhills, Patty and a couple other people opted to dismount and walk.

Walking beside the horse is always an option
Totally fine.

One more bridge, just for practice

We stayed out until everybody had cold fingers, and most people had cold toes.

I started my GPS tracker late, so our total stats were something like about 6.5 miles in a bit more than 2 hours.  (The track map won't upload here, click the link HERE to see it).

Not bad for a first ride.  Not bad at all.

You might even say it was Good!


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