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.|
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|
|One more bridge, just for practice|
We stayed out until everybody had cold fingers, and most people had cold toes.
Not bad for a first ride. Not bad at all.
You might even say it was Good!