It’s that time of year again and this week kicked off the start of the 2019 Northwood Farms Horsemanship Challenge. This year will be no different, in that, I have full intentions of making my blog readers (all 2 of you) suffer through my musings as I work towards my 30 rides and 40 hours over the next 12 weeks. So get ready because here we go……..
We had a killer first week and head into week two with 6 rides and 8 hours. Our rides came in several forms. One was a lovely trail ride that was meant to be only about an hour long but it was so pretty out and my pony was being so fun that I stretched it out throughout the afternoon. I had a couple rides at home in our pastures and in our arena. Things WERE finally (Mother Nature put an end to that) dry enough here that I felt comfortable asking him for a maintained canter. You could tell it had been awhile. He struggled from a stamina standpoint, how he carried himself and just overall how smooth it felt.
One of those 6 rides was during my lunch hour. I’ve recently been allowed to work from home one day a week so I was able to fit in a brief ride instead of eating. This gave me the chance to put in a second ride that same day after work. Telecommuting ROCKS!
I have decided the focus of this challenge is going to be all about patterns. What are mine, what are his, what patterns are working for us and which ones could use some tweaking or are actually not patterns at all but just bad habits. How can I mix it up so that our patterns do not get old or lead to assumptions. How can I use our current patterns to help us improve.
With this intention in mind here are just a few of things that I switched up this week:
- Ending the ride in places other than the barn or at the trailer
- Riding through the trailer lot several times as part (instead of the end) of our trail ride at the local park
- Dismounting in the middle of a ride to allow for a grazing break
- Tacking up in different places in different ways including ground tied, at liberty and hard tied
- Riding a trail in one direction, getting to the end, then turning around and riding it in the other direction
- Warming up differently
- Doing groundwork after our ride instead of before
So far I’ve been super pleased with how this is going. Tucker has not been concerned about any of these changes and it is nice to know that my horse doesn’t have anything so ingrained that switching things up a bit throws him completely out of balance.
I hope week 2 is as much fun as week 1 has been!