Ride report – better late than never!

16 Nov

My biggest complaint as of late is that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in! This report is a week late, but hey, better late than never right?

I had a fabulous ride on Corona last Saturday. I was a little worried that he would be full of piss and vinegar because I hadn’t ridden him in a week. Now that the clocks have changed and because there is only outdoor riding at the barn with no lights for night riding – I’m essentially stuck to just riding on weekends until the spring. It’s so hard after riding a few times a week during the spring, summer and fall, but such is life. The other annoying part is that I’m at the mercy of the weather which can be somewhat questionable at times in Ottawa during the winter.

I started our ride with a couple of laps around the track just to warm up. My two friends were there too and one was trying out the new horse, Roller (more details on him to come). I wouldn’t call Corona herd-bound, but when other people are riding he can sometimes be a bit of a jerk when I ask him to work independently. He settles eventually, normally it doesn’t take long but there’s the odd time where you just want to give in (don’t do it, stay strong!). Corona was a gem however. We warmed up with the other horses and then they went into the ring and I continued on the track. I did quite a bit of canter work and love having the track for this purpose. Corona spooked a couple times but nothing horrendous. Riding Corona has taught me to constantly stay aware and remain balanced in the saddle because when he does spook, he’s incredibly quick and can jump out from underneath you in a split second. I kept saying to myself – just one more canter transition and then I’ll go do ring work, but one turned into two which turned into three just because it was so good. I ended the canter work with a dreamy floating relaxed canter down the alongside of the track. It was pretty perfect.

In the ring, the others were just finishing so I pretty much had the ring to myself which was nice. I worked on circles at the trot and walk, lots of transitions and getting him off my leg and then started with exercises in straightness down the quarter lines. I added in some leg yields and Corona was just an absolute gem. To keep him engaged and interested in our session as well as rewarding him for his excellent behaviour, I also did quite a bit of trotting on a long rein asking him to go long and low at large as well as on a circles. This horse was fantastic. You know when you have one of those rides when you feel like one body with the horse? This was it. It felt like I was butter and just melted into his movements and he was so quick to respond to anything I asked and most importantly – he stayed completely relaxed. I upped the ante a bit too in our quarter line exercises. We would go large and I’d turn up the centre line, alternating asking him to go straight the full distance, or asking him for a leg yield. When we reached A or C, we would make a nice turn and then I’d ask him for a canter up the alongside, coming back to trot before the next corner. Typically this is the sort of thing where I would ask Corona to build on something he was doing very well at, and then I’d regret it because all of his relaxation would turn to excitement when I ask for a canter. Not this time however, this horse was so relaxed and just stepped into a wonderful canter rhythm and then willingly went back down to a trot with full relaxation. It was phenomenal!

By the end of our ride I was grinning like a fool. Corona has a nice winter coat already so we did a few laps of the track at a walk to cool down. He stayed completed relaxed the entire time and genuinely seemed to be quite proud of himself. I was beaming, my horse was beaming, it was the type of ride you just file away in your mind to pull out during those dreaded, “remind me why I ride this horse again?” moments.

I untacked my monster and towelled him off a bit before putting a cooler on him and giving him a flake of hay. We also did a couple of carrot stretches and of course, had lots of snuggles. Here he is, just hanging out in his cooler with some hay…such a good boy!!!

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