Sunday, December 2, 2007

Cross Training is a Good Thing

This post is all about why it's a good thing to leave the arena and enjoy your horse. We had another unseasonably warm day, up to 84 degrees here. We decided to head out to a local park to just go for a nice walk instead of schooling lateral moves in the arena. I've been focusing a lot on dressage recently, and I admit, I tend to obsess. So it's good to remind myself why exactly I bought this big boy to begin with: him and me on the open trail.

We had a good 5 mile ride, across some pretty steep terrain. It was good to see that all the arena work has not made Brego go soft. He now has the fitness to really tackle hills and loved being outdoors. His Thoroughbred hunter-princess companion, however, seemed slightly insulted that she had to trod upon an unmanicured surface for so long.

Anyway, it was a great ride on a warm sunny day and really nice to take a break from the tough stuff, mentally and physically. We did have a little too much fun at the end, however.

At the trailer parking there is a field which has a mowed 1/2 mile track around the perimeter. I decided to just canter Brego around it, you know, to work on that lovely balance. As we got started, the strides just got bigger and bigger. Brego saw the open field and just begged to be let go. (This is the same horse who just "outgrew" his winter blankets) Well I let him go a bit and we go galloping down the track. Somewhere in the middle of the long side is a railroad timber jump, about 2' high. We were going at a good clip, so I opened my chest and sat up a bit to steady him and he listened and took the little jump in perfect stride. Ah, bliss! This is what cross country is about!!

We kept going on the track and as we turned for home, I really let him go. I think foxhunting has taught Brego the meaning of speed. He tore down this track with no urging, just loving his own power and speed. He definitely gave me incentive to keep him fit so he can manage such speeds without risking his legs over much. This track has excellent footing, even more reason to leave the arena more regularly.

Some drafts love to plow. Some drafts love to run. I am glad I got a runner.

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