Thursday, December 22, 2011

Hardcore Riding

With Christmas coming closer and closer I knew that Gus was possibly going to have between 3 to 4 days off doing nothing but eating and rolling in some dirt. But the 29th and 30th of December we're suppose to attend an intense 2 day clinic (if a small detail in scheduling will allow it!!!) and the last thing Gus needs is a week off! But the weather is making this task EXTREMELY difficult! Yesterday the rain came in and it's suppose to keep raining until sometime after Christmas... so how the heck am I'm suppose to ride???

Well I decided to brave it today and be "Hardcore". Thank goodness it's not freezing outside so getting a little wet isn't the end of the world. But getting so soaked that it takes hours to dry off isn't fun. Which is what happened today. I woke up to the sound of a steady downpour and then around 9 it stopped. I quickly jumped up, checked the hourly weather and saw that I had till 11 before the rain was coming back. So immediately started running around the apartment trying to get ready so I could "beat the rain". Unfortunately I didn't have a working bathroom quite yet (it was fixed this afternoon) so I was running up and down the stairs to the half bath right under my room. I'm not the most organized person especially when it comes to planning out the most efficient morning routine. I just wander back and forth between my bathroom and my bed putting a shirt on, brushing my teeth, digging in my laundry for riding pants while brushing my teeth, spitting in the sink and washing out the toothpaste, grabbing a quick bite of breakfast, finding some socks to wear, and then looking for my shoes and making sure my dog Jello is ready, looking for Jello's raincoat (since it's suppose to rain), finding my keys, finding my purse, making sure my phone is in it, oh wait it's upstairs.... ok now where is Jello- oh she's gone back to sleep- WAKE UP we have to GO!!! Aaaaand just as we walk out the door woosh! Instant downpour of rain. So back inside we trek only to hear the rain stop 3 minutes later! So back out we go and to the barn we're headed!

On the way the rain comes and goes but doesn't really rain all that hard so I keep thinking- ok, I can do this- think about the clinic, be hardcore, be hardcore, be hardcore!!! What is a little rain? It's not cold, suck it up, suck it up, BE HARDCORE! So as soon as we get to the barn I knew we were in a little trouble- the ring was SOAKED and it starts to downpour again! So plan changed, going to clean tack, after all I just drove out here, wasn't about to turn around... and then the rain stops! So I ran out to the field, grabbed Gus, quickly tacked him up and we headed out to do some "Road Riding" since that was the only place we could do any sort of fitness ride.

The good thing about the road that's right behind the barn is the lack of cars. The farm had been sold to a developer before the economic crash and they had paved a road for the trucks to drive on. They also put in a water system so there is a nice grassy flat space with man holes sticking up along the way, but plenty of space to ride on. It's not a long trail, but it has decent footing and paired with the road on this mucky gross wet day it was all I had to work with! The road has a perfect hill to walk up and down and really get the horses pushing uphill or sitting and really using their hind end/stifles to walk down.

So off we went towards "The Hill" and it started out just a little drizzly, nothing that we couldn't deal with. Gus was feeling great, my quarter sheet was covering up most of my saddle and keeping Gus's butt dry (since he's clipped I didn't want him getting chilled) We took the Man Hole Trail as a nice warm up to "The Hill". The footing wasn't that bad and it has a nice slope that isn't to steep but starts to get the horse pushing a little more than on flat ground. Finally we approached The Hill and Gus was ready- well he didn't have much choice ;) Now this Hill compares nothing to the Snowy River Hill, but it really gets the horses puffing 3/4ths of the way up

Scene from "The Man from Snowy River"

Now this movie is the definition of hardcore riding. Just look at the way Jim is balanced as he and his horse sail down the cliff edge after the brumbies. This is obviously the most famous scene, but Jim's horsemanship throughout the entire movie is hard core awesomeness. I think I'm going to start channeling Jim Craig and Denny on cross country now... Just look at this picture!!

Hardcore Downhill Riding

We ended up walking up and down the Hill 3 times to really give Gus as much of a work out as possible for the clinic. We could of done it more but by the 2nd loop my pants were soaked through and on the 3rd loop I was getting cold and was a little jealous of Gus under the quarter sheet. If I glanced down water cascaded off the brim of my helmet onto my already drenched legs. It was definitely time to head in. 

Even if the rain stops I'm still in a bit of a pickle. The ring is so soaked and with more rain in the forecast I don't see how I'm even going to be able to ride in it before the clinic. So Gus and I might be banned to the "Hill" for the next week, but I think I'm going to join him in walking up and down the hill- after all I have to survive the clinic too!!!

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