Wednesday Mar 17 – Happy St Patrick’s day!

This is a big teaching day, so not as much time to ride. I combined teaching a student with getting Belle worked. We just rode 40 minutes, doing about 2 walking miles on the trail and then some arena trot work. Happily, it is warm, so I was able to rinse Belle off after the ride. Not that the ride got her sweaty, but she did a 5 minute free lunge in the arena before hand, and she was a little sticky. I doubt I will ever get her truly white – until her summer coat comes in. She is not shedding like I would expect. I know looks have nothing to do with endurance – but I want her to be pretty and right now she is stained tan.

Thursday, March 18

Robin couldn’t get anyone else to open her shop, so she couldn’t ride with me today. She promised to get out in the afternoon. The time change is a Big help with giving us more time to ride. Thank you Ben Franklin for Daylight savings time! I did a repeat of last Friday’s ride – going out with a friend on her Paint. We did a couple canter sets going 14 mph and a bit of trotting. The Garmin stayed charged this time! So, I can know for sure that the route was 4.2 miles and took 1 hr 8 minutes – including a 2-minute stop to try and give the dogs some water! It is warm all of the sudden – mid 70’s. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT complaining! Not even a little. But I think the dogs were a little surprised that I am going fast on trail rides. Usually I just walk quietly along and they have time to explore every critter hole and smell. I didn’t go Quite as far as last Friday, as I didn’t want the dogs to get heat exhaustion, they were panting pretty hard. I also didn’t want them anywhere Near that dead cow! All they would want to do would be roll in it and they would stink for days!!! I mean, taste in perfume is personal, and all that, but Ugg!


We did come across some large bones, and I am fairly sure they were the remains of a horse! The skull was too long to be that of a cow. Very sad to think someone just dumped their horse out in the desert to be scavenged by coyote and ravens. I understand that removal is expensive, but still, it is sad that some one would do that to a friend. I guess they weren’t friends with their horse.


I find doing these long rides really has improved my relationship with Belle. She was always the pony in the field. I was not very attached to her, and actually considered her a bit of a failure, given her jigging. But now I rather like the little mare! AND she really didn’t jig nearly as much. She was offering a nice walk very soon into the ride and on a loose rein! There is hope for her yet! I would love for the jigging to get cured, as she would probably make an exceptional Combined driving pony. But right now we could never get a good driven dressage score. So, this endurance gig might have some really great side effects. At very least, it has given Belle a job and gotten me out of the dressage court. I recommend trying for a 25-mile race to everyone! Any horse and rider can do it, and it sure revs up your riding!


Friday March 19

Settled for a 7 minute free lunge. But it is impressive that she no longer even gets sweaty with this work! Just a month ago, this would have left her literally dripping in sweat.


Saturday March 20 – day off for Belle – Had to show prep Louie for a dressage competition tomorrow AND had the 4 H kids here for a meeting. I hope to get home soon enough from the show to get her out tomorrow.


Question – is anyone reading this? If you are, could you take a moment and just post a hello in the comments box? I am just curious. Thanks, Monica



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Comment by Monica Whitmer on March 24, 2010 at 11:57am
Thanks Jackie - May 15th is going to roll around really quick! It will be fun to see if we can keep up with the big boys. Now I need to update my blog again! I had a show on Sunday, and the rode Belle after we got home, and then we did another 3 hr ride on Monday! Much to update!!! And thanks everyone for reassuring me that someone is reading! mw
Comment by Jackie Cochran on March 24, 2010 at 11:12am
Hi! I'm reading this post. I know, it can get frustrating writting and then wondering if anyone is reading it!
I like small horses, a much neglected part of the riding world. They (the small horses) also deserve good riders, physical conditioning, and a job to do just as much as the big guys do.
Good luck in your conditioning work.
Comment by Monica Whitmer on March 24, 2010 at 11:01am
HI Mary - thank you so much for commenting! Nice to know I am not just talking to myself like some crazy person! I am happy that the scales said 138.8 this morning! It is amazing that my Horse is the one motivating me! I just hate to make her pack around anything more than totally necessary! Good luck on your conditioning program - horse and rider! and again, thanks for the comment. mw
Comment by Mary Ginn on March 24, 2010 at 10:43am
Hi Monica,
I haven't read all your posts, but I've caught a few and I'm enjoying hearing about your progress. I'm conditioning for a Competitive Trail Ride in early May so I can relate to all that you're doing. Interestingly enough, I'm also trying to drop some pounds!

Happy trails,

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