Sunday, 23 February 2014

Exploring with Rio

We've had a great weekend for exploring and pushing the boundaries. Rio is becoming much more trusting in me, which is helping no end and giving me a confidence boost at the same time. After a beautiful sunny day yesterday, even with the wind up a bit again this morning, I was still keen to ride and didn't have any second thoughts about going out! 

Yesterday we went on a hill ride across the road from our yard, it was a pleasant ride, straight up and straight back down again, across a few fields and down a track before turning around and heading homeward. It was good for both of us, as I'd never been as far as the track before, and it's a different environment for Rio to experience. We had a wonderful canter up the hill, and I've set my first goal of the summer. By the end of the season, I would like Rio to be fit enough to canter from the start of the fields to the end, it's 3 fields long, and I would say about half a mile, but it is uphill for half of that! I think he will do it. He's turning out to be an absolute gem. 

Today, we went out for an explore to the yard around the corner from us - I want to take Rio there to do some schooling once the days are longer and the weather nicer. To get to it, we have to go over a big bridge over the river, then under a train bridge, so I wanted him to have done the route so he's not too excitable when I intend on a schooling session! I wanted to do it on a Sunday so there weren't many trains, and we still saw 3 in the hour or so we were out! Luckily for us, none came over the bridges when we were underneath. 

When we got to the other yard, there were only a couple of people, so we bade our farewells and continued our exploration. We took the boys up the lane round the corner and under another train bridge on to a local piece of parish land. There are a LOT of cobs that are kept on this bit of land, not all of which are tethered. As we learned today. We went for a wander around hoping to have a canter down the long side on the way out. In reality, the boys became leaders of a mini herd as we tried to shoo several horses (including a few foals) away from us. There were two foals leading behind us, who were absolutely adorable, but we had to lose them before we could head back out of the field as it's not actually gated to stop them wandering. I guess they just know! I will have to go up and get some pics on foot some time so you can see, but the last thing I was thinking at the time was to try and get my phone out haha. We nearly had a few pets coming home with us.

On the way out of the field, I even managed to get Rio to wade through XC style water - I knew he didn't mind water really when I got this photo yesterday morning after he had walked right through it. No excuses now little man! He didn't even bat an eyelid. 

I borrowed a friend's flexi stirrups today to try out, as my knee and ankle yesterday were completely locked up when we got back to the yard. I've been eyeing up John Whitaker Air stirrups but no way can I justify the money any time soon! These certainly made a difference, my knee was much better, now I just need to work on my foot position in the stirrup to try and make my ankle more comfortable. What stirrups do you use, and why?
And, finally, just because he can - here's Rio playing with a stick:
What a cutie.

Ride safe x