It's that time of year when the rugs come out, and we get to cosy our little furries up! Rio is rocking out in a no-fill rug to protect him from the showers for now, but he should be having a hunter clip soon. He will get use of his rugs this year for sure! Last year we only made it up to 180g, and the 240g and 350g have sat untouched and unneeded. He was also a sweaty betty last year, so hopefully I won't be standing around for an hour waiting for his waffle rug to dry him out before I can turn him back out again.
I managed to ride once so far this week since coming home, on Tuesday evening. We went for a little hack around the village with Sarah and Franks and I was just so pleased to be back in the saddle again. Since then, the weather has been poo, so he had another couple of nights off.
I am pleased to say I rode tonight. Out round the village, through the field. Just me and Rio.
We only went and did it! Our second hack out on our own, and a longer route than the last time. I hadn't planned on it, but I think that's what made it easier to bring him up and get on - I hadn't been overthinking it all day as I'd expected the weather to suck again! When I got to the yard at 5.40pm (against the sunset clock!) the sky was bright, there was no wind to speak of, and I knew that this was too good an opportunity to miss.
I muttered away to myself/Rio if I started thinking too much, and did my best to stay relaxed, which I think went pretty well. Rio had a bit of the jitters and held up a good pace for much of the ride, but all in all was quite responsive. He stopped dead at one junction, but after having a moment of me being gentle in asking him on and getting nowhere, he got a bit of a growl and a kick on, and off he went. We had a good trot along the bottom road, before he got fidgety when I asked him to wait for a car to pass. I'm always glad to have my "young horse in training" hi viz so that people hopefully have that little more understanding when he's a bit cheeky. I ended up having to turn him full circle in the road and asking him to stand again to let them pass, but he was much more co-operative the second time.
Most excitingly, we got back on to the field, and I was walking along with a long rein (almost on the buckle) so I decided to have a trot as he had settled a bit. Half way across the field, he was behaving so well, I felt comfortable and confident enough to sit in and ask him for a canter. It was glorious! A beautiful smooth transition up, no silly jumping around. We cantered almost the whole second half of the field and he came back down to trot just a few strides after I started to ask him. Little steps. Except this feels like a huge one, it's absolutely made my day!
If I can keep chipping away at my demons over the Winter, I can't wait for next Summer!
Ride / play safe x