Maggie attended camp at Bar Fifty Ranch last week in Bismarck, Ar and with gas prices so high I decided to give up a week of work and stay here and ride rather than being burdened with driving back and forth twice. (What a hardship!) Liberty has never really traveled alone so it was a bit of a shock to arrive in a mostly empty campground and find himself alone. He called a little but settled down pretty quick and we had a short ride around camp on Sunday. I have never been much for bareback riding but have discovered that my recent weight loss and strength training on our wii fit has really helped my balance and I was more comfortable without a saddle than I have been in the past.
Monday morning I rode out with a nice family from LA and their grandchildren. We rode for about 3.5 hours and Liberty never got tired or footsore. He was super sure footed and did everything I asked, including not running down the hills after the other riders. He still fusses with his head when I would rather he give a little a little more but he is really coming along.
The trails are rocky and technical and i am looking forward to riding again tomorrow. He isn't used to all these hills but is doing great!
I haven't seen Maggie to know if she's having fun but I'm sure she is. Another NATRC person fom OK brought her daughter to camp too. Gail Kimery, who I met at Indian Territory in 2003, brought her daughter, who is just a few months younger than Maggie. Chris was having a great time, but apparently drinks lots of caffeinated sodas...which makes her a little hyper.
On Tuesday, I rode Liberty today and Kim Harrison came and rode Lissa. Yesterday he was tearing up and down the hills and today he was tired. Toward the end of the ride he wanted to go down the hills sideways and almost ran me into a few trees. He's reining great, but when I tried to move him over with my leg he was annoyed. He gives nicely to pressure from he ground. He's better on his left side than right. I think that he needs the chiro out again, but I won't know for sure until next month.
I gave him Wednesday off to give him a rest. Peter and I ran into Hot springs, walked around, read historial land marks, got a massage, ate good food...basically did very little. I was looking for new boots for Liberty, but couldn't find any that fit (I did buy some but had to return them the next day). When I got back on Wednesday Liberty was bored and rested. I got him out and grazed him. I had switched his pen to a slightly larger one b/c it rained over night both Tuesday and Wednesday so I felt like he could use some more space and a dry base to stand in.
Thursday, my agenda was to ride alone. I used to ride alone when I had my first horse, 20 years ago. However, after my shoulder injury, I got nervous of being out alone and I just haven't ridden alone. Kate Love is always encouraging me to get over it so I have been working up to it. At the stc we did our last 7 miles alone and made it but there were other horses around so we weren't alone alone. Today it was just us. I rode down the road out of camp with no problem, but at the first fork in the road he fought with me. I waited, we went on. At the next fork, same thing. We circled a bit,and we backed, and he went on down the hill. Then half way down the rocky hill out of camp he threw a major hissy and before I could get him straightened out he got part way up the hill. So we waited some more. He went the rest of the way down with no more trouble! He wasn't concerned about the footing, he just didn't want to go out of camp all alone.
Our next bit of trauma were all the puddles left from the storms. This horse loves creeks and lakes, but those puddles were going to eat him! I finally found a puddle in a safe place and worked him through it for 15 or 20 minutes till he would go through it straight both directions. We then went down a stretch of trail that reminded me of the bogs at davy crockett and he was really good! Until we got to one that must have had deep erosion on the bottom b/c all of a sudden I'm ankle deep in muddy water. He handled it fine, went straight and later went on through more of those that were not so deep.
We rode about two hours only but it was productive and he really began to listen to me. We came back in as Maggie's group was going up the mountain. He stood quietly for the others to pass him. I was very proud.
I also finally had a chance to play with the heart monitor I bought from Linda Stanford a couple years ago. He recovered pretty quick on all the climbs but continues to run a little high-12-13 after 10 min. He has a resting heart rate of 39. His breathing continues to be quick. What are the best exercises to work on breathing? Some say more canter and others more trot.
The only thing wrong with my time here is not having more NATRC friends here too.