Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Three Hour Tour....

This morning when I got up the temperature was like 30*. And since we did some jumping yesterday, I thought, maybe the BRH would appreciate the day off. Well, I walked outside to let Benni out and it was wayyyy warmer than I had thought. I think my phone didn't upload the weather recently. I ran back in the house and threw all the stuff I had pulled out of the fridge to make my lunches for the week, back and grabbed the first pair of jeans I could get my hands on and was out the door. I had said yesterday that we were going to work on dressage, so I dug out the dressage pad and saddle, along with his dressage bridle (loose ring french link) and got started.

It was really nice out, I had on two shirts, standard Indiana attire, and a hoodie. Yesterday I had on two shirts, a hoodie, my Carhart, jeans and thermal breeches. Today, two shirts and a hoodie...well, and jeans of course.
Indiana weather has a mind of it's own. In the winter it is freaking cold and snowy. We are just about an hour east of Lake Mighigan and about an hour and 45 minutes from the Ohio line. I live about fifteen minutes from the Michigan line. Easier said-I live 10 minutes from Notre Dame. In the summer it's hot and humid. Winter starts in Oct and ends in April or May. I hate winter. And my birthday is in the winter...

So, it was nice out and I thought instead of riding in the arena we would head out for a decent hack. Olly loves to go out on hacks, and this was the best day to do it. We started out going our normal way. We trotted down the field where our xc logs are and turned down the first side road. All down this road there are farms with horses. Olly neighs at every farm to see if anyone will answer. None of them usually do, they are just content to be fat and eating their grass. There is, however, one paint that always comes to the fence. He never causes a problem, I think he is just curious.
Curious Paint and Fat Arab
"Let me know if the TB is interesting, I may get up"

Normally, when we get to the end of the road we turn right (this takes us to the camels). Today, we turned left. As much as I dislike being back in Indiana, I have to admit that it is pretty out here in the country. Flat, but pretty. As we were walking I made mental notes of all the cool places to work on endurance. Whenever we found a lane or something we wanted to explore, we went. I kept an eye out for No Trespassing signs. We would retrace back and continue on down the road. My plan was to go around the block. Next side road turn and that should take us back in the direction of the barn. Well, little did I know we would be on the longest hack in Indiana to date.
Indiana goes on for days. You can see for miles.

We kept on doing our trotting sets and cantering sets. No crossroads in sight. Just enjoying the day. I heard and saw a ton of geese, in the fields and in the sky getting ready to set into the fields. Along the side of the road there were hundreds of deer tracks, and a few were of some massive bucks. One of the wooded areas we walked past was full of pines. Turkeys had to be in there. We crossed to the other side of the road and sure enough I heard them. None within sight, but they were loud, just hens clucking no gobbles. That's the next season up, April, I think. 
In the near distance I see, what appears to b a crossroad. I was somewhat thankful only because I was freezing and we had gone about 3 miles. The closer we got to the "crossroad" the more it wasn't. It was a drive way. How do I know?
Well, I know because there is no road sign and it clearly has the "Indiana Driveway" identification, a hubcap.

So since this was not our exit, we continued on. I did happen to see a promising stretch to canter. And it had a sign-I'm sure the sign said "Made for cantering sets for Pru and Olly." Once we got closer it said "Wetland Preserve." I was close.
I am not sure if you can see the little tank (pond) in the back ground.
We did breeze the little strip of grassy land just inside the Wetland Preserve. I could tell Olly was feeling the long hack and we hadn't even found our "crossroad" yet. As we slowed, I saw a road sign, just after a bridge. Finally!! An intersecting road that would turn us in the direction of home. 
Oh, wasn't a road. It was a sign saying we were crossing into the NEXT COUNTY!!

The Kankakee River

I tried but didn't see ANY roads, other than the one we were on. And by this point it was no longer New Rd it was 300S. I could see cars driving a few fields over and it actually crossed my mind to hoof it cross country to "said" road. The corn fields were acres and acres and the wind was blowing. I was starting to wonder why I made the decision to leave my Carhart in the car. I was fine until the sun ducked behind a cloud, then I really started to contemplate turning around. 
The dirt here is so rich, hence all the corn and bean fields.
This picture (above) was the turning point. We had been out for two hours. I knew that it would be a quicker ride home because we weren't exploring as much, plus Olly had turned on his BRH GPS and was double timing it.

Here is a short clip of the BRH's GPS in action. I do not have a helmet cam, this was on my phone.
Once we were headed back it was a bit quicker pace. You can see the first clip of the video he's really working his walk. After a few minutes, I started scanning the surroundings. Even though I am not a fan of being in Indiana, I am thankful for the beautiful day and everything in my life. I did notice that my immediate "family," the ones I love (outside of mom and such) are all male. The irony...Back to the hack.
While scanning, I notice the tower we passed on the way out, it's about a mile or so from the barn. 
See the antenna? It's the tiny little red stick FARRRRRRR in the background.
Yeah, that's how far we had to go to ALMOST get home. We kept going at the pace Olly was tracking. I just let the sun warm me as much as I could and every few hundred yards I tucked my hands under his saddle pad near his withers.
I promised Olly one last breeze in the xc log field before we made it to the barn. As we were approaching the field Olly's attention was diverted.
Mom!! They are taking our xc logs!!!!

The trucks and bulldozer were hard at work removing the last of our make-shift xc course.
We made our last SLOW canter set down this field and walked the rest of the way home. Olly was beat, but happy and so was I. Total time? A little over three hours. Normally I would have no issue riding for this long, but it was too chilly for just a few shirts and a hoodie. 

Saturday, February 4, 2012

This week has been interesting. The weather can't make up it's mind...cold and snow, then warm and rainy, oh, and back to cold and snow. I am very thankful for the warm breaks, but it makes the cold and snow that much more crappier. I have decided that if I take my riding clothes to work and change there, race to the barn (which is about 25 minutes away) and hustle saddling, I can ride for at least 30 minutes before it gets dark. Thirty minutes doesn't seem like a lot, but when you don't get to ride at all during the week due to no daylight, it's worth all the effort.
Monday I happened to walk outside while at work and noticed it was clear and warm out. How did this happen?? I have no idea. I made up my mind that I was going to ride. I didn't have a change of clothes, but I was going to make it happen.

I rushed out and hopped on for just a few minutes. I totally didn't have the right attire, but at this point I didn't care.
 Mom, it's 53* out, can the sleezy come off now??

Peacoat, slacks and muck boots--perfect for riding.

We rode in the arena for about 15 minutes. Tuesday was supposed to be even warmer. Score!
Tuesday I had brought my riding clothes to work. The BRH was going to have to put some effort into it. It was too dark to actually video, I tried. All I got was an Olly and Pru silhouette. Video-not so much. Stills-awesome.

This one is my fav.

Wednesday I fully intended to go out riding, but had lawyer issues and had to pass.
Friday we had us time. No riding just tons of scratching and loving.
Today, Saturday, I made sure the camera was charged and went out did some jumping and a short hack.
A few things I have noticed we have to work on:
-speed. I feel like we are racing to the jumps, but when I watch the video we are just cantering along. I think that I just need to maintain an even collected pace. Feel free to leave feedback blow.
-leads. Simple changes are just that, simple. I haven't really tried flying changes since we have been back at it, but This coming week, tomorrow, we will. There is no reason why we should still be doing simple changes.
-strides. As you will see in the video, we botched on of the tries at the log. Of course, this was my fault, but practice is practice.
What I do know, is that Olly has remembered way more than I expected. I just need to brave the weather and put the miles back on him to get back into shape.

Ever hear some one say "stick it where the sun don't shine?" I'm pretty sure whoever coined that phrase meant Indiana. It's always gloomy here.