Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Fun Ride

Sunday 10th was the day of the fun ride at Briwnant Riding Centre.  We approached the arrival of this event with a mixture of trepidation and excitement.  At the last Briwnant fun ride we were able to attend I rode Red because Dee was lame.  Red got seriously over-excited with the result that I came off him over a jump that I didn't want to take but couldn't stop him.  This time I was to be riding Dee and 'ö-Dzin riding Red.  We had decided to join the quieter, shorter ride with the option of 'ö-Dzin missing out the cross country part of the ride at the end if he wished, as this was where Red was likely to get over-excited.
photo by Alfie
There was a good turn out for the ride.  Most of the centre's horse were used, plus a few of the livery horse owners were there, and a few people brought their horses in from other places.  The weather was perfect being sunny and clear.

This was Dee's first trail ride in four hoof boots rather than just two at the back.  I'd ridden her in the arena in all four boots, but had not had an opportunity to hack out in them.  I wondered how they would cope with the deep sticky mud on the first track.  As it turned out Dee's hoof boots stayed on with no problems throughout the ride and she was clearly comfortable and relaxed in them.  I cannot overstress my satisfaction with these Cavallo hoof boots – they are brilliant and available from many UK stockists now.

Our group set off along the muddy track that leads up to the Wenallt trail.  Approaching the Wenallt in this direction meant that the beginning of the ride was slow with a lot of steep downward hills.  I generally prefer to ride it in this anti-clockwise direction as it means that you can have canters on the flat at the bottom of the trail, rather than all the canters being up the hills.  Dee doesn't have the stamina for uphill canters any more and we tend to get left behind.

Arriving at the bottom part of the trail, the ride became quite lively with a lot of short, fast canters.  It was most enjoyable.  We then headed back to Briwnant for the cross country ride across their fields.  I expected 'ö-Dzin to finish here, but he bravely decided to take Red out into the fields.  He felt that Red—having insisted on being in second place in the ride on the trail—had not had the opportunity for a good, go-for-it canter with all the stopping and starting, and wanted to let him go.  Wow!  I was so proud of him.

There were about 14 jumps scattered around the six or seven fields of the cross country ride.  I jumped about half of them on Dee.  She loves to jump and showed no hesitation at any of them.  I just did the smaller jumps.  I made a point of taking the jump that had unseated me on Red on the previous fun ride to lay that ghost.  The photo show us taking off over the third log jump and we did about another three slightly larger jumps after this.
photo by Helen Westlake
The biggest jump of the day for me was one I did not intend to do – isn't always like that?!  The approach to one field is via a little stream.  The stream is only a couple of feet (60cm) wide and shallow, but there is a bank about two feet (60cm) above it set back from the stream on the approach.  There is room to go down the side of the bank, plod through the stream and up the other side.  Twice I asked Dee to do this, but to her the logical approach was to jump it.  I had to submit to her reasoning and let her go for it.  It was a huge leap from a standstill to clear it, but we got across without mishap.  I went back there yesterday when I went to check on Dee to have a look at how big a jump it was and I reckon it is a 6 - 8 foot (180 - 240cm) spread going from high ground to low – a real cross country water jump.  I feel quite proud to have done it.
photo by Helen Westlake

'ö-Dzin rode Red through the first two or three fields, avoiding the jumps, and enjoyed a flat out pace back to the yard.  We both had a fantastic day.  It was great to ride with so many other people and to do something a bit more exciting and challenging for a change. 

No comments: