(O says, GO NOW GO FASTER)
O is (very thankfully) back to full work. As chill as this mare is, she really craves a regular work schedule and tends to get a little weird when she's doing nothing out in the field. She can walk along all day on a long rein at a pokey 2mph walk (seriously, she likes to walk that slow), but as soon as you pick it up, she is ready to ROLL. She's not running, pulling, acting goofy, or doing anything wrong per se.... she just is ready to go go go to infinity. All you have to do is give her a light aid, and you're off booking it on autopilot, on a totally long rein. It's really REALLY nice to have a horse that is this easy... she's definitely not the same horse as the one I pulled out of a field 9 months ago!
Still, she's sometimes a little funny about things. Once in awhile, she'll bump herself on her hackamore and have a moment of head flailing and thrashing. Sometimes she thinks random things are very scary (today, for instance, the For Sale sign in front of a neighbor's house that has been there for quite a long time) and will go past them with her tail flipped up and eyes bugging. (Sometimes, when she's not in work, she'll double barrel at S's head!!) Aside from that, she's easy. You don't have to leg her on, you don't have to keep slowing her down, you just motor along until it's time to pick it up or quiet it down.
The day after our blanket hack around the pasture, I actually bothered to tack up and let her blow off some steam before continuing on to the pasture again for another walk hack. The girl was practically shooting fire from her nostrils in the barn aisle - she caught sight of the neighbor's new paint horse and absolutely lost her mind. I had to get on and canter laps around the top field until she chilled out! We set out from there and rode out at a walk in the big field again for about an hour and a half. O was ready to roll the entire ride, but kept it together for the most part. It was still too slick and icy to really do any more than that unfortunately.
Yesterday, it was still gross and slick and wet out, so I hopped on with just a halter and her blanket on again, catching the very last rays of sunlight for the day. We walked the barrels and the poles, and meandered around the field for about 30 minutes. At some point, I realized she was responding to my lazy neck reining. I tested it for a few minutes, and she was very responsive, turning and straightening with the lightest of aids. When the heck did she pick that up? I know for sure she didn't do that when I got her!
I'm suppose not totally surprised to find that she has picked up neck reining, even though I never actually taught it to her... I spend so much time riding out on a long loose rein on the trails that she must have just picked it up on our perpetual quest to stay straight and forward. I'm lazy, so if I get to ride on a loose floppy one-handed rein when out on the trails, that's exactly what I am going to do! I inadvertently taught it to Gogo too, for the same exact reason!
Today I set out for our first actual conditioning ride in several weeks. She was great, as usual, cruising along on a long rein at a fair clip for most of the hour long ride. I tried out a new app called MapMyRun that I really liked - it gave me realtime stats, spoke to me at every mile mark, and recorded it all via GPS.
You can scroll along the ride to see what speed I was going at at specific points in the ride, and can also see what speeds I was going at per mile. I logged my walk warmup and cooldown as well, but for the rest of the ride I kept a pretty even pace, somewhere between 7-8mph. (Your average large horse, larger than her, trots at around 9-10mph.) Since I had realtime stats, I sent her forward into her Hauling Ass trot, and found that she can easily reach 12mph+ at a trot. If she were really reaching and were on softer ground (not the road), I'm sure she could hit 13mph+ at a trot. It's not a Standardbred speed trot, obviously, but for a 15.1hh horse, that is definitely in the Hauling Ass category. Choo choo, make way for the Hotmess Express!
(Flying along at 13mph is not sustainable, so it's not really something to push for... but it is interesting to see where she maxes out before breaking into the canter! I'll have to test that and see.)
We finished a quick 6 miles with her still snorting and staring at the neighbor's paint horse. Obviously she didn't lose much in the way of conditioning!