Riding/Horses

Mental Break

After the show earlier this month, I decided that Gem needed a break from all this hard work. It didn’t come to fruition until this past weekend when my mom agreed to watch Wyatt so Dusty and I could have a date. It was the first date we had been on since last October (8 months!) and long over due.

I watched the weather closely. The unusually cool and wet spring has continued into an unusually cool and wet summer and it poured all evening Saturday. Sunday was clear though, so we loaded the Dynamic Duo up and hit the trails for the first time together in over 2 years!

It was amazing. Both horses were relaxed, happy and forward without being pushy at all. Pete lead the entire way as per our usual: Gem hates to lead and Pete hates to follow so it works out perfectly. Pete got tired around mile 5, but I was really proud of the old man. At 26 and with his mostly retired state, he tackled those hills and technical trails like a pro.

Here is a photo dump from the ride. Be prepared to see Pete’s butt a lot!

Gem still looks so good in her endurance tack and sitting in that saddle felt like going home again.
Dusty and Pete matched! I was shocked he even wore his old breeches.
Heading out down the road. Both walked on a loose rein and seemed happy to be out together
Hitting the single track trail in the woods. Thankfully the footing was still solid in most places so we could get some good trots in
Pete handles everything without batting an eye. Steep drop into water? Ok. Lots of mud and slipping on the way back up? No biggie
The woods were really lush and green from all the rain.
Some areas were really saturated and too slick to do more than pick our way. Neither horse put a hoof wrong though

Gem really, really wanted to fly down this access road. Pete was a bit foot sore in the gravel though so we just walked and talked.

A happy hubby
After the 6.5 mile ride. Gem didn’t want to stop. It kinda made me feel bad. I know she misses the endurance trail. Hopefully we can get Wyatt into the whole riding thing soon and go out as a family.
Post ride baths.

At the end we returned home with two happy and relaxed horses and riders. It was one of the best trail rides we have had and it really made me miss the days when we went out together all the time. Dusty is my favorite trail partner.

I got to thinking on the way home. Part of me thinks the best thing for Gem would be to sell her or lease her out to an active endurance home. A place where she would get to be out on trail all the time and competing like she loves. I just can’t dedicate the time right now. It is too much to ask of the family to be gone for 6-8 hours every weekend to condition in addition to the actual race time. If she were leased out to an endurance home, I could look at leasing a horse for eventing.

But I’m dedicated to Gem. She is 19 and has a forever home with me for better or worse. She isn’t miserable and at her age and with her personality I wouldn’t trust her with very many people. I would never forgive myself if I leased her out and that person lamed her and that is a very real possibility in this sport if someone rode her too hard or too fast. I think getting her out when able and giving her these mental breaks will serve to keep us both sane and happy and she does really love the jumping we are now doing. A better mix should help even out our relationship once again.

16 thoughts on “Mental Break”

  1. ❤ love this and that y'all get out and ride together. You are so blessed that you have someone to watch the little and have your time. I would keep trail rides on the schedule. To me, it is an important part of training. The mental break, relaxation, walking out, hills…for both horse and rider. Just a part of cross training. It will help her during actual schooling. Just my thoughts!

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  2. It was great to get out and ride together. I would love to join you. I think that Gem is enjoying your work and incorporating trails regularly should keep her happy. Or you lease her to someone who wants an experience horse to learn endurance.

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  3. I think the mental break sounds like a great idea. Since you’ve noted how much Gem hates the dressage part, this is something nice to do for her for all she does for you!

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