Hills, horses and Hen-dos

Apologies for the delay in posting I have been on holiday! On the sunny west coast of Scotland.

Anyway on to the running and the riding!  I inadvertently had a bit too much to drink on Friday night for a colleague’s work hen-do so I wasn’t the freshest on Saturday’s run. I think that contributed to how difficult I found a shorter but hillier run this week. We had planned to do around eleven miles with 3 hills but we got to 9.5 miles and couldn’t face adding a horrible loop onto the end of the run to get the mileage.

It was warm on Saturday morning but I have to learn to cope with it. Being dehydrated from drinking the night before did not help and I found myself with the familiar thin layer of salt covering my face which I wasn’t happy about.

The three hills were tough but the views made up for it along with the sense of achievement from clambering up through gorse and finding new paths to the tops of the hills. I reckon that we will keep the trail running up even after the seven hills, it is great for clearing your mind and keeping you focused on your running. I need to improve my downhill running as we found better paths to get down from the Braids but I found that I couldn’t keep up with my Team Bambi team mate as she fired down the hills.

I know I keep talking about these great views and I promise that I will take pictures one of these weekends. The only annoying thing with upping the distance and hill work is that I seem to continue to lose my Saturday afternoons – I generally feel unwell, tired, headachey and very sleepy until around five/six o’clock. I am sure that this must be my diet and my lack of organisation meaning I frequently don’t eat well afterwards. I am going to try and do a small food shop on Friday night in order to ensure I can eat well after Saturday’s run – 11 miles and 3 hills this weekend – no alcohol on Friday this week!

Due to another hen-do on Sunday night I had to say no to a beach ride, I am truly gutted as I am not sure when the opportunity will come up for me again. Fingers crossed it is soon. Instead I rode in a earlier lesson, there were eight of us in the lesson and that is a large lesson for the stables. Luckily I was given Au, the small highland pony so none of the spacial issues I had last week with Ct.

I do love Au but she was in a foul modd as I tried to do my stirrups and girth trying to both kick me and bite me whcih was lovely. Eventually I decided to lead her out as she was and get someone to hold her while I sorted everything out in the yard, this seemed like a much better plan. Once on and sorted as usual she started to behave. Au has a tendency to need to be warmed up before you can expect her to work hard, which is fair enough she is a little older than some of the other ponies. But if you get her warmed up right then she can fly!

I mentioned last week about the lesson in tracking, over-tracking and under-tracking. We did more work on that on Sunday. This time we had to over-track between two barrels, trickier than it sounds. Au and I had to take two attempts as I hadn’t slowed her properly from the trot on the approach to the barrels and brief did a dignified(!) sitting trot before getting her into the walk and slowing her too much meaning she started to under-track. On our second go she was first class and we got a beautiful walk. We were then sent off to work on our trotting on the long and short diagonals, we work in open-order a lot in my classes currently so there is little to no work where we are one behind the other. It means that you have to be permanently paying attention to everything around you and when working on the diagonals with eight people in the class it became trickier but I think we all coped admirably, after a couple of people having to be told to get out of Ct’s way. Also I sometimes think people mishear the phrase ‘get-off the outside track, so and so is going to canter’ as they continue to merrily head towards the cantering horse!

We moved onto the canter and in order to let us all practise extending the canter we all parked up in a line in the middle of the school. We were trying to get ten strides of canter between the two barrels this time. When it came to our turn I already knew Au was going to fly off, she had been fidgeting in line and had turned almost sideways in an attempt to get moving. I think I got around two strides in trot then I just released her to canter, I thought she was having a great time as we flew around the school. I don’t think anyone had the chance to count our canter strides. Immediately my instructor began laughing at us, I got asked would I like to do that again and at least pretend to be in control? I pointed out Au was having a great time and I thought she had done brilliantly, do it again came the response. So off we went again, eleven strides. Apparently I needed to push on more to get her to lengthen her stride.

In the final canter I had full control but I am still finding it tricky to get her into the corners well. I find it with quite a few of the horses, I think I am balancing too much to one side and allowing them to fall in. The left rein seemed much better than the right which kind of backs this idea up.

Time was up after that and following a cool down my instructor told me I was looking far more relaxed with her than ever before, I have to say I felt it! Even when she flew around the school I felt so comfortable on her. As always she was very happy to be fussed over after the lesson and even allowed me to give her brush. She is a little star so she can be moody if she likes!

Exciting news for the summer though! We are having a lecture on beginner dressage tests next week and then we are getting opportunity to do them ourselves and be scored on them! All I can see in my head is P and I careering around the school valiantly trying to halt at the correct letters. Hmmm this will be interesting!

Miles run: 12.5

WWC Coupons left: 51

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