Friday, July 31, 2015

7/26 ride and 7/31 ride

I got a new fitbit a little bit ago and it has a GPS component to it so I used it for my ride on 7/26 to see how well it would track my path in the arena.

It did pretty good when all was said and done but I really need to figure out the best mode to use it in to track my riding. It would be nice to be able to save phone battery for calling in emergency situations and use watch battery for ride tracking. 

I like the data that I get with the fitbit surge. It measures my heart rate, which gives me a more accurate window into how many calories I burn each day so I can really focus in on my eating and weight loss. I've been doing REALLY well lately, so it's quite encouraging.

 This was from tonight. Eric and Kaylee sat down to watch Finding Nemo and I headed out to the barn. I got chores done first, then tacked up Gwyn. She was a really good girl tonight. It was much cooler weather than our last ride (we had a thunderstorm in between) and very very pleasant to be out in.

I know we aren't doing a lot of mileage at a time. I just get so amazingly bored in this arena. If my previous post is any indicator, I am itching badly to get out on the trails. I can't wait to explore!

Tonight we did more bending and collection. I worked on my confidence at the canter. I really need to schedule a lesson. Soon.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Places to Ride an hour or less away

I'm starting to try and figure out where I can trailer to for some trail access. There's a decent amount of stuff in the area that's horse friendly, it's just me needing to know where I can go and where parking is that's holding me up.

This all was inspired by me looking for a place for Kaylee and I to go swimming that wasn't over 30 minutes away (Stony Creek). We ended up going to Metamora-Hadley Recreation area that's 10 miles away and was perfect, but that's another story.

Check it, any place that is listed as a recreation area is under the umbrella of the DNR and is a state park. It costs $11 annually for access to these parks. FUCK YES.

Anyway, places so far that I've found are:

Polly-Ann Trail
Technically if I trusted Gwyn on the road AND our road wasn't super speedy, I could ride to this trail from our house. We're less than 2 miles from an access point where it crosses a road. Polly-Ann is open to riders, but you're restricted to walking (though I can't find this verbage now on their websites...). From what I've seen of the points of access near me, no one uses the damn thing to even know if I might go faster than a walk. After my last debacle of trying to walk her along a road that had a high speed limit I'm not really interested in trying again until her brain gets rooted a bit more deeply. Especially with minimal shoulder.
What I really want is to make friends with the people who live right by the trail and ask if I can park at their place to ride on the trail. That would be ideal.

I did more research. There is trailer friendly parking down Rochester Rd in Leonard. Just nothing directly off Rochester Rd where it crosses, which is where I've been looking. Doh. Leonard is 10 minutes away. I'll explore tomorrow.

The Lapeer PAT group is doing a fall colors tour the day after my birthday in October! I'm SO ATTENDING!!!! Tentative info about the ride leads me to believe I might be able to park at General Squier Park, which is in Dryden itself. Dude. DUDE.  4 miles away. FUCK YEAH.

Pontiac Lake Recreation Area
About an hour away, this place has the most trail mileage available nearby topping out at 17 miles. It also looks as though they have a good loop for big mileage from looking at their map. There's a campground for horse camping and they have a rental stable which might be bad since I've heard some things about avoiding riding when the renters are out and about.

Addison Oaks County Park
This thing is just down the road. Not riding down the road, but...  20 minutes away. I had no idea it was there until today. (I'm serious).   There's not a lot of mileage, but there's a few separate loops of equestrian trail that I could do. And it's SO CLOSE!! Just under 10 miles of trail, which is pretty good, all things considered!

I might take Kaylee here tomorrow and go biking just so I can scout it all out and figure out parking and get a pass. Since this is a county park it has a different pass system. I wish there was an annual all parks pass for all the counties.

Ortonville Recreation Area
At 25 minutes away (about 20 miles) is this lovely place with just less than 9 miles of trails, but from the look of the map, we'd be able to ride for a LOT longer just by doing mini loops. They also have an equestrian campground. I like that the equestrian trails are very much separate from the main part of the park so there's not really a multi-use conflict.

Addison Township Watershed Preserve
At 6 minutes away this is the next closest after Polly-Ann. I found it when Kaylee wanted to go hiking but 7 Ponds Nature Center was closed. I had remembered seeing this just down Rochester Rd, barely over the county line into Oakland County. The board at the front had no information about use but upon hitting the trail I saw a sign that said "Clean up your manure!"   Ah HAH!  Horses are allowed!

There's not a lot of trail here, but at 6 minutes away it's hard to beat, especially since there's no fee for use. Maybe 2 miles of trail but some nice hills and all woody with some lake views. And decent parking to turn a horse trailer around.

An article on riding in the park in the winter!

Elba Equestrian Complex
Free to day use riders, also has camping available. It's also 25 minutes away. I can't get details on length of trails, but it's got over 1000 acres of trails available. I'll need to investigate further before bringing Gwyn.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Far too long since I last rode... 1.79 miles

And it shows... Gwyn is getting fat! She's been out on all day all night pasture which I'm sure isn't helping either, so currently they are on the diet lot of just the runs off the stalls in the barn tonight, since sugar content is higher in grass at night. Poor thing thinks she's wasting away, given how I was greeted when I went out to give them their dinner. LOL

Storm clouds moving through.

I had braided her mane last night.

Last night I groomed Gwyn and Arwen and got this body shot. She doesn't look too bad just standing, but when I was lunging her I couldn't see any muscle any more, and you can barely feel ribs when you press hard on her barrel. So more exercise and less grass pasture it is! Just like me....

Today we worked on just lunging to assess then I hopped on. She spooked at a critter that ran out of the pasture near one end of the arena but settled in after that. I got some nice canter work out of her in one direction. Next thing is maintaining that canter and working into the corners. Since I had volunteered at a h/j show last weekend, I worked on the things the judge suggested to some of the riders, namely making sure the horse moves off your leg well when you ask.

We also worked on bending on her bad side since she was seriously falling in with her right shoulder. Lots and lots of leg and bending at the poll. She was so stiff on the right side compared to the left, I need to have a bodyworker come out and see her.

It was a good ride over all, and I intend to ride again tomorrow.  I've purchased a solar powered flood light to put in the arena so I'll be able to ride in the evening, which will be nice when winter comes around!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Silly Gwyn

The other day it was pretty hot. I went out to check and refill water in the pasture and Gwyn decided she needed to cool off. She positioned herself to get fully wet. Poor mare!

I haven't been riding much as we get settled into the house, but things are coming together and I'm not stressing over it. I did lunge her the other day, so that was good! As I figure out how to juggle Kaylee being present while I ride, frequency will increase. Right now it's good enough for me to see her every day and I'm loving it.

I have my own greeter whenever I go outside and when I come home down the driveway she walks with me and comes to say hi. 

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Three rides over the past week and a half

I've been able to ride three times since we've moved, all of them short, and most have been good. I'm still trying to find my stride with how I want things to flow in the barn with Gwyn and the donkeys and dealing with herd bound critters.

I haven't yet written about how Gwyn settled in when I first moved her. I trailered her up on Friday, June 26th, almost two weeks ago now. She came off the trailer well, but definitely 'up'. I let her out in the back pasture and she was very spooky. She took off exploring the pasture and was very clingy when she didn't see any other animals.

It's long, bear with me....