run for the hills! (weekend recap)

I had a lovely Saturday morning, updating my pony journal, planning our fitness program, and drinking pour-over coffee with my kitten.


He is getting quite large. It’s sad, but at least he’s still a snuggler.

Milo also loves to play with Bolt, my roomie’s dog. ¬†They’re freaking adorable together.

bolt and milo on Make A Gif

My drive to the barn was rudely interrupted when a black Ford Explorer made a super questionable left turn right in front of me and slowly pulled out at like 35 mph on a 55 mph road, requiring me to slow down and honk, which I did happily. ¬†Unfortunately the driver continued at her glacial pace until the next stop sign, where I was gladly rid of her. ¬†Fortunately, Queen’s “Somebody To Love” came up on the radio so I could blast it and shed my sadness.

That is definitely a potential show name.

Had an uneventful but good ride, with lunging beforehand, and Murray was very compliant. ¬†I took it easy so I could have a harder ride Sunday with hills. ¬†Unfortunately, Murray may be moving stalls soon because his neighbor has been chewing on his neck, rather close to his jugular. ¬†So once the days get longer and more horses switch over to night turnout, I’ll switch Murray to some (hopefully) slightly less playful/bitey neighhhhhbors.

IMG_20150124_130840Are you sensing a theme here?

Sunday morning the Tule fog was super strong, and visibility was only about 50 yards. ¬†As I blasted my way down to the barn a CHP officer coming the other direction flashed his lights at me, for which I say “thank you, kindly CHP officer for not giving me a ticket!” ¬†Speeding. ¬†The crime we all commit.


Anyway, got the highlighter pink pony out of his pasture (I will NEVER lose him, thanks to Schneiders!) and prepped him for HILLS. ¬†The fog had lifted somewhat when my friend and I pulled out, and it took us about 25 minutes to get to my trainer’s house. ¬†The property is beautiful — 12 acres of gentle hills, some pipe-paneled paddocks for the horses with nice shelters, and most importantly¬†no ground squirrel holes!!! ¬†Gallop sets, here we come. Murray grew to his full 16.1 hands upon seeing the earth-moving machinery at the back of the property (there’s a creek that runs through that needed to be fixed from a diversion, evidently).

IMG_20150125_104327The only time he looks big to me.

But he soon settled.

IMG_20150125_104111I’m just here for the food.

A pano of my trainer’s property, rudely interrupted by Murray pulling me away for more grass.

hills on Make A Gif

What you can’t really see is that there’s another gently sloping pasture behind the line of trees, and you have to walk down a steep-ish slope¬†and back up to cross the creekbed there. ¬†My friend and I walked Murray and Marco (her horse) around for about 20 minutes to start, though since Marco has a much bigger stride than Murray we got left behind and Murray insisted on trotting to catch up, and then spooking at Weird Ground.


On our way through the creek back to the front pasture, Murray decided walking downhill was too damn¬†hard for him and leapt up and bucked and bronced all the way down and back up the slope, spooking poor Marco and proving to me that we needed to work. ¬†The antics continued, but were relatively harmless — lots of jumping up and bucking at the prospect of a controlled pace down any kind of slope. ¬†I just kept my reins loose, looked the direction I wanted to go, and let Murray work¬†it out. ¬†I’m really proud of us for this (ok, mostly proud of myself!) because the¬†snorting and grunting and bucking and lack of steering¬†would, in the past, have completely panicked me. ¬†But since Alana taught me¬†how to deal with trixy ponies¬†(stay soft, don’t scream at him with my body, just stay on task, etc.) I find them funny rather than worrying. ¬†Murray eventually properly settled once we got into a pattern, and we got down to work.

We did 20-ish meter trot circles on a¬†steeper and gentler slope in both directions and then cantered the same area. ¬†I also let him gallop around a much bigger area and it was soooooooooo fun! ¬†I’m also really proud of Murray for getting his ish together, which he has also struggled with in the past. ¬†We are both going to have buns of steel if we keep this up, because I two-pointed basically the¬†entire time. I don’t know about you guys, but my leg is always wicked¬†solid when we’re out away from home, and my poor ankles were completely numb by the time we were done.

IMG_20150125_122711California Coastal Range in the background…

All in all, probably 30 minutes of work (trot and canter with long walk breaks) and 15 minutes of warm up and at least 15 minutes cool down. ¬†A great first step in our fitness program, and an excellent booty workout for the pone. ¬†We’re planning on doing it monthly, so with any luck Murray will be super¬†bootylicious come Summer!