Day 109 Monday
After breakfast for the horses and us, Ashley and I rode out with Medina and Samrah. I was riding Samrah in halter for only the second time since she's been at Perseverance. We rode them out for a quiet trip around Red Valley. Samrah's hooves are not as hard as Medina's and Red Valley is a pretty rocky camp so it was a slow, quiet ride enjoying the African sun. Samrah showed her competitive nature, so we were in front most of the route as Sam hated Medina even being alongside her.
In the afternoon Laura, Bob, Ashley and I headed out to ride up Tokkie's mountain to give them some hill work. I rode my favourite, Liberty, who I shall hopefully compete again before I am due to leave. Laura rode Jedi, Bob rode Mauser and Ash rode Nile. Jedi and Laura led the way up the mountain, closely followed by Bob, but there was no way Liberty was being left behind and was in hot pursuit. Us three cantered all the way up to the top of the mountain, scattering all the springbok's who were grazing at the top of the mountain and then had chance to rest our horses until their pulses dropped below 64bpm. I've now got rather quick at being able to take the pulse using my finger tips and not relying on a monitor, which is probably a good thing considering my pulse monitor is the other side of the world in Britain. Nile and Ashley brought up the rear at a slower pace, this being the first time Nile has been up Tokkie's mountain. Nile was in good spirit's and just to make sure Ashley wasn't asleep he spooked up at the warren holes as he came over the ridge. Ashley had a near miss of "making friends with the floor" but maintained his seat.
Once pulses were all under the 64bpm or near abouts we headed back down the mountain. I had to walk it as the saddle I was riding in was slipping forward. Since Fauresmith, Liberty has become very fit so has changed shape, this has meant the saddle I normally ride in no longer fits her perfectly. Walking down the mountain and occasionally jogging to keep up with the group will at least improve my fitness. I haven't jogged down a hill with a horse since I was training for the European Championship's 3 years ago!
Day 110 Tuesday
First ride out with Samrah straight onto the track. After the previous day of being in Red Valley the track would feel much softer for her. Samrah is very forward going these days so I switched back to being in a bitless bridle rather than being in a halter. We rode at least two laps round the track, keeping it slow as to not excite her . Ever since cantering after the loose foals, all Sam wants to do now is canter. We did no canter work and stuck to trot, working on getting her into an extended trot rather than being short striding. Samrah would however, prefer to jump into canter which I have come to realise is her preferred gait.
Laura and Bob were leaving for Bloemfontain for a few days, so Ashley and I were given the priveledge of being able to ride Jedi and Mauser whilst they were away. Bob had given me instructions of how he wanted Mauser to be schooled and exercised as well as what to expect from him.
Having never ridden Mauser before, I decided to school him before lunch. This would give me the chance to be able to see what he was like to be ridden as well as giving me the chance to work him in the way Bob wanted. Mauser has the habit of running with his head in the air and also using it as a way to evade so I was instructed to ride him in draw reins. I found Mauser to be very receptive to the aids and was quite happy with his attitude, but that was in a school environment what would he be like out training......
That afternoon, Ashley and I rode Jedi and Mauser out, with Ashley also leading Liberty. We would once again be heading up Tokkie's mountain. We loped up Tokkie's mountain with Ashley taking the lead on Jedi and leading Maurser and I following closely behind on Mauser. All horses made it up the mountain with ease, once at the top we stopped for them to catch their breath and for their pulses to drop to under 64bpm. It was at this point that Ash noticed that part of Jedi's hoof wall had chipped off, probably on one of the rocks on the way up. We would therefore take it slowly home as we did not want Jedi to go lame. A gentle walk back down the hill and then time to jog on the flat. It was at this point when Mauser started to show signs of being lame. Mauser could not be lame when I was riding, what the hell would Bob say? Once on the road for home, Ash had the good idea for me to swap the saddle onto Liberty so I could ride her home, at least then she would have the full work out. Liberty and I left Ash with the boys and we cantered all the way home, with me worrying over what Bob would say when I told him Mauser was not fully sound.
Back at the farm, I fed Liberty then jumped in the car to go and pick up Ash. I met him along the road a couple of km's from the farm leading both horses. I drove whilst Ash sat in the boot and led the two horses. We drove at less than 5kms an hour due to not wanting Mauser to become more lame than he already was and to make sure Jedi did not become lame also.
We eventually made it home at around half past 6, this had taken us in total 3 and half hours to ride up and travel home. We were both glad to be home but I now had the worry of telling Bob about his horse. I, "bit the bullet" sent the blackberry message and waited for the reply. All was well at least when I got the reply and told to leave him to rest, at least I could stop worrying for now.
Day 111 Wednesday
Another sunny day in the Karoo and another trip up Tokkie's Mountain. Lucy and I rode our proposed Schanskraal mounts, Ibis and Liberty on this training ride. Due to the saddle I normally use on Liberty riding forward, Laura had kindly said I could borrow her saddle whilst she was away due to it being the narrowest saddle we have. After cantering up the mountain, eating Ibis' dust, I decided I'd walk down the mountain as I had done before. Lucy also got dismounted and we both walked our horses back down to the bottom of the mountain, gossiping as we went whilst also enjoying the scenery. Despite having a narrow saddle on Liberty, I still had the issue of it running forward onto her shoulders despite the girth being done up tight. Liberty most definitely has toned up since June when I first started riding her.
That afternoon, I rode Obelix out on a short hack up the road. The last few weeks we have stuck mostly to the track so it was time for a change. Obelix was more than keen to go up the road and proceeded at jog rather than a walk. We did not go very far tho as he was feeling a few of the stones. Obelix is always such a happy horse, no wonder he puts a smile on my face when I ride him.......well usually.
After riding Obelix there was still time to quickly ride one more horse out before the end of the day, so I chose Rafiki. By quick I mean one loop of the track trotting going out and cantering coming back. Rafiki was all too willing to canter and the brakes were a bit of an issue, this just meant we arrived back at the farm faster than I had anticipated.
Kandahar is now looking so much better. Looks like whatever it was that he had a touch of at the weekend has gone away!