Before officially heading out, we explored at the trail heads a little bit. Lady had a small melt down (okay, a pretty big one for her) about being alone the first time we got a little bit behind. We worked through it that time, however.
There wasn't a whole lot else to do, so we checked in with the managers and set off "officially". R decided to start out by doing some interval fitness training. Even though Lady and I were capable of keeping up, I was far more concerned with the training side of things. We've been focusing so much on rhythm in our rides at home, so I was insisting on at least some basic rhythm even in the new and different environment.
Anyways, we fell behind R and her horse a little bit and Lady and I had a long conversation about staying calm even when we are alone. Her trot would get very quick and erratic in her excitement, so I insisted on a walk and as long as we remained in the walk and she listened to my steering, we were good. She got the hang of it pretty quickly, and made me quite proud. After that discussion, she did a SO much better and I felt comfortable cantering her.
|A rather unflattering picture of me, courtesy of R.|
Most of the 11 miles was uneventful. We did a lot of walking, along with some trotting. The area had been under rain for about two days prior to the ride, and there was a lot of mud. Also sand. Several portions of the trail were thick sand, which gave Lady a little bit of trouble, especially when cantering. And there were also hills, so we both got some practice with that.
In several of the open areas, I let myself have some crazy fun and I allowed Lady to "go fast". Thus ensued several races between R and myself. I can be such a control freak sometimes, so giving Lady the freedom to gallop was exhilarating and at the same time liberating. I don't regret a moment of that. :)
We finished the 11 miles in 2 hours, 45 minutes.
I never got any cramps or anything weird like that, even though the ride was lots longer than we usually go. I did get stiff at times, especially in my lower back and my legs. Dropping my stirrups here and there as well as riding in two point/really dropping weight into my heels helped a ton.
After making it back to camp safely and getting through the vet check, Lady was pretty tuckered out. Not to say that she was exhausted... she wasn't sweaty at all by the time we got back to camp, but it was a long ride and more challenging than anything we usually do. She didn't have any issues with being tied to the trailer and sleeping. In fact, she more or less stood and slept for about four hours after we got back. Poor tired pony.
Overall, a fun, fun weekend. We intended to ride again Sunday morning, but R's horse was slightly off in one leg and I wasn't about to take Lady out on my own. Not while I was doing my best to make everything the best experience possible. For both of us.
And since we got back... its rained so often and so much, that I haven't ridden at all. Blegh.
But that was our first endurance ride! We made it back alive and we succeeded! And I really enjoyed the event, so endurance is definitely staying on my radar for the future. I'm considering training for a 25 miler yet sometime.