Managed to get better internet up at the ranch house, so I thought I'd do a post, and maybe even be able to include some pictures at the end.
At night, the temps are dropping down low enough that I put warm blankets on the horses. The morning air was brisk, but after Hank and I got moving, we both warmed up. The trail is on the other side of the highway, so we rode down the road, past some houses, down into arroyo, and then through a cement tunnel under the roadway. Judges watched us do this, and Hank was a good boy, not silly, excited, or spooky. The trail then starts in the low areas, through the washes, and the area they call the "badlands", until it works its way up to areas with Pinyon Pines and other trees. Judges watches us climb a steep hill that went on for about 1/10 of a mile or so, and again, Hank was good, not charging, not trying to rush.
We would have a total of 3 P&R stops today, and thankfully, no point loss on any of them. Also a lunch on trail. The judges were usually after a P&R or lunch. We had a back up a sandy little hill / rise. Since the ride was timed a tad slower than some we had done, I would stop and make Hank do things along the way, and we had backed a few times, so when we got to the obstacle, he was a bit more focused, and managed to get it done for me. We also did an off side mount, and he did take a step. bad Hank. lol They had some brush/log across the trail, and we were to go over it, and knowing Hank would hop or jump it, I just asked him to. He did a lovely little jump for me. Not sure what the vet will think, but the horse did as I asked. Checked metabolics a couple times, and he was fine as far as I could tell. Think they were staying the same from check in.
Now that the basics are out of the way, a bit more. Because this ride was slower and shorter than what we have been doing, Hank was ready to GO! He walked most the way, and was doing his big super fast, head swinging walk. But the last P&R, which was at the 2 mile point (2 miles from camp) he could hardly contain himself. Fussy, fidgeting, foot stomping, pawing when asked to wait and stand. When he gets like this, it is hard to get his mind to focus. Thankfully, we did not have some obstacle to do. He was very anxious, and too dang smart to know we were almost done. But over all, he was nice to ride today. Wish I could get that big walk on demand, and not just when he is in a hurry!
Tomorrow is even shorter. I know some riders like a "short" easy ride, but I like the longer tougher rides, as this is a competition of fitness, condition, and soundness. if the horses are not challenged by the trail, then it is hard to separate their condition. Then some vets resort to lots of obstacles. At least so far, all but one of the obstacles has just been going down the trail, watching horses the horses deal with what is there.
OK, now some photos with views from the trail, then hopefully I can post again after tomorrows ride.