Part of the reason I'm trying really hard to blog all my rides is to get a better sense of how much I'm actually asking Fetti to do. Also.. because we have all these oddball moments that really should get written down before I blend them all together.
Saturday's ride: Big Basin, attempting redemption. My navigational skills clearly need work. I would argue that the ranger that gave me directions to the trail could have done better, though. Verdict on Big Basin: not particularly great for horses unless we're really missing something. Parking is limited-to-nonexistent for a three-horse slant. We were informed that in future, we should be riding not on the human trail eight feet from the road, but ON the (not park-only) road where cars frequently speed by. Umm, no?!?
We were out for at least four hours and on-trail for probably half that. We spent a good hour trying to find the fire road, in the process going through most of one busy campground.. complete with unruly children who all wanted to see the pretty ponies. Comes with the territory, kids won't wander up to us if we keep moving, it's fine. Except they DID run up to us, they dragged a scooter or two (not with wheels on the ground, either!) over in the process, and they did pet the now-nervous ponies on the legs when we said we had to keep going and this wasn't a good time to get close. Yes. Legs. WTF, children, WTF.
Normally I am not a huge fan of children, but this was the first time seeing them running towards us actually made me nervous.
On the bright side, we did eventually find our destination, we made it a bit further out than originally planned, and we returned to the trailer before we ran completely out of daylight. Yay!
Sunday, Fetti and I moseyed around. We went for a short 30-minute trail ride, her brain was not with me, and she got mistaken for an Arab. No real work.
Tuesday, even shorter but more intelligent trail ride. Mile in under 20 minutes? Still not real work, we were at Western Jog for most of it.
So.. to the original point. Thursday through today, we probably did 30 miles at the most. I think that's probably a fair estimate for most weeks, 25-30 miles or so. My plan had been to stick with roughly that mileage and taper off to Not Real Work the next two weeks. I may be revising that due to a combination of Mel, Funder, and the weather. It's supposed to be in the 90s this weekend, so rather than riding 4 miles to and from the obstacle challenge, Fetti and I are getting a ride (we might still ride over in the morning, but NOT back in the afternoon). Sunday I'll mosey around and if the heat sticks, not do much. She'll get trimmed Tuesday, so either Tuesday or Friday we'll go trot some Big Hills to make sure the boots stick.. and then we are simply moseying around until the 13th, if I get on at all.
I grew up in a horse world where all the horses were used in an hour or two of lessons 6-7 days a week. I rode Fetti 6-7 days a week for my last two years of college, and I am well aware she is much better behaved since I put her in regular work. There's the catch, though. Am I equating 'better behaved' with 'has less energy'? Could I productively use that energy now? Her Big Trot used to scare me - can I get more of that Big Trot now with less of a workload?
Could I, theoretically, condition for a 50 with lots of moseying rides* and a small handful of longer workouts?
*Moseying rides qualifying as shorter rides where 1. I can sit the trot and 2. I'm not hauling on her to slow her down - so either entirely at a walk or behind a horse whose speed she respects.
Maybe. Maybe not. I'm really happy with how well she handled the 18 miles by herself, so if we can make time and get good recoveries at 25... maybe my pony will surprise me with more left at the end than I expect.