Time constraints the past few weeks have essentially taken our theoretical training schedule and thrown it out the window. Instead of our 6-8 mile rides, we've been doing speed rides 2-3 miles long and on pretty flat terrain. I'm asking for that big power-trot the whole way out and back, minimal walk breaks and occasional canters thrown in for good measure.
The verdict? Right now.. on the flat terrain and by ourselves, we can sustain about a 6.4mph average over 2.5 miles with few-to-no walk breaks. Our mile-splits are faster than that on the way home when she's pushing herself rather than me pushing her. Even without trying hard and throwing in more walk breaks, we can hold a 5mph average over that 2-3 mile section.
The Eurolight is holding up nicely and I'm reasonably happy with it. I've made some modifications and I'm not 100% sure I like how it's fitting her, but it's 'good enough' for the moment. Later this year I'll see about getting a rep to come out and take a look, I think, since she's giving me headaches trying to figure out where 'good enough' should be. Acquired girth loop, have various girths to choose from, a pile of English pads.. switched to leathers rather than the fenders, and I have leather covers ordered that will hopefully show up soon.
Our next 25 is in four weeks. We're not quite where I had hoped we'd be, but we're not in a bad place. Our downhill walk is markedly improved about half the time. Our regular walk is still generally atrocious. Our downwards transitions are still equally atrocious - come to think of it, I imagine those are likely related, so that will take some work.
7.44 miles last Thursday in the heat. Just about a 4.5mph average - I didn't ask for much speed, we walked half the downhills, trotted where she was willing. Confetti was sweaty afterwards, but I never felt like I ran out of horse. I asked, she went. Occasionally I didn't ask and she went anyway.
The Eurolight puts me in a more forwards/upright seat, rather than sitting back. If I don't actively lean back going down hills, Fetti walks because I'm putting weight on her forehand. Soon as I lean back? She's willing to go again since we're balanced. Problem solved.
Slow 6.5 mile loop on Saturday, brisk 13 (just about a 4mph average!) with more downhill than up and a fair bit of gravel on Sunday, slow 6.5 again on Monday. Pony got Tuesday off with how overwhelmed work has me right now, and may just do pony rides for a friend on Thursday. Goal is to get at least one good ride in this weekend, and at least one next week, and whenever I have my week off we'll do our long out & back to Wilder (with boots!) to see how things are holding up solo.