After a week of prolonged inactivity and lazy rides, Confetti and I went out Saturday night and absolutely flew down the trail, at least by our standards!
For context.. on our three-mile fairly flat out-and-back rides, I think we've managed to log average speeds of 6.8mph. It has been practically impossible to get a 5mph+ speed on anything with hills (aka: anything else we do). On our 2-3 mile sprints, we can get to 6-7mph average, but that's flat.
About a month ago, it looks like we did the same trail at a 5.4mph pace (4.53mi).
Saturday night we added in some lovely polite canters (!) in the Specialized (!!) and came home with a 5.8mph average (!!!) even accounting for the fact that we opted to walk by several folks. It doesn't sound like much, and y'all out there doing longer faster rides are probably a bit appalled at how slow we're going, but Pony Dearest has no motivation to keep up a pace solo, and we have only one or two riding friends who care to keep a true endurance pace for the whole ride.
Good sweat marks and still energetic pony post-ride Saturday night:
|Some folks sweep up fallen hay. I bring my horse over and let her do the work for me. Everyone wins!|
I've been working on a few hard-to-define goals this year.
- sustained speed. Fetti recovers quickly when she has walk breaks. Can I get her to keep trotting at home as much as possible? This should help me worry less at rides when she resents being asked to walk. We did a lot of this in our handful of back woods rides this 'winter', and it's still very much at the front of my mind.
- cantering. My form when cantering is less than ideal. Fetti has a lovely hand gallop, full gallop, and occasionally deigned to feel like less of a runaway. She's not bad - just very forwards! In the past week she's given me several rides with little polite canters, and it makes me so very happy to be able to canter on the trail without concern.
- trotting downhill. Honestly, this is the one I've put the least work into and that probably is going to come back to bite me for Fireworks. We can trot slight downhills no problem, but Real Hills frequently have her opting to walk down instead. I think it's a combination of balance issues (mostly mine, but a bit hers) and lack of belief that I really do want her to trot down.
At this point, I am not looking to get in another truly long ride before Fireworks. 10 miles, sure, but I'm not likely to ask her for a brisk 14-to-18 miles. Instead, I hope to keep working on the three above points and focus on trotting one or two downhill sections of trail that I know will be part of the ride.
I'm still totally over June, but at least at this point I am genuinely looking forwards to July.