Whew! Nothing like making up for lost time! My friend S and I have made a weekly date for the most part and have been riding every Thursday after work. This week, when I was hooking up the trailer at lunch time (living close to where I work is SUCH an advantage), Diego was **so excited** to be going somewhere! He was running around in his corral, doing slide stops and 180 roll-backs that would make any reiner jealous. That was until he tried to do a slide, spin, accelerate a bit too quickly, and ended up falling over on his ass instead! LOL! I had to text S and let her know that Diego was so excited to go, that he fell over. Dork.
We went out to Washoe Lake and had a great 6-mile ride. We headed to the beach first. Diego was so relaxed in the parking lot, he could hardly bother to trot on the lunge, so I figured he was fine and we headed out. This meant that I ended up getting off and having to lead him down to the beach, and then eventually got off and lunged him ON the beach (in the deep sand, with my reins - certainly not ideal) because he was becoming wound tighter and tighter. After he got to get some bucks and running out of his system, I got back on and he settled quickly and we had a very nice rest of the ride. We walk/jogged down most of the length of the beach (about 2 miles) and then cut over and took one of my favorite trails, a twisty single-track through the sage, back to the parking area. We ended up trotting nearly that entire section, about 3 miles total. That was probably the longest sustained trot that Diego had done to date. I didn't have my HRM on and tried to check his heart rate back at the trailer, but was thwarted by extremely loud gut sounds and the sound of him rubbing his face on the trailer, so I gave up after hearing about 5 seconds and realizing he was somewhere below 60. =)
Then on Saturday, Funder and I had a most awesome ride out in Lemmon Valley. Here's a link to our ride. Funder and Dixie rode over and met us at the arena, so Diego and I ended up doing about 20 miles instead of 23, but it was most excellent. We did a modified version of the original Rides of March trail, before they moved out to the Red Rock area. It has been since 2007 that I tried to ride that loop, so my navigational skills were okay, but a bit rusty. We also knowingly took the less rocky/slightly easier route a couple of times. We saw the same two guys on dirt bikes no less than four times, and Diego was well behaved each time, although as it worked out I was either dismounted or they saw us and took a slightly different trail. We went across the valley to one of the spring-fed cow troughs and the horses got to enjoy a bunch of fresh green grass, certainly a luxury in these parts.
I'm not quite happy with how Diego moves in his Easyboots. For now, I'm still using the old style boots with the buckles and no gaiters. Mainly because I have a bunch of these and haven't made the investment to purchase a set of 4 Gloves yet. As it is, I think because he's wacked himself a couple of times with the hardware, he tends to move somewhat short strided, or dog trots with his hind legs not tracking straight with his fronts. However, the boots did stay on well the entire time, including some deep mud at the water stop. He unbuckles his rear boots on occasion, but I haven't lost one yet (knock on wood), even when unbuckled. However, on the way back, after a rocky off-trail stretch, he started limping occasionally on his left front. I got off and pulled all 4 boots, and while he was better, he would still occasionally bobble. After I got home, and all the mud and filth was gone , I noticed that he had a very small fingernail sized rock (which I couldn't see on the trail) wedged in his heel on that hoof, so hopefully nothing major and an easy fix.
Overall, it was a perfect conditioning ride. The weather couldn't have been better, although it got a bit windy at the end, it was fun and kept us all nice and cool. We did see one lightening strike, which made for a good excuse to hurry back. Both Funder and I have our sights set on a first 50 at Comstock. It will be a first for everyone except me, but I'm really looking forward to it. Both horses should be able to handle the distance just fine, especially with another month or so of conditioning.