Thursday, February 2, 2012

New Hope

Yesterday I snuck off from the kitchen (har har, women's work!) to do our weekly hill ride. Dixie was way less sweaty and way more perky. She was breathing hard and clearly working, but she wasn't at all maxed out. We made great time up the 8% one-mile section - 10:30 - but even better we got a good walk/trot rhythm.

If you click over to the Strava and click on "performance" (a tab directly under the map), I'm really happy with that steady w/t/w/t going up the steep part of the hill. Before we get to the steeper bit, she's not really focused on what she's doing and there's a lot of slamming on the brakes for no reason / a tree / a car in the distance.

Coming back down the hill, I worked on keeping her at a RW on the steeper bit (she kept wanting to just keep accelerating into a rack or something, and I kept asking her to slow back to a walk), then when the grade eased off we just racked on home. I kept asking for slow, slow, slow, because if I let her take off she starts to hollow out. I don't know if you can get true rounded collection at a gait, but I know for sure you can have strung out or neutral-collected, and I'm going to work those muscles.

Anyway, I've spent most of a year thinking that our first 50 at High Desert was a fluke, a one-time performance we'd never manage to do again. For most of that time, remember, Dixie was on the injured list and I couldn't do any conditioning to set my mind at ease. Then she came back as strong as you'd ever hope on the flats, but she was almost unable to climb a 3 mile hill, and where does that leave me? Turtle the FEI races? Ugh, no.

But the clip seemed to do the trick. She's able to WORK without totally overheating now. I thought from the beginning that cooling would be my biggest challenge with Dixie - at least she's not black and not truly built like a tank. But she's definitely got a medium (TWH) build and a ton of bone and of course all that glorious hair.

Kitchen: yesterday I finished sanding the sheetrock, which means today I can run the dishwasher like 10 times and clean everything as I put it back up! Lots of little things to do today and tomorrow, but it's almost done. And it looks awesome - so much better than hangover-green.


  1. Clipping can make a huge difference in how a horse feels during work. I'd glad you seem to have found a way to keep Dixie happy while doing her job!

    And I can't wait to see pics of the kitchen!

  2. Yay Dixie! I am trying to talk my friend Wally into trying your neck clip on his very hairy gray horse. We're going to ride down on the beach this afternoon and its 65--maybe if Twister gets ringing wet, Wally will try the clip.

  3. Yep! Waiting for the new photos! Sounds like you & Dixie have the "rhythm" now!

  4. I need to clip the Dragonyak. Sigh.

  5. Yay Dixie! So glad the clip is doing the trick.
    We want house photos.

  6. Amazing how a haircut can make a lady feel more energized - Dixie and I have that in common!

    Looking forward to seeing pics of the kitchen.

  7. I've done the chest clip - wasn't enough. Going back in for more clippage very soon.


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