It’s been a good summer of riding so far. Since the weather finally turned, I’ve been managing very consistent light rides. One fabulous change is that our friends K and M were able to purchase the field next to their existing house and pasture. It was a soybean field last year and corn the year before that but they’ve started the process of converting it to grass. This will quadruple the amount of space we have to work with as far as the horses are concerned.
This deal has been in the works since before we ever even moved the horses. I’m not going to lie; the two years it took to get things over the finish line were painful. We knew getting this land would change everything — from the layout of the dry lot to our tack-up area to how we use the pastures. Not knowing if it would go through or not had us hanging in a protracted limbo. But that stage is finally behind us and that means it’s going to be a summer of really good changes.
We’ve been riding in the former bean field for a few weeks now. The footing is pretty good already and it will only get better. After being confined to fairly small riding areas for so long, having a big space to work in again feels sooooo nice. Steen adores the wide open view. And although I was a bit worried about how long he had off over the winter, he’s coming back into shape with enthusiasm and feeling really good. We even have our canter back. Last year, he was generally stiff and troubled even if I let him canter as naturally as possible. I had him on and off Equioxx but even that didn’t do enough to make me feel like I could ride him without worry.
This year, though, he hasn’t needed the drugs yet. So far, Steen almost feels like his old self. The stiffness and anxiety have all but vanished. We are still doing our very long walking warmups every ride and limiting how long we’re out on hot days. I’m careful to listen to his signals and err on the side of doing less. But we’ve also been doing big trots and canters around the perimeter of the new field. It is glorious. I’m hopeful that continued light but consistent work will keep my main man sound and happy for many years to come.
This weekend, with any luck, we’ll be building some new fences. And when those are done, we will use our old corral panels to make a round pen. We’ve been doing consistent groundwork with Roland lately as well and have seen some remarkable progress in comparison to last year. I’m looking forward to getting him going under saddle again too.