Cato and Capitol Forest, I am not in shape enough to ride this horse…

Cato gets to go to Capitol State Forest, today, and do 15 miles, one of our favorite loops! more later.

Here is our ride from today:

14.4 miles, average 5.3 mph, Major elevation gains…. more hills, Cato, ya gotta do more hills! I think we could have made it 15miles had we gone all the way out to almost Mima Falls camp…. then came back to Mima Falls picnic spot!

We really had a great ride….. with some bumps and lumps…. as usual with a horse I don’t know. I was using all of the tools Celena taught me….I actually was doing circles on the trail……. so I asked Sue…. what she thought. Sue was funny, I asked her what she thought and she said * will you get defensive if I tell you what I think?* are not relationships interesting? Makes me wonder why we might get defensive about our riding skill? Sue Preston has been my endurance mentor since I started this sport because she has been doing a LOT longer than me and knows SO much more than I…… usually she is pretty good about her advice and it works. I think that getting defensive about our riding is not helpful to us or our horses. Although, it does take great courage to say *thank you* to our people that are helping us. Perhaps, we get defensive when we hear what we don’t want to hear?

*No, I said, Sue, you are my mentor and I trust you now tell me what you think about his spooking at every damn thing on the trail!!!* and she said * I think that Cato responds better hitting the spur if he tries to spook, if you hit him hard with that spur as he does the spook, eventually he will quit*. I told her that made sense to me and that Celena would agree because if the circles were not working, try something else….. what seemed to work BEST on the trail was spur, legs on all of the time….and to catch him as he spooks. Here is what I noticed today: that Cato spooks MORE when he is in front…less when he is second. Being in front is a BIG responsibility, keeping everyone else safe from: shadows, shiny plants, sticks, mud puddles, oh for heavens’ sake give me a break! Spur, Cato, SPUR! Sue was right…. she was right. By the end of the ride, Cato was not spooking at anything, it must be the SPUR of Death in his side, hard when he shows ANY sign of *oh my gawd I’m a gonna spook at that bird, leaf, whatever*.

Mr Cater Potater head….. got to be first AND second all day long and get left behind 2-3 times…. once on on Snake Mt @ the trot; Cato tried to say * I wanna canter to catch up*. I said *no, walk ONLY because dear Cato you are huffing and puffing…. you are so outa shape!!! So, my dear buckskin horse, you must walk…. On Snake Mt, we can’t turn around and go the other way, there is hardly any place to do anything, so you know what worked? Yep, neck flexions…… first one way then the next….. up the mountain until we can trot again. And, you know what? he did good…. go Cato, smart boy, you knew that if you threw yobadsef around? we were both goin’ down the hill in a ball of horse and rider. SMART boy!!!!

Cato and I are first at a VERY important spot on the trail, there are several hoof shaped HOLES omg…. with thin crust…as we come down to the old segment #20..agggggghhhhhh. I felt Cato crunch through them and then we stopped and Sue, bless her soul, marked the holes with loads of trees and marking ribbon….. and she reminded me that some part of our team are riding out there tomorrow, so I warn them on FB this evening. Cato was awesome he did not falter, crunched right through, he is pretty sure footed; as evidence by him totally catching himself as we slipped as we went up Snake Mt…. that clay out there in Cap Forest is slick…. until Aug when it turns to dust….. Cato caught on pretty darn quick. Smart Boy!!!!! Go Cato!

It occurs to me, as I am panting as I ride this animal, that I am not in good enough shape to ride Cato—he requires more core strength than I have now. Pant Pant pant.. pant…. as we move down the trail. Cato shall be my reason for getting my fat A$$ BACK to the gym. He requires a level of riding that asks your core to do so much more ALL of the time than I am used to. Good for you Cato, you, Big Boy, have made it clear what I need to do to ride you better!

But, riding Cato at Capitol Forest, on all my old favorite trails that I know by heart ( except by the new names! :-)) was brilliant and the boy got some miles on him too.

HR 52 when we came in, steady 52 for about 5min, then down to 48 at 10 min and then 40 @ 30 min….. NOT bad Cato boy, NOT bad… even with all of the Huffin and Puffin’ eh? More hills and I should get MY butt off and climb some of those hills myself!

To Clarify and provide perspective…. Cato was AWESOME for about 14.2 of the 14.4 miles…That’s not bad… not bad at all!

here is a link to pictures


One response to “Cato and Capitol Forest, I am not in shape enough to ride this horse…”

  1. Connie Hoge says :

    Nice! Progress being made!

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