Sunday, July 29, 2012

Happy on the Trail

Today our morning ride plans were foiled by storms, so Brian and I headed out later and didn't connect with the horses and riders we've been going out with the last couple of Sundays. We decided to venture out on our own. Brian chose to ride in the hackamore, which is the first time either of us has ridden out past familiar territory without a bit. (I rode in the snaffle.)

We weren't sure what kind of overall attitude we'd get from Bear and Steen. The first time we did this ride, we literally had half the pasture herd with us, so all the horses were gaining a lot of confidence from the company.

Brian and I made our way out past the fields near the barn and along the scary creek section, where Steen tends to get jumpy. And he was a little jumpy. He startled when a large bug fluttered in the corn, but he didn't do anything. We made it to the gate and he was able to stand quietly while Brian got off and opened it, and although he wanted to go through as soon as it was open, I made him wait until he settled and I asked him to move forward.

From there the ride continued well. There were several times Steen got a bit nervous, but the nerves never translated into any undesirable behavior. He led almost the whole ride. He's funny that even when he's a little uncertain he's often happy to forge ahead.

When we reached the long easement, we decided to try a trot. Bear has a tendency to get some momentum going at the trot, and Brian thought he could check him more lightly and effectively in the hackamore, but he wasn't sure. So we asked the guys to move out, and they did... at a snail's pace. It was actually a little hilarious. They trotted really, really slowly for a good long while.

From there we passed the pasture of horses that got Steen frazzled the last ride, but he was less reactive today. Then we hit the B-road and trotted and loped our way along depending on the terrain. Steen had one moment where we were walking on the way back and he got goofy about going forward for no reason I could detect. But I gave him a minute and some reassurance and he went on without any more trouble.

When we were trotting along the lower part of the easement, a young deer jumped out of the undergrowth next to us. Both horses sped up and a tad and veered away, but quieted right back down. Even on the home stretch they were both happy to walk quietly. We swung down back at the barn feeling relaxed and happy. I spent almost the entire ride on a loose rein, only checking Steen lightly a few times when he started gaining speed at the trot or lope. It was great to feel him stay attentive as we went, and it was great that Bear was equally fantastic for Brian.

Ride Time: 1:30
Ride Length: 5.2 miles
Horseback hours YTD: 90:30

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