On Saturday we had a fairly bad ride. I’m usually a glass half full sort of person and some good things came out of it but both Katai and I were feeling weak and floppy and having a tough time concentrating. When one teammate feels that way it’s one thing but when both do it’s a recipe for a bad ride.
I could tell going into it that we weren’t firing on all cylinders so I kept it short and sweet. I worked on making nice 20 meter circles at the walk and trot and tried to slow her temp down again since it seems like she was getting quick, probably because I didn’t ride her consistently last week L, and by the end had her trot resembling something more dressage-ee. I also worked on her canter in both directions and this made her spaz out. When I’m working her all the time she remembers that canter is just another gait and one that is tiring but when I haven’t worked her in awhile it’s all about the CANTER and she just can’t help herself she wants to canter so bad. That was the pony I was dealing with on Saturday which meant that we had some of our worst transitions to date. I’m really ready for another lesson next Sunday so that L can help me sort this out!
Then on Sunday we did baby’s first real trail ride!! I’m lucky enough to live right down the road from a HUGE trail system but because it is right near a large metro area there are things/people on the trail that horses normally don’t have to deal with. Also, since I hadn’t been on these trails before I really had no idea how to even find them. On Saturday one of the other people who does chores (we’ll call her A) invited me on a trail ride and it was the perfect situation since the other person she was riding with could only walk.
Sunday ended up being really windy and there was a storm rolling in so I almost lost my nerve especially when people at the barn who found out it was going to be her first real trail ride were telling me that there was going to be a record number of bikes/rollerbladers/runners/dog walkers on the trail. However, I really, really, really want Katai to be a good trail pony and eventually I want to be able to go out there and do canter sets by our self. That’s going to take time and miles and since this was the perfect first trail ride opportunity I decided to buck up and do it.
A actually boards at the neighboring barn but rode partway out to babysit Katai back to the barn she boards at where the other trail rider was getting ready. Katai got to hang out in a strange place with strange horses and a pile of hay. Everyone fed her treats and she was certainly the center of attention but most importantly she was awesome!!! She never called, she didn’t get prancy, and she stood still and polite while we waited for the other rider to get tacked up and mounted. I climbed off for awhile and then when it was time to mount back up she stood still at a strange mounting block for me.
I was soooo proud!
Then it was time to tackle the trails but we had set it up perfectly for a young horse since A’s horse is a big, calm, experienced babysitter. To her credit Katai dealt with about 100 bikes without ever spooking and although she got a bit up at some rollerbladers and a bike pulling one of those kid trailers she never really had a big spook and certainly never thought of bolting. When we did turn around to head back the other horse we were out with freaked out briefly and she jumped a little but then calmed right back down. I actually rode her on the buckle for a large part of the ride back and she even took the lead briefly when the babysitter horse was concerned about some random branches that were down next to the trail. She really is a brave little toaster :-)
Unfortunately I didn’t get any pictures from our trail ride because I didn’t have any hands free to take pictures and I ended up not having a good place to put my phone. I recently upgraded to the iphone 6 plus and have no clue how I’m going to carry that with on rides. I could attach it to the saddle somewhere but then, of course, if we got separated I would be in trouble. I’m going to have to figure something out before we head out on the trail on our own.
On the way back A walked us to the driveway of our barn and Katai had been a little up, I think she was getting tired and had finally hit the point where all the stimulus was just getting to be too much. Then when we separated and A went back Katai lost it and got really prancy. I just handled it and didn’t get after her at all because she had been such a good girl. I was also proud that in the small tantrum that followed she never once tried to run into me or over me which is HUGE progress from even last year. I led her prancy self back to the barn where she had another small tantrum when I tied her up outside, near another horse. There was no way at that point that I would have trusted her in cross ties. It was tough for me to see her that way again since she used to be like that all the time and the progress that we’ve made just in these last few months has been so, so nice. However, she is still a baby in training if not in years, and I know that she will still have her moments.
I’m also feeling really confident about doing more trail riding with her since she just has such a nice, calm, brave mind. I’m hoping that we can do a few more walk only trail rides before we start going faster so that she doesn’t think it’s all about running.