|Goons in the trailer|
|My legs look so long in this picture!|
We got on the road but pulled over for gas and to check on the horses about 15 minutes into the trip. I was extremely happy and impressed to see that Katai didn’t have a single bit of sweat on her, was eating her hay, and was perky eared. I can only imagine that she really liked being able to see the other three horses and that it was making her feel more confident.
|Leading the pack|
I was really pleased and feeling more confident about how she would do once we unloaded than I had. The trip was about an hour and then we pulled into a nice large field with several other trailers. We unloaded and were able to tie two horses to the trailer with their hay bags. The other two had to be held since the trailer just didn’t have enough tie rings. I opted to tie Katai and with her hay bag in front of her she was a perfect lady. She actually ate her hay and didn’t even call to the strange horses. I think it helped that it was very low key and not nearly as electric as her last show experience and, of course, being able to see her three buddies the whole time really helped as well. We all started getting tacked up and ready to ride. I got in the saddle a bit before some of the others and let Katai stretch her legs in the field a bit while everyone else got mounted up.
We left the gate at about 10:08am. I knew that a hunter pace was different than a hunt but I wasn’t exactly sure how it differed. First off, there aren’t hounds for the hunter pace and you don’t go out at the same time with a big group. Instead, you go out with as many or few riders and horses as you chose and try to meet an unidentified time over a specific course that was set by the person who, I believe, normally would lead the hunt. The group that put on this event does Hunts as well and I’ve actually been invited to the one at the end of August!!
I had a great group since both Vanessa and Allie are eventers with young/green horses and this was their first experience. Both are bold riders and happy to push the pace a little but both also wanted to give their horses a great experience and didn’t have extremely fit horses. Both Vanessa and Allie took some jumps and neither Jenny or I took any. We all were in agreement about pace for the whole ride and were happy to walk or gallop as appropriate which made it fun. Amazingly enough with all the young horses, and especially with the lack of trail riding experience, none of the horses were spooky. The draft cross or Katai led through anything spooky for the most part but the OTTB led over two bridges!! She just walked right on and over very calm and composed and the others followed her over just as calmly. It was really pretty remarkable and I think that rider attitude had a lot to do with it since we were all happy, positive, calm, relaxed people that were out just to have fun.
Allie’s young Quarter Horse was probably the most worried and spent the first half of the ride cantering and jigging but did really well and by the end was really happy and calm and comfortable for our longer sets of canter and gallop towards the end. All four horses were equally sweaty and none of them seemed especially tired out after the ride. I will say that I didn’t actually think the ride would be that long especially with the amount of canter and gallop that we did. It sounds like most of the time these rides are closer to 45 -60 minutes.
|LtoR: Allie and Sarge, me and Katai, Vanessa and Cat, Jenny and Ollie|