Wednesday, December 28, 2011

random ride

A mid-week ride, and the trails were so nice and quiet. I was supposed to ride with a friend, but she backed out this morning, needing to clean house, crazy! Major and I headed out, he was in a springy mood, and I completely confused him the first couple miles.

He always wants to take this one trail at the edge of the cow pasture. So I let him. He was excited, and picked up a canter, came to the crest of the hill...and came to a screeching halt. I was prepared, as the trail is just a short firebreak behind the houses that back up to the field. Poor Major. Then I wanted to try the trotting trail, which is still blocked by a huge fallen tree, but the second half is accessible. We did have to bushwhack a bit, and Major thought we were turning for home. Sorry dude.

I'd had enough rides on the canal, so took the upper Pioneer trail option. We trotted along, with a short detour down to the sand, because I wanted to do a little loop. We ended up at the nice little pond, where Major likes to stare out, watch the egret hunting, do some snorkeling, and get his feet wet.

After that we headed home, though we did have to stop at the rock lookout to replace his right front boot. Muddy boot + rocky gully = need new velcro. He liked looking around, and was looking back the way we'd come. But he was ready to go home.

A bit too ready. So I pointed him up Dottie's hill and let him go. But half way up we encountered eight hikers and an unleashed dog! The dog ran at us, a bit too aggressive, and I yelled at it. The people were able to grab him and put a leash on. I think we just surprised the dog, but still a little scary. Major did calm right down, and they all wanted to pet Major. He has a very "cute" face to people (though I tell him he is handsome).

We kept right on going up the hill, pretty fast, which is probably why I didn't notice loosing the other boot! Damn. Backtracked, clipped both boots to the saddle, and headed home.

And Major was all in a tizzy. Then he heard something in the woods (it was turkeys), and just lost it. I think the combo of exciting hill, dog, going home and noises just set him off. I got the big explosive snort and managed to stay on while he piaffed his way down the trail. It was better to keep moving, to direct the energy, because there was no shutting it down. Finally he settled, though not entirely.

So we had another little session when we encountered two other riders heading back to the neighboring stable. We piaffed after them back to the staging area, but then I made Major turn around and head back out until he could listen. It didn't take long: he knows the drill mostly now, and settled down into a walk home.

By the time we got back he was dry, and I put my saddle in my car to bring it home and clean it. I kept thinking that you never know when a ride starts how it will end, and sometimes it is just a string of random events. The barn got a hay delivery while we were out, and Major's only thought was "Best afternoon ever."

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