Sunday, August 17, 2014


Major was wound tight this morning. I had been gone camping for three days (glorious, cool, foggy coast, pictures of that later) and he had nothing to do but stand in a nice grassy pasture and eat. Or run around and be silly. But he reserves that for rides. Sigh. 

He did not want to stand still as I tried to have a conversation with another boarder, so I had quick discussion on stand-still-right-here-now! Then hopped aboard. To the quickest, nicest walk ever. Usually it's a slug fest heading out, so I'll take it when I get it!

Into the forest on the main, rutted trail. A discussion ensued about not blasting through ruts that make me nervous that he's going to break a leg out there.  But I let my guard down for a moment, and he makes some poor trail choices. 

Like the middle elevated tightrope section of the rut. Really? Shouldn't an experienced trail horse make better choices? Guess I need to pay attention.

Then we came up to some very fearless deer. I put the camera away, and said sweet nothings, but they didn't move till we were almost on top of them. Then of course three went one way, the other "trapped" with Major between the herd. So we waited till they got themselves settled, the lone one bounding in front of Major, and headed down the trail again. 

Major made the turn away from home, so we kept going. Guess he wanted to explore. We had a close call with a careening mountain bike (really, slow down when you're joining the main trail. With some horses that would have been a scary wreck!). At the other staging area people were just saddling up, and we were half done with our ride!

Blasting towards home Major was being exceptionally good. I know for different people and horses this could have different descriptions. Here is my reality: I put on the riding gloves heading home. He wasn't pulling but we were also moving at close to top speed for the trail limitations, which makes him happy. I keep a mid-tight rein with some slack, just enough to grab up quickly if needed. To slow him down required effort. But he'd mostly listen, walk when needed. But was nowhere close to tired or done. So when the turnoff for home came...we kept going. Because I'm evil that way. 

He slowed to a dull-roar trot, mindful that we'd missed our turn, but quickly amped back up. His gait of choice is extended trot, because canter is too much work. We slowed for blind corners and stepped off trail for six horses to pass. Two of whom had minor meltdowns passing a quietly standing horse. One horse turned and was backing down the trail, bumping into fellow riders. No one had helmets. Sigh. We just stood quietly. I do love that we can go from crazy canter to standing nicely. 

The other staging area was packed, horses just tied and waiting to head out. I had 12 miles done by 11am, it was close to 90 degrees. Major ignored the trough and wanted to trot back down the pavement. We walked. 

My hell-bent speed horse tolerated obnoxious bikes, leaping deer, badly behaving horses and random joggers and dogs. He made a few odd footing choices. I think I'll forgive him. I look back after rides like this and can remember the beginning rides of barely trotting, silly spooks and no communication. I know I'll have more crummy rides too, but days like this, I'll remember. 

1 comment:

  1. I used to ride Stormy past home every time, when I was getting him used to go out riding by himself. Some horses that doesn't work for - just gets them more stirred up, but it worked great for him. it's great when you can look back and see the progress you've made :)
    - The Equestrian Vagabond