Tuesday, March 1, 2011

two good rides

Saturday was bright and sunny...and cold. At the ranch the puddles were frozen and Major was just finishing his breakfast. And was a bit of a wild-man. The day before it poured rain but we went on a four-mile hand-walk: obviously not enough. I had him let off some steam in the arena. It would be hard to explain to non-horse people the joy of seeing him bounce around the arena, tail flagging, huge extended trot...and then trotting in to me, blowing and snorting and putting his head down to greet me. He only trots around a couple times, doesn't buck or put up much fuss, then is ready for business.

I saddled up and headed for the sunniest trail: the canal. The forest was still slippery from the previous rain, the trails seem to have hit maximum saturation and puddles and streams are everywhere. We traveled through the neighborhood to the staging area, where there was just one lone trailer. I didn't have a plan for time or distance, but wanted to gauge his behavior. We walked a bit then picked up a trot, and were able to keep it at a reasonable pace, so just kept going over rocks and through puddles. One fun puddle is more than knee deep, he just pauses and then powers on through. At one point I did ask him to canter up a small hill, and had to circle him as he got all squirrelly. It took me a second to figure out why: but the low-flying helicopter coming up behind us probably had something to do with it! We turned and looked, then kept going.

don't bother me, can't you see i'm eating!

I rode until I knew I was coming to the muddy part of the trail, where it cuts into the forest. I decided that was enough for that direction and we both took a break and rested on the small hill by the lake. We headed back the same trail, though Major wanted to cut through the forest in our usual spot. Going home he doesn't even pause at the puddles. At one point we were trotting quickly and came to a log that blocks the trail. I usually slow him and ask to step over, but it came up so quickly! I was prepared for him to jump it, when he slowed, stepped over it, and kept power-trotting on. Good boy!

Going home we did take one very yucky trail, that wasn't a trail any more, it was a creek. A good ride of about 10 miles, got home in one muddy piece, and saw exactly one other rider.

On Sunday did much of the same trail with a friend. It is so good for Major to ride with another horse, to deal with different speeds. Major is also convinced that this horse Friday is going to get him. When Friday would be in the lead and back away from something spooky Major would try to get out of his way really quickly. I think he remembers the time Friday was really annoyed at him and kicked out. No indication of that this time, with both horses behaving themselves. It was a nice ride, a few more people out and a bit windy, and an extra day of drying time didn't help the trails much.

And more rain is expected this week. Sorry to the people buried in snow and ice, but I'm ready for spring! There are so many trail options within such a short distance, and I know I'm lucky to live in such an area. I have practiced with my trailer, and hope to get out and explore some new trails!

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