Saturday, March 6, 2010

First trail ride of the year! (sorta)

Okay, I admit, it wasn't a "real" trail ride BUT there were trees and hills and a stream and snow and deer so....trail!

Anyway, here's what happened:

It was a really really nice day today. Still chilly but it felt heavenly compared to how it has been. That and the sun was out and there wasn't a lot of was nice. And I didn't want to ride Kieran in the indoor for a few reasons:

1) I'm plain tired of it, and I'm sure he is too.
2) There were still lessons going on and I would've had to wait till they were over, except I couldn't because I had to help get ready (and get myself ready) for a baby shower for one of the barn folks later in the afternoon.

So Kieran and I went for a ride around the farm. My original idea was just to go up the driveway to the road, visit the dead end circle, visit the mailbox, come back then go up the driveway to the house, around the garage, back down and around and back and up and around again. Probably trotting up the slopes at both ends.

But then I started thinking.

The road along the barn didn't look THAT muddy. Maybe we could walk along it too toward the hay barn.

By the time we got all the way back didn't look THAT bad, maybe we could walk along behind the hay barn, between the fenceline of the big field and the trees, and up back around again.

But right behind the hay barn is one of the entrances onto the little trails on the back of the property. I'm looking in there. I'm thinking, "okay, there's still some snow back there, but the ground looks good, I mean...we could just [i]walk[/i]...."

So we did, until we got just far enough in to the first stream crossing. It's a little downhill slope to the stream and you have to walk a couple feet over up the stream to where the trail starts again (so it's not just a straight across thing). Kieran plants his feet, refuses to go into the stream. I am mildly boggled, he's been in water before. Though it occurs to me that that was just puddles and on the beach and with other horses to lead the way. So we have several minutes there where we argue. I try to convince him to go forward, we just go side to side or back up. I have a moment where I imagine that today will be the day he decides, "screw you, sister!" and bucks while we're on that slope and I go falling SPLASH into the stream and he goes running back to his buddies and oh by the way, I didn't tell anybody I was thinking about actually riding in the woods nor did I have my phone with me (me: dumbass.). Of course, he doesn't do anything of the kind and I break off a tiny twig from a nearby sapling and wave it at him as if I'm holding a crop and it doesn't take much more convincing and he's sighing and going into the water and up the other side (to lots of praise).

I also admit I had this moment where I thought about all those stories I've heard of people saying you should listen when your horse refuses because it could mean the footing is bad and the second you finally get them to give in, they sink in quicksand up their bellies or whatever. I mean, Kieran doesn't typically flat out [i]refuse[/i] anything, but it really seemed like he was just going, "srsly? there could be MONSTERS in there, mom!" so...we went through. Plus I figured once I'd started the "discussion", I couldn't really then let him get his way and turn around and go back to the barn.

Anyway, then we went walking through the woods for real and possibly blazed a trail a little bit where there was still a couple inches of snow and it was hard to see the actual trail. We also saw several deer (not that they bothered Kieran any beyond him lifting his head a moment and watching them). We also had to cross the stream a couple more times (much less of an ordeal) and then we finally went up the big hill and ended up out back behind the house and walked back down the driveway to the barn (though actually, I walked him all the way to the end of the driveway, then back up to the house again, then to the barn to be "done", mostly because several other times we've come straight down to the barn and I've gotten off and we've been over and I didn't want him thinking we'd do it like that EVERY time).

Anyway, all in all, he was a very good boy (as usual) and it was nice to get out of the ring and do something different.

Some other notable things:

One of the times trotting up the hill toward the house while we were still just doing the driveway, we accidentally cantered. Or, I was just asking him for more trot and he cantered instead. I don't know why I think this is cool, but I do. (he came right back down when asked, so no big deal)

It's funny, he'll quite willingly trot UP the hills but walking back down them he suddenly gets veeeeerrrryyyyy sloooooow.

Usually, when we go out of sight of the other horses alone, he'll call for them, at least a few times. He didn't once today. I hope that's a sign he's getting more confident alone. Or, at least, trusting his rider.

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