Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Summer Welcome

Work has been keeping me on the road a whole lot lately. I don’t think I’ve been home for more than 2 days in a row the past couple of weeks! I arrived home Friday afternoon after a 3 hour drive and I really wanted nothing more but to relax with a ride.  I took care of a few work things before the weekend, got changed, and was soon on my way up to the barn.

Quest seemed to realize that I really needed a low-key day. She was sweet as can be while lunging at liberty in the round pen and stood quietly in the cross-ties as I tacked her up with the bareback pad and bitless rope bridle.  The flies are getting pretty bad so we rode in the dustbowl. It was a warm Friday afternoon and the BO’s kid and his friends were using their below-ground pool which was literally 50 feet away from the arena. It was the first time I have ever seen anyone use that pool so the first cannonball splash rightfully unnerved Quest a little but it was just a tiny spook in place. I looked straight ahead and kept her moving. In no time she was plodding along without concern despite all the splashing and pool chaos next door. We moved up into some trotting and she offered me the nicest western pleasure jog from the get go. Quest can obviously do a much faster and longer trot stride but it’s so interesting to note how she defaults into that nice jog when I ask for trot while riding bareback (and usually stays at speed until I ask for more or less). I think a big part of it could be the fact that taking away the saddle and stirrups allow me to really sink weight into my heels and sit deep and up which could be a button previously installed back in her western pleasure days.  Whatever it is, Quest’s jog has helped my sitting trot come along light years from when I first started. 

The day after, Quest and I explored more new trails with our usual adventure partners.  Since conquering the rail trail south, I have been itching to see what the rail trails north were like and if they could be incorporated for overall loop mileage. So after tacking up, we headed north along the old rail tracks and I was pretty pleased with what we found for the most part. The ATVs do a decent job of keeping the trails marked and wide enough to follow BUT there were some harrowing moments where trees were definitely at decapitation height. I was super glad for my English saddle because I was able to skirt under offending branches with relative ease. A wasn't as lucky with her western saddle and nearly got scraped off in a few instances so we're going to go back and do some brush clearing in a few areas before attempting to ride through again.

The mareface led the way 90% of the time and did super. We had to cross the abandoned rail road tracks a few times and while she did hesitate at first, Quest willingly crossed first each time.  I'm relieved to notice that she is quite careful with where she puts her feet and picks her way around challenging terrain.  There were a few instances where the trail was eroded in certain areas with exposed precarious footing and she was as surefooted as a mountain goat. 

Asides from all the neat trails, the biggest discovery by far was stumbling upon an old boat launch area with access to the river and is shallow and open enough to safely work with the horses. It is much better location than the first place we found in the forest the week before. Miss Half-Desert Horse is rather meh about our discovery though and doesn't seem to like large bodies of water at the moment.

It'll likely take some convincing since we ended up having quite a conversation about even 
approaching it. While we ended a good note, I realized in hindsight that she probably really needed a mental break from leading on the trails.  I asked A to have Smokey take point while we chilled in the back- it was very short lived but we were already close enough to home for her to get that mental respite. Both horses were slick with sweat when we got back to the barn so they got untacked and bathed. We hand grazed them while they finished drying out and I managed to snag a turn out pen to give Quest a couple more hours outside. All in all, another very good ride and another step forward in gaining some training trail mileage.

Wish one of the trailers in the background were mine...!

7 comments:

  1. I wish I could snap my fingers and *poof* you and Quest down here to ride with me for a weekend!

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    1. If I had a trailer, you and Saiph would be the one of the first people we'd go hang out with!

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  2. haha how am i not surprised at all about her disinclination towards the water ;P sounds like fun rides all the same tho!

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    1. Yeahhh sounds like our mares have that quirk in common haha Any suggestions on tackling water? I've got some ideas to try but advice is always appreciated!

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  3. Pretty girl! And I know how you feel...I have trailer envy too! Lol

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    1. She's only that shiny after a bath haha I thought you had a trailer! Do you snag rides with friends then?

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