Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Second Outing, Good Horse

This post is nearly a week overdue, and has been sitting in my drafts since the end of last week.  Anytime work would like to slow down would be great.

Anyways, after our frustrating first outing of the year, new BO and I decided to scale it back a notch, and just hit the trails out behind our barn in the hopes that both horses would keep their brains in their heads.  The short story is that it was a huge success.  If you feel like reading me blather on and look at pictures, keep reading.

I showed up to the barn, got the beast ready, as BO and another friend, R, tacked up.  I threw Mollie's ear bonnet on because the little gnats are out in force and princess does NOT like them.  And I do not like the subsequent head shaking.


There was some discussion as to what order we should ride out in.  BO's horse can be looky/spooky, R's horse has an iffy past on trails but has been good lately, and Molls is brave until she isn't.  She typically won't do anything naughty but will be marching along and SLAM on the brakes if something catches her attention, which can be an issue for the horses who then walk right into her bum since she lacks break lights.

It was decided we would attempt being first, and if Mollie was annoying we would just reorganize.  Luckily, Mollie perked her little ears as soon as we hit the trail, and she thought for one half second about hesitating but I closed my legs on her and that was the last time she thought about stopping the whole ride.

"on alert" ears

group selfie

At one point in the ride R started talking about a skinny trail that she and BO had ridden before, that was essentially a pole bending course.  BO said she just about peed her pants last time they rode it, so obviously R and I ganged up on her and decided we should do it again.  This required us to turn around so Molls was last, and I quickly apologized for making them walk so slowly on the way down.... I didn't realize how much longer their horses' strides were, but I should have!!  Both geldings have over a hand on Mollie and their legs are miles longer.

pole bending in the woods

We all made it through the skinny trail, although at one point I really thought BO and her horse would be stuck... he carries his head very high and had to be convinced to "duck" under a low branch.  Perks of riding a small fat horse :)

We made it back to the barn on a loose rein, and Molls got all the pats and kisses!

Apparently my helmet is dirty.

Monday, May 4, 2015

First Outing, Naughty Horse

Well that title just about sums it up.

This past weekend the new BO asked if I wanted to take Mollie to Goddard Park for the annual RISPCA ride.  I enthusiastically replied yes, because it is a ride I have gone to in the past but have missed the last few years due to not having anyone to go with, and subsequently a ride.  Mollie hasn't been on a formal trail ride in years, but I figured she would be fine as she genuinely loves being at Goddard.  And she was fine... for about 15 minutes.

Looking shiny, finally.

We set out in the woods and Mollie and new boyfriend Merlot were great.  They were taking turns leading and following, and while both were on "alert" they were exceptionally well behaved since this was the first outing for both of them all year.

Merlot is excited.  Mollie says why is he here?

About 15 minutes into our ride we run into a parade.  I shit you not.  Over 100 people in purple shirts, parading through the woods at us.  Mollie stopped and gawked, but truly wasn't nervous.  Poor Merlot on the other hand was visibly trembling and P said she could feel his heart pumping overtime between her legs.  We gave them a few minutes to look, and then asked that they proceed.  Ensue panic.  Merlot was terrified and his brain quickly disappeared (we're not sure where it went) and P was doing everything she could to keep his feet on the ground.  In an attempt to get him going forward I turned Mollie around, and headed back the way he came.  Merlot eventually caught on, and followed behind Mollie, although he was quite amped at that point.  We walked for a bit, then tried to turn around, as the parade had likely passed.  That's when Mollie took over as Captain Twit.

I made the fatal mistake of turning around, and Mollie knows that her one job on trails is to get back to the trailer.  Mollie likes having a job.  Mollie likes doing her job.  She was under no circumstances turning around, and was willing to back herself off a cliff (I honestly thought we'd slide right down the bank) if necessary.  I was downright pissed to say the least, as I knew she wasn't scared one single bit, just downright stubborn.  In an attempt to make this a somewhat successful outing we agreed to go back the way we came, but to complete that loop a second time to at least get our trips worth out of the experience.

Both horses made it back to the horsemen's area, got a little "I am the rider and you are the horse and you listen to ME" refresher in the arena, and then untacked while P and I stuffed our faces with lunch.  And then got beer.  Thank god for beer.

Here's to trying again one day this week, hopefully sans parade!