At Bill's, Lilly was across the pasture and it took me forever to get her. Bill got Cody ready and we set off down the road toward a trail not on Bill's property but in the other direction. I never go this way alone because it involves skirting people's property (and I don't really know the people) and also because it's not all out on a trail. Some of it is along the road. But I have always liked this ride because it is so different.
We got started by crossing this creek. Maybe it is actually a river. There was not a ton of water it in, so it wasn't too challenging. There's Bill asking Cody to cross.
A branch was hanging right in the way. Many of the trails we ride on have obstacles like droopy branches. I have gotten better at ducking at the right time.
Then for a while we followed some power lines. The leaves were really colorful there. Lilly spooked a few times. She'd hear Bill's lab Sally crashing through the woods nearby and think it was a cause for concern. Her giant eyes were peering around at everything. She did have extra energy too...which I attributed to her being on a path less traveled (by us anyway) and therefore scarier. It has been a long time since we have done this ride.
It really felt like every moment was a great photo opportunity.
I think if Bill were a country singer, this would be a good album cover.
When we make this ride, there is a part of it where you are truly riding into this. I always get in there and think Where the heck am I going? And halfway through Lilly starts to have a meltdown. Not a big one, very tiny in fact, but I feel her starting to think, I. Want. Out. Of. Here.
But when you come out of that, this is what you see! So the reward is great. You go from total freaky insecurity, to having the world at your feet.
As I say, there were endless photo opps today. Bill was getting some video which I hope I will be able to post here on my blog.
After that we went on a snowmobile trail up the side of a mountain I had never been on before. It was dense and woodsy. Almost as soon as we started up the trail there was some fresh bear poop. Would I love to see a bear on the trail? Although it would be cool, I have a feeling Lilly would freak. So when I am in bear country, I make sure to jangle my bear bells. A lot. And Bill whistles. He is quite good at it. I am counting on the idea that no self-respecting bear would want anything to do with people on horseback.
The trail got steeper the farther we went up it. I can't imagine snowmobiling up that trail. It seemed awfully treacherous.
We didn't actually cross the mountain. We backtracked back down and then went through some cornfields to get some galloping in. The cornfields are nice because the ground is soft and the corn stubble makes neat little rows so you can gallop in a straight line. Lilly and I cantered for a few stretches very nicely. But then....
Right after this picture was taken Bill said he was really going to get a good gallop going. I love a good gallop so I had Lilly run right behind him. (In retospect, so dumb). We were going fast. I think as Lilly was galloping she decided she loved it so much that she would stop paying any attention to me. Simultaneously I realized that the gallop had exceeded my skill set and I was in over my head. I tried to arc her off to the right to slow her down. She refused. She gave me a buck and then another. For the first time ever since having this horse, I felt myself become airborne. Ooooh deeear. As I was sailing through the air all I could think was, I better not break my neck! Thank goodness that autumn cornfields have dirt that is so soft and spongy that it is a lot like landing on a mattress. Still, Bill said he heard a THUD and turned around to find me in landing in a slump! can you imagine? I heard him say with great urgency ARE YOU ALL RIGHT? but I couldn't even answer because the air in my lungs was gone! I had gotten the wind knocked out of me all right. But I was OK. It took me a minute to pick myself up. I was like a Bond martini: shaken, not stirred! Meanwhile, do you know what my brumby was doing? Here's what: making her escape and trotting across the field, up to the road where cars were going by, and on toward home! I thought of her making it all the way to the barn and Bill's wife Jackie looking out the window and seeing my horse run up with her saddle on and no rider! Hello, heart attack! After some assurance that I was really OK, Bill ran off to get Lilly and we were both glad when she got to a big field, turned and waited for him. It would not have been good for her to make it all the way home on her own terms. Cody and I caught up with them, I got back on Lilly and we finished the ride to the barn (which was quite close).
It was a good ride except for that part! But I confess now I am fretting that Lilly may have learned a dangerous lesson, that being that she can ditch me! Luckily, tomorrow is a holiday so I can go get Lilly and take her to the ring for some lessons on how to behave at a canter, and maybe even a gallop. I think that I cannot gallop in an open field until I am better at galloping. Trail gallops are one thing, but those open-field gallops are clearly a horse of another color.
I'd love to hear any stories of people losing it like I did today. Has what happened to me today ever happened to you? How did it happen? What did you do about it?