After a whole week of rain, and temps that dipped so low on Saturday the horses were shivering, finally the sun arrived. Well, yesterday was OK, but featured terrific wind. But today? As nice as they come. I went over to Bill's with a plan to take Sophie out on the trail. And surprise! Jackie K showed up!
Because Sophie has not been out on the trail in years, and because I knew my fear-o-meter might be fluctuating into the higher numbers when I was on her, we were selective about what other two horses would come out on the trail. QTee was in because first, she likes Sophie, and second, she has all the qualities you want in a calm, kindly babysitter. The second horse was Cody who Jackie was excited to ride. Cody has power steering and can turn on a dime. He is super athletic and is so responsive that it is easy to overdo it and then make him mad. (Which is what I do the few times I have been on him.) So here is Jackie K getting ready to get on Cody, and then Bill was going to ride QTee.
We decided to start in the ring since I am new to Sophie, Sophie was new to trail riding and these three horses, even though they have been together all week in the pasture had not been trail riding together before. I mean, me riding Sophie on the trail was a bit of an experiment. Going in the ring first meant that if there were any kinks to be worked out, it'd be a lot better to discover them in the ring rather than out on the trail.
Here is Bill getting Sophie's tack adjusted. Sophie is a little ear shy. I touched her ear to get a bug out of it and it was clear she hated it. Now, Lilly's ears can be touched and massaged and even wildly mangled and she doesn't mind one bit. But Sophie was not having it. Some horses are ear shy. I believe Sophie can be trained out of it. But that will come later. She was fine with the saddle on. We walked all over the ring. Meanwhile, Cody was being very bratty for Jackie. So Bill got on him and Cody gave Bill a hard time! Gasp!!!! Cody seemed to be saying, I do not want to be ridden but since you are on me I am going to act up and get jiggy. Ummm, no, Cody! Bill does not allow such nonsense. Bill worked with Cody to get him in order. So then we headed out, but with Bill on Cody and Jackie on QTee. The idea was to show Sophie what a mellow place the trail is. No upsets, just a nice quiet meander.
Believe me, when I am about to get on a horse who has been in a stall for three years, has only been scrambling around outside for the last month and who has one messed up eye, I don't want anything harshing on my mellow! But you never know. It is ultimately a risk. But a measured one. You carry on even if there might be trouble. And that is how you and your little pony make one or two or twenty giant leaps forward into that magical, feel-good land called Progress.
Sophie was great on the trail! QTee was, as usual, perfect. Cody was very fussy. In the interest of keeping the ride productive and gentle, at the BP, Cody was dropped off and Pokey was retrieved. While Bill switched horses I whispered sweet nothings in Sophie's ear and applied bug spray, being careful (for the time being anyway) to not bother her ears. As we all began to walk again down the road, Sophie decided Pokey was too close to her ass and gave Pokey a kick--right in the teeth. She missed! WHEW! WHEW!!!! That could have been very ugly! More proof that you cannot take anything for granted with horses!
While riding, I did not get too many pictures. I didn't feel comfortable snapping pictures while on Sophie by riding carelessly and one-handed. But I did take this picture to prove that I was actually on her. This little pony has quick feet. She does not linger like Lilly. She is a mover and a shaker, zooming all over licketysplit. I kept her at a walk. It was a speedy walk, but a walk. We also tried different line-ups to see who was best in front, middle and back.
Here's a shot I got of Bill and Jackie when Sophie and I were out in front. As we got closer to the barn, Sophie must have known it. She started to walk faster and faster. On the Short Trail we were behind Pokey and QTee and I really had to hold her back, which is not how I like to ride at all. But when I loosed the reins, up into a nifty little trot went Sophie. She started to jig a little. My fear-o-meter went up a notch or two. I really wanted her to walk, and I didn't want any wild sideways walking either which is basically a naughty little trot in disguise. To Sophie's credit, she did listen to me and readjusted her speed, but only to speed back up again! Finally, I had to turn her in circles (small, fast circles, as it turned out), but it worked. Again she readjusted and gave no signs of bucking or losing it. Good little pony. But she wannted to run. I felt like she wanted to run as fast as those little legs could carry her. As soon as we got to the pasture by the barn she saw my brumby and let out a loud whinny and her little body vibrated all over.
Overall, a successful ride! Courage trumps fear!!!!
Back in the pasture, Sophie caused a tiny stir coming through the gate. A little squeal here, a little squeal there. Does it help that all the mares are in and out of heat? Certainly not!
Meanwhile, earlier in the weekend, back at home, Kestrel and Brandon were trying ollies on the skateboard:
Not bad for a ballerina!
OK, I am off!
Next weekend, I will be away, but when I come back, more adventures to come..with bows, arrows and a brumby!