Saturday, July 14, 2007

Afternoon ride and driving lessons

Katie and I went out on a ride Thursday afternoon and learned lots of things. We learned that sometimes off road trail riding can be a little hazardous to one's skin - branches can scrape, don't you know - and that there are rude drivers out there that really don't understand at all what it's like to haul a trailer, let alone a trailer with friends in it.

We started out up a trail at one of our favorite places, and a place that Doc has been many times before, so when he started off on a side trail, I thought he knew a new way to go. It was new, and it was a trail, but it wasn't quite clear enough for those of us whose butts were 14 and 15+ hands in the air. There was a lot of ducking and laughing as we went along, and I even got off and moved a small tree to one side. Unfortunately, it dead-ended at a creek with no way up and over - at least not on horseback - but it was beautiful and peaceful and funny nonetheless. Katie hasn't quite forgiven me for accidentally sending a thorny tendril back into her face. Oops.

It was a beautiful afternoon, totally quiet and Katie and I didn't run into anyone else out there. Doc and Lena got a great workout racing each other up the hills - he does a good job of keeping up with Leggy Lena. Actually, the two horses have a funny pattern. Usually when we start out, Doc is the confident, calm one. Then at the end, Lena will relax and get up ahead of Doc, her head up, those big ears pointed ahead of her. He'll get worried if he can't see her and will trot to catch up if we get too far behind. Of course, sometimes Lena will get nervous about something and stop to wait for him to catch up. Like the scary fawn that leaped out at her. You would have thought it had fangs by the degree of spin that occurred. After that, Lena stuck closer to Doc and me.

I had an awesome parental moment watching my daughter and my horse drift in and out from behind redwood trees, soaking up the solitude of the afternoon and the gentle rhythm of the world around us.

Then there was the drive home. Katie wants to learn to pull the trailer, so I let her drive. She's a relatively new driver in any case and it was her first time pulling the trailer loaded with horses, so she was being very cautious and driving a bit below the speed limit. She said she was chanting "eggshells" to herself the whole time.

Someone got behind us and didn't like how slow we were going and decided that tailgating and then honking every time we got to a place he/she thought we could pull over was a good thing to do. We even moved over in an area where we could get over and they could pass and they didn't, so the honking was really, really uncalled for.

Now I understand getting stuck behind a trailer can be irritating, and if you're in a hurry, even more irritating. But it does no good to act that way. It is not easy to pull any trailer, let alone one with live creatures in it. You can't stop fast, you can't maneuver quickly, and you can't pull over any old place on the side of the road. There has to be a lot of planning involved in any maneuver, especially for someone learning.

We did finally pull over and Katie was so angry I almost had to switch with her and drive the rest of the way back to the barn myself. As wrong, rude, and inconsiderate as that jerk was, getting mad at him/her instead of getting the horses back safely is not where her energy needed to be focused. It was a good lesson for her - there are always jerks out there and people who think they are more entitled to be on the road than you are. It's best just to let it go.

I admit it did make me wish for my poo flinger, though.

1 comment:

Joy M. Drennen said...

Would love to watch Katie driving Gus and towing the horse trailer. True, one can't get really angry while driving, but there are some people who should never have a horn to honk. My stunt at stop lights is to move verrrrryyyy slooooowly when someone honks at me. Sometimes I think I'll get a bumper sticker that says, "Honk if you want me to drive slower!"

Love, Mom