Sunday, November 01, 2009
Halloween Trail Ride
We are enjoying some beautiful fall weather here in Northern California and Steve decided he was definitely ready to hit the trail again. It's been a long three months of healing for him since the accident, and while he's ridden Lena in the arena, he hadn't been out on the trail in far too long.
The horses, of course, were very up for it.
After the trip Katie and I just made with our friend Karen, when Lena banged herself up so badly, I wanted to try Bar in the front of the trailer. Steve was pretty skeptical of this plan since the first few times we tried him in front, Bar either pulled all the way back and broke the elasticized trailer tie (we now use rope quick-release ties), or waited until the divider was shut and then exploded. Which is why Lena got relegated to riding up there.
When we went out in the three-horse, Bar rode beautifully--and quietly--in the middle slot when we went out the last time. In fact, his trailer manners have improved dramatically, it just seemed like it was worth a try. We did prepare for him not loading, or not staying loaded, and booted Lena up with performance and bell boots under shipping boots. She was not amused.
He surprised both of us--though I told Steve I'd been visualizing Bar being calm and quiet all night--by not only loading up fine without Lena already being in the trailer, but also not objecting when I closed the divider. He just stood there while we loaded her, munching his hay, waiting for the journey to begin.
The drive out was totally uneventful, and even included a stop for snacks in Guerneville. Both horses peered out through their screens trying to figure out where the trail was and why they weren't getting unloaded, yet.
The day was spectacular--a clear view all the way out over the ocean, not too windy, and not too hot, either. And there was tasty grass at the top of the big hill they had to climb, so that was a bonus. Of course, when Lena got out of the trailer and saw the three other horse trailers, she suddenly decided she was in season and spent most of the trail ride weaving in front of Bar, who was decidedly unimpressed. Gotta love mares.
Bar still has to work on his downhill trail skills. He gets tired and sore and wants to rush, so we practiced walking slowly and zig-zagging on really steep sections, with me on the ground towards the end to give him a little less weight to worry about. The fitness work he's been doing has helped, though, so he's a little more confident with his footing.
Steve wanted to try Lena in front on the way home, so we reversed the load order, and she mostly did fine. One little scramble at the beginning, but Steve is an excellent trailer-puller and did a great job of hauling to Lena's satisfaction, so she was calm and relaxed when we got back to the barn. Sorry to the folks who were in a hurry and got stuck behind us, but, hey, they got to enjoy a little bit more of the gorgeous fall day, right? And we got back home with two happy horses, so seems like a fair trade off to me.