Dear Horse Diary,
Wednesday I got to go on a trail ride with Leah and three friends and their horses. I wasn't sure how Leah would do in a group of four since it was only her second time out on the trail this year, but she surprised me and didn't seem to care about the other horses.
Leah didn't do anything spooky or scary, but she did walk out fast. If I rode on a loose rein, she'd get worked up, so I tried to keep close contact with a back and forth of the bit. She needed that support. It was kind of sweet the way she'd bend her head around to see me, like--Hey mom, are you still there?
The trails were big and open, for the most part, but I wanted to test her on the water/cliff side. I didn't have to do that, but I want her to get comfortable along the water. It's a multi-use trail though, which means bikes can come up on you at anytime. I didn't like that. Luckily, no bikes ran into us.
There's also a very loud Waste Water Treatment Plant across the river. Very LOUD and UGLY. It made her nervous.
But no one in the group could tell. Only me. Must not have been that bad.
There is something I regret. At the end of our ride, I took her through the Trail Challenge Obstacles. She did GREAT backing through the labyrinth, side-passing over a log, walking through the criss-cross section. But, she didn't like the rope gate. A friend told me it probably made her think of electric fence, and it was like a light bulb went on. So, I took her to the round pen to practice on a real gate. For some reason the round pen scared her and she didn't want to side pass to the gate. She tried to blow out to the left, so I contained her with more of my left leg. She felt trapped and went up. I regret that. I shouldn't ever let it get to that point.
**ADD ON 8/5/16**I guess I left a part out. My first response to the gate issue, before I trapped her, was to work her hard away from it. I did a lot of trot and balance work inside the round pen & then returned to the gate to rest her. She liked the rest, but as soon as I'd ask her to scoot over closer to it, she'd start moving away from it. I'd work her again, return again to rest. We probably did it 4 times. I had a friend there and I asked her opinion--she said to put more of the left leg on her to keep her from scooting, and that is when she jumped up--it wasn't very high up, but enough to show me she wasn't going to get near the gate. It didn't feel unsafe, but it did tell me that I didn't want to "go there." I asked her for few side passes further from the gate, which gave me, and we ended on a good note. I dismounted inside the round pen, rather than out, and walked her back and forth in and out of it. Rested her, and then walked her back to the trailer.
Oh well, there's always tomorrow. I hope she forgives and forgets. But what if she remembers and bucks me off....or blows to the side in a bad situation and trips herself up..or goes up and...and..and..
Okay, don't judge, don't judge. Just wait until tomorrow.
Dear Horse Diary,
Today I went on a ride with only one friend, but a new horse--Mouse. Mouse is not a mouse, he's more a moose. Leah kept grinding her teeth at him, like she was pissed off, but then she started sniffing around him like she wanted him to be her baby-daddy. I think she was just playing hard to get.
Anyway, remember how I wondered if she'd blow out today? Well, she did. A little bit.
We went back to that same trail that overlooks the BIG, UGLY, LOUD, Wastewater Treatment Plant, and she did not like it. Not one little bit. It was on our right, so she started to blow out to the left--just like yesterday at the gate!! But this time, I didn't fight her. I worked her. We went out to the left, like she'd asked for, but we worked harder and away from her
Horse Diary, something is very strange with Leah, and it makes me so sad.
My friend brought apples for treats after the ride...
And, she gave me one for Leah.
And, Leah didn't eat it. Not ONE bite!! I thought all horses like apples. What is wrong with her? Does this mean she won't be a good trail horse after all?
(Dear Diary, that last part about apples is a joke. Although she doesn't like apples. She will be an awesome trail horse! ;) )