First up, last Sunday, Trask and I had our first trail ride together. He has been on trails before with the trainer, JM, who started him almost a year ago, but I don't think he has since then. Because of that I wanted to go with people for our first time and KP said she'd go with me. She just got her horse, Rogue (Trask's half brother) gelded so he is out of commission for a bit, so she needed a horse to ride. So she invited trainer JM to come with us so that he could bring her a horse. He came with his two stallions, one of whom is 6 years old, and since his niece was visiting, gave her the ride on his dependable gelding Duncan and KP got to ride the older stallion.
|Pre-ride ciders for the pony|
|Apparently he loves cider. A lot.|
I really like JM, he's a great trainer and rider but I should always remember how crazy our rides together always go! His horses are VERY hot and VERY fancy upper level horses and VERY big. He hadn't ridden the young stallion in a while and I have never seen a hotter horse I think. Plus he's giant. Like 17.2 hands I think. Anyways, KP and I hauled Trask out to the trails and met JM there. We tacked everyone up, which included the "Great Booting" since all the horses are barefoot. Between boot collections of KP, JM and mine, we managed to fit boots on all four horses. Trask stood very well tied to the trailer (which couldn't have been said of some other horses *cough* baby stallion *cough*).
Everyone hopped on and away we went with baby stallion charging ahead at the front, followed by KP on the more mature and manageable stallion, with Trask and Duncan bringing up the rear. It was an exciting start.
What followed was the most insane trail ride of my life. I felt bad for poor baby Trask, but now that we survived that experience, I am confident we can survive any other experience we can throw at him.
|Apparently I should have drank more of the cider instead of Trask and maybe I would've been more relaxed!|
It was basically baby stallion trotting or cantering back and forth and back and forth in an effort for JM to get him to chill out. Trask was second in the line since he absolutely hated being in the back of the group. Then KP on the other stallion. She was feeling a little nervous about being on the stallion since he was not putting up with baby stallion's antics and he's a very strong horse. He was being perfectly behaved, but she ended up walking for a while. And reliable Duncan, literally a saint of a horse, bringing up the rear with his rider who couldn't steer or stop.
Trask got extremely worried when baby stallion got too far ahead of the group, complete with cantering in place and feeling like a bomb ready to go off. We had just reached the top of a hill, about an hour into our ride, at a place where we could either go around the long loop or just turn around and go back. JM wanted to keep going - he was having a blast on his fire breathing dragon of a horse (like I said, he's a great rider and seriously nothing could rattle or unseat him. Ever.) but KP was having a mini panic attack and was like "nope, we're going back" and turned around and led the way down the hill. (I think this was a fantastic choice)
The ride back down was much better for the most part, we were able to spend most of it on a loose rein. Trask was confident enough at this point to lead the group. Minus a few hilarious spooks, one when he stepped on a cruchy leaf and all four feet left the ground and then later when he stepped on a branch that lifted up and he teleported about five feet to the left and I landed on his neck. At one point JM got very far ahead of the group and Trask was having a come-apart about this. There was a cliff to our left and he started skittering left, completely ignoring my aids to move in the opposite direction. I let out a strangled yelp and JM turned back quickly, seeing what was happening, to come give Trask some company.
I seriously saw my life flash before my eyes. I thought we were going over the cliff.
After that, KP and I led the group with our horses side by side. They seemed to get along well, and JM and his niece brought up the rear. It ended with us nearly at the end and a mountain biker zooming past up. I heard a commotion as baby stallion spooked at the biker behind us, saw the biker coming for us and leaped off Trask. That was all I needed was for him to be surprised by a rude biker coming up his butt at a fast pace!
I seriously have not had a more rude experience with a biker. Every one (and I've encountered a ton since I trail ride a bunch) have usually either hopped off their bikes and waited for us to pass, walked their bike past us, or called out and asked if our horses were ok to pass. It's just common courtesy. Luckily, Trask only glanced at the biker since I had him tucked behind his new stallion friend.
The ride ended uneventfully and KP and I were stunned that we survived the chaos. Baby stallion is now permanently banned from future rides since we don't want to test our luck at not dying ...
I was extremely proud of how Trask handled that environment. It was utter chaos and while we had some spooks and scary moments, I cannot blame him for feeding off of that crazy energy. I think we will be absolutely ok to ride by ourselves in the future, and I definitely prefer being alone to that crazyness!
Other random pictures:
|In other news we had a lovely evening ride a few nights ago!|
|KP was kind enough to buy him a fancy new halter so he didn't have to wear the purple halter of shame|
|Weirdo loves just holding the stirrup iron in his mouth...|