On Sunday Toby and I braved the unseasonable wind and ventured out into the unknown on our first off property trail ride. We followed Mel and Jake down the neighborhood lane where trash cans lurked around corners and large rocks stood as sentinels. The little paint looked at each new object with cautious curiosity but never spooked.
As we wound through the wooded path he eagerly stepped out, I think enjoying his new vocation. He flit from one side of the trail to the other trying to take in all the new sites, smells and sounds. It was like trying to ride a butterfly in the breeze. He carefully picked his way through the rocks but when it came to move around the long limbs of a cholla my leg cues became ineffective. I ended up dismounting and leading him around the cactus, there was no need to make this pleasant afternoon a disaster. When we made the turn back for home Jake began to jig and bounce. We stopped and Mel worked him through one of his nervous moments, Toby waited patiently like a seasoned trail pony.
Our decent down the hill proved to be my mounts biggest nemesis. Although he willingly accepts a rider, he’s still learning how to carry their weight. As my center of balance moved over his shoulders he naturally turned across the hill to traverse. I instead pointed him back down the slope and offered him steady support as he learned to bring his haunches under his body.
We retuned back to the barn with a sweaty saddle pad and an itchy backed horse. This big outing had left Toby tired and me with a list of arena work, legs cues there at the top. It’s back to schooling for us but Toby and I sure did enjoy our first field trip.