|Out for a canter|
I spoke too soon. My last post was basically my thoughts and feelings on the lack of my riding. I do think technically I can be a good rider. I’ve conquered some of my body and am able to ride without some of those limitations (those independent components; hand, seat etc) that take time to get away from, but mentally if you aren’t in the game, your body isn’t either. My mind has been out and about for a little while. Hey, when did riding become so much work? Remember when you were little and rode and bounced around without a care in the world? Some part of me misses that. I don’t miss bouncing around or sometimes even the no fear consciousness, but the carefree. It’s healthy to have some fear perspective.. Right?
It just so happened that after I wrote my post on Thursday, I had a great ride that evening. I mentioned cantering in the field. Matt said go ahead, do it. Like seriously, you’re having to think about it? So I did. Reason and I cantered in the field. It was easy, carefree and relaxed. Reason has such a lovely canter. It’s smooth, floaty and has multiple speeds. His default speed is a lovely cadenced canter that makes you wish there was a nice jump right ahead. And it makes you see the potential for Dressage and doing collected work. A couple laps of trotting and some cantering around the field and Reason was already sweating. Oy. Well to give him the benefit of the doubt, he does have his winter coat and it was warm and sunny out. Conditioning and fitting both of us up will be fun. I’m out of shape too. I don’t have the control over my body like I used to when I rode a lot. I lack a strong core, for sure.
On Friday I went to go walking at a park with Matt, my mom and my mom’s Lab puppy Triskit. This was the same park Reason was to have his first trail ride at. The trail (there is only one for horses) is wide, flat and definitely beginner friendly. Since it was a weekday, it was quieter. A few walkers but nothing else. I wanted to go for a ride on Saturday, but the day was spent at home doing yard work. On Sunday we headed out for an evening ride.
We arrived about 4:30 and the weather was perfect. The sun was shinning, the sky only held a few minor remnants of past clouds and the temperature was short-sleeve worthy. Reason came off the trailer sweaty. Although he was riding with his faithful companion Errika, I think overall he’s a nervous traveler. I let him have the whole back area of the trailer, but I think next time I may buckle him in the center between the dividers as that may make him feel more secure and safe. He unloaded like a champ and once at location, he was calm, but curious. I walked Reason around before tying him to try to help him cool down. I waited and spent a little more time grooming to let him dry. Once he was cooled down and had dried some, I began tacking up. We headed to the trail and I opted to stay on foot and lead him down the road to the actual trail. He was still calm, but curious. Errika was a great, great help for Reason as she doesn’t normally bat an eyelash at anything. She helped him understand that the weird new sights, sounds and smells are nothing to be worried about. Just a casual walk in the park. I mounted up on the trail, after offering the horses some water at the trough.
The first real interesting encounter happened at this point. A couple people were at the lake’s edge (the trail goes around a lovely small lake). Reason could hear them, but barely make out them through the trees and brush. His head went up and he went on alert trying to make sense of the noises. He didn’t spook, but did a small but quick turn and looked on again. It took him a couple more looks before he was prepared to move on. I mounted up and off we went.
Our next encounter was a child. Reason is not too sure about kids, at a distance. This particular little kid was fumbling on behind his mom, who was holding another child. Reason thought that was weird, but we continued on and once we got closer, he relaxed a bit, although still intrigued. The next site was only about 5 minutes later. We came across a man pushing a stroller. Strollers are especially interesting. We asked the nice man if he could stop so we could pass. I find it’s always best to make some verbal contact with the non-horsey public on the trail because they simply do not always know what to do or even know what they are doing could be scary to a horse. The man seemed to wonder why he needed to stop at first. But once Matt, explained we have a young horse or isn’t sure about strollers, he happily obliged. Reason kept his ears on the stroller after we passed, wondering if at any point it might come sneaking back up behind him, but realized it was again, not threatening and proceeded on.
The trail was beautiful and serene.
On the last part of the trail we came across yet another little kid, who could have been no more than 2. He was running towards us, picking up a stick and throwing it, with his mom tailing behind trying to herd him back towards the stroller. Reason actually wasn’t worried about this. I guess he had decided kids weren’t so bad after all. We got up to where the little kid and his parents were. The little boy wanted to pet the horses, so we stopped and he got to say hi to Errika. The little boy cried out to the horses as we said our goodbye’s and headed back towards the trailer.
Once back at the trailer both horses enjoyed some treats and kisses before loading up and heading home. Reason had second thoughts about leaving the park, hopped on the trailer quickly thereafter. Once in it was a smooth ride home.
I have to say that Reason was a really good guy throughout the whole day. It’s a lot to ask a horse who’s never been out to deal with all the events that go along with it. He handled everything really well. On top of that I felt it really helped his confidence and to just enjoy being ridden.