So close your eyes and imagine... wait ok - so open your eyes, but clear your mind!
Imagine a bright clear fall morning, mid 60's and breezy. Fall leaves are at their peak colour. The weather for the day is only going to get better as it goes on.
This is what I enjoyed Sunday morning as my good friend D and I loaded up both my mares into his trailer and headed to Paint Creek State Park. I was anxious because Bonnie has been a complete horse lunatic lately, well since we moved. I'm not being dramatic either. We are talking a real fire breathing, rearing, bucking, lunatic horse!
I wasn't so worried that D couldn't handle her, but more that it wouldn't be a relaxing ride. You see I bought Bonnie from D. He is the one that trained her, desensitized her, etc. He is well aware of her antics. D no longer lives in Ohio and this is the first ride we've had together in six years. I really wanted the girls to be good.
Get to the park, unload. Rosie stands ground tied (yeah!) while I groom and tack up. Bonnie is quiet tied to the trailer while D grooms and tosses his western gear on her. Both mares are 'up' but nothing stupid.
Off we head on down the trail. I have to keep a bit of contact on Rosie she really wants to truck on out. Bonnie is all lookie loo and slow walking. I tell D I'm going to do a bit of work at figure 8's to check the steering and halt control. Rosie immediately went into work mode, just like at the show. I was grinning!
Between my two mares, Rosie has become the head mare. However, I made D lead with Bonnie. Rosie is not brave, or a trail blazer, so I wanted to be the follower for a bit. Rosie walks faster than Bonnie naturally so I had to halt Rosie a lot at first to keep respectful distance between them. Every time I backed Rosie off, Bonnie would stop, backup and attempt to spin. D worked through it. She does the same thing almost every time she comes up to mud or water, she's ALWAYS done that.
Every time Bonnie threw a temper tantrum, I'd keep riding Rosie right on by and away from her. Rosie was perfect with this. Then as Bonnie caught up I'd let D pass us by and move in behind them again. Never any issues with leaving Bonnie behind, or letting her walk off away from us.
We rode a total of 7 miles, up hills, down hills, across creeks, through mud, over logs. I worked on a lot of Dressage exercises out there. Leg yields from one side of the trail to the other. Free walk stretching down into the contact. Medium walk... side pass over logs.. well we attempted the side passes. If I got even one correct step, I celebrated!
Eventually Bonnie settled down and reduced her drama to spooking in place, and the second half of the ride was perfect.
I think I'm beginning to completely trust Rosie to keep me safe. There were a lot of pretty steep down hills, leaf covered and slippery. Watching Bonnie carefully pick her way down, most of it she choose to do side ways and slowly, I knew it was going to be rough for Rosie and I. I know that once you start down just be still and let them go, but Rosie refused to go down sideways, so I picked up some contact with her, and leaned way back in my All Purpose saddle and just let her go. That took a lot of trust on my part to just let her find her way. It took a lot of trust on her part to just go down the hill. She does question, but always listens and trusts my answer. It's really starting to feel like a partnership.
Tonight I get to the barn to check on my girls, and put some Swat on a couple of boo boo's that Bonnie has. PBO, S, is there with her friend. They ask me if I want to ride with them. Well, gee.. let me think.. um YES! This post is already too long so will post tonights ride tomorrow!
Weather is changing tonight, rainy and cold for the rest of week but I'm going to try to ride every day. I want to work on that trot!