Thursday, August 13, 2009

First ride down the trail

I couldn't be happier that I decided to ride again this morning. Panama and I had a really fabulous ride!

First trail ride

I took this picture just before we turned around, probably about 100 yards down the trail. I didn't want to deal with the street crossing (which you can see in this picture) just yet. I'm working on doing this a little bit at a time, as I don't want to get a mile or two away from the barn and then discover he's totally not ready to be out on the trail alone. I think he'll do fine, but better safe than sorry!

The entire ride went really well. Before we crossed the field to get to the trail, I rode him in some circles in the flat part of the field near the barn, just to check his mood. He was quite well behaved, and although his trot was a little bit faster and more excited than usual, he was behaving himself quite well.

He kept it up, too. I was able to keep him to a nice, leisurely walk all the way across the field, with only a couple of times where he needed correction. His pace quickened just a bit on the trail, but not beyond my comfort zone, and he maintained it with very little correction. He gave a green trash can a wide berth (for some reason he really doesn't like manmade green things out on the trail, which amuses me because that's my favorite color to dress him in), but didn't seem overly alarmed — just wary. We'll work on that trash can a bit next time.

I don't trust people in our area to know the proper trail ettiquette with horses, so I kept looking over my shoulder, checking for cyclists coming up behind us. Since it was late morning during the week, there weren't many people out, but one did pass us. I saw him when he was still a little ways back, poking along — I suppose to give me a chance to see him. (Thank you!) I pulled Panama off the trail, turned him so that he could watch the cyclist (to avoid any surprises), and we waited for him to pass. Panama watched him without showing any signs of concern, even though he never said anything to us.

I decided to take a couple of pictures, so I leaned over to get my cell phone out of my saddle pad pockets. Amusingly, he'd just watched a bike go by without displaying any nervousness whatsoever, but the sound of the velcro made him jump! I laughed at him and he immediately realized it was me and settled down. He got kind of antsy about standing still while I took the pictures, though, so I was glad I hadn't bothered with my real camera, which needs to be taken in and out of its case.

Here is another picture from the same place as above, only this one is looking back the way we came:

First trail ride alone

Once I'd put away my phone, we started heading back. He maintained the same slightly quick walk along the trail, and to my intense satisfaction, I was able to pretty easily keep him to the same pace across the field toward home as well.

Next time I'll push him a bit farther — distance-wise as well as training-wise. I want to work with him on that trash can a bit so that he doesn't need to give it such a wide berth, and I also want to make it across the first street crossing. There isn't much traffic through the neighborhood, so chances are he'll do just fine, but he also has a history of being a bit nervous about street crossings. I'm trying to plan for the time to do some training just in case he has trouble with it!



At August 13, 2009 at 1:56 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

Looks like you two are doing great! I do have one suggestion with carrying your cell phone. They say to carry it on your person and not on the horse, that way if for some reason you do get thrown and he gets away you still have your phone. Otherwise your phone runs back home without you!
Great job, sounds like he is becoming a confident little horse!

At August 13, 2009 at 2:19 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Yeah, I've thought of that. I need to buy one of those handy little leg holsters made for cell phones. My front pockets aren't really big enough for a phone to fit comfortably, and it bugs me in my back pocket. Not to mention I tend to fall on my butt so it would most likely get crushed. :o)

At August 13, 2009 at 6:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Congratulations on an excellent ride - he seems a happy, confident sort of horse!

At August 13, 2009 at 6:50 PM, Blogger Reddunappy said...

I always wear a fanny pack, with all the "necessitys" in it. They make an arm band to, for cell phone or Ipod.

At August 13, 2009 at 7:18 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Kate, thank you, what a compliment! Yes, I think he is becoming quite confident. He was less so a year ago -- but I think it's because he was still so young and relatively inexperienced. He's growing up to be such an awesome horse!

Pam, I haven't worn a fanny pack since I was 10, and I don't think I could ever stand to do so again. I hated those things! LOL.

Unfortunately, the arm band would probably bug me too. I'll probably stick with the leg holster for my phone, and keep the rest in my saddle pad pockets. Those pockets are AWESOME -- best saddle pad I've ever owned!

At August 14, 2009 at 7:03 AM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Yippee! It's such a good feeling to know that he can do it without incident. The first time I put a horn bag on Lostine's saddle outside of the round pen, she heard it rustling behind her and ran from it. All the horses jumped the first time they heard the Velcro, but never again beyond that firs time. I ended up buying a camera bag for my cell phone and sewing a belt loop with Veclro closures to keep my phone on me. It occasionally falls off if I bounce around too much, so I pull my shirt over it.

At August 14, 2009 at 9:14 AM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

NM, I've had this saddle pad for over a year, so he's heard the velcro many times -- out on the trail, too, since I used to use it when he rode the trails at my other barn. I think he was just so focused it took him by surprise.

But I agree -- it's such a relief to see him doing so well!


Post a Comment

<< Home