Sunday, May 23, 2010

Trail ride: Cyclists, other horses, and the no-horse trail

We went on another trail ride this morning. Of course, I forgot to take pictures again, but it was probably just as well — there was to see and get excited about out there in the park today, so sharing my focus (and my hands) with a camera probably wouldn't have been the best idea.

We went with Mozart and his owner again today. Mozart is the only horse Panama doesn't have to stop and wait for, and his owner doesn't let him graze too much OR get nervous about everything, so I love riding with her. I have been avoiding riding on the weekend until now, as I've heard that the park is busier on the weekend and the people (especially the cyclists) are more rude, but Panama has been doing so well that I thought I'd try it.

It was probably less busy in the morning than it would have been in the afternoon, but there was definitely still a lot going on. At one of the yurts we pass early on the trail (the park sets them up and you can rent them), there was a group of people camping there — trucks, kids, colorful towels hung up to dry, etc. Mozart wandered over that way to say hi (without his owner's permission, incidentally), and I encouraged Panama to go, too. They both walked over, stopped and looked at everybody, then walked away. It was all very calm, and I was very proud of Panama — I don't think I have to worry about him being startled by kids or campers.

We also passed three separate groups of horses and riders, plus we took the trail that goes right past the horse rental barn. The first group we passed was a couple of horses and riders from our barn, so Panama didn't try to rush up to them, although his head was sky-high and his ears were at attention! The next two groups of horses, though, were ones we didn't know, and he tried really hard to walk up to each group — particularly a mare in one group that seemed to want to greet him, too. My horse does love the ladies...

There were tons of cyclists, which I'd been a bit worried about, but Panama did fine. We were passed by some, and pulled over and let others by. Everyone was surprisingly polite and the cyclists all yielded to us as they were supposed to — I'd heard the weekend crowd was less likely to do that, but everyone we encountered today knew and followed the rules of the trail!

We also discovered a new trail, only to discover when we reached the visitor's center at the other end that it wasn't a horse trail: There was a no-horses sign there that was missing at the other end. Oops! No one was around to scold us, though, so we just turned around and went back. Luckily neither horse pooped on the no-horse trail!

I am having such a great time trail riding, and Panama is being so good. The last couple of rides, he has been so relaxed that I've been able to hold the reins at the same place I use for walking in the arena — he used to carry his head higher on the trail, so I'd have to hold the reins much shorter. But now he is relaxing and enjoying himself! He is turning out to be a very calm, confident trail horse!



At May 23, 2010 at 8:31 PM, Blogger Nuzzling Muzzles said...

All this experience is so good for him.

At May 23, 2010 at 11:28 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

I think so too. I am so proud of him for how he's handling it, too! The last few rides, he has acted like an old pro, like he's already had all the experience!


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