Monday, June 21, 2010

When to lead, when to follow... and when to text

Today we went for a trail ride for the first time since before I went on vacation. I was going to go with the folks who graze a lot (they trail ride frequently, which is why I go with them so often, although I don't like how much they graze), but I was running late and they left before I got there. I decided to just ride in the arena and work on cantering, and then maybe ride down to the start of the trails and back to see how he did alone, but before I started I discovered there was another group heading out in a bit.

I went out with three riders and horses I haven't ridden the trails with before: two of the teenage girls at the barn and their horses, and another woman I would guess is around 40. It was her second time out on the trail with her horse, which I didn't find out until we got back and started chatting, so I think she was a little worried about how he would do. He did fine, of course!

We mixed things up this time by going "backwards" — doing the usual loop but in the other direction. One of the younger girls took the lead, and Panama and I fell in behind her. He was a bit frustrated with that at first, and kept trying to pass her, but when he realized I wasn't going to let him, he finally relaxed and paced himself to stay behind her.

I did notice with some amusement that the girl in front of me spent about half of the ride with her cell phone in her hand, texting. I rarely send texts while I'm riding, and I certainly don't have whole conversations like that — not only am I concerned about him spooking and causing me to drop my phone, but I also am riding because I enjoy riding. How can you enjoy it with a phone in your hand and your mind on something else?

Anyway, we had a nice, enjoyable ride, albeit a short one — that loop goes so much quicker when you don't continually stop to graze! I did ride in the arena a little before and after the trail ride, and we got a little cantering practice in. I think Panama was still a bit revved up from the show, because he was having a hard time slowing down his trot, and his head was in the air a lot! But a few circles, lots of trotting, and a few laps at the canter seemed to take care of that.

I'm planning to hit the trail with the grazers on Wednesday, but I think I may try to get out to the barn and get some good arena work in tomorrow. Now that I am feeling more comfortable with the canter, I'm enjoying it very much, and I want to practice it some more!

By the way, I discovered I have some more pictures to share from the horse show. Stay tuned and I'll post them this evening!



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