Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I take it all back

Did I ever say I didn't like tons of grazing during a trail ride? I take it all back!

Today we went for our first trail ride since Sunday's fiasco. We went with our usual weekday riding buddies, the ones who like to do a lot of grazing at intervals along the trail. We did our usual loop, nothing new or exciting.

And we survived it.

But really, I think it was the grazing that saved me. As we left the property, I felt Panama's tension ride. We stopped to graze right outside the gate...

...And it all just melted away.

It was the slowest, most languid trail ride I've ever been on.

And it was just what Panama needed. It helped keep his anxiety levels low, and the familiar route gave him something that he already knows he can do. The only hiccup was when we had to pass a cyclist on the side of the bike path, with his bike upside down while he fixed a flat. The horses haven't seen bikes upside down before, but Panama held it together with only a mild spook, despite the fact that Shadoman spun and jigged and put his rider through a minor rodeo.

On the whole, Panama was on his best behavior. He held it together down hills (he knows I hate it when he lets gravity pull him into a trot), collected when asked, did a better job than usual of regulating his pace, and just in general tried to show Mom how good he can be when he wants to.

As if I ever doubted that!



At July 14, 2010 at 8:17 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thats great! I am glad you did ok. Never feel afraid to get off and walk your horse or do groundwork on a trail ride. I don't think I ever go on any length of trail on most of my horses without getting off and working through some scary stuff on the ground.
PS: Going down hills if you can't go on an angle do serpentines all the way down that way you aren't having to hold them back and they aren't wanting to tear down a hill at mach 3.

At July 14, 2010 at 9:15 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad it went so well - sound great!

At July 14, 2010 at 10:16 PM, Blogger Katharine Swan said...

Sydney, I've actually heard it's good for them to learn to control their bodies down hills. Plus I know he CAN do it, because on days like today he does it just fine. It's just when he's overly excited that he decides to heck with trying to control his body.

As for scary stuff, I've rarely had to get down, and haven't had to at all since our first summer trail riding. He actually handles most stuff pretty well, and even if he spooks initially, he reengages his brain pretty quickly. Like I said, I have no clue what happened on Sunday, but it was like riding a completely different horse that just happened to look like mine.

Kate, thanks -- it was such a relief! I forgot to mention that I rode him in the arena before we left -- at first he had that out-of-control trot, as if we'd just hit pause at the end of our ride Sunday, and started up today right where we'd left off. He quickly calmed down, though -- it only took a couple of half-arena circles at the trot for him to collect himself. I was very proud of him today!


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