Sunday, June 15, 2014

Gaining trail experience

This past week, both Rondo and V., the 12-year-old who does a partial lease on him, got some trail riding experience, which was good for both horse and rider.

V. had riding lessons on both Tuesday and Thursday, since she is going to be gone all next week for a summer camp.  Both lessons were in the morning, and her brother was in an all-day camp, so both days we went out on the trail afterward -- her on Rondo, and me on Panama.

Both days we only did a short ride, basically only as far as I had ridden Rondo myself on trail rides with other boarders, because I didn't want to risk encountering something new and causing her to have to deal with an epic meltdown from Rondo.  For the most part he is unflappable, but the three or four times since I've had him that he's melted down, it's been epic every time.

Of course, he did very well, and probably could have gone farther if I'd dared to risk it.  Panama did very well too, especially considering how little he has been ridden lately.  There was a time when I would never have dared to take him out on the trail unless I had ridden him enough recently, for fear that he'd be too amped up.  He settled right in to the trail ride both days, though, just as though he'd been doing it three times a week all year.

On Thursday, we rode with J., a girl just a couple of years younger than V., who also boards her horse at our barn.  They had their lessons at the same time, so when they were finished, I invited J. to come with us.  Her little Arab mare is 23 and is quite the babysitter horse.

It was a gorgeous day for a trail ride:

Panama led on the way out, with J. behind me (the two Arabs with their big walks in front) and V. bringing up the rear with lazy Rondo.  You can see by his ears here how excited and focused he is on the way out:

When we got to where the power lines cross the road, we turned around and headed back, as that's as far as I've had Rondo out yet -- that's our "safe" trail.  It's straight, easy, and close to home.

On the way back, V. led -- she had to really stay on Rondo's case to keep him moving -- and J. stayed in the middle.  I hung back and took some pictures (the askance ears in the first picture were because I was asking Panama to walk slowly, and he was listening to me -- as he should have been).

It was a beautiful day for a trail ride.  I can't wait until V. and I can do longer rides together with my boys!



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