Sunday, May 4, 2008
First Trail Ride of this Year
Yesterday was a great day. It was Monty and my first return to the trails after a long winter. I've been trying to get consistant work in the ring with him to get his fitness up (to say nothing of mine) so we can get out and enjoy the adventure of the trails. I say adventure because where I board, the trails are not close by and you have to do some road riding to get to them. (Every year my horse "forgets" that he has been doing this for years and needs about 3 trips with a quiet trail partner before he's ready to have a relaxing ride on trail.)
Monty has been good enough riding at home but when he starts acting like a fool and trying to buck and scoot here and there after 15 minutes of really good work, I know he's bored and needs to get back on trail.
So this was the weekend. I felt we were ready to head out. My friend with a very reliable aged QH was happy to go with me. I knew he was the best partner for us as my horse got reaquainted with venturng away from home. So, we met at the barn, tacked up and were about to head out when our plans took a detour.
Into the driveway that is in front of our barn pulls a small stock trailer with two whinnying horses. The driver stops a few feet from the barn instead of driving to the back of the property where we have always been told to unload horses. I'm walking my horse outside the barn and by now he's wide eyed and snorting over the two horses calling out in the trailer.
Instead of the @$$hat driver noticing my horse was upset and saying to try and leave with my friend before he unloaded the horses, he gets out and opens the trailer door. One horse steps back off the ramp, still tied, and has to be shoved back in as the other horse bounces around and tried to turn around. By now, Monty is freaked, he's kicking out, tossing his head and has managed to put his tongue over his Happy Mouth kimberwicke bit which has freaked him out even more. I can't get him past this fiasco to get back in the barn to calm him (and myself) down, so I had to deal with it until they untangled the two horses and unloaded them.
My friend is looking at me by now like oh God, and we wanted a nice quiet experience today. As soon as the coast was clear, I told her give me 15 minutes. I brought him back to his stall, removed his bridle and left him in there tacked. I changed the bit to his usual D snaffle and added a drop noseband attachment. I went back to him, let him finish the hay he was munching on and rebridled him. He seemed to have calmed down and I called my friend and said we were ready. This time I walked out of the barn and we headed to the road with my friend right behind. After we were across the street and onto the church lawn full of fresh dandelions, all seemed much better.
From there the ride went well. Monty had a few moments where he got antsy on trail but was steady as a rock on the road. Overall, he was a good boy. It figures the selfish idiot who caused us to have a stressful start never said anything close to "I'm sorry" for causing what could have been a really bad scene. And I'm happy with myself. As I'm getting older and have two little kids, I find it harder to suppress fearful thoughts of "oh God, what if he..." But it was the anger over the stupidity of the situation that overrode any fear and made me kick into trainer mode (as in, I will NOT let this horse end today without walking calmly off this property). I still have that ability, and that is a good feeling.