Riding out alone on the trails is something I try not to do for the most part. When I was growing up my mom had a really bad accident while riding alone one day and almost died. Of course that was before cell phones but when you are knocked out and bleeding you might not be able to call anyone even if you did have a phone.
BUT…it won’t stop raining and my grass ring is flooded and muddy and horses need to be ridden. Not to mention I need to ride to keep my sanity. We are lucky enough have have a lovely trail system right out our back gate but the problem is that is knee deep in mud as well so you can only walk and well walking is boring. 5 min around the corner is a place called the C&R center that has really wide paths with sand/stone footing so that is where I have started to ride now that the weather has decided to give me the finger.
I tacked Dixie up and put him in the trailer for our short trip around the corner. I did let my hubby know where I was going just in case I didn’t call him to come find me 🙂 The first five minutes of riding are always funny because the path is surrounded by woods on either side with small ditches filled with water. Not to mention there are tree stumps…evil tree stumps that might jump out and kill you. Dixie likes to study them and is very cautious about all the different stuff. I make him leg yeild left and right and we work on our flatwork. He was quite perplexed as to why he had to do flatwork while on the trail but it is my new workout plan for him. Ha, he is really going to hate me now.
I had a nice trot and canter down the main path and then decided I wanted to go down this dirt path which leads out to the road. It had a few log jumps, a huge puddle, a bank and ditch crossing so it is great practice. I had Dixie working on the bit and we were marching along when out came a deer. That didn’t bother him which is awesome. We came to the puddle and I tried to get him to trot but he broke to the walk but kept going which was fine. We cantered up a bit and jumped another log WEEEEEEEEEE fun. Then came the bank which is more like a big mound you have to climb up but it has a depression at the bottom which was filled with water. He was not sure but he went up. Right after the bank is a left turn to a skinny path but straight ahead is a wooden bridge.
Oh boy this is where the wheels fell off a bit. He was like OMG no way am I going over that bridge and I was trying to explain to him we were not going over the bridge but turning left. This is where another horse would have thrown a big fit and i would predict some rearing and other behavior. Dixie on the other hand was standing still but I could feel him shaking and trying to figure out his options. I just gently put my leg on but didn’t force anything. He was not saying no just thinking. Finally, he took a second and relaxed and I was able to turn him left. You go a short distance on this mud path and then have to cross a ditch which had running water going through it. He was so good!!!! We climb up the bank and onto the road.
You know what is really scary??? Yellow lines on the road. OMG laughing so hard at him but we went across and then just turned around and came back. He really thought I was annoying for making him go threw all that and then turning around right away. Once we got past the ditch and the bank we picked up a trot and then a canter and jumped the two jumps and cantered the puddle. Awesome!
I let him walk a bit and then we did some transitions where I insisted we not pick up a hand gallop but rather a collected canter. I did some lateral work at the canter and then more trot/canter transitions. We walked the last 5 min home on the buckle and he stood ground tied while I untacked him.
Have I mentioned how much I love this horse? I have had a lot of horses over the years but horses that I take out and ride by myself testing them with difficult questions are few and are between. Even when he is unsure he is 100% with me and behaved. I am working more on getting him across his back and building his hind end strength while on the trails. Can’t wait to go again.