It’s been a week of pain in the butt people and a super hectic work schedule. I find myself getting home and just wanting to get in bed instead of go to the barn. On Wednesday, I did go to bed at 8pm and I felt so much better yesterday! When I got home the temperature had dropped drastically and the winds were kicking.
I begged Kurt to go on a trail ride and although he was convinced it was going to rain I think he realized that keeping me company on a trail ride would make his life easier in the long run 🙂 From June-August you can’t ride in the woods at all due to bugs. Right now we have killer mosquito’s due to all the flooding and still very wet land. The breeze yesterday was enough to make us think it would be okay to take the horses over the C&R center to hit the trails without being eaten alive.
I have a few horses to ride but something made me want to take Letterman. I just love riding him and he has been feeling awesome lately. I thought it would be good for him to get off the farm and onto some new trails. He really loves to trail ride. We always tack up and then put them in the trailer. Letterman was a bit perplexed by getting tacked up and then going on the trailer but he just rolled with it. When we get there we put the bridles on and our quiet ride masks.
It was quite chilly and the wind was crazy. The trees were blowing and the leaves were falling across the trail. I wasn’t sure how Letterman would handle it all but being an older racehorse who has seen it all and then some I figured he would be just fine. You could almost feel the excitement in him but not in a nervous way just pure happy to be out and about type of excitement.
Kurt and I like to move along on our trail rides. We don’t spend a lot of time walking but we do take walk breaks when needed. We like to trot and canter along and sometimes even a gallop if the horses are fit enough. Letterman and Junior (my horse that Kurt rides) are both very brave horses so Kurt and I could interchange riding either next to each other or front/back. The best part about the C&R center is that it’s a wide trail probably about 30 feet wide and lovely sand footing. It has trees on one side and a ditch with water and more trees on the other so you are sort of riding down a path in the woods with perfect footing.
Letterman is feeling so good right now. He was naturally just perfectly on the bit, moving out well and so light and soft in the bridle. He’s one athletic horse and so comfortable to ride. We had a great trot/canter down all the way until we got to the bridge and saw the yellow tape. Looks like the hurricane wiped the bridge out so we could only go so far but that was fine as we had already ridden about 20 min down so another 20 min back would the perfect time limit for the horses.
Kurt was cracking up at Junior who was all sorts of excited. As we had cantered down the path he did some sort of spook, buck, lead change manuever at a pile of dead leaves. Then when we turned back to head home he spooked hard and ran forward almost jetting Kurt out the back of the saddle. Kurt has come a long way in his confidence but he says that he just loves to ride Junior and isn’t intimidated by him at all. He reeled him in and got him under control. Letterman just rolled his eyes at him 🙂
Cantering on the way back home can always be interesting on some horses but Junior is very well broke and Letterman felt so level-headed that we just had to do it. Kurt and I must have cantered for a good 5 min straight just laughing as we went. Junior so wanted to gallop but thankfully he listens pretty well. Letterman was just so balanced and soft in the bridle. I could have cantered him for hours! He never pulls, gets strong or puts a foot wrong. His balance is just so nice and he’s an athletic package with three great gaits. He was getting a bit tired but when I asked Kurt if he was ready to trot he indicated that Junior wanted to keep going so we let them canter out a bit more. It’s funny to me to watch Kurt just having so much fun on my horse. He told me he had to keep half halting because Junior really wanted to run 🙂
The minute we got back to the trailer we were swarmed by mosquitos so we hurried up and just loosened the girths and put the horses back on the trailer where we then took off their bridles. The mosquitos are so bad right now that the horses can’t even concentrate once they start getting attacked. Junior practically ran onto the trailer!
I have said from the beginning that Letterman has been a bit of a puzzle but I do think that we are coming together now. I think it takes a lot longer for the older racehorses to physically and mentally get over the racing. He just now has started to trust people, enjoy the work, develop a personality and feel good in his body. It has taken a while to draw his personality out of him but it’s clearly there now. When I was brushing him down he was play biting on my shirt. That is his little display of personality. He will bite his lead shank, play bite your clothes and act silly. Hey now..you old man…enough of that 🙂
When he arrived, he didn’t like cookies at all, just carrots. He now will do anything for a good Ms. Pastures cookie. Nope, I don’t bribe him or anything of the sorts 🙂
He once again is a reminder that it just takes time. You can’t rush them and they come around on their own timeframe. He is just a totally different horse than he was upon arrival. I want to get him out to some paper chases and take him hunting as well.
After I got home, I got on Burgiss and rode in the freezing cold rain with super high winds. He was perfect! His idea of spook is to turn his head sideways and stare at something. What a perfect 4yr! He is so much fun and we had a great ride and jumped some new jumps. We are just trotting them all and he is so game. He did not appreciate the rain but his only complaint was a bit of sideways trot. I was going to try to get on Romeo but I ran out of steam. I intend to leave work early today to get home and ride him.