Well… I took the Joy-meister out with the neighbors on another trail ride last night. I’m really loving this BB pad. Very comfy.
Before the trail ride, I worked her in the side yard for a bit. I’ve been doing a little work on getting her to bend her body around my left leg. She’s got that club foot on the left fore and travels with her bum to the left constantly. I work on it a little bit every time I ride, but I find it so frustrating that I can only work on it for a short bit (otherwise I get grabby and kicky. eek). I finally found the key to getting the bend on a circle with Joy is to shove her entire butt to the right. It’s not pretty, but after I do that she can bend around the leg for a few strides before that bum comes slamming left again. We actually got like two or three strides of something resembling good bend on a circle yesterday. I was so thrilled I called it quits on the work, and we rode over to the neighbors house to meet up for the trail ride.
The awesome part… we rode, by ourselves, all the way over to the neighbors house again. She still balks at the sandy spot with the hole off to the side, but she walked past it when asked (gave it the hairy eye-ball the entire way past).
After meeting up with the neighbors, we circled the field and then went through the woods. Joy was kind of funny. She wanted to sniff the path for the first 10 minutes of the ride. There were some low hanging branches, and I had to duck over Joy’s shoulders to get under them… but there was no neck there to lean against. Just air. Joy had her nose on the ground like a hound dog, sniffing her way down the path.
About a quarter of the way into the ride, Joy realized that the other horses were doing drive by grazing’s, so Joy had to try to emulate them. Except, every time she’d try to grab at a leaf or stalk she mistimed it and ended up nipping at air, or grabbing a part of a plant that wasn’t going to be easily bitten off. It seemed to frustrate her to no end that she couldn’t get all the edibles the other horses seemed to get.
We came out the other side of the woods into a large field. There were turkeys, but Joy never saw them (thankfully). Once we’re in the field, Joy was really striding out. She passed the lead horse and just kept walking like she knew where she was going. We lead the group for probably a good 400 yards before Joy saw a downed tree and stopped dead in her tracks. The great thing.. all Joy did was stop and stare at it. And once the other horse passed it, Joy didn’t give it a second glance.
Then we had to walk past a big white semi-trailer parked alongside the field. Again, Joy never gave it a second glance.
The only time we had an issue the entire ride was on a section where we had to go around a fallen tree and immediately down a steep decline. The lead horse was more sure footed and was able to navigate the tight spot much quicker than Joy could. By the time I had Joy around the fallen tree the lead horse was half way down the steep hill. At that point, Joy decided we were going to recreate the scene from The Man From Snowy River.
I immediately panicked. Death grip on the reins.
Joy’s giving me the “Let go of my face, lady!” reaction.
Half way down the hill I remembered that leaning over your horse’s neck in the fetal position was bad.
I sit up and back, and release my death grip.
Joy stops trying to hurl herself down the hill.
We get to the bottom of the hill and meet up with the rest of the group. Joy lets out a “Whew!” kind of breath, and proceeds to amble on like nothing happened.
Oh, I almost forgot. On the way home the group wants to canter down this straight stretch. I haven’t cantered Joy much (maybe three times), but she trots fast so I figured we could keep up just fine at the trot. So off they go….
Joy and I are trotting along, and she’s getting fast and faster. And then we’re cantering. Again, I freak and death grip the reins. Joy is now practically cantering in place. It dawns on me that this isn’t good either so I let go of her face, and Joy proceeds to canter happily down the trail after her friends. I’m still freaking out and trying to bring her back to a trot. I don’t know what I was freaking out about. The mare has never once offered to do anything stupid under saddle. Not once. But there I was, all “OMG, I’M GOING TO DIE!”.
We’re still cantering along when suddenly we come to an abrupt, and very ungraceful, halt at the horse eating stone.
Nearly tossed me over her head.
We went the rest of the ride on a loose rein. Joy was totally digging the outing. Ears perked, calmly looking around at everything, body relaxed.
She’s going to be an awesome trail horse.