Thursday, April 29, 2010

Trail Ride #3

This afternoon, Sierra and I went on a trail ride to the local National Forest recreation area. This was Guinness' 3rd official trail ride.

I started out by playing the catching game with Guinness, but unfortunately, he wasn't interested in playing! I had let them out on the big pasture a few hours before and he decided that he'd rather graze than come to see me (holding his halter). So, I laid down in the pasture and shut my eyes to see if he'd get curious. Sure enough, he came over to check out my shoe, but then retreated to eat more grass.. (I took this photo of him then.)

I was already running late (of course!) so I opted to approach Smokey, give him scratches and walk part way back to the barn with him. Cody overtook us, so I scratched him and kept walking. When we all arrived at the barn, I shut the gate to the pasture and everyone had a drink. Then I scratched Cody until Guinness couldn't stand it anymore and came to see me. I haltered him and invited him out of the gate to eat in the yard, where I put his boots on. Then I suggested that he check out the trailer, which he did, and off we went - about 20 minutes late. :-)

Sierra & Parlay were there when he arrived, but other then them the parking area was empty. We unloaded and tacked up, then hit the trail with me leading Guinness on the 22' line. He was a bit jumpy and hid behind be for about 1/2 mile down the trail. With confidence came increased speed and soon he was out in front with me in Zone 5. We walked this way with him in the lead for about another 1/2 mile. During this stretch we stopped to play in the creek.

We decided to turn around, so I mounted up using a rock by the trail & the stirrup - no problem. During the 1 mile ride back, Guinness and Parlay took turns leading. I pretty much accepted whatever gait that he offered, but figured out that by "gaiting in my body" and lifting the reins with a smootch, he understood that I wanted him to go faster. In contrast, when I squeeze with my legs, he seems to lift his body but not go faster (which could come in handy someday!).

Once we arrived at the parking lot, we decided to head out the other direction a little ways, then decided to call it a day.

Back in the parking lot, I played with loading Guinness onto Sierra's trailer (with a ramp) from 22' and also backing in. Once the horses were loaded in their respective trailers, we stood and chatted for a while while the horses practiced patience.

After we arrived home, I took some time to groom G. while still on the trailer munching hay, and then asked him to back out. I released him to graze in the front yard and remembered that I wanted to practice with the hobbles. This seemed to be an ideal time! So, he mosied around the yard eating with the hobbles on his front feet. Note the section of rubber tubing connecting the hobbles to provide some "give."

It was a very good day. I hope to head back to the barn tomorrow for more carrot stick riding practice!

PS - I made sure to give him extra time to lick & chew today.

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