Just to let you know, I just started classes today, so things may be a little slow as my poor brain adjusts to the fact that four Classes In College are a little different from four high school classes :)
I've been riding a little. On Saturday, we went on a trail ride with a girl who we met through a mutual riding-friend. I rode Pandora, and Mom rode McKinna. Everything went pretty well, considering.
We got outside the gate and started riding down the grass on the side of the road. Pandora was a little nervous (champing at the bit a little, snorting a little) but not too bad. We walked down until we got to the corner, where we rounded a narrow little edge. "Oh," our guide recalled, "the burro in this field sometimes comes galloping up and freaks the horses out."
So as we wound our way down the fenceline, the burro perked his ears up. Pandora and the other horses looked at him, but didn't seem unduly bothered. Until he came galloping up, ears-a-flopping and tail waving, to the fence. McKinna stopped dead to stare at him, while Pandora began making her uncertainty clear. Everything would have been fine if he didn't let out one teeny little bray, though. That really made Pandora nervous!
I decided that discretion was the better part of valor and took Pandora across the road to the other side. McKinna, after standing and staring at the donkey for a minute, seemed to decide that he was no stranger than the rest of the livestock she's been subjected to chasing or walking past (sheep, pigs, cattle, small children) and walked calmly on.
The rest of the ride was pretty uneventful. Except a little canter up a pretty steep hill that we'd been motoring up at a trot. It was quite nice, Pandora and McKinna just trucked on up but then got a little excited and cantered for a few strides.
That being said, the ride was more than I expected or wanted. Truth be told it only lasted for an hour and a half and my (probably wildly inaccurate) estimate is that we covered maybe 5 miles, plus or minus? It's not that much. But, some of it was over some pretty hilly or rough ground, and I was uncomfortable with how much we asked of the horses. Unfortunately it's not like there was a shortcut home, so we just had to roll with it. I'd made it pretty clear that we just wanted a light trail ride, but there you go.
No harm done. The horses weren't that sweaty, they got water and hay as soon as we got home, and put back in the pasture. As far as I can tell there was no stiffness or anything.
I probably worry too much. It's not like they're totally unfit and were taken on a daylong ride, but still. Ah well, at least I know for next time just how long 'the loop' really is :)
Overall Pandora did very well. Even when she was nervous, she never offered naughty behavior. She was pleasant over all types of terrain. She walked in close proximity to the other horses just fine. Once she pinned her ears and hitched a back leg at McKinna, but I smacked her shoulder and those ears went quite quickly forward! She responds like that to discipline -- very quickly straightens up. It would be very easy to over-punish her. Over and over again I come back to that sensitive nature of hers, which I don't mind in the slightest. I find that it makes her wonderfully fun to work with because it invites a very subtle interaction.
Next post I'll talk about Mom's ride on McKinna tonight, but for now I'm off. College is tiring!
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