Saturday, October 18, 2014

First Trail Ride on Elk!

A friend of Shar's trailered to her place for us to ride out from there.  She has a gorgeous rose grey Arab.  She was already there and tacking up when I pulled in, and my horse was still in the pasture, so I was a bit behind.  Oops!  Headed straight for the pasture to get Elk, and she practically put her nose into the halter for me.  Quickly groomed and tacked her up, and I headed to the round pen.  Alanna (her owner) recommended lunging her before every ride--not to tire her out, but just to get her to focus on me.  So we did some circles each direction, working on walking and trotting politely, and turning when asked.  She did great, so I opened the gate (so I wouldn't have to do it from horseback) and got on.  She, of course, wanted to head out the open gate, so we did a few circles of the round pen before heading out to the driveway.  Turns out Shar wasn't ready yet (she was rigging something up with her tack), so all that rushing was for nothing, but it was fine.

Our little party of three horses, three women, and two dogs (apparently I'm not cool--I was the only one without a dog--think my cats would like trail rides?) headed out the driveway and headed down the gravel roads toward the trails.

Elk did AWESOME.  She spooked a tiny bit at a house with some REALLY obnoxious dogs, but spooked in place then got over it.  There were a few other spots where she was really checking out what was going on, but no other spooks.  On the gravel roads, we kind of bunched up and rode abreast.  On the singletrack trails, Elk led a lot of the way since she can really move and seemed to enjoy being in the lead.  But she was a good follower, too.  We marched right up a rather steep and rocky trail, and it didn't even seem like my (significant) weight affected her at all.

We trotted, and while she's VERY reluctant to trot even a couple strides in the arena, she was ready to move out on the dirt road and on the trail.  But when I asked her to slow down, she did without a complaint.  Perfect!!  Such a great ride!

Pic by Shar

Pic by Shar

Always gotta get an ears photo, right?

The two geldings are quite enamored with each other.

When we got back, the horses got a chance to graze on the front lawn.

Happy Horsie!

She wasn't too tired, but WAS sweaty!

A good roll feels SO good when you're all sweaty!

So, Elk is totally funny with how much she grunts.  She grunts and groans when she eats, and periodically during our walk, and ESPECIALLY when she rolls.  Check it out:

After I put Elk away, Shar got her youngster, Goodwin, out to play in the roundpen.  I wish I'd gotten video after they moved to the bigger arena--he was tearing it up!  But here's a bit of video of Goodwin:

All in all, it was a good day for all the equines and their people.

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