At her house, I first measured Arya's feet to potentially get her some boots (aka temporary horseshoes), and we checked whether a girth Shar had would fit my new saddle (I don't have it yet, but it's identical to Shar's saddle, so we checked the combo out, and her girth works! So now it's my girth. Oh, and yes, if anyone's keeping track, I now own FOUR saddles for ONE horse.)
Then we got the ponies loaded up, with some warm blankets since Shar's trailer is a stock trailer, with open-air slats instead of solid walls.
|Arya's rear end hanging out of her warm fuzzy fleece "jammies"|
We got to the barn a few minutes late, but right around the same time everyone else was arriving--guess we all failed to account for the icy roads once leaving the highway. :-)
|Arya and Flash|
|Nessie, Sprocket, and Jax (I think?)|
We set off down the trail in a larger group than we usually ride with (or than I ever ever ridden with on Arya), and Arya did great. Some people wanted to trot, but there were a few of us who weren't too thrilled with the footing (snow on top of rocky dirt) at that area, so we hung back. At first I worried how Arya would do with other horses trotting away out of sight. But before I had much chance to worry, Shar offered to get in front of the other two of us who were sticking to a walk, because he's VERY experienced and doesn't mind others riding away from him. So we all did just fine. Then we met back up with the group (they waited for us), and they rode away from us again. She did fine. Then later on, as they were just walking, I trotted her to try to catch up to that group, and they started trotting after all. I brought her to a walk and she did just fine, even as they pulled way out in front. Yay! What a good girl!
We ended up doing a few stints of trotting, including some uphill stretches (gentle hills, but still). Arya wasn't a fan--she hasn't had a long ride like she used to do with her previous owner in a LONG time and even I haven't had her out for more than a few miles in a pretty long time. She's getting out of shape. We have our work cut out for us for the upcoming endurance ride season! But you know what that means? Lots of riding. Oh what a bummer. ;-)
But you know what else? She really seems to love it. If horses could grin, that's what it felt like she was doing at the beginning of both the New Years ride and today's ride. I'm so happy with her--she's gone through some new experiences, and she handled all of it with aplomb. Such a good girl.
Anyway, here are photos from the ride:
|Arya's ears at the bottom, the rest of the riders ahead of us|
|This is really blurry, but the moon looked really cool, I promise.|