Sunday, June 16, 2013


Friday was a long day, a good day.

I was out the door by 9:30a and headed to pick Jordan up. I dropped her off at her barn, went to mine and hooked up the trailer, went back to hers and picked she and Orion up, headed back to my barn where she played in the round pen with him a bit, then loaded him back up and headed to that flat FS road in the adjacent county (Dee was hauling her horse, T's horse, and Q). We had a bit of a parking snafu with the bigger rig when we got there, but with three problem-solving brains at work we eventually got it figured.

And so we headed off! We had a late start to the day (3p) but we had the best weather of the day for our ride. We rode for a good 3 hours, two out and one back. I was so happy to be seated behind those lovely dark brown ears on the trail again. Griffin's ears are lovely, too, but I really missed my girl.

Q and Saja trucked right out from the get-go. Both horses seemed to think they were trekking out on an endurance ride. After a few suspicious logs and rocks Q seceded from her "I must lead" role and let Saja take over. The road was intermittently gravel, gravel + sand, cobble + sand. Q was barefoot the whole day with minimal issue. Not too shabby for a horse who's been on stall rest and pasture since April 27 with minimal work!

Jordan and Orion
It was Jordan's first time riding her horse away from home - and I think her longest ride ride to date probably? She rode very well and even saved herself from tumbling off his back at one point, it was quite the save and something to be proud about. Once we get her in a true saddle and not the "treeless" thing she's in (I refuse to even call this thing treeless, its basically a glorified bareback pad), things will be lots better. I don't like how much she's having to compensate with her riding to make up for how much the saddle sucks (constantly slips, stirrup bar waayyy too far back so her legs are thrust backward while her upper body is thrust forward). Its not fair to her, though in her credit she does a phenomenal job!

When we got to the overlook this time, I hopped off and led Q through the dense tunnel of rhodo and laurel out onto the exposed cliff top.Why? Because she'll follow me anywhere and I love that I can enjoy a view like that with my horse. The fact that she was on an exposed rock face high above the Blackwater Canyon was a complete nonissue for my girl. The slow realization that there was no grass on top of that rock face? That was a growing concern for her. All the same, we got a few good photos, and one silly video when I thought I'd been in photo mode which I have shared for your amusement. (Yes, I always talk to her.)

I was on cloud nine the whole ride because I was riding my girl on the "trail" again and she was doing so well. Eager ears were out, she was eating and drinking like a champ, and really seemed to enjoy herself on the whole. So much for the rehab program of 30 minute flat rides, we ended up doing a 3 hour flat-ish ride.  Dee kept close watch on Q throughout the day, telling me how awesome she looked the whole time. Not even a flicker of unsoundness in her gaits.Yes, gaits. We walked, trotted, and even cantered some. And when she realized I was okay with letter her canter little spurts she was elated.

I was really proud of her the few occasions when I wanted her to hold back and not canter and gallop with Dee and T since Jordan was hesitant to go that fast. I held her down to a trot and then a walk, told her it was just like a race, the front-runners get to go do their front-runner business and we stay where we are. It was one of the moments when I would swear she understood exactly what I said as she settled RIGHT down into a walk. SUCH a good girl.

All in all, we probably did about 12 miles. Two hours out until we decided to turn around, and at an average walking pace of 3 mph, that would put us at a total of 12 miles on the day. Q looked strong and sound the whole time. Happy ears. Sparkle in her eye. I worried a little that it would be too much for her, but its a flat road with no tricky footwork and minimal inclines. For the horse who is accustomed to rougher trails, this was simple. I think it was the best form of rehab for her as it got her off the farm and back into her element and her favorite job. You can bet we'll be going back out there later this summer for training rides! There is even a single-track trail that is really rough like portions of the OD trails that we can practice on. I can't wait to give her the opportunity to practice fancy footwork on tricky terrain like that.

Love my girl. Love this state. Love these trails.

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