Wednesday, June 24, 2015

First Real Trail Ride!

 I just went on my first ever trail ride! Although I ridden outside of the arena many times, this time was the first time that I left the property and ridden on a road. Because it was my first time, and Lucky's first time in a while, I rode in a western saddle so that I would be more secure. Safety is always most important!

 I lunged Lucky for a few minutes before I rode, like I always do. Then Laura and I rode around her property once before setting out on the road. We had to ride down the asphalt road a little ways before reaching the dirt road, but it is a small road and we didn't encounter any cars on the way to the dirt road.

 Throughout the ride, I mainly focused on getting Lucky to be forward and in front of my leg, something that is difficult for her. Before we even reached the dirt road, I began to fall behind. Laura waited for me this time, but for the rest of the ride I had to either stay beside Laura, or ahead of her. It was difficult. BB, who Laura was riding, has a very big, forward walk, while Lucky is just the opposite. I fell a little bit behind Laura quite a few times. Sometimes, when I asked Lucky to lengthen her stride to keep up with Laura, Lucky would shuffle forward in the jog instead. This is undesirable, because dressage horses shouldn't take short, shuffling strides. Laura told me that when trying to catch up, Lucky should take either large, marching walk strides or trot forward boldly, not jog. It was easier to keep up later on in the trail ride. Lucky enjoys being out on the trails, and began walking more forward. A few times throughout the ride, we trotted.
The beginning of the road

 I also worked on getting Lucky round by softly squeezing one of the reins to flex her, moving my hands toward the bit to give her a release whenever she became round. Periodically, Laura and I would allow our mounts to stretch. When we did this, we wouldn't just release the reins to full length. Instead, Laura told me to make sure Lucky was round first. Then, I would release the reins to the buckle, encouraging Lucky to stretch down. Though I can get a horse round for brief moments, I still can't keep them round for long. After a few strides of being round, Lucky would raise her head or get slightly behind the vertical. If Lucky got behind the bit, I added more leg. Adding more leg is usually the answer if anything goes wrong. Toward the end of the ride, I felt some of the moments when Lucky was about to come up, and flexed before she made that mistake.

 Though I was doing all this schooling throughout the ride, it was still exciting. I love being out of the arena, and so does Lucky. Being out of the arena is relaxing and fun, and there was always something exciting to look. We came across a herd of Haflingers and other horses in a pasture beside the road. There were even some ground squirrels and a rabbit. The trail that we took leads to the back part of Whiffletree Ranch, the ranch that the spring's driving show was at.

At one point, we came across a few barking dogs. Fortunately, Lucky didn't react to this at all. She is a very levelheaded horse, and in all the time I have ridden and worked with her, she hasn't once spooked. This makes her very reliable and safe on the trail, and I am very confident riding her on the trail.

 Not long after passing the dogs, we turned around. We didn't do much trotting on the way back. About halfway back, we stopped at the top of a ridge and beheld an amazing view of a large, golden, tree covered hill in the distance. We even saw a group of trees where Laura's house is and a teeny-looking mule in one of her fields. It was amazing how far away everything was, because it hadn't seemed like we had gone very far. It was a really exciting trail, and I can't wait to ride on the trail again.

7 comments:

  1. Congratulations on what sounds like a lovely trail ride! I love that your trainer has you school out there!

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    1. Thanks! She schools on the trails often so that her mounts get a break from repetitive arena work but still works on getting them round. It's fun to school on the trails, and helpful because there is more room.

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    2. Thanks! She schools on the trails often so that her mounts get a break from repetitive arena work but still works on getting them round. It's fun to school on the trails, and helpful because there is more room.

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  2. what fun!!! i love trail rides - they're so refreshing and are a great mental break for horses and riders :)

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    1. I enjoyed getting break from arena work.

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  3. that sounds like an excellent first outing! Congrats :)

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