Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Reva's First Trail Ride

This has been a huge year for Miss Reva!  I knew she would be a good mare, but I am very surprised at how well we have done so far at her first two horse shows.  She has been super well behaved and sensible, just as she is at home.  It is NOT about the ribbons, but how exciting to actually win them!  LOL!

I have been hoping to get her out and about on the trails, but seeing as I keep the horses at home, I am always alone.  I trust her MUCH more than most 5 year olds, but I am still not crazy enough to ride her off into the woods on my own.  So I was pretty excited when my friend Tania invited me along on a trail ride this past Sunday, June 5.  It would have been easy to just bring Dreamy, who rides along on the buckle and doesn't bat an eye, but I knew it would be a great opportunity to take Reva out into the great outdoors!

We left from Tania's father and stepmother's house, which was just a short 5 minute trailer ride from my farm.  Reva was pretty surprised to show up in yet ANOTHER strange place in the space of a month, but she was very good.  

Within the first few moments of the ride, we had to step over a small water crossing.  It was maybe a foot across, and the water was MAYBE 4 inches deep.  Nothing serious at all.  We were behind the other three horses, so I figured Reva would just follow them.  

NOPE.  She stood there with her feet planted.  She obviously wanted to be with her buddies just over the water, but she was not quite sure about the water.  Hmmmm....she wasn't being BAD she was just completely baffled and having a baby moment.  I blissfully assumed that she was so sensible she would just follow other horses when it came to water.  

I was just about to dismount to lead her over, but I was hesitant only because it is VERY difficult for all 5 feet of ME to get on all 16.3 hands of HER without a mounting block!  LOL!  Just as I was about to get down, Tania's stepmother Angie dismounted her (14 hand) horse to help me out.  That was super nice of her.  And of course, as soon as Angie was at Reva's head, she walked right over the water without an issue. 


There was another water crossing just up the trail, but this one was more like a small stream.  Hmmmm....Reva watched the other horses go over, and Tania's dad Craig kept his steady gelding halted right in the middle to give Reva confidence.  It worked well; she reached down to sniff the water, gave the gelding a look, and walked right through.  It was great. 

Further down the trail there was a HUGE puddle and I am proud that Reva marched right through it without blinking an eye.  Good trail horse!  LOL!

Yay good mare!  She totally needs a new ear net thingy....this one was a hand-me-down from Dreamy and it is really too small for Reva's big trotter ears!  LOL!
On the way back, she did all three water crossings without any hesitation or worry.  I love that you can show her something once and she will do it again without issue.  I think Reva is sensible because she is a thinker.  It is not like every time she saw water it was like the first time, as some horses do.  Instead it is as though she remembers and thinks..."Oh this is just water like last time.  No big deal."  


There were parts of the trail ride that were open and smooth, while there were other parts that were hilly and overgrown (sometimes both).  At one point we lost the trail and had to "bushwhack" through the undergrowth.  Plus, there were HUGE trees that had come down in last summer's wind storm that blocked the trail, so we often had to make our own path around them to get back to the trail. 


Reva was super!  She marched along quite happily for a while in the back of the group, then third to last, and then up in the front behind Tania's horse Otis.  She definitely felt safe be being with the other horses and took her cues from them....except when Otis was bucking and cantering in place in front of her!  LOL!  Thank goodness she just kept marching along at the walk, unfazed by Otis' tantrums.  

Happily following Otis...
There was only one moment when she had a big spook when we were bushwhacking a trail...we were sort of in the back and the three horses in front of us were going in separate directions.  I was deciding which area would be easiest for us and in that split second she got nervous.  I almost think she felt like everyone was leaving her, even though they were only feet away from us.  It was sort of tight quarters with the bushes around us and she jumped up.  It was sort of like a shy in place.  She was a good girl though.  I steadied her and kept her going forward.  As soon as she realized everything was OK, she was back to her sensible self.  I was pleased to see that even though she startled herself, she was able to come right back to a good place mentally.  Sometimes horses can get spooked or upset by something and they can't come back down.  But she was so good!  And there was one spot when something (we think a deer?) jumped out of a bog out to our right, but other than the normal quick "What-was-that?" shudder, she was fine.

I will say that Reva was a tired pony!  We were out for 2 hours, all at a walk, but you could tell she slept well that night.  She woke up with shavings all over her head, an indication that she really stretched out in her stall!  LOL!  


A big thank you to Tania, her dad Craig, and her stepmother Angie.  They were a lot of fun to ride with and helped give Reva a great first introduction to trail riding!  Hopefully we will get to do it again this summer!  :-D

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