So, summer is a hot one right now and Takoda and I have had some excellent adventures so far. Several more trail rides and some arena time with friends and their own new ponies :)
Soooooo happy right now with barn life and all that goes along with it.
Other new stuff we have done includes working toward bridge crossing - have done so from the ground twice (well, across then back and then again cross then back) - so four times for real? He tried to rush it but didn't totally freak out. We'll keep working at this before we do it under saddle.
Baths. LOL. Started this out rather slowly because I don't think he ever encountered a hose in his life before he met me. First just the feet on the "mist" setting. Then the feet and legs. Then upwards, getting the chest too and then the shoulders, neck and we even added some shampoo to the mix... These were all in separate sessions. Finally this week we got to the whole body with the hose and today a quick bath including washing the tail. Water is not the Devil, see?
We are working on leading on the trail. He is not a natural leader. If he is second in line, he is cool "You show me" seems to be his motto. Now, if he is familiar and knows where he is going he might pick up the lead for a bit. But, his confidence needs building and we gotta work on it because we ride with all these bitchy mares and some days they feel like leading and others they just don't. LOL.
We are working to understand that the back side of the barn does not consist of the end of the world where pigs fly and have fangs or the entire bottom of the world will fall out and into a black hole... Jeez. Damn horses have some crazy ideas.
He is filling out nicely. The farrier was impressed from last visit to this one. Getting some nice muscle and his coat is looking much more sleek. He has a lovely coloring of some sort of cross between sort of flea bitten and a promise of dapple. It is the oddest thing and most decidedly different. Sam has promised us a photo shoot.
So, it is hot, I have a healthy horse, he has pasture friends and life is good. People tease me about how he is the horse equivalent of one of Angelina's adopted kids having gone from standing in a field, to catching a horse trader's eye, to getting personal feed bags made everyday and fresh carrots whenever mom walks into the barn.
So, yesterday, through a field that looks an awful lot like this one, into a woods that looks an awful lot like...
You get the picture. Yesterday Takoda and I went on our very first trail ride together! Unless you count the brief one we took at Danny's the day I went to check him out way back in February.
So, the ladies at the barn have been itching to get me out there. Most of them use the arena as a poor weather alternative to what they really like to do which is hit the trails. I have been nervous about the whole prospect. I've never walked the trails to see what we were in for and while Koda did very well when I took him out at Danny's I certainly don't know him as far as properly assessing his reactions to things like water crossings, narrow paths, limbs, rocks, etc... On the other hand, this is why I bought a horse actually. I have spent several years going around in circles in an arena and I really just wanted a friend to ride through fields and on trails at this point in my life.
So, with promises it would be a short, simple ride, off we went!
Well, it wasn't short (probably an hour) and I would not qualify it as "simple" by any means but I was amazed at my horse. So amazed that I was fairly speechless on the subject until we were back at the barn even though all three of my companions were saying things like - you picked a helluva trail horse my dear! Or, I hope this is what you bought him for because he is A.TRAIL.HORSE.
First of all, there were several water crossings. And the last one was just shy of belly deep. I have never been in water that deep on a horse. It was an odd sensation and Takoda was a champ. You could tell he was slightly like - WTF? - but he kept plodding along without any snorting or thoughts of turning back. He did this with everything. Our creeks here are rock bottomed. Meaning there are rocks of every size and shape so the footing isn't always perfect. Plus we were third in line so sometimes after the first two horses the bottom wasn't visible. He would look at the water intently and was careful about stepping, but step he did and through we would go. Only a couple of times did he do something I would question, like he moved over to the steeper part of one creek entrance, because it was dry I think, to step off.
Second the woodsy part of the trail (lots of it is in the forest) was muddy in several places, lots of branches, narrow and winding. He was chill throughout and watched where he was stepping quite well. We saw a huge black snake and he didn't even flinch. We jumped a deer and he just walked on. Then he spooked at a log. LOL. BUT, he spooked in place and when I patted him and said, "you are OK" he went right back to work.
We returned to the barn pretty damn happy campers and when I cleaned him up and turned him out he was one tired beast. I think we have found what he is good at AND likes to do!
In Loving Memory
...of the first horse to hold my heart