Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Adventures for Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses at the St Jude's Children's Hospital Ride Part 2

Part 1

From the time Rachel went to get on the older Arabian horse, he was upset about something. He didn't want to stand still for her to mount and he didn't want to just walk along. The horse was on the muscle all the way across the gun club land heading up to the tie in with the Capital Forest trail system.

If you've never marked trail or ridden an organized ride before, markers are placed singly at regular intervals along the trail always on the right. Turns are marked by three markers together on a single branch.

Personally I like to mark three markers also on the selected new trail at a turn. That way there is not a question that this is the new route. Also, I tend to hang markers closer together than most people. That's probably because I'm so insecure about where I am. I don't want any doubt that I'm on the right trail.

Most of the horses and people in the group had never marked trail before so there was some confusion getting the first flags in place. The riders weren't sure what they were supposed to be doing and the horses weren't sure why they were being pushed close to the brush.

It would have been nice if Rachel could have hung some flags in the beginning to show everyone but Dandy was having none of co-operating either. The very beginning of the excursion was laughable with horses whirling around, riders diving at the swiftly passing branches trying to grab them with an open close pin.
Timing is everything when hanging flags and no one had any!
Wish I could have gotten pictures but things were moving too fast. I didn't want to be part of the entertainment so I kept Legs backed off from the confusion. Since we'd just started our ride he was impatient and got in a bit of trouble for pawing his displeasure. But other than that he was listening and staying out of the way of the other riders milling around the target bushes.

Once we got past the beginning markers on the gun club property, most of the horses and riders were beginning to get the hang of the routine. The two pinto horses with our guides were leading the way followed by Lille with the two young girls she's taken under her wing, then Rachel on Dandy with me on Legs bringing up the rear.

The one pinto horse while a seasoned trail horse was just not happy about markers being placed from off her back. By the time we turned from the gun club onto the Capital Forrest land, the rider had given up on trying to place markers at all. So at least Dandy wasn't the only naughty horse on the ride.

At different places along the route, Lilli and her two charges changed around their order in the single file progression. Whenever Lilli would get behind both girls placing her right in front of Dandy, the big gelding would settle down.

All I could think was the previous two times we had done rides here, Lilli had ridden this black mare and I had ridden Dandy. They had done these trails together about a half dozen times before. Whatever was bothering him, he was more comfortable with her close by.

During the times when the Arabian mare wasn't close, Dandy would go to jigging again. I tried to give Rachel instruction on how to get his mind off the surroundings and on to her but it was not working. She kept insisting she was doing what I was telling. She got so defensive she was no longer taking in information so I decided to just let her figure it out on her own. A couple of times I thought she might get dumped but she didn't.

Marking 8 miles of trail took us almost three hours. By the time we headed back towards the campgrounds, Dandy was a sweaty mess. He had heated up and cooled down maybe three or four times over the course of the ride but for some reason getting closer to camp he was sweating up again.

Again I tried to help Rachel get his mind back on her but again she just wasn't getting it. Once we got back into camp, I took the horse and headed him back towards the trails hoping he would act up for me so I could fix it. Of course, he was as good as gold. But I did make him walk slower than slow back towards the other horses just to be sure he understood who was setting the pace.

Once back to the horse trailer, I had Rachel get back on the Arabian horse. I had worked him on what some would call a one rein stop with a slight modification. You see, Dandy can run through a one rein stop just as slick as a whistle. If you don't close the door with the outside rein, there is no stopping him.

I wanted Rachel to understand this before the ride the next day. I walked her through the instructions first with the horse at a stand still so I could help her with her rein position and pressure if needed. Once she had that, I sent her off in a small circle where things fell apart. I tried to explain only to get an assortment of faces from Rachel. I asked her what was going on. Her response stated quite loudly was, "I don't want to be here!"

To be continued.............


  1. Oh..no.."doesn't want to be there"? Dang...I've have given my right leg and left arm to have been given the opportunity to do what you guys did! My goodness...she's one lucky girl. ((HUGS!!)) to you and I hope things turn for the better after this point!

  2. Wow! There's nothing more unsettling to me than a jiggy horse on the trail. Then my inscurity makes them more jiggy, then I get more insecure, etc. Sometimes I wish horses were not so in tune with us :) Sometimes it's great that they know what I'm thinking. Sometimes it's VERY bad!

    I hope things turned out okay!

  3. Nothing worse then a jiggy horse on a trail ride. It's exhausting for them and for the rider. Never know what's going through their heads do we?! Hope everything turned out okay!! :o)

    The vet said that Buddy can be out on the pasture a good part of the day now! Yippee!! It has rained so it has softened things up a bit so will be easier on his feet. I'm still playing it cautious though and just put him in the ring with the nice sand with a flake of hay to keep him happy. He was out for about 5 hours and I think that's a good start.

  4. Oh dear, teenagers you gotta love them too LOL.

    I have a 25 year old daughter but we are "estranged", that is a whole nother story, and know what attitudes and teenagers are like big time.

    I hope you managed to sort this problem out, she was obviously communicating her discontent to Dandy which is why she had such a jiggy ride.

    I would also give me left leg and arm to go on a nice trail ride.


  5. equinespirit, I'm with you, it's hard for me to imagine a horse crazy kid doing some of the things that Rachel has done lately.

    julia, I've never really had trouble with jiggy horses before but obviously have been on rides with people who have and I know how much the rider can contribute. Rachel definitely was behind the jigging of this horse because she was so resentful of having to be there. In this case, I think she probably got what she deserved. Her being mad really upset her horse, he was afraid of her. It tells me a lot about her riding and how she is erroding trust with her horse. This is such a solid horse, I didn't know anyone could do that to him.

    midlife mom, glad to hear that buddy is doing better. I'm sure that's a relief.

  6. lori, sometimes I feel the same way, my left arm and a leg to go, but I'm such a chicken about getting lost I don't go often enough to learn my way around. Sure would like to change that.