Wednesday, January 5, 2011

More Time on the Trails...........

Part 1

That old radiator was not the only thing that Dandy took a good look at on that ride. With all the storms we've been having there were lots of fallen trees, broken limbs and such blocking up the previously pristine trails. It didn't matter if the obstacles were simple one log things or criss-crossed variations, Dandy carefully looked at each before maneuvering his way through. While the horse was cautious about all these obstacles across his path, the horse was never resistant. It was clear the horse was looking for the best place to put his feet so he didn't slip or become entangled.

Legs looks at things too but he's been on these trails a whole lot more than Dandy. The stallion knows where things are and should be and is used to variations after windstorms and such. While Legs looks at everything he crosses, he doesn't get his head to his knees often. There was clearly a difference between the two brothers.

Legs was a bit naughty on an early portion of the ride. Against the far boundary of the park there is a small horse farm. Legs has smelled and viewed those horses enough he thinks they should be part of his herd by now. Having not seen them for a while (and it does not hurt that one is a mare), the stallion blared out a call as we got near their paddocks. All three horses came running up to great us and Dandy and lytha just kept moving on down the trail away from these horses.

Of course, Legs was immediately in big trouble. I know if I didn't correct him for such a transgression, the next time we got anywhere near this location, he'd be taking charge and trying to go visit the three quarter horses. To make sure that didn't happen I not only made sure Legs knew he'd done wrong but each time we got near them, I bridled the horse up with his head tipped away from their location and made him move laterally off my leg. There's nothing like hard work to put a horse's brain back in his head.

As I've said before these trails in the back portion of the park have three main wide paths that run parallel to each other the length of the woody portion. Then the width of this plot there are two wide paths at each end. Criss-crossing back and forth across there is a myriad of narrow, single-file type paths that give the trail it's ability to stay interesting in such a small area.

To better locate these smaller paths and keep us from going around in boring circles, I took the lead with Legs letting lytha follow behind on Dandy. Neither horse cared about the change and lytha really could have deserted us to explore on her own with Dandy. The horse would have been just fine being out there on his even knowing a stablemate was somewhere in the vicinity.

As we wormed our way through the brush and trees of these narrower pathways, there were lots of places a rider could get into trouble on a resistant horse. Trees close together with the pathway running between them would be a perfect place for a naughty horse to rub its rider off or jam the riders leg into a tree.

The twisting turning paths require a limber supple horse utilizing lateral movements to make many a turn. The topography changes enough that the horses backs and hind quarters get worked as well with enough ups and down and even a steep grade or two to really heat a horse up if you wanted to.

I don't really think much about the complexity these trails can be. For me I think any trail horse should be able to maneuver such things easily but I must admit that is based upon the premise the horse is willing and has been taught to do such things.

I didn't really think about this ride like it was any big deal or some kind of test about what my horses know. To me it was just a simple trail ride I was trying to keep from being mundane or boring, not an easy thing to do on about five acres of land so I was utilizing every little trail and twist and turn I could think of to make the ride interesting for both the riders and the horses.

Lytha was following close enough behind me we were able to talk pretty well. I could hear her exclaim after we'd navigated through some tight brush or close trees that Dandy didn't "even" bang her leg into the tree or hang her up on a shrub. I must admit the horse's behavior didn't surprise, it was lytha's expectation that he might do otherwise that did. I was a little baffled that she was so pleased with something I take for granted.

Once I started to get cold, I checked with lytha to see how she was doing. Although she wasn't wearing near the number of layers I was, she wasn't cold at all but she did say that if I was ready to quit that was fine with her. I looked at my watch to see what was left of the daylight and decided it was probably best for us to head back for the horse trailer.

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

Wrapping Up Lytha's Visit

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  1. both good boys! and what a cool thing to be able to go for a ride together! So pleased that it went well, all you need now is a visit from Sister A

  2. Sounds like you had a great time - It's so reassuring when the horses are as well behaved on the trail as they are in the arena. Good way to start the new year!

  3. How fun! How nice of you to let Lytha ride one of your horses. Sounds like everything went well.

  4. I am interested in Legs' stallion behaviour, which I am familiar with. I do love trail rides. I have always felt that they are the best way to develop mutual trust between horse and rider. Far better than any fancy groundwork or arena work.


  5. Sounds like a good ride. I know plenty of people who would be thrilled to have 5 acres to ride in.


  6. FernValley, funny you sound mention Sister A, I was actually wondering if she was going to grace us with her presence that day.

    Victoria, you're right about it being reassuring to have horses that are good where ever they are takenn.

    Ms Martyr, the entire visit was great fun.

    poniesathome, Legs doesn't exhibit stallion behavior often especially with a rider on his back. I can probably count on one hand the number of times he's ever done this. This ride happened to be one of those unusual times, but as I said, if it wasn't corrected the door is certainly open to experience it again.

    Dan, don't get me wrong, I am thrilled to have this park to ride. However, in this area there are lots of forrests and national parks with miles and miles of trails that make this little area look very small. I am not familiar enough with those other trails to be taking anyone on trail rides there. I think lytha actually used to ride some of those places when she lived in this state.

  7. Sounds like a wonderful ride. I think whenever I ride someone else's horse, I worry if I will know its buttons. It is a wonderful treat to ride a well trained horse that adjusts to any rider. Dandy sounds like a dandy!

  8. This series of posts has been awesome! It was a treat to see a review of each of your horses through Lytha's eyes and yours. I really enjoyed the review of all your lovely horses. I have read both of your blogs for a long time, and was so happy for Lytha to hear that she visited you - I KNEW that she would be thrilled to visit with you and your horses (her post reflects what a wonderful visit she had with you). I wish you two would have had more time together - I bet you two could have talked for a long time. . . Anyway, I am glad that you two met, and thank you for the wonderful description of your visit together.