May 27 & 28, 2015
Work is slowing down a bit and I took a couple of mornings to spend some time with the girls one-on-one. First Faygo then Khaleesi.
Faygo and I rode about 8 miles on my “power line” trail- we left the barn around 9am and though it was still the “cool of the morning” and I had on lightweight long sleeves, it was humid and she struggled breathing while climbing the mountain. It was a nice ride without much agenda and I remember how much I love riding Faygo- and how much I love her new saddle. She is such a fantastic horse- I hate that warm/humid weather is so hard on her. I got off and walked a good part of the road next to her.
Khaleesi’s first solo ride last week was very short. We trailered up the road and then rode the couple miles back to the barn where Faygo was waiting. This ride we saddled up and rode out away from the barn to do a short loop (about 5 miles) and work on some briar removal/trail maintenance.
I was prepared for some argument. I was mentally ready to force her to go with me leaving the herd behind and I even made sure I had an extra lead rope in case I needed to work her from the ground to get an attitude adjustment. I intended to take a little crop just in case I needed to get her attention… Either fortune favors the prepared or my tiny incremental steps are so small that she doesn’t even notice anymore when we do something new… But she walked right out of the with me like it was something we do all the time.
Not only did she walk out with me willing and happy, but we opened the first gate together (it’s awkward and heavy so I got off to close this one), and when we went off-trail to climb to the lookout and catch my short trail, she went exactly where I wanted like her power steering is starting to kick in. Here’s a little video footage of us climbing up the side of the mountain off trail:
And I had to post this little gem as well- I couldn’t believe how beautiful the laurel blooms are right now up here. I don’t remember seeing them like this in years past in this spot. It was a gorgeous view today!
I was able to ride her one-handed and clip back trees and bushes often holding onto her neck and reaching off-balanced for some pretty low briars with no trouble, and she had no problem standing patiently while I cut a downed limb as well. I was able to get up and down and more times than not she is standing still for me to mount. There were a couple times that she wasn’t convinced I knew where we should go and she stopped and even backed up a bit, but calmly keeping her head pointed the way we needed to go and insistently kicking her on after a brief pause for her to think it over- she went right on.
I’ve always enjoyed riding Faygo alone- just the two of us. It gives you both the ability to focus on the relationship and truly pay attention to each other. I am glad to have started that with Khaleesi and on the right hoof too. It was downright boring in terms of new ground to cover in our training and for the blog- but the ride was uneventful and pretty. I have two great mares- and also a great horse support group. I have to say thanks to Judy, Kate & Madge who gave me lots of opportunities to ride the girls together so she had a good trail riding base before we went out alone! Also I appreciate all the ideas, examples, help and mentoring from my horse women- Nancy, Carrington & Karin especially!
Khaleesi has been showing good potential to be my AERC partner – hopefully for many miles and years to come!