Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Lesson #3, on the trail...

Had our 3rd lesson this morning. I pull in with Grace, take her to round pen and trainer comes out. "Tack her up, I'll saddle Lou, we're going on the trails!"  I knew as soon as she said Lou that he'd be my mount. He's a good ol boy, been there, done that steady kind of guy. The perfect horse to take both for Grace and for me if things didn't go well.

Grace was on high alert & on edge starting out, actually pretty much the entire ride sadly. We go between two horse properties, past trailers, open barn doors, signage, horses turned out on both sides of us, she was taking it all in anxiously. Grace checked back a few times to get a read on Lou's response. He's just "la, la, la, another day at the office. 
As we were about to hit the corner of a cornfield that leads into the woods, I spotted several deer coming out. One stood watching us, the others went just out of sight. I could see just the tail of one, so knew they weren't moving on. Trainer opted to change course just in case as Grace who was still tense wouldn't handle it well. While Grace didn't do anything wrong, she certainly wasn't the mare I'd tried when I bought her. Trainer asked me this as we moved along. She did finally begin to relax, then we came to an oil well, again nothing wrong, just very worried. We decided to stay on the paths at the edge of the woods and fields rather than thru the woods.   

Plenty to test both horses. You can't see them in the pix, but the Nexxus pipeline people have flagged posts driven in all along part of our route. As they've just gone in, even Lou was pretty looky at them. At the end of this private lane we come to the main road. We rode alongside the hay field about 10ish feet from the road.  Grace again was anxious, but didn't do anything wrong. Trainer did keep her on a tighter rein constantly here as she said it felt like Grace wanted to jump the ditch and into the road. The only spook we had was at the first flagged post flapping in the breeze. 
Once back at the barn we cooled them out riding around the circular barn drive. Grace wasn't thrilled with a flapping American flag so we rode past it several times. 
Then trainer decides we'll go in the arena, you enter the barn thru a narrow hallway with a bulletin board with flapping papers, then straight into the arena. I'd warned her that I didn't believe Grace had ever been in an arena. Grace was very iffy in the hallway, I kept Lou well back just in case and told trainer she had bigger balls than I. She didn't push Grace, just took it a step at a time. Once Grace did back out, and Grace doesn't back in saddle!  Trainer kept at it, suddenly all the horses stalled on both sides called out. That's all it took, Grace figured if there were horses inside she could do it and in she went!  So, we all walked about the arena allowing Grace to get comfortable again, even checking herself out in the arena mirror. 
We dismounted, traded horses, I led Grace out the the round pen to untack her...

Talk about wet saddle blanket rides!  She was covered with sweat, luckily we have a morning lesson. Though, Lou wasn't nearly as sweaty, my guess is her nerves were the main sweat producer. The jury is still out on her being a keeper, not that I don't want her to be. She's so wonderful on the ground, but sigh, perhaps not the most suitable mount for me 🙁. Trainer is suspicious like I now, that she'd at the very least had the crap rode out of her the day I went to see her and brood mare had been her main focus in life. 
Disclaimer here; Anytime you see at non helmet rider, know it's not me!  

Another topic, Lincoln is now an official three year old AND today was his first day of preschool. He walked in like he owned the place lol. Animals really do instill confidence...

He and his bestie Theo❤️


  1. Your instructor was really putting her to the test by making her lead. That was a lot of exposure for a first outing. If I were you I'd be thinking that's as bad as she'll get, she'll only get better with more exposure. If you care to go through all that.

    Sorry she's not the horse that was advertised. How awful, did you say they put "confidence builder" in the ad? The horse you rode, Lou, sounds like one.

    That sure is a lot of strings on your saddle. I'm thinking of all the things I could tie with them: )

  2. True, she could've been a whole lot worse. Have to miss next weeks lesson, has me really bummed. Maybe it'll rain and I won't mind so much. Love my trainer, she's experienced with gaited horses, her main ride is a fox trotter. She also teaches 4H, giving her the patience of a saint. She also reads horses very well. And yes Grace was listed as a confidence builder in all capital letters! And she was when I first tried her, I mean we did a trail ride even! Lou is a huge confidence builder, even at 16 +hh, you know you're in good hands. My trainer loves all my strings too, says they're awesome for desensiting. Sadly, the saddle will go up for sale if I keep Grace. It's designed for a wider horse, so if she stays and I hope she does, the saddle goes.

  3. First time on a trail in a strange place with a new to her rider (well slightly new). She did pretty good. Whether you keep her or not, all that you are doing with her is great.

  4. Love the comment about the helmets. Such a shame she isn't the girl you thought you had got. Maybe she will come round to your way of thinking I do hope so.