Sunday, March 22, 2015

Today Was a Good Day

Today was not an idealistic day. Today was an adventure. Today I got to spend time with some of my favorite beings in the world. Ok, so maybe today was an idealistic day.

Yesterday we went to an equestrian camp we've never been to. To ride on trails we'd never been on. Lillie (10) was going to ride Sasha on trail for the first time. When I made the reservations, the forecast was beautiful. 65. Sunny. What we got was anything from a drizzle to a steady rain. And about 58 degrees.

This morning, we talked about just hanging around camp and then heading back home. This morning, I wanted to be a wimp. I convinced myself it would be good for the horses to camp overnight and go home without being ridden. I didn't want to ride in the rain. I asked Lillie. Answer? "I want to ride." So ride we did!

We could have moved out after our customary 10 minute walking warm up. But Lillie was happy just walking on Sasha. Since this was their first trail ride together, I wanted it to be a good experience. Slow distance was just fine. After awhile, the trail turned where we had to walk anyway. Mud, rocks, twists and turns and ups and downs. And rain. Did I mention it was raining?

After a good long walk, we met up with Daniel who had driven out to walk some trails. After we saw him, the going got scary.

We ended up going down some cowboy trails (these were the official trails) that scared me. Deep, sucking mud and steep. Did I mention it was raining? Tanna was very solid and steady. But I was still scared. One slip and...whoops, don't think like that. Breathe. Sasha came sliding behind us. I coached Lillie on how to ask Sasha to tuck her rear end. I don't know if it worked. I couldn't spare much time to look back. Down at the bottom. Wow, up the other side. Ok, breathe, here we go. No, Tanna, you can't rush this; we have to walk. Go, baby, go. No, Lillie, don't let her past me. Make her walk. Good girl, Sasha. Whew, we made it! We agreed we did NOT want to do that again.

We headed down the trail. Soon after there was another similar section, but a lot shorter. Into a creek. Tanna refused to go further down the creek due to very slippery rocks and a drop down. He does not refuse me often. He will try his hardest for me. Sometimes I fail him. Today, I listened. He said no, so I agreed.

However, turning around meant going back the way we came. Back down the steep, muddy, long incline. And back up the other side. Lillie and I discussed it. We really had no option. So we took a deep breath (or several), adjusted our helmets and pointed our horses back the way we came. Did I mention it was raining? And I hate heights? Tevis (not that this compares to Tevis in any way shape or form) has never appealed to me because I hate heights. And Sasha had likely never seen this type of terrain anywhere? Protect us, Lord.

Over the side we went. Down, down, down. Tuck that rear end. Control the descent. But don't stop. Come on, little mare, you can do it. (What on earth would I do if she refused to follow Tanna??) We all reached the bottom in one piece. Deep breath, just have to get up that hill, then we're fine. Ok, let's go. Don't let her blast up, but keep her moving. Grab mane, center my weight, come on, Tanna, up, up. What a good boy. Come on, Sasha, keep coming, girl. Wahoo!!! The top!! We are done! Thank you, Lord! The rest is a cakewalk compared to that.

I think those hills would not be nearly as scary without the mud. Maybe I just need to go back and do them over and over until I'm no longer scared of them. Maybe in July. When it hasn't rained in 45 days.

Now, lots of you from all over the country will likely be laughing your heads off at my fear. Ok. That's ok. I'm not afraid to admit I was afraid. I am super duper pleased with my horses. Sasha could have quit on us. That was some hard stuff for her. She did stop once or twice on some of the easier sections, but we got her going again. I'm not sure I could have ridden her through that by myself. I believe she needed Tanna to help show her how to handle herself in that terrain. Tanna was great and used his body as a block to help control her descent. Now if she'd lost her footing, nothing to do about that, but he controlled the speed downhill and made her back off and not rush it. Rushing it would have been bad.

We were all happy to get back to the trailer. To dry clothes (coolers for the horses), good food and retelling of the events of the day. After all that, Lillie still says she wants to keep riding Sasha. It was a good day.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

It's been a long winter!

Hoping that now that daylight saving time has come, the good weather is not far behind!

We had a period of 3 weeks or more where we were pretty much home-bound. Nashville does not do ice and snow!

Sasha, the new mare, has settled in nicely. I did a 25 mile ride with her in November at Blackwater Boogie. She did really well for being a little mare just out of the hunter/jumper arena. That was maybe her 20th trail ride ever. She ate extremely well. I'm so used to Tanna being so picky, it's refreshing to have the mare almost knock me over to get to her food.

Tanna has been resting since his 100 mile attempt and seems ready to get back to work.