Encouraging the Walk.

A day back in December, a barnmate and I found ourselves tacking up almost at the same time.  I looked to her, she looked at me, and we both suggested a trail ride.  We'd found out earlier that our ponies were quite compatible on the trails, in that Archie gets to lead and her horse is encouraged to walk slightly faster than his normal gait.  Since then, we've met every Sunday at roughly the same time, though it's technically completely unplanned.

The first few trips, we walked until the dirt road across the street dead-ended, then turned around and came back.  In the beginning, Archie was prone to spook randomly and needed a little contact on the return, so as not to lose his head.  Nowadays, we can go an entire walk without spooking and we do the whole thing on the buckle.  He takes his leading job very seriously.

Freaking loves this.
After a few times of going straight back and doing a u-turn, I asked if we could do any of the deviations.  I know that the barnmate knows these trails soooo much better than me.  She's spent a lot of time back there.  The weekend before last, we took a few turns and I was just amazed at Archie.  He's never been the best or boldest trail horse and suddenly he's marching off onto places unknown with just a little squeeze from me.  We even went through a little marsh water, which was higher than had been expected due to recent rains.

Standing water in the marshland is actually scarier than you might think.  There was about a hundred feet of random pools.
Muddin'

Gonna start wearing his fancy open-fronts instead.
While our kids are walking, the barnmate and I just cut the shit.  Talk about movies, men, ponies.  She commented on how impressed she was with Archie (he miiiiiight have a reputation) and I replied, "I'm actually allowing my horse to excel."  Sorry you won "bat shit crazy" in the owner lottery, but at least I love you.



I think those little deer feeder things are cheating.



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13 comments

  1. What a beautiful ride! I wish I could do some truly unscripted trail riding. And isn't cutting the shit what those rides are supposed to be for?

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  2. Your trails look so cool! Glad you have someone to enjoy them with.

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  3. Looks like a gorgeous place to ride!

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  4. i love the pics and am jealous of all your trail explorations! we pretty much just have the same few loops that we all know back and forwards now...

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  5. That's the one thing my barn lacks--great trails. My horses need some major trail time. They'd be spooking too:) Looks like so much fun!

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  6. I want to go on trail rides! There are some trais at my barn but they are on a hill and I don't want to die. I'm hoping I'll eventually make friends that will know where there are places to haul to.

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  7. Go Archie! I love those ears. It's hard for some ponies to hack about all brave, glad he figured it out.

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  8. Gorgeous trails! And so exciting that Archie is getting to grow into a bold, brave leader!

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  9. Hell yeah those feeders are cheaters, I'm currently perusing the protective boot market for something that wicks or dries quickly, prob have to find some xc ones. Poor boy has gotten a couple scrapes on our last few outings.

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  10. I'm so happy you're getting to enjoy your trails with a buddy and a calm horse and that Archie is being so awesome for it! Once they realize they aren't going to die, a lot of horses end up loving trail riding. :D

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  11. This past year I started to ask my trail riding buddies to let Sydney and I lead a lot more. She can be a bit of a stinker sometimes (spooking at dumb stuff that doesn't bother her at all when she is following), but I think it really helps build rider and horse confidence.

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  12. Yay Archie, sounds like he's taking a leaf out of Kika's book from our hack in the summer. She was never so good before nor since the day you visited us.
    Please come back!!!!!

    (She's not bad nw but she was exemplary that day)

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