Thanks for all the advise. Yes, the gradual conditioning sounds like solid advise. She was a herd/range horse for about 5 years before I bought her, so I think she figuered she was retired at 15.
But she is awesome. Very sensitive to everything around her. Always checking behind every tree and over every hill for prey. And then she will be always looking back at me....kinda like, "what's this guy doing on me? I'm supposed be back at home looking after the others". Ya, right, she just wants to come and go as she pleases, like she grew used to.
But everyone is surprised at her age, thinking she is far younger, because how good and alert she looks.
Another thing she seems to do alot is stumble. Like she is too bored to lift her feet...or too preoccupied with getting home...to concentrate on what we're doing. But like some have shared...I think it takes some consistent riding to get her back up to paying attention.
But yes, I am quite the worry-wart when it comes to my horses. I really try to feel and identify with what they're feeling or going through. I can get annoyed though, like, "wake up, girl ! Watch where you'e going!"
Yeah, the old-timers were pretty rough and tumble, weren't they. Us too...as kids...but thank God, those horses put up with us. Riding bareback...backwards...no halter...just jump on and go! Ha! Sad part is...I'm still trying to ride like that! Well, not quite.
Thing is, I left it for 35 years and just got back to it, so lots of lost time to make up. I'm trying!
But for the most part...it's been like "riding a bike" just back on and right where I left off...except with a lot more sensitivity and wisdom for the occasion. Never loved it so much now though.
Yes, the country here is awesome. Up north...Caynader! Kamloops BC. Finally got into the perfect trail riding area.