I was, however, not meant to do trails.
So said my 6 year old trakenher Rico today
I took him out today-last day before the weather is supposed to turn to crap, and I was getting sick of riding in the arena. So first time he's been out since November. But we have SO much snow on the ground still, that I knew it was going to be deep and slushy, and would probably give him a work out in and by itself.
Rico on trails is a harrowing experience. He turns into a typical Trakehner-hot and spooky; the antithesis of what he generally is like in the arena. So I opted to invite my friend's horse (and my friend I suppose, but really, I just wanted her horse :P), C. C is a HUGE 17.3hh paint crossed with something gelding, who is almost bomb proof on trails. So climbed on Rico, went around to the side of the barn where, he took a look at the wide unknown, spun around and tried to book it back to the barn.
After THAT conversation (I say conversation, because it really was. He's not the type of horse that I can argue with. Instead I have to try to cajole him) and C coming back to get us, we managed to get on to the racetrack.
The snow is still about 8-9" deep, so does right to their knees. C, my soulmate of a horse, was plodding along, looking for grass. Rico, God love him (because sometimes no one else does) was doing a cross of passaging and "must fling myself as forawrd as I can!" and going "GOD! It's snow! I hate getting my hooves wet! EWWWW!" and trying to lift his legs as high as humanly possible. As a side note, if a horse moved undersaddle like they did in deep snow, the sport of dressage would be obliverated, because NO ONE could absorb that shock and hard movement from a large animal!
But about 15 minutes into it, my horse finally succumbed to exhaustion and started taking HUGE steps at the walk, deep and lifting his back. All was going well until we started nearing the barn. Where Rico thought it would be brilliant to try to bolt for home (after all, this was a traumatic experience for his small brain). He shot forward so quickly that I lost control. There's nothing else in the world that I hate more than when you feel you have no connection to the horse's mouth. I think its the control freak in me (or the bolt that resulted in a permenantly injured arm, whatever). I never feel secure unless I have some contact with the horse. Anyways, he shot forward, ran into C, who got surprised, and they both bolted up the hill. Our only saving grace was the deep snow, and my friend managed to get control of her horse. My Special Interest Kid however, starting piaffing. Brilliantly, might I add (and who knew he had it in him!), but piaffing none the less. And snorting. Let's not forget the snorting. We ended up piaffing almost 5 whole minutes before he would settle down enough to walk on a loose rein.
Came back to the barn, he was hot all over, but what really made me happy is that he was literally foaming at the mouth. Rico does foam when I get to his back and get him lifting his back, but usually only a little bit at a time, because I don't think he's ever TRULY through with me all the time. This time though, his back was so engaged and aside from the spooking and hotness, he felt amazing. Now if I could just get this without having to go through a freaking zomg-snow-i-hate-trail-rides-does-that-horse-want-to-eat-me ride before hand...
Overall though, it was a lovely day! :P