Went on our first poker ride in nearby trails in a group of about 40 horses. It was great until the small group (of 3 riders) I was riding with decided to canter on ground (big field next to highway) that I was unfamiliar with. This grass field was alternately muddy, dry, wet, muddy, dry...and I wasn't really keen on cantering without knowing more about it the terrain. Unfortunately for me, they took off cantering, and my horse, not to be left behind jumped right in with them.
I could barely hold him and was not happy with how strongly he was pulling. I allowed him to canter for about 100 yards, but made him pull up to trot. Well, was he mad. He jigged, pranced, super slow cantered to keep moving forward, but eventually I got him down to a walk. By this time we are by ourselves because the rest of the group behind me realized WE (me and people in front) had taken a wrong turn, so they were no longer following us. Now my horse ground his teeth for the next 15 minutes, and we are alone in a network of trails trying to find these orange ribbons to indicate the direction of the ride. The good thing was that my horse was happy to keep moving forward no matter what wrong turn I took. The bad thing was that I had no idea of where I was or how to get back to the riding ring. You'd think it would be easy to hear one of 40 horses on the trail! Just when I'd given up and dismounted in the car parking area two horses came by who I recognized as poker trail riders. So it ended pretty well -- but my horse was covered in sweat from being so worked up.
Next time around we will keep to the rest of the group and avoid the people who want to run. I'm happy I didn't panic as it could have been worse.