First time in 4 years for both me and my horse
I got a text from a friend to say she had a spare spot in her trailer for saturday for my horse if i wanted to take him trail riding.
It's been 4 years since i've been on a trail ride and almost 4 years since he's been anywhere near a trail. We're going to a little park with nice easy trails that's really close to where he's boarded (so if the worst comes to it and he won't get back in teh trailer i could walk him home) and we're going with 3 other people. Two experienced trail horses and one green horse. Phoenix could reasonably be called experienced as he was on the trails when i bought him; back then he was spooky, very green and liked to buck alot. Since then he's had 2 years off with back/hip issues and has been back in work for almost a year. I haven't taken him off the property to ride in that time.
It should be a good day, but i'm still pretty nervous. I had some bad times on this horse on the trails; i was never injured but he scared me a couple of times. He's matured alot since then and i think as long as he can remain calm he should be okay.
Any tips anyone can give me to calm my own nerves and make it an enjoyable day?
Does your horse ride better at home than he used to on trails? Sometimes the best way to start trail riding is with some very experienced trail horses. Some "been there done that" horses. If that's what you want to do (trail ride) then I'd say this is a perfect time to start.
he used to ride okay on the trails, he'd spook occasionally but he was only 5 at the time. At home he's the slowest horse in the world. Most of the time i wonder if he hasn't gone and died right under me.
He does great behind other horses, like he knows to switch to trail mode which i think will help him on Saturday if i can get him behind his buddy who is very good on the trails.
I think it's a good time to start too, the barn i'm at is trying to organize a camping trip with our horses and i'd like to at least get him out and about before that so it's not so much of a shock to him.
A tired horse is usually less interested in trouble. Could you give him a decent ride before he even gets in the trailer? I know you don't want to wear him out by the end of the day but I bet the trail ride itself will be pretty easy. If he's had a morning ride with a ton of trotting and cantering in the arena and has a full tummy of hay (during cooldown before trailering) he may be very content.
Keep up the conversation wit your friends and focus on the person with the green horse who may need your help. Whenever my confidence lags, helping another whose confidence is even worse than mine keeps me out of myself (my mind, I mean) Have fun, whistle and sing and breathe.
I had planned to ride him tonight then leave him turned out all night, then work him (probably lunge in side reins) in the morning before trailering; then when he gets out the trailer after i've tacked him up i'm going to lunge him again in the small pen they have at the park. This way if he's flighty after being trailered i can let him get out his sillies and get his attention back on me.
After i've worked him in the morning i'll be sure to give him hay when he's cooling out.
Good plan to watch the green horse. i'm hoping to be either at the back or the second from last horse since he does better there so i'll be able to see everyone.
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