One of my barn buddies and her boyfriend were at the barn with me as we saddled up to go for our ride. Now we hardly matched. Nikki is a six year old OTTB. Clover, my barn buddy's horse, is a giant semi-clutzy Clydesdale, and Ginger, the horse her boyfriend was on is a 23 year old QH-cross. But regardless we've ridden countless times together, and each time is a blast.
So we decided to cross the road to the trails that aren't so muddy (spring has essentially ruined all our old trails for the next month or two). The trails on the other side of the road are made of a soft, gravelly sand. Perfect for galloping on.
And Nikki, being the off the racetrack thoroughbred that he is, was in complete agreement when I asked my two co-riders if they wanted to attempt a canter.
Clover's rider was in full agreement with the idea of a canter, but her boyfriend seemed less than enthusiastic about the idea. Nevertheless, Ginger is the kind of mare who takes care of her riders.
So I asked my lovely gelding for a canter and off he went in this smooth, rocking horse canter that we have been practicing for months now. No rushing, no charging, nothing. Clover came lumbering along behind. And Ginger brought up the rear with ears pricked and a most peculiar expression on her face. There was a light in her eyes that seemed unneccessarily mischievious.
But she behaved and when her poor rider called out "whoa!" we stopped in short time to walk off the canter.
Nikki was pricking his ears, excited to go again. So when we reached the end of the trail and turned around to go back I asked if my co-riders wished to canter again.
Clover's rider did, and Ginger's rider gave a less than enthusiastic nod.
So off we went. Nikki fired off like a shot, with Clover left far behind and Ginger just behind Clover, her head up in the air as she looked for a way around the too-slow Clyde. And when she got room to pass, she took it.
I have never heard a rider scream so loud. Ginger was flying! She quickly caught up to Nikki, who had been moving along easily until this point. But as soon as she drew to eye level with nikki his attitude changed.
She had triggered Race Mode in my OTTB. And Nikki's stride lengthened dramatically. He charged along beside Ginger. Ginger's rider continued to scream bloody murder, but Ginger wouldn't give an inch to my much younger, race-trained TB. She flattened her ears and began running faster. Nikki kept pace with her every step. And despite my best efforts to slow him down, he seemed to only be speeding up.
The Clydesdale was no where to be seen as our two horses barrelled along, Ginger's head level with her tail and Nikki blowing hard.
Then, as we rounded the final turn heading for the barn Nikki finally relented and began slowing down, allowing 23 year old Ginger to get ahead so that she, too, would start to slow down.
Her rider was visibly shaking, but Ginger had never looked happier. Her eyes simply gleamed. And she broke into a soft jig as Clover finally caught up.
Nikki too seemed to be eyeing the mare with new admiration, and perhaps something of his competitive nature. If Ginger were only ten years younger, I'd have loved to race her in earnest with my gelding. To see what kind of stuff she was really made of.
But for now I can only imagine what racing that mare would be like, for it hardly seems fair to actually race her now. Although I believe Ginger would give her all to any speed contest. She really is a wonderful mare.
And her rider has sworn that he will only ever ride her. For although he screamed the WHOLE time, she strayed neither a step left or right and made no attempt to rid him of her back.
All in all, it was a great ride, and very entertaining to say the least.