, those turkeys are so interesting. We don't have wild turkeys around here for some reason. I've read that Ben Franklin thought the turkey was more courageous and a better role model for people than the bald eagle, which scavanges and steals from other birds.
, Hero is looking fantastic - great muscling and muscle definition, weight spot on, shiny, bright - it's lovely to see a horse in great condition!
Thank you, I appreciate hearing that. I'm very strict (maybe obsessed) with keeping the animals to a good weight, as I think you are too.
Today we went to the state park and did an 8 mile ride. We met up with a rider on her poor paint horse, and I say poor because she was not as fit as our horses but yet stayed right with us, and was as game as they come. Cheyenne's rider was watching out for her, and the little horse seemed to handle the ride well.
The ride started out with two miles of winding dune trails, then two miles of wider trails through the woods. Then we went out to the beach, took a faster pace back two miles and then finished the last two miles back on the winding trails again.
I gave Nala a push to get her in the trailer, but Hero jumped right in eagerly. He's a great loader so far. As we drove, the horses were quiet (only a 15 minute ride), and Nala's rider said the horses had probably trailered many more miles than either of us had. Nala raced in New Orleans, went to California, and then up here. Hero was born in Washington, raced in Arizona, and then came back here.
When we got out at the parking area, there were other horses there too. Hero was a bit hot to start out, but manageable, just jiggy/joggy and a bit sideways. He sweated for the first ten minutes and made faces at Cheyenne behind him. He wanted to look back at her, but also couldn't quite figure out how to stay in the narrow trail groove. A lot of the time his hind end came out and was off the trail.
The other horses were saddled when we got there and headed out a few minutes before us, but we soon caught up and asked if we should pass, which the other riders agreed to since we were going much faster.
The trails were beautiful, shady in spots and out of the wind. We came across a big elk herd, which crossed the trail a hundred yards in front of us uneventfully. Hero's heart was pounding so hard I could feel it between my legs but he stood quietly and waited for them to head off.
On the beach it was very windy, the sand was great and Cheyenne's rider was willing to go faster with us. We cantered for at least a mile, and at four miles into the ride, Hero was able to pick up the canter smoothly. He loved it! Nala went ahead but Cheyenne stayed right on his tail and for once he was the fastest. He stretched out finally, far and went faster than he has with me. I just let him go for awhile because he felt stable and not about to buck. Eventually I felt him take a big breath as he tired, and I was able to take hold of him and let Cheyenne pass. Right when she went by he did a goofy gallop to protest, then slowed after several strides for me. When I slowed him, the others slowed ahead.
Hero is getting fun to ride. Whenever he felt insecure he'd look to Nala for guidance. He's such a more solid build than Nala.
His 11th birthday was Sunday, and I realized he's still younger than my other two horses were when I got either of them. It's great to feel like we may have a lot of time together, and especially I'm happy that he is feeling so strong and capable. I felt today like his hind end issues were less than 10% of what they were when I first started with him. He kicked out a couple times, and had a wobble/slip out back there twice. Other than that, he was handling the narrow trails, the hills, the deep sand and all just fine.
During the last two miles, we put Hero in front (Nala had been leading before) and he not only figured out how to stay in the narrow trail groove, he really enjoyed taking charge and leading the other two horses. I let him trot out and he was zooming around the tight corners, taking cues from where I was looking when he couldn't see the path. It was some great teamwork.
The only problem Hero has is that he believes he cannot back out of the trailer. I tried and tried, but finally just let him turn around. It's a tight squeeze in a straight load, but he can just make it.
Nala did something very silly which I'd never seen before. When we got home, she was still tied but tried backing and hit the butt chain. Instead of crouching or going forward again, she sat on the chain and lifted her hind legs off the ground. This popped the chain, it dropped, and then she just stood up, tested to make sure she was tied again, and then just walked forward and waited to be untied. She is very tricksy sometimes. It was quite hilarious seeing her sitting on the chain like she was a kid on a swing or something. Makes me wonder if she's done things like this before during her miles of travels...