Yesterday we went over to the Ganaraska Forest for a ride. I took Dressy. Misha brought Diego, and Brooke came along too. As we were driving down Porter Road towards the forest, I dropped Brooke off. And she walked into Chrystal’s place. They rode Chrystal’s two mares down the road to meet us at the parking lot. Brooke was on Miss T, the little super Morgan. Chrystal was on Grace.
Wendy and Tracey also rode to meet us. At the parking lot, Wendy, Tracey, and Misha went off together to ride. I rode back up Porter Road on Dressy to meet Chrystal and Brooke. Dressy was a bit concerned that the her little herd had left her, so she was very relieved to see Grace and Miss T come over the highway overpass towards her. In fact, she was so glad to see them, that she got quite cow-eyed friendly with Miss T. And Miss T was being sweet to her too. Miss T. Sweet. Two concepts that just NEVER go together. But there they were. Bossmare best friends.
The goal was just to practice calm group trail behaviour. We worked on the passing game that we were doing at the clinic last weekend. The last horse in the line trots past the other two to the front, and slows to a walk. And we just repeat that over and over. Leapfrogging to the front of the line. Miss T and Dressy figured it out right away, and were very good. Grace was a bit less steady-minded though. She is not good in company, and it’s hard for her to have horses pass her. She’s very competitive due to her racing background. She jigs and bounces, and swaps directions back and forth across the trail (which is a sneaky way of blocking horses from passing her). But Chrystal persevered, and there did seem to be a bit of improvement. And to be fair to Grace, Miss T and Dressy had already learned this game at the clinic so they had a good idea that they were not about to be abandoned in the woods.
There is a nice little sandy-bottomed pond on the trail. So we always go there at least once so the horses can drink. All three were pretty obnoxious though. Splashing wildly and boldly venturing out into the deep end without permission. Grace is small, and Chrystal was complaining that her boots were about an inch above the water. I didn’t want to tell her that her right boot had already been IN the water. Apparently they were waterproof enough that it didn’t seep in because she never did complain about wet feet. There was enough water whooshing around that we all got a bit damp anyway. I think all three mares would love to go swimming in that pond. It’d be a long ride back in wet boots and breeches though.
We did some trotting eventually when we got bored with playing the passing game. And then Brooke went firing off in front with Miss T. Eventually galloping wildly up some hills with a big grin on her face. I think Miss T was grinning too. That kid likes speed way too much, which suits Miss T perfectly.
On the way back, Chrystal was beginning to get sore and tired from Grace’s jigging and silliness. So I offered to trade horses with her. It was interesting. Grace feels tiny. Itty bitty after riding Dressy. She never stops fussing. Head up, head down. Jig to the left. Jig to the right. Shake the head. Lather, rinse, repeat. I can see why Chrystal gets tired of it. I tried working with her to get her to walk. And she did improve enough that she walked maybe the last quarter mile. But it took a lot of focus. I had to demand walk. Throw the reins. Then snatch up fast when she broke to jigging again. I had to remind myself constantly to sit back and breathe to get her to settle. Sit back. Half halt. Breathe. Relax seat and upper legs. Breathe.
Grace is a great little horse in many ways. And if they can work through all the little issues, she’s fast enough to run every horse I know into the ground. But I do love Dressy. And so did Chrystal as they ambled along politely beside the jigging Grace 🙂
Brooke and Miss T got along great. Brooke may ride her at a few competitions this summer. She can’t ride Dressy too much this year, since I’m riding her myself.
We put all three mares into the trailer for the short drive back to Chrystal’s. Where we were greeted by Chrystal’s daughter Olivia who made us dinner. Lasagna, salad, and garlic bread. It was delicious, and we all ate like ravening wolves of course.