Mastering our fancy side pass on the trail…. in a halter
After some good soaking rain last weekend, on Tuesday we trailered out to the southeast entrance to Briones Regional Park in search of reliably dry trails. And we found some…. along with a herd of grazing goats. Oh you should have seen our ponies ears. Pricked high to the sky and super attentive. Sweet!
But I must back track a moment to the trailering out part. I have to give my horse Dove a hugh compliment on her progress on trailering. She has come along way in 6 years…. from an “oh no not the trailer” pony to a “hurry up or I am jumping in with my saddle on” kind of horse. This is the best my friends, to know your horse is truly happy to get inside the trailer…. saddle and all! THE BEST!
Ok back to our trail riding story! So the first part of our ride was focused on the wild and wooley goats that were in the staging area (near the parking lot). In addition there was a human goat herder and boarder collie dog, both of which added more interest for our ponies. Thinking they went left and we were traveling right we relaxed and proceeded to the trail head. Surprise the goats seemed to be following us as they appeared on the hillside above. Oh Boy! Needless to say I had to postpone videoing our ride until we passed the wild goat herd. Dove needed my full attention and leadership and I was there for her. She would take a few steps and then tilt her head up toward the goats and then freeze still for a moment. We had about half a dozen more of these goat thresholds before they disappeared over the hill. However Dove was still ready for their return. That is until a man on a bicycle came zooming over the next hill. Our ponies being quite familiar with bikes were startled but not bothered. The biker on the other hand froze in the middle of the trail until we passed. I think we spooked him more! Oh dear. And just like that the goats were forgotten. Now that is truly living in the moment! I took note.
We continued on this lovely dry trail and enjoyed seeing hawks and other birds enjoying the break in the rain. As we rode to the crest we had a lovely view of the valley below.
Since the wind was quite chilly we postponed our “pony picnic” and proceeded down the trail.
Once we were back on level ground and heading toward the trailers Dove picked up her pace. So instead of holding her back we practised our fancy side passing on the trail in a halter. What fun. I must add that it certainly helped that the trail had two distinct tracks to pass between. Thank you park maintenance! Soon our friend was joining us first right and then left. It did not take long at all before Dove was ready to relax into a more casual, head held lower and slower walk. As we approached the staging area where the trailer was parked we met a funny hiker who insisted on sitting down along the narrowest part of the trail. LOL I asked if he was ok if we passed him and he stood up to pet our ponies as we walked by. Our ponies were unfazed as they had survived goats, speedy bikers and a steep trail. This silly hiker was no match for our super equines!
Note to self: I need to pin a big “S” for Super Pony on Dove’s chest next trip.
Next week we have more sunshine forecast so we will certainly have more trail adventures to share. In the meantime we are practising our freestyle routine in our covered arena. I dare say that we have both improved our confidence and trust in each other and have already seen improvements.
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