Yesterday, friends from our old barn decided to come out and ride with us for the first time since we’ve been gone. It’s been over a year since we’ve all gotten together, and a nice day finally worked out. Mom and I went up ahead of them to get the horses up so they’d have stalls to tack up at if they wanted them, and we wanted to warm our two horses up before going out on a longer ride. I was finally able to fix my stirrups and lengthen them (someone had screwed them super tightly in place and it was horrible trying to get them fixed.) and oh my gosh, such a relief, lol. I hopped on Red, walked him some, did some circles and backing, and then trotted around the round pen for about 5 minutes until I was super satisfied with how he was going. We walked around the front part for a minute, Stormie was super barn sour so mom walked her the whole way around and made her walk up slowly to the barn a few times to test her. I ended up hopping off of Red after about ten minutes, loosened his girth and tied him in the shade until everyone was there and ready. Didn’t want to burn him out when he was behaving so well.
Mom dismounted pretty quickly after and tied Stormie as well once she was behaving some better. They were running late so we ended up sitting around for about 30 minutes. 😉 We were always way too early for every ride so this was kind of expected, haha.
They arrived, so we hopped back on and walked to the fence where they parked the trailer and were tacking the horses up. There was four other riders – “AM” on her new lease mare, a bay OTTB, “A” (our old BM) brought her TWH, Stoney, then a new boarder and her daughter brought their two gaited horses. One was spotted and one was a bay. Red had only met Stoney and Stormie’s never seen any of these, so I was hoping they’d all get along. Stormie didn’t care, and Red was obsesed with the OTTB. Funny thing is, his old favorite mare was AM’s other OTTB, Annebell. He must have a thing for tall and athletic women.
I showed off Red’s new moves to A, did some jogging and backing up and she was very proud of him for being less lazy and actually trying to be a nice horse, lol. We went straight to the road and decided to go up further than we’d been before. There was lots of grass on the sides so it was nice. Also quite a few little hills which was great for some hill work which my horse desperately needs. Red and I jogged nearly the whole way and he barely broke a sweat, it’s hard for the poor guy to keep up with racking horses and a Thoroughbred, haha. Really nice trot though and he was super well behaved and collected. Stormie was definitely the slowest of the bunch but she was super good other than being very looky at some things. We went by the church then went up the hill that leads to a bunch of nice houses and where Cowboy lives now. Passed quite a few very unhappy dogs and a pair of ducks. I was just happy to have the only horse that didn’t even look at the animals. 😉 Red walked past everything without even looking over and kept trying to say hello to the ducks. He’s used to farm life. Stoney had a minor freakout over the ducks which was more funny than scary and Stormie was unsure of them.
We rode on the road for about 30 minutes of just really good riding. Super good workout for the horses and the horses were really polite with everything, I really enjoyed my time on Red and just jogging leisurely around everything. It’s nice going further and seeing where we live and seeing the neighbors that have helped us out so much.
We finally hit a dead end and there were two trails that have had horses on them before in the past. One way way too grown up to even get inside, one was better. We went inside that other one and got about halfway into it before realizing it was way too grown up to ride safely in. This was Red’s only bad moment. He wasn’t spooking at anything, but the ground was super uneven and slick and he gets way too nervous about tripping over things. I turned around, got him out of there and we waited in front of everyone while they took their time. He stood perfectly and was fine after. Poor pony gets nervous on weird ground.
We turned back towards home and walked the majority of the way back. Stormie was getting barn sour again and kept trying to break into a canter to go home, so mom was enjoying trying to keep her slow. 😉 Once she realized she had to go at a walk, she just plodded around stubbornly. AM and I let Red and her OTTB go in front and jog up some of the hills ahead of the others, both still hadn’t really even broken a sweat yet. This work has been so good for Red.
Perfect gentleman, even going back home, never got barn sour. We had to trot to the edges of the road a few times to get out of cars way and he never misbehaved. I let him lope to the gate of our farm and he stopped as soon as we got to the gate. We stopped for a couple minutes then decided to go up to our hay field, which my step-dad had mowed a path around the day before.
We went up there and we immediately all went into a canter/gallop, Red did wonderful and never even offered a little hop. Stormie, on the other hand, decided to buck and crowhop. Mom got her stopped and made her work her booty off slowly as possible going up the hill, Red and I stayed back as well and trotted up to keep Stormie from freaking. She was fine with the others leaving but I knew if Red and I got too ahead she’d freak out and mom’s back injury from Zippy was already bugging her a little.
We walked back down, mom decided to get off and give her back a break and the rest of us hung out around the round pen while we waited for her to come back. She sat on the bench while the rest of us played around. AM and I took our horses into the round pen, she asked me to work Red around her mare to get her used to having another horse in the arena near her so Red and I did some trot work. She even commented on how much his trot has improved since she saw him trot last. We took turns taking laps around the circle. At one point, we cantered side by side until Red started tossing his head and trying to go into a complete gallop, and I stopped him, did a couple circles and made him walk it out.
Red was perfect other than his hops. 😉 So so proud of this guy, collecting himself and trotting super nicely with loose reins and light cues. Not perfect but we’re getting to a place that I am really, really, really happy with.
I got off and called it a day, he backed up amazingly all day, so that tickled me, too. I took his stuff off and let him chill with everyone for awhile until the bay racking horse started really acting up, rearing and hopping around everywhere when he noticed we were home. Got everyone taken care of, cooled off and in trailers/stalls. I am so, so flipping sore but it was a great ride!
Red gets a day or two off for sure, he worked his booty off and was probably the best horse in the whole ride 99% of the time as far as behaving and doing everything.
I also splurged today and bought a new pad (Super thick, nice blanket pad with shims for thickness. I adore it.) and a new fluffy girth so he’s more comfortable for our longer rides. I may give him a small bath today, won’t have many more warm days now! 🙂 Farrier is coming out sometime in the next couple of weeks and so will the vet.