The barn is also hosting a hunter pace this upcoming Sunday (which I will be in the process of driving back to the East coast during, boooo!) which meant we were cautious about footing to try to keep everything as unsullied (See what I did there, GoT fans?) as possible. We still managed the smaller hill through the woods and wended through a different section of woods that's usually completely flooded.
|so interested in the great outdoors|
I wasn't expecting any grand theatrics from Opie because that just doesn't seem to be the type of dude he is. That said, I did my best to set him up for success. I'd taken him on several hand walks back where we were riding both by himself and with our fearless leader Oz (the big red butt you see above). He knew how to navigate the stream and the bridge, and there was little back there that was going to come as a surprise to him.
He got his first taste of weekend morning mayhem as we were waiting for all the troops to assemble. There were several other people riding, people in the aisle, and the Gator racing around outside dropping hay. He had a minor set back about the mounting block because he couldn't focus and had to go on an adventure right now, but once I got on he was quiet if distracted.
|interested but listening. good kid.|
We finally set off with Opie close on the heels of Oz. K said she'd relinquish the lead if Opie out-walked Oz, but once we got past the pastures Opie settled into a slower pace and was happy to trail with the two other horses behind him.
He crossed right over the stream, giving it a minor leap--more like a stretched out hop stride--before stopping to wait patiently for the other horses to follow him. From there we went uphill into the woods where he hadn't been before, and then cut into them halfway to get back down the hill.
The first time around down the hill, Opie wanted to go, go, go which is completely typical for trail newbs. On our second lap he took the time to think about his feet and had no issues coming down. His one "big" thing that will need work is that he wants to run through mud because ew, touching. He flings his neck up so it's hard to get leverage, but I was able to yank him back to a thinking walk each time. Guess what's in your future, kiddo? ALL THE MUD.
We stopped for a picture to commemorate his first trail ride which involved our photog nearly getting yanked out of the saddle by
|dramatic reenactment of what it would have looked like|
Overall though, he was his usual superstar self. He led for a couple minutes and probably would have kept leading if pressed, but he started looking behind him so I figured that was his cue he wanted a buddy up front and Oz took back over. He walked the whole time on a loose rein, and even started thinking about stretching that periscope neck down which to me is what trail riding is all about. Stretch it out and use that body, baby racehorse.
And just in case you didn't love him enough already, he did his first "course" today. Oh, yeah. We trotted an X and a 1' vertical with a flower box in front singly first, and then strung the two together with no cookie break between. When he got to the vertical the second time he actually popped over instead of just putting in a big trot stop.
He's kind of a genius, he can't help it.
|cooling out around the driveway all by his|
Now to start weaning him off getting a peppermint every time he breaths. Things are going to get rough in the coming weeks!