Sunday, a large group of riders from the barn got together and did a trail ride at the park followed by grilling and snacking and frolicking.
|all dem ponies!|
It was the kickoff to a long stretch of adventures coming up for young Dopie Horse. Hunter pace season ramps up at the end of the month, and we still have six shows to get through on the calendar. Plus I'm excited to attend the Courtney King-Dye clinic my GMO is hosting next month albeit sans Opie.
But in the meantime, he got loaded on my trailer with his pasture mate Momo (which he walked right on for, no hesitation) and unloaded at the park (which he backed off the trailer for with zero dramatics) with giant eyes as he realized that for once he wasn't being ridden in a vast horseless wasteland--THE WHOLE BARN CAME WITH HIM!
|he doesn't even count mo as a real horse in the field when his|
bff gets taken in for riding, but they were besties for this trip
|um, serious besties. every time mo got out of sight opie|
started screaming. i'm worried about how this is going to
play out this weekend when he goes back to showing alone.
BM went right back to the barn to pick up another load of horses, so the six of us already there got tacked up and went for a short 45 minute loop. Since I was the only one there who knew the park, Opie was defaulted to leader the whole day. He marched along on a loose rein without a care in the world, even when the horse right behind him started breathing fire and jigging sideways into the back of him. He can be a serious pill by himself sometimes, but he makes up for it by never feeding off of other horses dramatics.
|boopin' along in a new part of the park for him|
|dragon horse behind us mostly settled down|
BM finally made it back with the second load of horses and I climbed back aboard to wait for everyone to assemble. Dopes hung out patiently watching everything go on around him. I got on and off of him in my saddle and bareback multiple times throughout the day, and he stood quietly every time I clambered aboard from my mounting block, or a bench, or the ground. He stood still each time we had to stop to wait for the slower horses to catch up, or when we stopped to peel off in groups to run around.
I have to make sure I put that out there because right off the bat when the big group set out together he pulled two Little Shit stunts.
We came to a narrow water crossing--one he's passed over pretty much every time we've come to the park--and there were a couple of kayakers unloading on the other side of the bank. He's seen kayakers before, and while these people were pretty fucking oblivious to the fact they needed to get out of the way, they weren't doing anything scary.
Opie slammed on the brakes and kept rearing and spinning away, smashing into the group crowded in behind us because the majority of them are pretty fucking oblivious to trail riding, until I finally booted him closer to the water. He was ready to go in until one of the kayakers got in and paddled just behind the reeds to lurk.
THANKS, SUPER HELPFUL.
That kicked off another round and spinning and rearing until I asked unflappable Momo to come up from the back of the group where A was stuck babysitting the stragglers. Momo plowed right in and Opie followed behind him without a second thought.
|when we came out on the beach he dragged me right into the|
Into the woods, not far from the crossing, we came around the corner and ran into three men walking. They politely said hello and stepped to the side of the trail to let us all pass. THIS OFFENDED OPIE GREATLY. Nevermind that we'd already passed another group of hikers with a barking dog no less and managed to walk right on by them.
Enter more theatrics, slamming and spinning into the horses behind him. Thank fuck for steady school horses that got a little wide eyed but never attempted to retaliate against the naughty baby body checking them left and right. I managed to get him stopped sandwiched in between two other horses and shimmied off his side to yank him out in hand. 10/10 do not recommend as it was super dangerous, but he was not going to move forward with me on him, and the three horses behind me had zero interest in being "brave" and leading.
I took a crop from another rider, got back on, and gave him two solid whacks behind my leg. He thought about getting nappy again over a row of giant logs, but I spanked him one more time and he didn't give me any problems from there on out. I really think he was just being a child and wanting to see if he could get away with sacrificing one of his friends to do the "hard work" of leading. He's crossed that water plenty of times before, he's been up close to kayakers plenty of times before, and he's sure as hell run into people plenty of times before.
|oh hey look. kayaks in the background that floated right in front of us without|
issue a few minutes later.
After our first water play break, we stopped at a big, hilly field to let everyone romp around if they wanted. A and I took Opie and Momo to the bottom of one of the big hills and let them rip up it. There was, uhhh, a moment I was like, "Oh, fuck. I can't stop this thing." but some good comes from a history of galloping racehorses and I finessed him back like a boss. Then he hung out with a hind leg cocked and watched everyone else gallop around him also like a boss.
Our last pit stop was the boat launch where everyone waded way in and enjoyed the lukewarm water. Opie went in up to his belly and enjoyed a serious splash fest while Momo circled around us with his head completely under water. A and I looked at each other and were like, let's do this thing. We went back on shore, dumped our saddles, and went back out.
It's been so dry here this year that the pond has gotten ridiculously shallow, and we kept going out and out waiting for it to be deep enough to actually swim. I'd handed my phone off, but unfortunately she wasn't recording when we finally found a drop off and Opie swam about like a majestic grey sea horse while I giggled and squealed like a child, clinging to his mane and trying to keep the drag on my legs from pulling me off.
Most. Fun. Ever.
|basically my face the whole time|
|i tried to get a picture of his water line but he just wanted to|
follow me over to the grass for a graze
Then things kind of went south. Someone's bridle got broken, other people didn't want to go in the water, a childish pout went on that I had to turn back in the shadow of the trailers to rectify even though it had nothing to do with me, and I vetoed the extra fifteen minutes I was planning to add by going a longer route.
We got everyone untacked and dug into food while ponies grazed. BM took the first load back to the barn, and there was some more whining from the second group so I sent them off across the road to ride some more while they waited for BM to get back. Hopefully everyone got what they wanted in the end. Not my problem if they didn't. Take it up with management, yo. I'm just the GPS.
Hubby joined us with the dogs to eat and hang out, and A and I jumped on bareback to flop around the parking area while we waited for the group of riders to come back alive.
|we are beauty we are grace.|
we are tired and ready to punch people in the face.
|i took him over to the trailer to throw his bridle on which meant he could no longer|
see mo. commence screaming melt down. fucking horse.
Overall it was far less of a cluster fuck than I thought it was going to be. I did not have high hopes for this ride at all between the experience level of some of the riders and the off-property reputation of a couple of the horses. Everyone behaved miraculously well though, and I actually enjoyed myself (mostly). I kept getting requests to take people out during the week when I come, but... yeah, no. I think I'll keep my solo rides to myself, thanks.