Sunday Cibolo and I went on another trail ride at my old barn. Driving back to that place, with the beautiful fields and nice wash rack area (at my current barn it’s a bit of a difficult proposition to wash off your horse) and the gravel filled arena, was bittersweet.
There’s a great deal I miss about that place – for one, it’s a place the kids love to go because they love Sharon so much. There are no big dogs around to scare Mireya (who has a distrust of all dogs other than ours) like there are at our current barn. I can’t even get her to come to the barn with me anymore.
And those big, beautiful pastures. I can just see my horses running through them daily.
Yes, it’s tempting to move back. But not practical.
It is nice to visit, though.
(If you are sick to death of reading about my tiny strides with trailer loading, skip to the next Cibolo photo...)
Cibolo and I had a trailer breakthough. I followed Kate’s guidance and thought of how I could replace the rock suggestion she made.
If you missed it in the comments, Kate explained how when she was at a clinic with Mark they worked on trailer loading. Mark would keep the horse’s feet moving by throwing little rocks at the horse’s feet at the precise time the horse froze in space, like Cibolo is doing.
One problem. 90% of the time, I’m alone. 5% of the time my daughter is with me and her accuracy with thrown objects is such that I’d probably come back with gravel in my hair.
I decided to take my riding crop in. I didn’t want to use the carrot stick because it’s large and obvious. I know it might sound silly, but not using it is how I’m conveying that we are doing this the partnership way.
As we prepared to go on our trail ride, Cibolo did his rope test. It’s getting better, this time he only pulled for 4 seconds. He’s a rope tester by nature, I think one must have broken on him and he has untied himself before. I don’t know that he’ll ever let go of that one. After a moment he stepped in the trailer and I moved the divider. He backed out. But then he put himself right back in!
This time when he stopped, I tapped him gently and he moved into position. It was like a light bulb went off. Still not all the way forward, but very nearly there.
He doesn’t like that scrunched up feeling, so the last step is still a challenge. But coming home we had the same relatively easy load.
I’d say we are 90% at this point. Friday we were probably at 70%.
Tapping didn’t quite get that last step. But I’m pleased. I’d love to get this all done in one session, but given that I’m on my own, I think I’m going to call it successful so far:
- Now my horse gets in the trailer without worrying.
- Now my horse steps to the side without backing out.
- Now my horse looks relaxed and willing during loading.
(Now if I can just get his butt in one more step!)
On the trail Sunday Cibolo showed that he’s just a fantastic trail horse.
At one point he got caught in some slick wire and simply stepped out of it. He was willing to go anywhere and do anything. My foot only bothered me in one trot – I think the padding on the stirrups really work well to protect my weird little bone.
Sooo, I think we’re ready to experiment with some of the trail obstacles that Lisa described. I don’t know that I’m interested in a Competitive Trail Ride, mostly because I can’t spare the time these days and am saving up my mommy time off for another endurance ride in the fall.
I'm back in DC. Mireya had a total melt down and I promised her I won't be going out of town without her anymore - a good bet since our budget has been nailed by all this activity we've had lately.
But here's my companion on this trip. Remember this guy? :)
We waited forever at baggage claim.
Hope you are well and riding (or hugging) horses!