Sunday, July 12, 2009

Trail Ride

I didn't ride Sam on Friday I just took him out for a pick.

Saturday I think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed - everything was going wrong in life in general and I felt emotional so I decided not to ride. Instead Sam and I went for a really long walk on a trail we had never taken before. Sam met Peacocks and he had a lovely roll in the dry creek bed in something that made his mane stand on end - YUK!!!!!. When we got back I realised we had been gone for an hour and a half.

Sunday I decided to ride where we walked yesterday. Sam was happy to set out and about 500m up the road a kangaroo jumped through the scrub on the side of the road and poor Sam and I nearly jumped out of our skins. I am very thankful that Sam is a horse that spooks on the spot if that makes sense. We have to cross a bitumen bridge that Sam prefers to cross in the middle. I don't blame him it is a long way down over the side!

After the bridge there is a vacant block that I sometimes work Sam in. I took him down here because I thought I would give him a trot down there. He was tense looking around and I didn't ask for anything but trot on a loose rein. He was very distracted at everything so I kept him walking back out on the road. He stopped to have a wee and I saw two ponies up the road heading our way. I jumped off - why - because I didn't want an argument. I lead him past them with no problems. I walked Sam on foot up the bridle path, across the road and through the gully. Why did I walk all this way - because I knew the areas I would be nervous and I didn't want him to feel that. Once we were out on the dirt road I jumped back on. Sam was a little hesitant about going forward so I made sure I had no grip in my legs and gave him taps and asked with my voice to walk on.

We had to walk over a causeway which he did with wide eyes and ears out to the side and when we came up over the small rise there were palm leaves in the road. Well these were monsters. He looked and went to run off. I asked him to turn to look at it but I had a barbed wire fence right behind us so I had to really be careful. After Sam was happy to stand I jumped off and led him over to the palm leaves. He walked towards them slowly, head down, snorting, he reached them and sniffed, picked them up with his teeth, shook it, dropped it, sniffed again and then was happy to walk over the top and actually stand on it. I turned him around and he walked over it again. I picked them to move them off the road. He had to sniff and play tug of war again. I jumped back on the went to head off down the road again.

Keep in mind we walked all this way the day before. Sam was very nervous and looky. I got him about another 500m more and I decided that he had had enough. I asked him to turn towards home and he turned really quickly. Nope turn back around and walk away from home. Then I asked for a circle towards home and a circle away from home. Halt facing away from home, turn around halt facing towards home. He was getting cranky so we started for home. Halt, turn walk away from home, circle towards home, halt facing home. Walk on but at a steady pace. I had no contact on the reins and made sure no contact with my legs. I tried really hard to relax my seat and I did a few big loud sighs. I could feel Sam was tense and really wanted to trot off but without any corrections from me he stayed at a walk. A ute was hurtling down the road towards us but thankfully saw us and slowed down. We were still smothered in dust and dirt and Sam actually stopped on his own and then once it cleared a bit walked on. Along the way I still asked for halt with my seat and voice every now and again. I didn't ask for him to halt for long maybe about 3 seconds but I wanted to make sure he was still with me.

We were back at the gully so I jumped off to lead him through. On the Saturday a kangaroo jumped through the dry creek bed and scared Sam when we walking through it and today when we reached that spot he stopped and watched the area where the kangaroo went through the day before. Do they remember things like that? Was he expecting the kangaroo to jump back through? He went to roll again but I wouldn't allow him as he was saddled. Up we went and I jumped back on when he reached the bridle path. He walked quietly and then called out. A horse in a nearby paddock called back and started to canter around. Sam watched but I felt no tension but I did ask him verbally not to call out again. He did but stopped halfway through. Once again I felt no tension and his head carriage stayed low and level with his wither. I didn't interfere with him at all and left it all up to him to take me home. I noticed he took the same line as the one we took yesterday, not the line we took on the way out. I found this interesting. He nosed the same mailboxes that he did the day before (didn't lick them today though).

I noticed the walk slowed as we got to the comfort area. The comfort area was the area we have ridden a few times before. When walking in front of the paddocks at home it was a very slow walk. I was going to lunge him when we got home so he could burn a bit of energy that he would have had left but because the ride ended so well I figured that might end it off on a bad note. Benny came over and they had a chat and played at pulling each others halters off so I thought that was a nice finish.


Kate said...

Kangaroos! Now, that's something we don't have around here - I can't imagine (in fact I really don't want to imagine) what one of my horses would do if it saw a kangaroo.

Marissa said...

Aw, kangaroos were one of my favorite parts of Australia! I just loved them even though I know they can be a bit of a pest like the deer are here. Sounds like Sam remembered where it came from and wanted to keep an eye on it for sure. Sounds like Sam was distracted but at least he seemed to try hard to keep it under control and listen to you. Tucker loves halter-tag too!