six water horses

Our trainer typically plans a couple of group trail rides every year. The dates are picked weeks in advance. Mother nature hasn't been very cooperative in the past. Last years group Fall ride ended up being on the farm, between the raindrops. The weather looked like a spoiler once again, and riders started dropping like flies. What a bummer! We actually had a nice group going for a full day ride, with three couples and two single riders, picnic included. For a week straight we watched the Wednesday weather, hoping for a change from the forecasted thunderstorm & rain. It was sunny and gorgeous the day before, but not the case on the chosen day. The ride was cancelled.

The day arrived, and the forecast had shifted back a little. The bad weather was suppose to end by noon. One of the couples and a husband had already decided to go back to work, but the rest of us were still in for a half day afternoon ride. With open trailer slots, the apprentice came with us. We switched our plans to a closer location, with much flatter terrain. It was hot and very muggy when we left the barn. I didn't bother bringing either of the three coats I had in our truck. Big mistake. We drove through some rain, and by the time we got to Ukarydee - it was very windy and cold! The forecast on my phone said it was suppose to drop another ten degrees by late afternoon. Great. I was already frozen and we hadn't even hit the trail yet. What was I thinking? Apparently I wasn't. Thankfully both trailers have live-in quarters, and I borrowed a long sleeve shirt and lined windbreaker. It was the perfect amount of layers. On with the ride! 

Koda and Nemo had some big shoes to fill and were deemed the "old seasoned horses". The other four horses in our group had never been on a trail ride. Checkers, a reining horse, Phoenix, a show horse, Tess, a three year old, and our Cierra, who is four. The two younger horses were lunged, while the rest of us rode around the starting area. I tried to snap a few pics with my phone, but they are not very good...sorry. I had high hopes for my iphone camera on the trail, but think I'll switch back to my pocket camera...

unloading area
Cierra, Phoenix, Tess, Nemo, Koda (L-R)

Koda & Nemo were bookends for the first stretch of the ride. We passed a random guy in the woods collecting mushrooms (twice) that raised some ears. I spotted a hawk playing in the wind. I so love to soak in the beauty that surrounds us! But when I shared my winged find with the others, I noticed all the new trail horses started floundering. The riders were distracted looking for the hawk. Oops, won't do that again on this ride. 

heading out
Nemo, Cierra, Tess, Phoenix, Checkers, Koda (L-R)

The prettiest part of our ride was the pines. At that point I was leading, and tried to snap some pics behind me. Needless to say, they didn't turn out. Once out of the pines, the paths are lush, narrow and curvy. Koda & I turned a corner and spotted a random dog on the trail, who quickly disappeared. Probably a good thing. I never did see his human, and he wasn't with the mushroom guy. 

Shortly after the pines the trail started getting muddy. The further we rode, the muddier they got. It was the slippery hoof sucking kind, and none of the horses liked sinking down in it. I mumbled to myself "I know where this path is leading". Our trainer heard me, and since I am typically directionally challenged, she asked if I really knew. Ohhhh heck yeah, I know exactly where this trail leads...I will never forget our first ride at Ukarydee when Koda lost his mind while refusing the water crossing.

Somewhere along the trail Koda did his bait-n-I don't want to lead anymore-switch...sigh. I need to catch these sooner! I wasn't about to get in an argument on a slippery narrow muddy trail with this bunch. I knew why he did it. Koda knows exactly where this trail leads. 

Nemo got to the water crossing first, and was coaxed into being the lead horse to cross. Such a brave guy! He'll do anything for Brad. Then Checkers, who is always on forward march, went right through the water. Our trainer was busy determining with the remaining riders, if we should turn around. Much to my surprise, when I asked Koda to cross he stopped briefly to take a closer look and then walked right in. We paused in the middle, and Koda got lots of love. Our trainer turned to yell "let's go back" from around the trees that were blocking her view, not realizing three of us were already across the water. It was a funny moment, and we all busted out laughing! Three of us stood on one side, and three on the other bank. It was the incentive the remaining riders needed, to at least try crossing the water. 

Our trainer hopped on Phoenix to cross her with Nemo in the lead, before having her owner ride her across. Back across they went for Cierra's turn. All of us crossed back and forth with ease. The water crossing was definitely the highlight of the trip!

Nemo, Phoenix, Cierra waiting to cross (L-R)

Cierra taking it all in stride

We are all amazed everyone crossed the water with no fuss. Who knew we had six water horses?! Cierra really enjoyed being on the trail. We are very proud of her and as you can see in the above photo, so is our trainer. It was fun having three of our horses on the trail together. 

It was getting late. After maneuvering more mud covered trail, we decided to take a sandy quiet road that leads straight back to the unloading area. A car slowly passed us from behind on the road, none of the horses cared. Taking everything into consideration, it ended up being a fairly challenging ride and gave all the horses good experience in various ways.

After we got back to the barn, it was so nice that Phoenix's owner gave us a heartfelt thank you. She said the ride meant so much to her on so many personal levels. We really didn't do anything out of our ordinary, and are so thankful for the ride as well. Meaningful experiences are what life is all about. 


Sherry Sikstrom said...

Sounds great1 Lots of green horses will cross water if there is a confident lead horse. You sound like my friend Deb with directions. I tell her,stop, think about where you should go then turn 180 degrees .He is scarily accurate if figuring out the exact opposite of where she should go

C-ingspots said...

Glad you guys had such fun! Except for the mud, sounds about perfect. I really enjoy having green horses along with seasoned professionals because they enjoy themselves so much and is a great mental break for them, from the showing and such. :)

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great ride, and much better than last year - that ended up indoors if I remember rightly?
Isn't it funny how some baby horses take water in their stride? It was great for them to have your 'grown-up guys' along to give good example!

Grey Horse Matters said...

Sounds like a fun ride with lots of learning opportunities for the younger horses. Glad you all had a nice day.