Sunday, July 31, 2011

Trail Rides!

I can't begin to tell you how much fun I'm having with both of my horses lately...

They live at a lovely facility that has 100 acres of incredible fields and pastures.  It's nice and quiet (read it's not a busy lesson barn) and my guys are relaxed and happy there.  Recently, the big fields on the property were mowed and baled.  This means we can ride in them!  Woo hoo! 

Toby out in the BIG field this past winter.
I knew Toby would be pretty good about going for a walk about on the property and in the open fields.  So off I went for a ride with him.  I took him around one paddock which was the first one he and Ollie were put into when they arrived last November.  Then we crossed the lane and hiked through his current paddock and into another small field that lays empty except for a small brook.  Toby was certain the small brook was dangerous and it took me sometime to convince him that he could easily negotiate it (I can easily one hop across it).  Then we rode up a small steep hill and we ended up at another gate where we crossed over to the large inviting wide open field where Toby and Ollie spent their winter months.  It's 55 acres of rolling hills with a small underground stream that pops above ground for a brief time before it goes back underground.  It's gorgeous.  I took Toby around the perimeter of the field and down to the small stream.   We only walked and trotted with short canters up the hills.  He was great and very brave.  I have been wanting to get him out and about on the hills to help build up his hind end and back muscles.   He was tired and pretty pleased with himself after the ride. 

Then I decided to try the same ride with Ollie.  I figured he'd had enough of riding around in circles in the arena and needed a break. 

I took him around the arena first to see how he was feeling before we struck out into the fields.  He was nice and quiet so off we went on our excellent adventure.

I had been taking him around the small dry lots after each ride as part of our cooling out.  He used to be a little excited about that but now he just plods along.  Then we went out into the fields.  We did the exact same loop as Toby except when we came to the BIG open field (did I mention it's 55 acres?).  

Ollie had no troubles with the small brook unlike his best friend Toby.  And he happily jogged up the steep hill.  Then we crossed into the big field.  He looked around but never became tense.  I made a point to keep him in sight of the barn and we trotted around some small hills.  He never had an urge to take off running even though it was WIDE OPEN in front of him.  He was very good!

During the entire ride he only became tense twice.  Once was when we came across an open gate out of his current pasture.  I have no idea why the open gate made him tense but he gingerly walked past it.  The other time was when we walked past the barn owners home on our way back to the barn.  They have a basketball hoop up and for whatever reason, it made Ollie actually spook.  The only time he spooked the whole ride.  A spook for Ollie is a small jump to one side away from the offending object.   So that's what he did and we continued to walk on past - gingerly but still a walk. 

We got to the barn and I was so proud of him!  I realized that I will be able to take him on trail rides!  He has always been so high strung that I thought I'd never be able to take him out and about.  That's not the case now!  I have no idea what has gotten him to settle down - is it the Uckele supplement "Focus Calm"?  Is it the humid weather?  Is it our increased trust with one another?  Is it all of the above?  I think so...

Did I mention that I rode him in his simple snaffle?  So proud of him  :)


  1. How wonderful to have all that space to take them out for a ride. I'm curious how a 55 acre pasture works for you in the winter time. Do you continue to ride in the winter? Do the horses come to you when you go out for them, or do they make you come to them?

  2. It IS wonderful! I haven't had any problems with the guys out in that big field. They always come to me and if they can't see me, they have learned to come to my whistle. I think I've had to walk out to them only 3 times and that's when they've been down in a valley munching on hay and didn't hear me.

    I do ride in the winter when the conditions are not too bad - frozen ground in the arena for example. But it is less riding than during the spring, summer and fall months.

  3. So jealous of your huge pastures! And that's great how well Ollie's doing, I wish my horse would settle down :)