"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Every once in a while inspiration hits, the big girl panties come out and I tackle a previously daunting Gemmie task (jumping a certain obstacle, cantering, going down the lane at the barn etc...). I almost always wish I had done it sooner and that task becomes a regular in our rides until it is mastered. Well, one morning I woke up and declared that it was the day for my first solo trail ride. Having been married for 8 years at the time, the hubs was used to this and just told me to have fun and be safe.
I took the truck to work and, at the first chance to escape, I headed to the barn. The plan was to load her up and head to our favorite Experimental Forest trail. I would text hubs at the trail head and again at the end and stick to the main trail. If I didn't check back in, he would know where to look for me. I got to the barn and got Gem ready. I then backed the truck up to the trailer and hooked it up. Or tried to at least. Having never actually been in charge of hooking up the trailer, I wasn't 100% sure what I was doing. An hour of pulling forward, backing up again, getting out and lowering the trailer, cursing the stupid trailer for not working and beginning again, and I was flustered. I called the hubs and it happened that he was slow at work, so he came on out to help me before I called it quits. When he got there, he looked at the trailer and told me it was hooked up just fine. Huh? It had looked that way for the last hour. You mean I could have left an hour ago!? Sigh. Lesson learned. Pay better attention.
Gem got on just fine and we headed out. I immediately regretted my decision to not stop and get something to drink, but it was too late now. Thankfully, the parking lot was empty and I unloaded Gem and tacked her up. I have never been a fan of her being in the trailer tacked up. Too much can go wrong. She was on high alert, but calm enough to mount on up. I texted the hubs that we were on our way and headed out. And here is where the story gets....boring. She did really well. We mostly walked because I just wasn't ready to trust her out on our own at anything faster, but we did trot a little here and there. She spooked at a corn stalk for no reason, but other than that she went down the trail without a complaint. I was shocked.
I planned to ride the ridge top trail which is 5 miles round trip. It dead ends at a fence separating the park land from private land and we had been there numerous times. We rode on out and just keep going. At one point I got a little curious as to why we hadn't reached the turn around, but figured it was just seeming long due to the slow pace and my nerves. At around that point, the trail became really narrow and overgrown, two things that the double wide ridge top trail doesn't do. Hmmm...this is interesting. Eventually, I turned her around and headed back. Apparently, the ridge trail veers off to the right at some point and another, smaller and overgrown trail heads left. We went left. Sigh. I swear I can get lost in my own house!
Back at the trailer I showered her with praise for being so good and went back to the barn. I told you it was boring! I don't know why she was so good. When I try to get her to lead in a group she is horrible. She moves at about 1 mph and stops frequently to check every tiny thing out. She tries to spin around and get behind another horse at every opportunity and is just a big pain in the butt. Out on her own, she was alert, but moved on out and was ok. My theory is that when she leads she feels responsible for all the horses behind her and worries that she will miss something that will get someone hurt. She is low woman on the totem pole in the herd, so leadership just isn't in her blood. Take that responsibility away and she is happier to move on down the trail.