“I'm selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can't handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don't deserve me at my best."
- Marilyn Monroe
That quote describes my Gemmie to a T. Hmmm... I wonder what the T actually stands for...anyway... Some days she is just impossible and I leave her shaking my head and questioning my goals and my riding abilities. And then there are the times when everything goes well and my head starts spinning with glee and my face is split with the biggest grin possible and all is right with the world. That day was Monday.
Since Sunday was pretty much a bust I decided Miss Thing could handle a second day in a row. She was already back out in her pasture when I got there and when she saw me she dropped to roll in the grass. Thankfully she is rather princess-y and would never roll in the mud because it would mess up her good looks (much unlike Pete who is a mud ball at all times regardless of how often you groom him). She didn't run away from me and we made our way to the barn to get ready. It was a nice 80 degrees and sunny with a breeze, but the humidity was high and she was sweating just standing there in the shade. I tried a new tack trick: cross the billets to buckle the front to the back of the girth and the back to the front to help prevent forward pulling of the saddle. It didn't seem to hurt, but I didn't test it enough to see if it helped either.
She was in a lazy mood and it was pretty clear she was not looking forward to more time in the arena. Lucky for her I had other plans for the evening. The various fields all interconnect with various gates (which are left open right now thankfully) which ends up making a big circle. Apparently, there is a way to connect to Gem's big pasture from the very back of the property to make the circle twice as long, but I have yet to find it. Of course, I have also been down the other half twice now (once jogging with Gem and a second time on the trail ride with the barn ladies) and still managed to get "lost". Gem better have a better sense of direction than I do or we will be spending a lot of time being lost in the woods together.
The arena was full with a lesson and I didn't want to cut through the middle of it, so I headed out between the barn and the arena to the top field out back. This leads down a nice, steep hill to the last field at the back of the property. She gave me some guff heading out, but really nothing major. She tried spinning around a few times, but I just kept my legs on her sides and told her she was a good girl and everything would be ok. We made it to the bottom and out into the big bottom field. Here is where you can make a right and head through the trees to her pasture (no clue how) or a left, so we made a left. This field is really nice. Big, flat and open. One day we will be doing sprints down that, but not today. I didn't care to work her muscles, heart or lungs. I wanted to work her brain and a walk was just fine for that.
At the far end of this field is a stream which I know you can cross then make a left and head through the trees and up into the last field. For the life of me I couldn't figure out where we crossed. The one area was super boggy and I got stuck there trying to cross it when I took her jogging and it was risky. We didn't cross there on horseback the last time, so I circled around and looked for something that looked familiar. The remaining areas were super steep and I know we didn't do those either. Sigh. I have no clue. Gem was being great though. I'm sure she thought I had lost it, but she was just walking along relaxed and even gave a few sighs (probably wondering how she ended up with such a stupid rider). Eventually I gave up and headed back the way we came. When we exited the bottom field I remembered that you could turn there (right now as we were heading back, but left if you are heading from the barn, confused yet?) and could follow the fence line through the trees and over to the far left field by-passing the bottom field. So we did that.
Gem got a little annoyed that I turned her away from the barn again, but really she was great. She even stopped to scratch her face on a tree :) We meandered through the woods and out into the last remaining field which is a big uphill climb to the arena. She started to pick up some steam knowing she was finally heading back, but kept to a walk. My one major trail riding rule is no running back home. It is too dangerous. Once back in the arena, we walked around it twice to let her know she couldn't just power back to the barn and called it quits. A part of me wanted to spend the next half hour working in the arena, but the smarter part knew we had accomplished the goal for the day and pushing it wasn't wise. We ended with a huge hug and a kiss. If she can maintain that attitude out on trail, we have this thing in the bag!!
GPS Stats:1.36 miles
2.6 mph average pace
96 ft elevation gain