The boarding barn where I keep Lilly is only a small piece of the property owned by the family of the guy that runs the place. It's been in the family since about 1750 and they own over 800 acres. A lot of it is cow pasture, but he also grows his own coastal and alfalfa hay. There are some trails out behind the barn, which Lilly and I have been on before, but I've heard there are miles and miles of trails across the street, which is where most of the property is. I've been told not to venture back there by myself because it's easy to get lost... oh, and there are wild pigs out there. Okie dokie.
Well, the barn owners were hosting a trail ride this past Saturday, featuring the trails across the street. They've had a few other group rides but I've never been able to make it to them for one reason or another. The weather looked gorgeous this time, but I wasn't sure about Lilly's hooves. I knew we'd be going through a quarry, and it would be mandatory for her to wear her boots.
I got rid of her Old Mac's, but I kept her Renegades for times just like this. They had loosened up a bit and I knew I needed to mess around with the cables and get them tightened up. I worked on the boots for a good hour on Friday (what a pain in the ass), and finally got them where I thought they'd be good. Then I walked Lilly around outside and on some stones to see how she'd do, and she seemed fine. So I put my name on the list for Saturday.
I got to the barn early Saturday morning, tacked Lilly up, and waited in the arena for the rest of the riders to finish getting ready. There were 13 of us total heading out, and it looked like a beautiful day. I was so excited! I can't remember the last time we did a trail ride like this and it was going to be so much fun. As we started heading out, a lot of the horses seemed a bit fresh... including my own. A couple horses were rearing and having a grand old time, while Lilly was terrified she was going to be left behind. She was prancing, chomping on her bit, and slinging her head around.
"Well isn't this fun?"
I was hoping she was just excited and happy to be out, but would eventually calm down. Unfortunately for me, that's not what happened. She was psycho for the entire 2 hour trail ride. We either trotted, cantered, pranced, or ran sideways. I thought a couple times she might fall right off the quarry ledge into the giant, empty pit below, taking us both to our deaths. Needless to say, it wasn't as fun as I thought it would be.
The trails were beautiful, though. We went through woods, open fields, meadows, and creeks, and it was so much fun to watch some of the other riders gallop their horses in the fields. There's no way I was doing that with Lilly, but one of the boarders has a gorgeous, humongous Percheron cross and he is a beautiful mover. He was breathtaking as he thundered across the field.
I managed to snap a few pictures here and there, and I'm hoping someone took a couple with me in them. Or maybe I'd rather not see... hard to say.
She has a real issue with being in the back of the pack, so if I managed to keep her number four or higher, she was a bit more calm. Still crazy, but not running into people with her hind end. It wasn't always possible to be in the front, so when we weren't, I just had to make due. The good news is, I didn't fall off.
I am SO sore today, and I have no doubt she's feeling it as well. So much for hoping for a nice, leisurely trail ride.
I was also quite disappointed in my Renegades. Granted, this is the first real test they've encountered, seeing as how we went through mud, water, up hills, down hills, and the fact that she at least trotted the whole time. By the time we got back to the barn, the flap on the outside of her left boot had folded under her hoof. I'm thinking maybe I just need to get some new cables and replace the ones I have, assuming the boot is still in working order. They did their job, though, as Lilly was clearly not uncomfortable in the least.