Wednesday 18 December 2019

The Third Ride of Christmas

And it was a big one!

I got to take Sophie on a trail ride! My husband very kindly led Bridget along with us, so I felt fairly comfortable hopping on Sophie knowing we had a good safety net in place. Still, you just never know with baby horses and I was a little nervous, I won't lie.

Spoiler alert, I was so happy and proud, because she was a very good girl!

Sweaty post ride pony. I've got no riding pictures today because I really just wanted to only worry about making sure she had the best possible outing.

I tried to set us up for success by taking a loop trail we've hand walked her on a few times before. I also waited for a weekday when its usually pretty quiet. The loop itself takes about 90 minutes and is almost all decommissioned forestry roads (Don't worry, I only hopped on for about 30 minutes of it). I felt like the route is a nice combination of technical to keep her mind busy, while still having enough room to maneuver should anything get weird. Also, there's a nice long gradual uphill section which used to serve me well with the very spicy baby Ginger pony - a tired pony was a good pony in her case!

Roadside eating breaks  encouraged. I really want these first rides  = fun adventures for her.

Sophie again felt a little unsettled by the fact I was in the saddle rather than beside her. It felt a little bit like there was a fire under her tail and we might go rocketing up the trail, lol.  I tucked her in behind Bridget, just in case! As is my luck, some random dude popped up in the bushes alongside the trail almost immediately. Sophie was on full alert. I said hi to the guy but he didn't respond and kept on lurking. Maybe picking mushrooms? I don't know. Whatever the case, G and Bridget had to come back and get us because Sophie was too worried to move past the spot on her own.

Next up, we navigated a whole series of big puddles and ditches. When they decommission the roads, they pull out any infrastructure like bridges or culverts, which leaves lots of big ditches and creek crossings to navigate.  Sophie was excellent and got the hang of figuring out where to put her feet and how to go up and down the big dips with a rider. She's so good with water, which I really appreciate!

We saw another nice person out walking their dog, but otherwise it was quiet, just as I'd hoped. (S is great for almost everything but I need to work on cyclists coming up behind us and she's not 100% with ATVs/dirtbikes if they don't slow down enough)

It's been a while since I've ridden a wobbly baby pony on the trails...I forgot how weird it is to ride a horse that doesn't really know how to go where you point and who makes more than a few interesting choices regarding where they put their feet. As the rider, you really are just along for the ride!

By the time I hopped off, we were confidently leading the way on a loose rein, and I even felt like I had some rudimentary brakes and steering. So pleased we were able to give her such a positive and confidence boosting outing:)

Happy, happy

Such a good girl! I'm going to try to fit in more trail rides in the next few weeks - I feel like it's so much easier and fun for the horses  to install the basics out there because there's a visible purpose to everything I ask (stop for this gate, go around that tree, slow down for this downhill section, etc).

I have to mention that Bridget was feeling great again too. G was like "what are you feeding her? She's towing me everywhere!" Her little ears were forward the whole time and she seemed so happy to be out. Fingers crossed I have time for another Bridget ride soon. I'm just so happy she's feeling so good.

It sounds like we're going to get rained out today (100mm+ forecasted!), so the ponies may get a day off, especially as the indoor arena is already booked. Hopefully see you again soon!



  1. Congrats! So excited for you how fun! And she looks so grown up under saddle...! happy holidays!!

  2. That is awesome. She's getting such a great start with you.

    1. Aww, thank you. Part of me is thinking I should be sending my nice pony to a pro for the best possible start, the other part is like "well pony, it's me you'll have to live with and this will be your life so let's nit get your expectations too high and just get on with it" :D

  3. Yay for a successful outing with the banana!

    1. Bananas on the loose in the wilderness :)