Monday, October 21, 2013

Trail Fox

Yesterday marked a new begining, a bittersweet one for me. It was the first time I loaded up to go out to a horsey outting without Seneca.  Okay there were days she was supposed to get on the trailer and it wasn't going to happen so I left her home, but this was the first time that I didn't even plan on taking her, yet I was still going to ride.

The local trail riding club of which I am a member had a group ride at a trail system that is about an hour or so from my house. I had already tested Fox's ability to get back in the trailer off the farm so I wasn't worried about him going with Seneca's MO which was to load perfectly at home only to lose her mind after we'd been some place else.  Fox got loaded in to slot number one on the trailer only because recently, and strangely he's been loading better than Cowboy. 

Plus loading practise the day before with Cowboy had not gone well. I got Cowboy in, closed the divider, then left him for a minute.  Came back, unclipped his head as I have down with all my horses, came around to the back of the trailer to find Cowboy had decided to try and turn around in the trailer stall.. I froze because he was panicking and looked like he was stuck almost folded in half.  I almost went to open the divider and then he righted himself by bringing his head back around so he was standing straight again.  I let him get off, then apologizing to him made Cowboy get back on. I didn't want him to have a bad memory of the trailer.  Lots of praise and treats then I put him back, and did practise with Fox.  No problems.

Superhubs and I arrived at the venue, parked in the field and while he went off to sign in I unloaded the boys.  Cowboy came off as usual a little snorty, but chowed down on his hay bag when I tied him and was content.  Fox came off much the same way, snorty, high headed, then proceeded to do his impression of a plow horse while munching hay.

Tacked up, boots on hooves and we're off.  Fox was a super star and all the other club members couldn't believe this was his first time off the farm with me.  I mostly let him follow Cowboy who has been out more than Fox and is quite a bit braver.  But there were a few times where Fox led the way and he seemed okay with it.  We crossed bridges, although I admit I had to get off for the first two bridges and lead him across, but he let me ride him across the last few.  The water crossings were the same. The first one was fairly large and he did not want to cross.  But I got off, hopped to the other bank and turned just in time to see Fox do a spectular leap. We're talking like an UL event horse diving in to the Head of the Lake at Rolex kind of leap.  Woo Hoo!  The second water crossing he let me stay on for and hopped over. 

I was ever so glad I put my grab strap on. One of the other club riders who has a lovely Friesian/Arab cross asked me what it was.  When I explained that a lot of event riders, and people with young horses liked them for that extra something to hold on to she exclaimed that it was an excellent idea and why didn't more people do it.  One of the other club riders, albeit a very insecure/timid rider asked me about Fox's age and such.  When I told her Fox was a 6yr old, OTTB her eyes bugged.
"But he's so calm and laid back!"  Yes OTTB's do come in the "diet" version, all the flavor without the high sugar content. You just have to look a little harder and realize what you see at the track might not be exactly what the horse will be like off the high feed and 23hrs of stall time.

All in all a great first outting.  The farrier comes tomorrow to do Cowboy and Seneca's feet, although I want her to look at Fox.  He's perfectly sound in his trail boots, but out of them at the walk he's hitchy on his front right aka the crappy foot. I want to see if he might be courting an abcess(probably not) or he's just super tender on the foot with the least concavity.

Our next outting will be to a trail/obsticales fun day put on by the local pony club this weekend. Until then,
keep it between the flags everyone.  

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