Sunday, October 31, 2010

First Trail Ride

It's beautiful today - highs in the upper 40s with some wind, and nice and sunny.  Pie and I got to go on a trail ride with Jill (of Buckskin and Bay) and Scout, and for part of the ride, Sugar and her owner.  I already knew that Pie had rarely been ridden alone, and suspected that he might be anxious if another horse wasn't present, and in fact this proved to be the case.  I rode him for a couple of minutes near the barn while the others were getting ready, and he wasn't too happy to be by himself, although he didn't do anything terrible.  He's pretty attached to his new herdmates already, which I would have expected after coming to a new barn - they're his security in the middle of all the change he's experienced.  So being by himself and herd-boundness will be something we will be working on over time.

I rode in Jill's Western saddle for security and Pie's familiarity, but ended up using a snaffle bit - he seemed not to like the curb bit I'd bought him.

Once the others came out, he was fine - he looked around quite a bit but was happy to head out down the trail.  We were out for almost 2 hours, and except for one spook (more on that later) he was exceptionally well-behaved for such a young horse in a new place and seeing lots of things for the first time.  With one exception, he just looked at things - I think having Scout along made a real difference, but now that he's seen a lot of new things, I think he'll be fine with them again without another horse (once we work through the herd-boundness).  We saw many things, some of which I think he was seeing for the first time - people walking dogs, joggers, large boulders (he looked hard at these), suburban yards with yard furniture, barking dogs and other stuff, the farm areas with plastic row covers and chickens and turkeys, the community garden, busy roadways, a train and the train station, paved streets with different surfaces (the black asphalt was a little worrisome), striped road crossings, the square with shops and a large working fountain, a school with a large playground area and children's play equipment, construction barrels and road equipment along the road that's being widened, and bicycles.  The only thing that caused him to actually move his feet in a spook was the bicycles - they approached from behind, and I turned him to face them as they passed by and he scooted sideways.  I'm pretty certain that he's never seen a bicycle, much less one moving with a person on it.  He calmed down quickly afterwards, but kept watching the bikes as they moved off into the distance.

I'd give him a A for trail manners in the company of other horses.  He's happy to lead or to follow, will calmly trot to catch up when needed, and knows enough to pee on the trail when he needs to.  I was pretty impressed.  After we got back to the barn, Jill took Scout inside to untack and I rode Pie at a trot up on grass area behind the barn and we did some circles and figure eights at the trot - even though he was worried a bit about being by himself he was willing to do what I asked.

We'll have some things to work on, but we're starting from a pretty good place and he's a really nice horse!

20 comments:

  1. Sounds like a good day! Congrats! Hope you guys make lots of progress in the future!
    Love,
    MunciEquestrian

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  2. Great first day out! Sounds like Pie is the perfect horse for your horse goals.

    I think the young horses do tend to look for other equines for direction. I've been hesitant to take Smokey out on the trail completely alone. We will, but first I need to make sure we've got many, many things worked through.

    Miles, as the saying goes. Lots of miles.

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  3. That's a lot of "scary" stuff for a young horse to process. Glad to hear he was so good.

    Never did think about it, but a trail out in the wilds is a heck of a lot different than a trail in a more suburban setting. But it seems he has a level head and a wonderful attitude.

    He is going to be awesome!

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  4. Oh Kate ! I'm so happy for you! Reading this post made me smile because Pie sounds like everything you were looking for.

    *raising my coffee mug* Here's to many more relaxing trail rides! *cheers*

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  5. Aw good Pie! He seems like such a cool due.

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  6. What a good lad, sounds like he took in a lot on his first trail ride with you :) I'm sure the herd-boundness will die back as he settles in, he's doing so well as the newbie!

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  7. My little Arab is quite a looky-loo herself but you can really tell she's thinking about things and not very reactive... sounds like Pie might be the same way. I personally love that about my mare. She cracks me up to with the things she jumps at... gunfire, backhoes, dogs, bicycles all okay but if she or another horse passes gas... watch out! :)

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  8. I'm so happy for you. I've been a bit out of touch, so this is the first I knew which horse you had chosen, and it sounds like you made a super choice.

    Congratulations!

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  9. Pie sounds like he is going to be a great horse for you. I'd say he did really well for just coming to a new place, meeting new horses and then going on a ride and seeing a lot of new and scary things! A very sensible boy indeed!

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  10. He sounds like he's going to be a great little horse :)

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  11. Good stuff. Our horses are fine with horses as long as they seem them first. Some times when we're riding along a street, one of these 10 speed bikes will come up silently behind. The 'good' riders know to holler and let you know which side they're going to pass, but many don't. So, whenever we have to ride on a street, whomever is behind the other will keep a watch for bikes.

    Great work.

    Dan

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  12. Kate, that's so exciting! I think of all the "firsts" ahead of you, and it's wonderful. You will have so much fun with this horse.

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  13. Happy days! You are beginning this wonderful journey with your Pie. He sounds like he is perfect already!

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  14. It sounds like you two are off to a great start. The fact that Pie pee'd on the trail with you is a great sign. I've found with many horses its a matter of trust for them to stop and park out, leaving them in a vulnerable position. Nice that he felt comfortable with you all today.

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  15. So happy for you - it sounds like you will have a lot of fun with Pie!!

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  16. All sounds fantastic!!!!!Way to go Pie!

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  17. yaaa Pie! I find it takes a horse a few weeks to settle in to a new place and they become kinda herd bound for a while, but it seems to naturally work its way out as soon as they realize they get to go back afterwards. Razz gets really bad for a couple weeks after shes moves, but I jsut ignore it and handle her like normal and she settles pretty easy afterwards.

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  18. He sounds like a dream, Kate! Bikes are a big deal. Panama was concerned about them at first, but quickly got over it, and now they can pass him fairly closely without any concern on his part. However, they aren't supposed to -- horses have the right of way in the park where we ride. Unfortunately many cyclists don't seem to know or care, but most seem to be pretty good about at least slowing down as they pass.

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  19. All right! I think you found a really good horse. Good job!

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