I was sooo tired... stayed out way too late for New Years Eve (3am). However, the weather was amazing and Kendall was game for some trail time. So, about 1pm I convinced Steve and Delaney to meet us at the trail and bike ride/run while Kendall and I rode horses at Hidden Mesa. So, about 1:45pm, off we went. One of my boarders decided to load up and head off with us.
I rode Cowboy - figured it was time to start seeing what he had to offer on the trail. He was actually quite awesome. I wasn't sure in the beginning how he was going to behave. He hasn't been on the trail in many months and I expected a little nervousness and worry. We started out down the trail and he was a little tense, but nothing extraordinary. I made sure that I was thinking and breathing to give him the best comfort from the saddle that I could. It's always a little tough on a greener horse or a horse that's been off work for many months. However, after about a half mile, he pulled it all together and settled into things.
Kendall wanted to do some trotting about a mile in, so we started to move out a little. He did really well! I spent about 1/2 mile doing trot-walk transitions and his down transition got better and better. He has a good amount of brace built-in from his past and I'll have to make that one of my focus areas. He doesn't give to the pressure of the bit very well when he has a better idea. I don't want to get into a single tug-of-war with him but it's really tough when you're on the trail!! He's learned to drop and eat grass when he's so inclined, and this is probably his biggest brace area. I have no concerns that we'll get it solved and quickly. He's a quick study.
We cantered some on the top of the mesa and he was feeling good. The footing was slippery at times and I wasn't sure, but it felt like he wanted to kick out or buck at this one point. He never did it any other time and it's possible that he was just losing his footing. Anyway, it was nothing so I didn't make a big deal out of it. I also was very wary of letting him be in a good position to kick Rain or Abby. I either stayed behind or asked Kendall and Krissy to stay far enough back to protect their horses. I just need time to learn to trust him and figure out what makes him tick. I want to keep everyone as safe as possible.
As we were coming back down, Kendall started to complain of being cold and I think it turned out to be too long of a ride for her after our late New Years Eve night. We had a late start and I wanted to head back to the trailer quickly to be sure it didn't get too much colder. Kendall wanted to be led and she didn't want to be ponied. So, lucky me, I hopped off and led Rain and Cowboy. For part of it, Kendall walked and for part she rode Rain. I ended up walking about 2 miles. It's ok, I just love to be out there with my horses in the great Colorado terrain and fresh air. It was just fine to me.
We made it back before it got dark (barely). It was a great ride with no incidents and Cowboy gave me a reason to think he's a fantastic horse and I made the decision that he's my next L3 horse. Krissy and Gemini might work out fine and they might not, but I'll focus a little more Cowboy moving forward. I'm excited about the possibilities.
There were some emails floating around a couple of the horse email groups I subscribe to about New Years Day. The idea is that whatever you want to focus on doing throughout the new year, you should make a point of doing on New Years Day. So, for horse people, you ride on New Years Day. People all over the country were chiming in about where they'd be riding on New Years Day. It didn't occur to me until I was half way through the trail ride. It was just natural that on a day off from work, I'd figure out a way to be on a horse and out on the trail. I love my life.