Trail competition with Zarah and my friend Jodi! I hadn't seen Jodi in maybe 2 years, so it was great to reconnect and hit the trail together. Z seemed so tense and I had a feeling it was going to be a tough day right from the start. I rode Z around for about 45 minutes, just trying to help her relax and trust in me as her leader. She was able to walk, albeit very fast, around the camping area. She was listening and letting some of her tension go, but I could feel the engine purring underneath me and I was hoping I could keep her calm on the trail.
The first mile or so was ok. She was working through it and moving along nicely. Then, a couple of riders came charging up behind us, a bit out of control. Well, that was the end of Z's restraint. We let them pass and from then on, Z was jigging down the trail. I didn't ride her straight. I had her doing haunches in, sideways, even backing down the trail at times. The thing with Z is making the wrong thing difficult can be tough because she's so athletic and has great endurance. I might need to sidepass her for 3 miles before she starts to wonder if there's a better way. She's an amazing horse that way. Unfortunately, the next obstacle was a zig-zag of halt and sidepass and she was too "up" to maneuver it. The horses ahead of us had charged off at that obstacle and she was so reactive to them that we needed a few minutes to get it together. I decided to pass on the obstacle, knowing that winning the competition was not an option today. It was about my horse and I getting our act together. So, while Jodi took her turn, Z and I did figure 8's over logs. I needed to canter her for a couple miles, 30 mins longer than she wanted to, but that wasn't really an option. So, we just kept going and I kept rewarding every hint of relaxation I could feel in her. Finally, when we got out of the wooded gorge area, she started to relax. We were next to a shooting range, and the gunfire was finally starting to get quieter as we got further away. And then, at around mile 3, my horses feet touched the ground and Z was back. Phew!
The loop back was good, with more of the jigging in the treed gorge area where the incessant gunfire was going off. But, we ended the ride nicely.
Immediately after, I got to see Cavalia with Jen and our daughters. It was an amazing show! There was a liberty session where a woman played with 8 horses at liberty which was my favorite part. Very inspirational!
Busy, but very fun day!!