Kyle was ready for another trail ride on Rain, so we loaded up and met Deb at Hidden Mesa around noon. I was very happy to be getting Gem out again - this would be our 3rd ride in a group on the trail since I started focusing on getting him trail savvy. I was more confident than I'd been on previous rides and I was ready to see how he'd do.
I decided to boot the fronts of both horses since this trail is pretty rocky at times. I was glad I did, too. Gem still had some soreness on the hinds. Next time, I'll boot all 4.
Kyle and Rain did great! After the first maybe 1/2 mile, when Gem had started to settle, we started to move out. Gem felt calm at this point and was relaxing more with each stride. Ahhhh, awesome. We were even cantering pretty soon after that. The horses were working hard and about 1/2 way through the ride, Gem started to buck. I don't know if this was a "feel good" buck or a defiant buck. I couldn't tell. It was easy to ride, so we just kept going.
We rode in the middle, the front and the rear. He was great in each spot and I was feeling us develop and change together. He was careful with his feet when needed and he was responsive to my seat and asks.
Towards the end, about 1/4 mile from the trailer, we were cantering and he bucked again. This buck was more of a head down, fully rounded back buck. I don't understand what triggered it. I asked him forward and we were off again - back in the canter. Luckily, I'm not too worried about the bucking anymore. I'm pretty confident that I can ride it. I'm started to feel it coming too, which helps me get into the best position. Now, I'd like to start working on asking him forward while he bucks so we can hopefully get past it. Still, I couldn't tell or guess why he decided to buck. His back seems fine, his body seems fine, I wasn't holding him - he had full reins, I just don't know. We'll see. I'm expecting the 7th ride (the end of a program) will tell me if I need to do something else to correct the bucking. At this point, my strategy is to try to bend him, to try to ask him forward, but most importantly to stay in the saddle.
When we got back, Kyle caught and tacked up Cowboy. He wanted to ride Cowboy and see what it was like. He was pretty tired and sore after 2 good rides in the last 24 hours, so he didn't get far. I tacked up Z and we just rode around the property together. It was nice to see Cowboy take a rider with no warm-up and just walk around safely.
Then, I managed to pull everything from my trailer tack room and get it organized (finally). That felt great. I spent about 5 hours with horses and I was pretty tired.
Looking forward to tomorrow - another ride on Gem!