I decided to start on Z and had plans to switch to Gem at the turn-around point. Gem was excited at first and really wanted to lead the trail! I thought maybe our confidence building sessions had really worked! I was proud of his attitude about the trail ride - he seemed genuinely happy to be out.
We went somewhere between 6-8 miles. I forgot my GPS, so I'm not exactly sure, but we did walk/trot and rode about 3 hours. The forest was so lovely, with snow on the ground and gray skies. The footing was good - no mud, generally, throughout the ride. I let Gem off the lead line some of the time and he made Deb and I laugh so hard with his antics. He wanted to lead the trail! He was so excited - it was taking a dog for hike. He'd trot ahead, then wait for us. He sometimes chose the middle of the two horses, but he was showing some aggression towards Lexy, so I had to clip him back to the lead line a few times.
I ended up just staying on Z the whole time, mainly because I didn't feel like moving the tack. Lazy, but I was also enjoying my Zarah mare so much. She's a pleasure to ride. Gem was having a fun time being sorta free and I decided to just keep things as they were. I was happy to get both horses exercised and could have spent hours more out in the woods.
It was a great spring ride and I look forward to many more nice, long trail rides with Gem and Z! Next time, Gem gets the saddle.