Friday, July 22, 2011

Annual Trip with Girls and Horses

Had a fantastic week in the Flat Top Wilderness near Glenwood Springs with 7 great friends and horses. I took Gem and he was absolutely wonderful. The 3rd day, I asked him to take a 2nd ride with a small group and he was clear with me that he didn't want to do it. He showed me by doing a few quirky things like leaving the trail and nearly wiping me off the saddle, backing up while leading the small group and not partnering with me while I tried to open/close a gate. This was a really good ride for us. We worked through a serious relationship hole between the two of us. Gem often thinks he has better ideas than mine and as our partnership grows, I really need him to follow my leadership more. He was not dangerous and this ride gave him plenty of opportunity to buck and take his defiance to a dangerous place, but he didn't. That was huge progress! We grew together as a result and the following ride the next day was fantastic.

The 4th day's ride was interesting. We climbed about 3 miles and when we had the chance and the trail leveled off, it was time to trot. However, Gem was lame! I didn't even bother investigating. I told the group to go without me, hopped off Gem and we walked back. The amazing part was that he left that group with me easily. This was huge. We walked the 2-3 miles back and I hung around his pen and read a book. We did some trick training, I lead him around the resort to graze on the best grass and we waited for the group to return. It was a great afternoon for me and my horse. Gem was absolutely awesome through the week and I'm so glad I chose him for this trip.

During the week, I alternated between my english saddle and my western saddle. I thought it might help if one saddle was making him sore to get a break with another saddle. We rode 10-15 miles each day on tough mountain trail and I wanted to preserve his back as much as possible. The english saddle left a dry spot on the left shoulder. It never does that during our dressage lessons, so that was very bizarre.

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