The boyfriend and I went for a trail ride with my neighbor (Claude) all over his property a couple weekends ago and let me tell you… it was amazing. It was a great experience for both of us (us being me and my boyfriend, but also me and my horse!) and I'm much more comfortable with my horse now... so much so that Max and I went solo over to Claude's to deliver some light bulbs for his Audi on Sunday!
Max was a champ!
He didn’t quite want to stand still in the driveway to be tacked up but I’m not too fussed about that just yet, it’s still pretty early in the year and he’s been retired since the summer before last. Perfection isn’t a requirement for me anyway. When he was all dressed and I had my delivery pocketed I jumped on (and he started walking… that IS something I’ll be working on, I prefer a horse that waits to be asked to move). When my feet were finally in the stirrups we headed down the driveway. Mum’s horse called out from their paddock but Max didn’t care.
His ears pointed forwards as we headed down the road towards Claude’s place. He’s typically a pretty quick walker (he’s well over 15 hands, it’s to be expected!) but he seemed to slow down a bit and enjoy the strangely warm March day.
Then we approached our first hurdle.
To be fair, I think most obstacles when riding are more something for me to overcome, not my horse. Max does seem pretty chill about a lot of things.
So the first issue on the trail (read: road) was that the neighbour’s dogs were out.
Smack between our driveway and Claude’s is another house with two large dogs that (although I’m sure they’re friendly) like to roam the road (you can tell because with the current melting snow you can see LOTS of dog piles littering the road and ditch around their home). During this ride I could hear them before could see them. A large white and a large black dog approached the road as Max and I passed but thankfully all they did was walk along their lawn adjacent to the road, and barked.
I was worried about what would happen, would they come after us, would Max bolt? Should I get off and walk passed until he got used to those animals? Naturally… he was completely unaffected. I took the hint, let out a sigh and continued on.
Cue the next hurdle: Claude’s dog was off his leash.
I was less concerned about this development because I’d been over to Claude’s place a couple times with Max and he’s met Munchie before, not to mention his reaction to the other dogs we'd just passed. Of course the beautiful Caucasian Shepherd mix ran right down the driveway (Max wasn’t too sure about that welcome but did keep walking with a bit of encouragement), barking and jumping to meet us.
We made it without incident, I delivered my bulbs and more importantly, I think Claude thoroughly approved of my method of transportation. So much so that he asked me to go riding after work on Monday (rescheduled for tonight (tuesday) since I had a meeting after work Monday).
I'm really lucky that my horse isn't heard bound and doesn't mind leaving without his paddock-mate... Mum's horse (Zaira) on the other hand.... I was gone for a little over an hour and when I came home she was dripping sweat. She hadn't stopped running the fence line the whole time we were out.
We're going to have to work on that.