Sunday, February 13, 2011

First Trail Ride of 2011

Sunday was supposed to be our last decent day before some more wet storms move in, so I spent some time catching Lostine, getting her boots on, practicing whoa in the round pen, and trailer training. I tried a little clicker training with her, but she's very stubborn. She knew she was leaving home, and she was going to do everything to prevent it even with the offer of a click and some treats for the right response. Unfortunately, I had to revert back to the pressure and release techniques she's used to. We'll save clicker training for another day when she's not so worried about leaving the herd.

When we reached the trail head parking lot, the car side was full, but I had the first horse trailer to arrive. By the time I had Lostine saddled and my trailer locked, four other horse trailers had arrived, and the cars were lined up down the driveway and out into the street looking for parking spots. I guess everyone had cabin fever and thought today would be a great day for a hike.

Do you remember when I mentioned that I only like to ride when I know my husband or son are home and available to help, if need be? Well, I almost had one of those scenarios. The center divider latch was filled with sand and it got jammed. I had a horse in the trailer, and I couldn't get her out. I spent about 5 minutes shaking it and whatnot until it finally opened, so I didn't have to call my husband to bring a can of WD-40 to the trail head. However, you can bet that now I carry a can of WD-40 in my horse trailer.

Lostine was still nervous despite me doing ground work with her for a hour before leaving. She had one little spook in the beginning of our ride, but eventually settled down.

Whenever we came to a fork in the road, I let her sniff the air and decided which way she wanted to go. I know that I shouldn't let my horse be in charge, but her hearing, eyesight and sense of smell are better than mine, and she knows I like to take the road less traveled.

She bypassed a trail that had a bunch of preschool and kindergarten aged kids on it. However the trail we took eventually looped around to where the kids were. They were screaming, making wild animal noises, and throwing rocks and logs into the stream, which terrified Lostine. My horse started running backwards down the hill. Just when I pushed her forward, some boy came running out of the bushes at a full charge and Lostine came to a screeching halt.

This is why I have to pop an anti-anxiety pill before trail riding. I get so numb that I don't even flinch at these things, which really helps my horses to not overreact. They feel that I'm relaxed despite this short person with a backpack charging us, and they just stop to observe the situation.

When the boy turned and ran away from us, I encouraged her to chase the boy to get her confidence up, but then she smelled another horse, let out an ear-piercing whinny, and took off toward the smell. Whoa, Nellie. I didn't ask to go that fast. I halted her and made her go back in the opposite direction.

We ran across a couple of ladies on Arabs, one that had never been on a trail ride before. The rider and horse were stuck in the same location where I got stuck with my horses on their first trail rides. It's a ditch on a curve with bushes on each side so that you can't see what is around the corner. I maneuvered Lostine into a position where the scared horse could see her, and then it came right through the scary spot to meet Lostine.

When we reached the bottom of the hill, the cars had started a second row of parking in the middle of the lot, so that there were two narrow isles. I'd never seen the canyon this busy before.

Every time a truck or car came around the corner, the driver had to brake because my horse's butt was in his way. I had to keep pulling Lostine forward and turning her sideways against the trailer so vehicles could get past.

This lovely gang showed up just as I was leaving and graciously posed for a picture for me.

Does anyone else have a Friesian obsession? Or is it just me? The man did admit that he had a lot further to fall on his Friesian than I do on my 14.2 Arab Lostine.

You know what was really funny. I drove all the way there and all the way back with a pile of horse hoof trimmings on the running board of my trailer and they never fell off.


Mikey said...

Mercy's over my shoulder drooling about the freisian... lol. Love that you got in a good ride finally. Sounds like things are coming together!

Rising Rainbow said...

I do remember your post about needing your son or husband at home. Glad you could get the situation fixed yourself. I learned a long time ago about WD 40. It is on my must have list for the horse trailer.

Sounds like Lostine is improving on the trails even though it sounds like your trails were more like a zoo today.

I don't have a Friesian obsession but I do know people who do.

You know if those hoof trimmings had been something you needed or wanted they'd be long gone. LOL

Ms Martyr said...

There has been some kind of Friesian war going on at Alaska's Craiglist. People's ads are being flamed or removed and everybody seems to have an opinion. There is a paint Friesian colt arriving soon from California and his sire will be available at stud. Some insist black is the only acceptable color. I would love to see one up close, no matte what the color.

Dreaming said...

It sounds like you had a great day... and how nice that you could 'rescue' stuck horses! A friend I rode with found her horse stuck by a small rivulet of water. She turned the horse around and backed through the bad spot - it worked!
Friesians look impressive - especially up close, but you know, I'd hate to try to work with something that carries its head so high!

Linda said...

Wow! That's a busy trailhead!! Good for you, getting her out and about--there was a lot to scare her and I think, considering it was the first ride, she did pretty darn good out there with no herd buddies! One of my riding partners has to have a beer before every ride--she says it calms her nerves in the same way.

Crystal said...

Sounds like a productive day. And the Fresian is beautiful!

achieve1dream said...

Lol Friesian obsession is an understatement for me. :D I love them. I love their personalities and I'm so glad Chrome seems to inherited that wonderful Friesian personality.

It sounds like Lostine did really well for her first trail ride of the year. Good girl. Don't worry about the clicker training. Chrome has a lot of trouble concentrating on it when we're out on the roads. I think I'm going to leave it home on the walks for a while. Once he's doing better at home I might introduce it on the road again. I'm sure she'll love it when she's not worrying about going somewhere.

I'm glad you had a good ride and didn't have to call your husband to help with the stuck divider. :)

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

lol! Your last comment about the horse trimmings cracked me up. I like how you always notice the unusual and have such a quirky sense of humor about life. :)

The lady coordinates perfectly with her gorgeous friesian. Purple and black looks fierce together!

I'm glad you enjoyed such a pleasant trail ride. Sounds like it turned out to be a beautiful but very crowded trail day.
I would really like to know the name of the anxiety pills you take. Sounds like something that could help me, too...


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Oh and I forgot to add that I think it was really nice of you to help the lady with that trail green arab get through that curve in the trail. I hope karma returns the favor right back to you :)


Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Lisa - That's so funny. I was just talking with my dental hygienist today about my anti-anxiety meds. She takes a very similar drug to help her sleep. She's just like me in that if something wakes her up, she can't get back to sleep for anything. Anyway, my drug is called Lorazepam. I was originally prescribed it in a very small dose to help control my head tremor, because it is an anxiolytic, anticonvulsant and a muscle relaxant, which would cover three possible causes of the tremor -- anxiety, neurological misfires, and tight muscles. Then when I started having trouble sleeping, another doctor increased the dosage by having me take one at night as well as one in the morning. I'm usually out like a light within half an hour of taking it. That's the sedative working. It doesn't knock me out during the day, though, if I've had a good night's sleep and some coffee. The down side of it is the amnesic part. I had taken one the other morning, and then went on a dog walk with a volunteer at the shelter, and she kept asking me questions that required me to use my memory, and I had to keep saying I couldn't remember. It was a bit embarrassing.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Thanks for the info on the anti-anxiety meds. I'll have to ask my Dr about it. I'm not too worried about the amnesic side effects, though. I already have trouble with my memory and that's without taking anything at all. lol!