This morning my daughter came to visit so I wrangled her into helping me take a couple of horses for hand walks out on the trails. Just as we were getting ready to go, my husband showed up and he volunteered to take the third horse, so all three of the horses got to get out and explore. This was Gabbrielle's first time through the gate to the public land, and though she watched the other two horses step through it, her respiration went up and she panicked a little searching for another way in, but then she lowered her head and trotted through, clanking her hooves on the bottom bar. That scared her and she ran a half circle around me, but then settled down.
She was doing a lot of pulling on me, which hurts a pinched nerve at the base of my neck, so my husband volunteered to walk her. We walked a mile and Bombay stayed on a loose lead for my daughter the whole way. Lostine kept the rope taut, but didn't pull, and my husband had to keep circling Gabbrielle because she was pushing the other horses from behind. They all lifted their heads and came to a stop when some bicyclists raced down the street, but other than that and one hiker, there wasn't a whole lot of activity.
The horses pooped repeatedly throughout the walk, and left a pretty thorough trail and manure at the trail head closest to our house. Between that and all the piles they left out there on other days, I'd say my herd is responsible for probably 70% of the poop out there at the moment. As the three of them completely fouled the path up from the trail head, I thought, "I hope no hikers want to come through here soon," and then this afternoon the trail was busier than ever with hikers and bicyclists. That's what I get for hoping. Or that's what they get for me hoping.
I'm glad Gabbrielle finally got her chance to explore the desert. She needs a lot of training before she'll stop pulling on the lead rope and get over her nervousness, so I wouldn't walk her out there by myself just yet. She remembered everything the horse trainer taught her as far as lunging in the arena goes, but I didn't. I kept making mistakes. Gabbrielle was forgiving at first, but then saw me fumbling around and started to take advantage of me by trying to stop when I wanted her to go and trying to gallop off. It began raining before I could do anymore damage. I think I'll just practice the movements without a horse for a while and see how that goes.