Thursday, February 28, 2013

Gabbrielle's First Trail Ride

The trainer felt that Gabbrielle was ready for an hour trail ride off the property with me on Lostine.  Gabbrielle got a little nervous around fallen cacti, logs and rocks, so the trainer pointed her at them and encouraged her to investigate.

Each time she backed away, the trainer circled her around and made her approach the scary object again.

Once she showed signs of relaxation, we moved on.  Gabbrielle usually reached down with her nose, sniffed the scary object, and then quickly snatched some grass next to it.  She's got a bad eating-along-the-trail habit already.  I'd rather deal with that then spookiness, though.

Gabbrielle did really well.  We only ran into trouble twice.  The first time was when a woman on horseback came along in the opposite direction one trail over from us and she let her two loose dogs bark and charge at our horses.  My trainer yelled, "No!  Not this horse!  Don't charge this horse!"

I called out to the dogs in a friendly tone saying, "Come on!  Come here!  Hi guys!" because I could tell that the horseback rider had no intention of calling her dogs back to her.  The dogs stopped charging Gabbrielle and abruptly turned toward me and Lostine.  I didn't want Lostine to be charged and bit anymore than I wanted Gabbrielle to be charged and bit, but I figured I could maintain better control of my horse under the circumstances.

I yelled out to the rider that the other horse is green and this is her first time on the trail.  The lady just smiled, but I don't think she comprehended the significance of how her lack of control over her dogs could have caused a wreck for my horse trainer.

One dog was a Chihuahua, the other was a Pug.  They both ran around in between Lostine's legs, and Lostine was a champ about it.  She's been attacked by dogs in her distant past, but I've trained her to stand still and let me deal with them.  The dogs eventually ran off to follow their owner, who just rode on like nothing had happened.  Who knows?  Maybe they weren't even her dogs and she was hoping to unload them on us because they've been harassing her horse all the way down the trail.  Ha ha!

When the woman rode off, I had some trouble getting Lostine to walk forward.  She was just walking backward down the trail toward home, trying to follow the other horse because it was headed toward home.  I turned her this way and that, and she tried taking advantage of the turns by turning all the way toward home and taking off, so I did a one-rein stop and some flexing while the trainer trotted Gabbrielle around bushes, because she too was trying to run after the stranger's horse.  Eventually, both horses gave in and continued walking forward away from home.

Here is a sequence of the trainer introducing Gabbrielle to one of the fallen signs on the side of the trail:

The other trouble we got into was that when I rode on ahead of her, which she wanted me to do, and she held Gabbrielle back, Gabbrielle would pitch a fit and want to run to catch up to Lostine.  The trainer trotted her in circles and made her run away from Lostine until she settled down at a stand still and walked to catch up.  So, just before we were going to cross the street, the trainer held her back, and Gabbrielle started pitching an even bigger fit than before, tossing up little bucks and throwing her head around.  The trainer discovered that she had backed Gabbrielle into a thorny bush and it was poking her in the legs and butt.  Oops.

I bought a second Weaver AirFlex Cinch for Gabbrielle and Bombay's saddle, because it has been sliding down a lot on Gabbrielle when the trainer rides her.  I watched the trainer mount and the saddle didn't budge, so it definitely has a better grip than the flat neoprene.  When dismounting after the trail ride when the cinches were all sweaty, Lostine's saddle didn't budge, but Gabbrielle's saddle slid a little because the trainer didn't properly buckle it and it was a little loose.  She's not as concerned about keeping the cinch tight as I am.  So far I'm happy with the cinches.  I'll let you know if anything changes.


Paint Girl said...

Looking at all the pictures of Gabbrielle shying away from objects reminds me so much of Brandy! Brandy has improved probably 90% from where she was 5-6 yrs ago. I am surprised I ever took her trail riding and made it through a whole trail ride. She was a mess. Now I can have a relaxing trail ride on her with only a few spooks along the way. I am sure Gabbrielle will get there and soon!
I don't mind people taking their dogs on trail rides BUT when they can't control them, then I have a problem. It is down right dangerous for people to take out of control dogs on the trail. I take my Aussie Bailey trail riding, but he listens to us and has never ran and barked at anyone's horses. If he did, I wouldn't take him. That is actually why we don't take Sadie. She would not be able to handle it and would bark at everyone!!

Cindy D. said...

I do not take my dogs on trail rides at all. My theory is that I have enough to worry about with my horses. I don't need to concern myself with what my bad dogs are doing. Or even worse, I don't want to have to worry if someone else's loose dog is going to come out and attack my dog. My life is all about avoiding vet bills.

What a good girl Lostine was to deal with those little yappers. Sounds like you guys had a pretty decent ride, even with the little distractions. Poor Gabbrielle, thorns in her butt. I'd have thrown a fit too! :-)

I use those same cinches and I love them. I use them on all my saddles. I have one of the flat neoprene ones too and took it off. Not only did the "roller"on the buckle cause issues, it just never would stay in place. It is now in my "swap meet pile"

Cindy D. said...

Oh I forgot to ask, what is your middle saddle? It looks very comfy from what I can see.

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

Cindy - It's a High Plains Tucker Trail Saddle. It is comfy, but weighs a little more than I care to lift. I don't remember the number of pounds exactly, but it is a solid saddle with good craftsmanship.

fernvalley01 said...

sounds like a great ride, and look at you trouble shooting the dog incedent! Well donbe. People are stupid about dogs and horses at times aren't they

achieve1dream said...

My biggest problem when taking my dogs with me was other dogs. My dogs were friendly and didn't mess with horses. I'm glad it all worked out okay! That could have been scary. People have no respect for other people at all.

I'm glad Gabrielle did so well on her first trail ride! She is going to be such a great trail horse with a little more experience. :D