Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Fall Colors Between Rhio's Ears

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Thrills

happy riders return!

Friday morning I brought Red over to be Kristi's mount and we set off on the long loop.  This would be Kristi's first time on the long loop, and her first time riding Red.  I was thrilled that she was interested in taking one of my horses out - makes my job of getting/keeping two horses in shape a lot easier if they both get ridden together!  I'm not sure what she expected from a conditioning ride with me - but I think she found it both fun and challenging.

Both horses were booted on all four feet, sporting four different types of boots.  The road has yet again been recently graded so the footing is rather poor (sharp loose gravel scattered on the surface) and boots are definitely the way to go.  I think even a horse shod in steel shoes may have trouble with this road surface in its current state.

Rhio was fairly unmotivated and wanted to proceed at his slow (uncomfortable to ride) trot, but was happy to lead and didn't really want Red to pass him.  Red moved out well for Kristi and was totally relaxed.  We headed down our road, up the minimum maintenance road, and then continued west along the wide shoulder & rideable ditch along Normanna Road with no issues.  The UPS truck passed us back and forth a couple of times, but the driver was very considerate and slowed way down.  Neither horse even batted any eyelash at the truck, but we appreciated his care nonetheless.  Once across Rice Lake Road, we admired a pair of adorable and harmlessly ferocious bulldogs and continue on to the snowmobile trail.  At this point, Rhio really perked up and we took the back trail to loop around to the snowmobile trail mostly at a canter / hand gallop.  I'm pretty sure my comment, "This is my favorite part!" before zooming off didn't do much to settle any butterflies in Kristi's stomach, but I was thrilled to know she was on Red, whom I can trust to not misbehave and keep up with us without any trouble.  It's always fun to take other people out and give them a taste of how and where I love to ride, but when I am not sure about their horses' mental or physical abilities to cope with the trail and the speed, I have to hold back a little (safety first!).  This ride was a no-holds-barred romp in the woods without the slightest worry about what was going on behind me.  I knew Kristi was a great rider and Red would just do his job, so we could fly! The 10 or so miles of road riding are completely worth it just to do the 2 - 3 miles on these trails.  What a blast!
Kristi & Red - Look! No Hands!
We all-too-soon exited the woods and headed home along the road, with a quick water stop for the horses and a new-found spring in Rhio's step.  We were going home!  I had one big spook to the side from Rhio when he suddenly caught sight of some white spray paint on the pavement, but otherwise the boys know their jobs and away we go. Red got into his big trot and Kristi went flying past us with a grin on her face.  Not to be outdone, but also not as fast a trotter, Rhio & I cantered to keep up with (and then pass!) Kristi & Red.  Our overall time for the 12 mile loop was a little slower than I typically like to do it, but we all had a great time.  It was great to watch Red move and see him be such a good boy for Kristi.

I rode Red the last mile home (so he did about 14 miles total) and got a couple of spooks, including one major one that nearly unseated me when a turtle splashed into the pond as we trotted past.  I tell him that they are more afraid of him than he is of them, but I don't think he believes me!

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