Monday, January 30, 2012

First Trail Ride

Sunday morning dawned clear, sunny and warm.  We decided to take Winston on his first trail ride.  I chose the ridge trail because it is short (an hour roundtrip) but has quite a bit of hill work.  Looking out over the pasture, you can see the ridge in the distance.  The trail follows that ridge line and then drops away from our community toward the coast.  The entire trail loop is very steep and very long so we just go out part way and then come back.  It's not a trail that Jackson could handle, with his bad feet, on his best days because it is very rocky at some points.

I rode in my dressage saddle because I am not sure that Winston has ever had a western saddle on his back and also because I feel more secure in the dressage saddle.  I can feel exactly what Winston is thinking and be proactive in working with him if he gets nervous.  Our neighbor was out on his tractor grading the bridle path on his side of the street.  I hopped on Winston and went into the arena to gauge his reaction to the tractor.  He could have cared less, so we headed out to the trail.

Brett carried the camera because I knew I was going to have my hands full with Winston.  Brett gets credit for all the trail pictures.  Winston was nervous but brave and he never spooked.  We rode on the bridle trails to get to the wilderness trail head and he was forward and a bit prancy but not naughty or scared.  He's a long way from being able to go on the buckle on the trail, but I know he'll get there.  Everytime he relaxed, I gave.  Today, he didn't really want that -- he was looking for security from me and he found it in the contact.  Having Flash with us was worth a million bucks.  Flash just walked along, calmly, regardless of how much head tossing and hopping was occurring behind him.

A group of guys in our community have done a great job of maintaining the trail

Getting Winston to hold still long enough for a picture was a challenge.

He did this lip curling, head bobbing thing most of the way back

We did have moments of relaxation

But, most of the time we looked like this
The bridle paths in our community are really just wide, dirt shoulders next to the ranch roads. 

Winston was fine with trash cans, dogs and gardeners.
When we got home, poor Flash couldn't wait to get his tack off before peeing.  He must have had to go badly, he never pees at the tie rail. 

All in all, I'm very pleased with our first trail ride.  I think Winston will be a great trail horse once he gets some miles under his belt.  He's brave and he's smart.  Despite being a bit nervous, he was enjoying himself.  Who knows, some day we may even do the entire ridge trail!  Wouldn't that be an accomplishment!


  1. Well done! Pretty work on both your parts. :)

  2. What a thrill to get him out somewhere and see how he reacted! You looked like you were having so much fun!

  3. how fun! So glad he's working out.
    you have some interesting looking country...allot different then our trails.

  4. Go Go Winston!!!! (& Annette!):-)

    Looks good, he really didnt bother! Its always a tester, for a new horse on unfamiliar ground. Well done!

  5. Oh, I just love those spots!

    Congratulations on a great first trail ride! I'm glad to hear that Winston sought out the contact and was comforted by it. That's a good sign!

    Such beautiful country up there!

  6. I think you both are very brave. I would have been nervous with a new horse. Brett is good support.

  7. Way to go Winston! It sure is helpful to have Flash and Brett sweet are they!

  8. Good boy, Winston!
    Your neighborhood is so pretty.

  9. it sounds like you picked the perfect horse for you. A horse good on the trail is worth his weight in gold IMHO.

  10. All and all, it sounds like that went well. Your calm will eventually translate to him calming, too. I take my hat off to you for hitting the trail so soon. I think that's smart! Horses love to move out and it's a great way to get to know each other.


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