After parking our trailer under some huge oak trees and getting the sign-in requirements out of the way, we walked the horses around. My goal, for myself, for the day was to be a confident leader. I adopted the attitude of expecting Winston to be calm and well-behaved. I didn't baby him. We marched past other rigs, past the cattle pen, and the barn. If his head got high, I just tugged his head down and said "keep walking, you're fine." And he was. He didn't look twice at the cattle. I put him in the round pen and he just trotted around me like no big deal. No racing, no bucking. After five minutes, we stopped and went back to the trailer to tack up.
|This is the only thing that Winston spooked at. Sheesh, just a sheep.|
We chose to go on a trail ride first, opting for the two hour ride since Winston already had aced our loop trail which is also about two hours. There were eight of us on the ride. The manager of the ranch led us down a dirt ranch road, then cut across a field to a trail. We continued cutting on and off of trails throughout the ride. We were single track on trails that were narrow and steep. Straight up and then straight down, through arroyos and scrub brush, to the top of the ridge. I have no idea of the elevation change but poor Winston was really tired. The only level part of the trail was the first five minutes on the dirt road and the last fifteen minutes when we cut through some cattle in a field and back to the ranch hub.
One of our neighbors was also attending the play day and went on the same ride with us. She had her camera and took some pictures. If she sends me copies, I'll post them. I didn't carry the camera because I wanted to focus on Winston. Brett and I rode at the back. Winston was fine. He did try to kick Flash when Flash ran up his bumper but otherwise behaved. He wasn't amped, and he was fine being in a long line of horses. There were two women on the ride, mother and daughter, and the steep terrain was too much for them and their horses. We stopped at the top of every hill to let their horses rest. This was difficult for Brett and Flash -- they don't do well with standing around -- but I was thankful for the frequent breaks. I knew Winston was struggling with the hills as well.
We eventually made it back down the mountain into a big meadow with grazing cattle, a windmill and a watering trough. Winston didn't care about the cattle milling around us and he didn't care about the creaking windmill. He drank deeply at the water trough. Flash drank as well after playing in the water. He loves to plunge his face in the water, up to his eyeballs, and then splash around with his nose.
Back at the trailer, we took an hour lunch break. I was just going to loosen Winston's cinch but the saddle pad had slipped and was all catty-wompus so I took it off. His cinch must have gotten a bit loose and then the pad slid on the hills. Poor boy. He dug right into his hay. Flash was too tired to eat. He cocked a foot and went to sleep.