...as if he hadn't already...
This morning, Brett and I went on a trail ride. This was Winston's first full length "real" trail ride. We were out for two hours, covering about six miles. We went on the loop trail which is our favorite (or is mine anyway) because it covers varied terrain and gives the horses a good work out.
It was a beautiful sunny morning with just a touch of a breeze and a bit of warmth. No jacket required; just a sweatshirt.
When we started out down the ranch roads to get to the trail head, Winston was amped way up. His head was high, he was spooking, and even threw in a half rear. Michaele, I thought of you because I was a bit scared. I told myself to remember how he settled when I rode with our neighbor, that he needs trail miles to work through this, and I tried thinking brave confident thoughts. I sighed a lot. Audible sighs. Don't laugh -- it relaxes me and it relaxes the horse. Brett told me later that he was pretty sure I was going to say "Let's go back" but I didn't. I decided to be confident, to be there for Winston, and to get through this.
By the time we got to the trail head (a mile or so), he had settled considerably. As we walked along, I rewarded Winston each time he relaxed by giving him a long rein. He liked that a lot and settled into a big, swinging walk. By halfway through we were consistently on a long rein.
We walked down a long hill full of loose rock and shale. We stepped over four or five logs - no problemo, he hardly slowed down. We went up a couple hills that required navigating over and around boulders. Jackson used to stop, study the boulder, choose his path, ponder it some more and then carefully pick his way up (or down) the hill. Winston? He trucked up and he trucked down. He picked the best path and took it with confidence. I was riding on the buckle, having the time of my life.
This is one confident horse. I sensed it before, but I know it now. We are going to go places together. Lots and lots of places.