Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Long Walk Back

Brett signed us up to go on an interpretive trail ride today
with the Irvine Conservancy Group.
Winston has been on one of these rides before,
early last year, 
and he was calm as a cucumber
even when we walked past an angry rattlesnake.

Winston walked willingly out of the pasture with me this morning.
When he saw Brett backing up the trailer,
he became less willing.
He pooped four times in ten minutes.
...should have been a clue...
Brett loaded Mufasa first.
Thankfully, Winston loaded easily.

We arrived,
the docent unlocked the gate,
we drove into the staging area
and unloaded. 
Green grass everywhere.
Happy calm horses.

Green grass,
my best buddy Muasa,
What me worry?

He refused to stand still while I saddled him.
He was a royal pain in the butt.
And I was running on low energy;
fighting a cold or some bug.

The docent told us that they have found the remains of Native Americans in this canyon.
They have been carbon dated to 8,000 years ago.
Sometimes, an aura or ray of light shows up on his pictures.
He said it is the ghost of one of the Indians,
who rides with the docents.
He calls the Indian, Ray.
I don't think Winston liked Ray.
He jigged and fussed and was not fun to ride.

The docent stopped periodically to talk about the history of the canyon.
Winston stood quietly.
He seemed to be settling down.

We turned off the wide trail onto a single track and started to climb the hills. 
Winston took exception to a gelding behind us.
He kicked back.
With both feet.
Thank goodness he missed.
Then he reared a few times.
I asked the gentleman behind me to switch places with another rider on a horse Winston didn't mind.
He settled a bit.
On we climbed.

As we reached the steepest part of the trail
the docent stopped 
and warned us to be careful.
Their were steep cliffs
on both sides of the narrow, steep trail ahead.
We were to stay in the center of the trail.
Just then, Winston decided he was done.
He reared straight up.
I thought we were going over backwards.
When he landed he bucked.
I grabbed the saddle horn
(thank you Camille;
when he bucked me off last October,
Camille asked me why I didn't hold onto the saddle horn.
Her voice came to me.)
I grabbed the horn with one hand,
and turned him sharply with the other,
while pushing with my inside leg.
He stopped.
I got off.
And started the three mile walk back.

I'm not sure if Winston was remembering last October,
or doesn't like riding in a big group, 
or was still upset about the gelding,
or didn't like Ray (wrong tribe? Not an appy or horsey tribe)
or was just in a pissy mood.
Half way back to the trailer he relaxed.
He's used to me hand walking him when he's worried.
He bumped my hand repeatedly with his nose,
thanking me for keeping him safe.

I told Brett
that I'm happy to trail ride with him.
But I'm not happy to do group rides.
It's not my thing
and clearly isn't Winston's either.


  1. glad NONE of you were hurt - including the other horses/riders, too.

  2. You got your exercise today! Sorry about that.

  3. No more group rides. Mufasa was a good boy though.

  4. Oh thank goodness for saddle horns!
    Glad you're safe!

  5. Thank goodness you're safe!!! My mare was extremely pissy today and ended up coming up lame,sigh... i think it's just one of those days...

  6. Irish is a complete wingnut on group trail rides. It's like his brain disappears completely.

  7. OMG when I saw the title of this post I was afraid you'd fallen off and hurt yourself again. Thank God (and Camille and common sense) you stayed on. Yeah, I'd avoid group rides from now on too if I were you.

  8. Awwww...that stinks. But at least you made it okay for Winston in the end. If you don't care about group rides it is a non-issue, but if you do, I bet with some more trail rides under his belt in general it will turn out okay in time. He is 6 right? And aren't you the first person to take him out and about? I have a feeling in a year or two when that dressage work gets really hard he will be happy to have such an easy ride, with or without other horses around!

  9. Annette, I came to that conclusion with my horse, Cowboy, a long time ago, and I'm glad I did. He also does horrible in big groups with new horses. With him, I resigned myself to riding with small groups or friends where I always have a sense of control. Steep cliffs are truly dangerous and horses do sometimes go over them in their fear. I found that Cowboy does 100 percent better in small groups OR by himself. That really surprised me, but he is perfect when we ride alone. He goes through water, along cliffs, and is a real partner....alone. You're a strong, wise Cowgirl!

  10. A tough way to learn that trail rides are not for Winston, but now you know and good that nothing bad happened on that narrow trail.

  11. Winston prefers time with his mom more than crowds it seems. He is a beautiful mommas boy though isn't he ;)


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