With the fam kinda rocking the whole horse riding thing, I figured what was the worst that could happen if we took the show on the road? I picked Indian Spirit Springs, a lovely ranch that's open for people to come ride. They're gunning to be an endurance event location but right now they're awesome with plenty of nice trails, great scenery, and thoughtful amenities. Oh and they're in town and $10 a head for a half day.
We took the new trailer with all three slots filled with horses (and a pony or technically two) and headed out there. I was still working on "horses as a family" thing for this trip so I decided I would ride in my reining saddle and forego the helmet. Helmet was for "real" riding. Naturally this made me feel good and panicky at the same time. Another thing to note about taking 3 horses with 3 sets of tack and only one knowledgeable person - the knowledgeable person ends up doing a LOT of work.
But it was fine and we had everyone mounted and heading out in short order. Natrually Piper was raring to go and I wasn't going to fight with her for four hours. She led and I had to do circles around the group as she was in her "on a mission" walk from hell. She wasn't trotting, so no laws of mine were being violated but ugh. Not relaxing or enjoyable riding a working horse.
Most of the ride was uneventful.
About two hours in though, Piper had a "spook" at some deer. It was really lame and completely out of boredom. I ended up in a compromising position and started to scramble to stay on. Then I recalled my horse is about 2 feet off the ground, I had a good amount of control and hold on the reins, and the ground was soft. I let go. Then it was on like donky kong. She wanted to work, so we worked. The.remaining.two.hours.
Not relaxing and I did look more than once with envy at my family on their calm boring horses, but it is what is is. Piper is not a recreational sort of horse and once I gave her a task, she was fine. Yay trailriding?
Part of the reason for getting these horses (as opposed to my usual elephant types that are the norm for english events), was for them to be more family friendly. There was no denying that my lovely thoroughbred that I'd owned for 10 years prior to these mares was a great horse. He was also huge, doofy, prone to making bad decisions, and a bit to cuddly for most people to be able to take in. My warmblood that was his pasture mate was arrogant, gorgeous, hot blooded, and sassy britches about things. People were intimidated by them and when I did go on vacation in 2010, my horse sitter with limited experience found herself in a panic over "having" to blanket them (despite me assuring her they could make it one cold night in the barn). She contacted her nonhorsey mother who built her confidence up enough to get the job done.
After the birth of my son, the horses were put on the back burner. I WANTED to ride but now had all the obligations of if I kill myself on them, the man I love was going to have to raise this child alone. Not that he couldn't, but well, that wasn't the objective of this exercise. My horse boys were getting older too and it was time to decide if I was going to mount a comeback on them or not. I decided to interview people rather than sell them and find a great home that could learn on them while understanding their aging needs.
Fast forward to this year and I once again was horse shopping. I was SO CLOSE to making it. Just taking lessons or leasing something But alas, I'm too cheap for that. I wanted a big dopey paint that would be decent at low-mid level whatever I wanted to do. Reining, HUS, eventing, dressage, trails, just whatever hit my heart. We know this didn't work out that way.
But, even with Piper being a 4* horse in her heart, I have Katy and Mango who are definitely chill yet ready for whatever. They (and Piper) have extensive experience on trails and the like. I bought the horse trailer for family outings and I'd been training the horses. It was time to put the fam on the horses.
So yes, I was nervous underneath my cool demeanor.
Pierce had been on Katy a few times and had some lessons with me so I was less freaked out about that. He'd been on Mango a few times on his own, so that was less crazy. My husband though, ugh. He'd been on a horse exactly ONCE in his life before when my sister in law had put him on a horse with no instruction and then they went on a torturous 6 hour trail ride through East Texas. No mention to putting the weight in your heels was given, so my hubby had spent the whole ride sitting on his junk and hating every minute.
With Pierce wandering happily on Mango, I explained Katy to Joe in motorcycle terms. "You kick gently to move up a gear, you sit down and gently take hold of the reins to gear down." My husband is athletically gifted and also fairly analytical. We went to the back pasture where I watched and helped as needed. Freakishly my husband was able to confidently walk, trot, and canter Katy in an open pasture with no issues at all. Seriously? WHO DOES THAT?!
But I was happy and he looked great on her. And no, he didn't have a life altering experience and still greatly prefers motor vehicles to horses. Sadness on my part. He'd be a fantastic event rider. Just have to focus on the kid who is almost as good :P