Trail riding

My friend Rachael invited me to go trail riding on Saturday; I couldn’t say no, since the weather was absolutely beautiful. You just can’t stay indoors when it’s 73 degrees and sunny in January!

I opted to take Moe; although he isn’t clipped or shod, he’s been working regularly for months and is fitter than Gina, who’s had nearly a month off. He’s also a lot more pleasant to deal with for trailering. Gina can get cranky about loading, while Moe practically leaps onto the trailer because the trailer undoubtedly leads somewhere fun.

Moe wondering if the cows are coming on the trail ride.
“ARE THE COWS COMING ON THE TRAIL RIDE?!”

We rode on private property; our hostess rode with us and led the way through some very steep trails. Moe was generally well behaved. He didn’t try to barge to the front and he was careful and surefooted on the parts of the trail that were rocky or had loose footing.

Headed down the hill.
Headed down the hill.

The midpoint of our ride was a long, flat field where everyone let their horse gallop; Moe was certain this was a race, so he accelerated from a nice, forward canter to a flat-out gallop. He was much faster than the other horses, who were a pony, a draft/TB cross, and a couple of Quarter Horses; he was obviously very proud of himself for beating such a competitive crowd.

I let him take a couple of wide circles at a slower gallop to circle back to the group. I kept one eye on the ground, since I’m always a little concerned about holes; lo and behold, I saw an armadillo, just tootling across the field! Moe saw it about half a second after I did and took a sideways step to avoid running over it. #OklahomaProblems?

Moe was pretty keyed up as we headed for home, and every time our hostess would start trotting, he’d start cantering, and I’d start circling. At one point, our hostess asked if Moe and I were doing okay; I rolled my eyes and told her that his antics are more annoying than scary. I never worry if he’s going to buck or spook or really bolt- he’s not a naughty or unreliable horse- he just wants to be in front!

Scouting for more armadillos.
Scouting for more armadillos.

The warm weather combined with hard work and a long winter coat meant he was completely drenched in sweat by time we got back; I hosed him off with some luxuriously lukewarm water (hot water in a barn is truly amazing) while chatting with our hostess. She was floored to hear he was 21; I always have to laugh when people are surprised at his age. His baby face and endless energy make him appear to be at least a decade younger!

IMAG1099
Sweaty pony!

We headed home after that, and Moe got a well deserved extra handful of cookies and an extra flake of hay in his stall.

I’m so glad my elderly horse is still cheerfully toting me around trails 13 years after I got him! He’s so much fun, and I can’t wait to get show season underway.

Author: Stephanie

Equestrian, amateur cook, people person.

13 thoughts on “Trail riding”

  1. I love Moe. It’s a good thing you’re far away, or I might come steal him and leave you a cranky race horse in his place.
    I’ve never seen an armadillo in real life. Glad Moe didn’t flatten it!

    1. Aw, thanks!

      The armadillo was pretty cute, although I only saw it for a second from atop a galloping horse. I was glad it didn’t jump up or something; apparently they can jump 4 feet in the air or something ridiculous!

  2. A couple years ago my friend and I went riding in upper MI and came across a porcupine. It was the coolest and also slightly scariest thing that has ever happened on a trail ride. He was pretty close to the trail, and made this weird rattling noise with his quills as we went by. Thankfully it didn’t spook any of the horses. Sydney self loads herself into the trailer which seems to amaze everybody that I know. SI just have to line her up to the back and in she goes. I think she has the same mentality of being excited to go see things. Plus she has a big window that she can look out of and watch the world go by. I frequently glance back in the mirror and see her with one side of her face pressed up against the window like a little kid.

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