Street trail ride

Yesterday was a beautiful day! Sunny and almost too hot. But everything looked like spring!

Amber and I decided to go trail riding and this time we took the streets for a change. I usually don't ride the streets, and the three biggest reasons: Afraid if the horses spooked into traffic, pooping in front of someone's driveway, horse (most likely from falling) get's away from me and runs home. 

Those are just my main reason why I don't ride through the streets. I'd like to a lot more to help Sugar get experience it. But at least we were able to yesterday!

It's really important (especially for a trail horse) to change the "scenery". If I just worked with Sugar in the arena only she will do very good in the arena. But only in the arena. Each time a horse is introduced to a new environment they're distracted. Especially a nervous horse. They'll see and hear things they may have never seen and heard before. It can get messy and very difficult if you're not prepared. Never assume a horse will act fine when you bring them to a new place. That's why I try to have Sugar work in as many different environments as possible. A arena is very different than being out on the trails. Riding through a neighborhood is very different than the trails. 

We went over a little bridge that goes over a little piece of the lake. It's so cute to see how curious Sugar can be in new environments! There's just a lot more all around her and a lot closer which can be really frightening but she handled it very well. The day before I worked on redirecting her energy every time she got nervous or spooked that when I did this same trick yesterday she calmed down a lot faster and would take a little more time to think about it before really spooking. I think another issue was there are just a lot of dogs around. When we were going down the street a dog came running out of a house to chase us at the wrong time....just when some cars were about to pass. I really hate it when that happens...

She did spook a bit but not too bad. However she did run out a few feet into the street. Thankfully we don't have really narrow roads and there'll be empty lots in between a lot of the houses. That's about really the only scary incident we had. 

We rode to Amber's house where we drank ice water and ate donuts! Then we rode to a little park next to her house that's near the Sacramento river. 

After that we rode around the lake to beach where we rode into the water. I've actually never taken Sugar in the water before. I have had her wade in water maybe up to her knees but never actually taken her in for a swim. I had left her halter and lead on so I could do some groundwork by and in the water with her. But I didn't need to introduce and groundwork into the water. She LOVED it! 
Normally when I take a horse to the water more or less for the first time, I'll do some groundwork instead of going straight into the water. Horses can't tell how deep the water is. So a lot of the time a horse will try to avoid water, even a puddle. And when they're in the water they might get nervous especially getting deeper. BUT they are natural born swimmers! So you don't have to teach them to swim! And in fact, horses in general LOVE swimming! And I can tell Sugar LOVES swimming! She had no hesitation and probably would of swam across the lake! She wasn't over excited either. She just walked in and was very light in my hands and feet. I took my boots off and in my bare-feet she was VERY light. Amber and I thought about unsaddling and getting completely wet but we decided to do that a different day. Although we ended up very wet anyway! 

The way I introduce Sugar to a new object or in this case, water, I use Clinton's method. I'll make the water look easy to be in and where ever she wants to go/the land look hard. What I mean by this is I work her out of the water first. Then when I send her in I relax and not hurry her. If she wants to investigate, that's awesome! She can sniff and even play with it before fully stepping in. But each time I want her to go further and further. When she's on land she has to work again. When she's in the water she get's to rest. 
In Sugar's case however I didn't need to do this really at all. She had no problem walking right in the water. Some horses will be nervous about it at the beginning and some will take right to it. Every horse is different.
When I took Ruby swimming she seemed to love it too but was pretty hard to handle. And seemed picky some days as if that day she didn't care for a swim where as Sugar was very responsive to me obeyed on point. Ruby does need a lot more work but Sugar is my main horse. She's younger, more willing and a bigger challenge!
Ruby is more Gail's horse.