Last Saturday I got a few horse-people/friends at the EQ to go on a trail ride. Gail wanted to ride Sugar this time and I was to ride Ruby for a change. I'm glad because I wanted Gail to feel how much more comfortable Sugar was on the trails since I've been taking her out so much.
We (Gail and I) rode with a girl named Amber, another woman, Kate, and her 9 year old son, Jason. (Jason rode double with his mom). Gail is trying to get more confidant riding again. She's been tight about curtain things, so what happens in our ride I thought she would be too scared to get back on the horse again.
We were all riding in a group going down the trail and into the woods. Kate's horse (Tater) has been acting fidgety but other than that it was all calm and easy ride. Even Ruby who has a huge buddy and barn sour issue, plus haven't been taking out on the trails or worked as much as Sugar has, was doing pretty good! We're starting to go up and down hills in the woods when we come to two bulls chilling off to the side. No problem just passing them. But Tater started acting up and before we knew it he started spooking! Now. Sugar hasn't been in groups for awhile now. She's been a arena horse her whole life and I've been started her as a trail horse. So she was very spooky at the beginning. When I'm trail riding alone or with just Amber, and when Sugar spooks I have no problem controlling her. She hardily spooks on trail rides now and when she does she tries her best to stay still and wait for me to show her it's nothing to be afraid of.
BUT. Gail was riding her and Sugar was in a group this time. Gail was getting nervous and I know Sugar could feel it. So as soon as Tater spooked, she didn't didn't think twice and spun around while dumping Gail out of the saddle. At the beginning of seeing the bulls we were just about to pass them when Tater spooked. Neither Sugar nor Ruby cared a bit about them. But it didn't matter to Sugar and she took off running back home with Gail on the ground. Ruby spooked from Sugar's spook and spun around too. Gail was right in front of her and I thought Ruby was going to run over Gail. But before I could turn her around again she spun around anyway and now I was out of the saddle too. I was most of the way out anyway and I didn't want to get caught in anything so I fell all the way out while holding on to her reins so she couldn't run away. Amber took off to catch Sugar. It all happened so fast but nobody got hurt.
I thought it would shake Gail up to where she wasn't going to continue the ride. But it didn't! She was shaken up a little but she was mostly glad she didn't hit a tree or a rock. She actually landed perfectly on a bunch of the softest grass around!
We decided that I would leave Ruby and Jason with Gail and ride double with Kate on Tater. I've actually never ridden double (at least not in the saddle really). It was pretty fun! The only feeling I didn't like was that I wasn't in control of anything. Fun just the same!
We rode back and found Amber leading Sugar. Sugar was very willing to come back thankfully. It might of been harder if it was Ruby who ran off. I got on Sugar and we all rode back to where we left the others. We each got back on the same horses we started out on and continued the rest of the trail with almost no problem.
Along the way the hills get steeper. And I could tell it was hard for Gail. But she did great! And I knew Sugar was very good with hills! Ruby not so much so I'm glad she has Sugar.
Going out I put Ruby in the lead because she always wants to be so close to the other horses. On the way back I put her hind everyone and some cases pretty far behind when she started acting up by trying to catch up the others. I would make her move her feet each time she broke into a trot until she realized that catching up the others would only mean more work. And for Ruby...she hates work!
That's pretty much all that happened. I don't think I've ever fallen from the saddle before. I have bareback. I've never gotten any injuries and I think I'm pretty good at staying on considering the many times I stayed on while the beast under me spooks at something ridiculous. The spooking with Sugar has been getting fewer and fewer. She used to be really afraid of cattle and deer. When we ride we always run into wild animals a lot. She's used to them more now. With cattle it's easier though. I could work her near them without having the problem of them running away. I also like her to follow them and now actually herd them at a slow pace to boost her confidence. She's doing amazing! I can't wait for this summer!!
I also want to introduce her to swimming. I swam with Ruby a couple of times last summer and it was so much fun!!