A Strange Ride With Strange Horses

It’s been a while since I posted. Life got crazy and blogging took the furthest, most back seat in existence. I’m just putting trail miles on Aria and taking a mental break for now. I’ve been using the time for decompressing and stress management. Bless Aria’s baby heart for being that level headed youngster (for the most part) that allows me to mentally check out when we ride. I really don’t know how I’d be coping with it all otherwise. Probably with a lot of Xanax. Lol.

The only picture of the poker ride. It was too crazy.

I do have one event that I went to on September 17th that was very enlightening: The Poway Rodeo Poker Ride. I was really hoping to have fun at this event even though I had some reservations about how Aria would handle a large group of new horses. I’ve been pretty categorically throwing us at challenges that could and possibly should cause us some issues. So far the only problem I haven’t been able to tackle is water. I can’t sing high enough praises for her foundation training with R.

Anyway, back to this poker ride. I had a friend and Alex join us for the ride. I figured it would be a great way to spend time with a fellow blogger on our horses. Even though Scarlet isn’t a trail veteran, Aria is a cool cucumber most of the time and I felt that would be a good influence. However I forgot to account for other riders’ and their horses. There was something like 50 horses on this ride.

The cow herd now has 7 babies. Aria needs them all.

Other than a handful of good horses there were times, especially towards the second half of the ride when we split into two groups, that I felt like Aria was the only behaved and chill horse in the group. I was extremely proud of her behavior. We followed a big calm appaloosa for the first half which was great because it let me put Aria’s head in his butt while we descended some of the steepest hills I’ve ever done.

She dealt with A LOT of ruts and uneven footing that normally would have caused a scene but perhaps because of the large group, she simply following the tail in front of her. That made me especially happy because I was expecting a battle and possibly ending up as ‘that rider’ even though I warned the people around me I was on a baby. She did act up when we stopped to let the whole group catch up. She’s not used to standing around and I was forcing her to, which she had opinions about.

How can you not relax when this is your view at the end of your ride?

On the way back I was following a nasty little mustang that I don’t think the rider could handle. It was small and slow compared to the size and speed Aria wanted to go. We kept a good distance because I know Aria has the inclination to goose other horses with her nose. It’s a good thing I’m considerate because this mustang stopped dead in its tracks several times causing us to run up on it, partly from the faster walking pace and partly because several other horses were crowding us from behind.

Apparently the mustang didn’t like that and the first time it happened she kicked out and missed us. The second time I was quick enough to halt Aria well in advance but my friend’s horse ended up passing us and it got kicked by the mustang. I don’t know about you guys but I thought it was known and practiced in large groups of unfamiliar horses that any bitchy horses were supposed to wear a ribbon in their tail for whatever their shitty attitude issue is?

It was so quiet, it was almost too quiet.

I guess I’m still a little miffed about this ride. I wouldn’t have called it fun. Scarlet and my friend’s horse didn’t seem to enjoy themselves and riding Aria was all about managing everyone else’s naughty horses. On top of that the trail was really advanced with lots of steep and questionable terrain. Thankfully Aria is level headed or I would have quit early on. It also clock in at only like…2 miles? We were done in about an hour. Kind of a lackluster event for a $25 ticket.

I think a few small organizational changes could be made and the ride would be a lot of fun. Perhaps a beginner and advanced group that leave at separate times. Having trail guides with horses that are calm and can actually handle the ride would be excellent (there were 2 and one had to turn back because their horse could not cope with the group size). I would personally change the trail location so it’s more friendly to the less athletic horses (some horses were really blowing after the crazy hills. Aria, I’m proud to report, didn’t even break a sweat).

New shirt. It totally embodies the essence of my Iberian mares.

I think in the future I will stick to my group of friends for trail rides. But it was an excellent experience for Aria and I. I think when we do show, this will be evidence that she will be able to focus on our work and not care about what other horses may be doing. She remained calm and cool once I was in the saddle and was only a little anxious when we first arrived because it was a new place with lots of new horses. I couldn’t ask for better than that!

14 thoughts on “A Strange Ride With Strange Horses

  1. Yeah definitely bitchier horses need to either have a ribbon in their tail or better yet – behavior should be communicated prior to the ride, that way there are no surprises and everyone has an easier time managing them.

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    • That would be ideal. But I assume the horse reflects the rider a bit.
      And most people probably had trail horses that they can afford to give time off for injuries but it would be really bad to get Aria laid up for an extended time when we’re planning to show in 2018.

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    • I will admit she has a fantastic foundation that I cannot take credit for. But I will take credit for the time I have spent working on our relationship together. 🙂
      And thank you. It’s great to hear that from a fellow Iberian horse owner.

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  2. big event type trail rides can be a lot of fun — but like you say, they are definitely susceptible to any issues with organization or trail technicality or other ppl who bring horses that are dangerous or otherwise not great to be around. bummer that it made this ride not quite meet your hopes! trail riding with just friends tho is definitely a great way to get around that! Aria looks fantastic too, btw!

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