Baby’s First ‘Trail’

Even though I don’t have all the time I wish I did, I have been making some progress with our favorite moose. She has finally put the brakes on her growth and it has definitely been a gargantuan task to accomplish. As you may recall Catalina had developed physitis in her knees and rear fetlocks due to the rapid rate she was growing at. At 5 ½ months I weaned her to stop the consumption of whatever super serum Valeria was producing. I mean, seriously, I should have bottled it and sold it to scrawny, weakling children. It probably has the same properties as ambrosia, food of the gods.

Weaning went well and Catalina thrives quite well on the strict diet of bermuda grass. I’m so happy I now have two, count them—TWO—special snowflakes that can only eat bermuda. I guess my wallet is kind of happy since alfalfa prices are constantly on the rise. The nice thing about that though is I can turn the two of them out together and not worry about what kind of hay they might be getting into. I’m so fortunate to have the space for a bermuda only turn out and an alfalfa/misc hay turnout.

Turnout with Aria has been great for Catalina. All the shit she put Valeria through is not flying anymore. Aria is like a drill sergeant. The second Catalina is out of line there’s a well-placed bite to correct the shitty behavior. Aria isn’t a kicker and she’s also not aggressive so it’s a great balance of discipline and reward. Not that Aria doesn’t like to run around and kick up her heels with Catalina, they’re both babies after all.

With Aria’s help I’ve been able to work with Catalina very well. Mouthy baby behavior is almost gone, she’s gotten great at not crowding your personal space, and she has a healthy respect for ‘no’. She leads very well. She’s getting the hang of tying. I’ve gotten her in the trailer several times, not without food bribes but that’s acceptable for now.

Trailer loading practice has now opened us up to fun activities like trail rides and trips to the public arena for crazy galloping turnout. Last week I took Catalina on her first trail ride. Really it was just a spin around the bridle path next to the public arena but the whole area is fenced in and it definitely looks like a proper trail which makes it the perfect testing ground for this whole ponying business.

Catalina might lead great on the ground but she does not like to be lead from the saddle. I’ve tried several times and she’s always a bit of a mule about it. Sure, I can anchor the hand holding the lead rope to my hip and with Aria’s weight drag Catalina around but it sucks. As you might be able to tell, I’ve done is several times in the arena. It’s not my favorite.

Initially when I loaded Aria and Catalina up to head to the public arena I had planned to just let them run around and stretch their legs. Catalina is getting a hay belly and she need exercise. My neighbor decided to join me there with her two horses and after a few laps around we decided to get in a quick bareback ride. Why not? Bareback on a sweaty horse, ponying a filly who doesn’t like to pony on her first ‘trail’ ride…what could go wrong?

Sometimes I think it’s a miracle I’m alive.

I dealt with Catalina’s mule bullshit for about 2 minutes before I was done almost getting pulled off Aria. I unclipped my moose-cum-mule and said ‘bye Felicia’ as Aria and I moseyed on down the bridle path. The area is totally fenced in so the worst thing that could happen is I’d have to chase a baby horse all over 20 acres.

She’s incredibly independent which caused a little concern but I shouldn’t have worried because she’s smart and a good egg. Catalina grazed for a few seconds and as we pulled far enough away she raced to catch up. After a while she chilled in the middle of the ‘herd’ but towards the end she got comfortable enough that she did her own thing at her own speed. I think more of these loose baby moose trail rides will be in our future. I just hope we don’t run over hikers in the process. Ha!

10 thoughts on “Baby’s First ‘Trail’

    • Dang. That’s my favorite thing about packing around with a baby. All the side eye. Aria doesn’t take shit from anyone and there’s the added element of Aria not wanting other horses near ‘her’ baby. Haha.
      But 5 hours is a long way to go. Even if you could probably justify it if you tried really really hard.


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