Sunday, March 1, 2009

High Expectations Lead to Frustration

The Nevada All-State Trail Riders ( had a small club ride this weekend in Carson City. After contacting current club president Scott Dutcher, and being assured there would be a "go slow" crowd, I decided to take Diego out for what would be his third little trail ride. I was hoping there would be a group out to just enjoy the day and poke along, but alas it was not to be.

Got there and went ahead and saddled him up first thing. I walked him around and stopped to talk and chat with many people. Diego did great, was very calm and relaxed and just checking out all the other horses. There had to be around 20 people there, a really good turn out. Lots of my NASTR friends got to meet Dig and he received a lot of compliments and scratches. I talked with Ranelle Rubin, and she mentioned that since she was on her younger horse Ranger, and riding with a junior rider for the first time, that she was planning on taking it slow and easy and I was welcome to tag along with her. Unfortunately, neither Ranelle nor I had ridden out on these particular trails before, so I did my best to get the general lay of the land from those more familiar.

I mounted up and rode Diego around camp a little bit. He was a bit "scooty" a couple of times and tucked his butt and kind of hopped forward, but I was able to crank his head around and he would stop and come back to me pretty quickly. Everyone started to head out in one big group... Hhhmmm, not what I was hoping for. Diego and I tucked in at the end of the pack, but as the riders rode off the gravel road onto the trail, there was a sandy little burm/wash and then they would start trotting. Dig started kind of hopping around and I just bailed off and decided to walk it on foot. Ranelle was next to last in front of me, and turned around to check on me, but the main group just kept on trotting off, and the junior she was supposed to be riding with was with them. Diego was getting a little frustrated that everyone was leaving him, but I didn't want to run in the single track fairly deep sand and risk him getting more riled up. Better to be slow and safe. The pack crested a small hill and disappeared over the other side. Well that worked out well... NOT.

So I went back to the trailer. Got on Diego and rode him around the camp for a little bit, but he was pretty anxious about having been left all by himself and was not listening very well. Rather than have things escalate into some sort of wreck, I decided to call it a failed attempt and go ride in the arena. One valuable thing he did learn (hopefully), was that being a jerk and jumping around didn't get him anywhere and he didn't get to go run and be with his new best friends. He just had to "deal" with what I wanted him to do. In hindsight, I probably should have just kept walking him down the trail. Scott came back from riding the quad out to check on everyone as I was untacking and told me that a bunch of them had slowed down and were just walking along. Oh well, there will be another time.

Got loaded back in the trailer and went over to Fuji Park in Carson, hoping the arena there was open. It wasn't, I don't know if that one is only open for events or perhaps is more seasonal. So instead we ended up back at Bartley Ranch. Diego was still pretty jumpy riding in the arena, he would kind of spook in place at my foot or his shoulder (???) while doing some rein flexes. It was a good lesson on learning to just relax and take it easy. We only did a short bit of trotting work, instead focusing on our circles, walking straight lines, and starting some easy lateral work off my seat and legs. Not a total waste of a day, but it was frustrating to lose about 2 hours in the morning and miss out on the trail ride. We're just not fit for public consumption quite yet.

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