This was the maiden voyage for my new Christmas present GPS. I bumped the timer and stopped it first thing in the morning after leaving, and didn't notice until 3.5 miles or so later...
Had another wonderful time this past weekend at the NEDA New Year's Day Ride, hosted by Steve Thompson out in Silver Springs, near Lake Lahontan. Diego and I have done several of these rides now. They're a great local and inexpensive way to introduce a horse to the sport of distance riding. A very fun, low-key group that is totally focused on having a good time. In November, I brought my friend Ronda and her new Quarter Horse gelding Quik out to join me for their first ride. We did the 9-mile "short ride" loop together and then Diego and I went on to complete the 11-mile loop for the "long ride" solo. That worked out well for everyone and was a perfect start for Ronda and Quik into the sport.
This weekend, Ronda wanted to try doing the full 20 miles with Quik. We've done quite a few shorter rides together, and as long as there are no big hills, Quik keeps up very well at a moderate pace. Luckily, Silver Springs is nearly totally flat, so Quik wouldn't have to worry about anything much resembling a hill to go over. ;) We actually had a few people over for New Year's Eve, including Ronda and her hubby, so she brought Quik and we all had a sleep over and they spent the night, since she lives across town. Got up in the morning and made breakfast for all the crew, and then we headed out, getting a bit of a later start but still feasible on time. Arrived and got checked in and to the ride meeting, and were fiddling with some last minute stuff when the ride actually started, but no rush or worry.
Diego has been handling these starts very well recently. They're not "small" rides, the past two have had between 40-50 people/horses and everyone pretty much starts at the same time on the same loop. Once we were ready, we headed on down the road, only to make it about three houses down before we heard the jingle of harness behind us. Turning to look, a 4-wheel cart pulled by a pair of cute mules was headed our way. Not 100% sure on how Dig was going to react, and knowing from last time that Quik doesn't like the carts, we quickly pulled over and dismounted. Thankfully we did, as Quik's eyes got huge and he bolted backwards as the cart continued to approach. Ronda was fast on her feet and determined to hang on, running with him as he went. The cart stopped and we all stood around for a bit, before we encouraged them to continue on. The plan would be to catch up to them and hopefully ride behind for a while, to give Quik some more moderate exposure and hopefully let him get over his fear.
Dig was doing great and still walking along after remounting, until a group came of 8 riders came along and passed us. He got worried and tense, wanting to rush along as they were approaching. We pulled over to let them by, and to Dig's chagrin I insisted that he continue to
|Mr. Diego cruising along|
|Ronda and Quiksilver aka Quik|
Both horses met the pulse criteria of 64 and had a good drink of water at the trough. We took them back to the trailer and let them eat for another 15 minutes or so before leaving for the next loop. We left the same time as Dr. McCartney DVM and her group of 4 (5 total) so were a fairly good sized pack heading out, bringing up the tail-end of the ride. The next loop was a series of 90-degree turns that wound us back out and along the perimeter of the lake property along some sandy/dirt rural roads before turning and taking a fairly straight course back through the neighborhood and around to camp. Both horses were still moving well, but Quik was starting to slow some so we took it easy and only trotted a moderate pace and took several walking breaks as needed. There was one point where we were trotting along, and I think I was scolding Diego for something, when he suddenly let out one huge giant buck!! I got after him a bit and then Ronda and I both laughed, he was SUCH a teenage boy at that moment "But I don't WANNA do that!!!"
We did have a short cantering session once we turned towards camp. Quik, who normally has awesome "this direction is home/the trailer" radar and goes 2x as fast when pointing that way, was too confused (or possibly tired) by all the right-turn, left-turns and didn't seem to catch on to where we were. He actually did very well, only really slowing down the last 3 miles before camp. I had told Ronda that Diego pretty much did the same thing I took him that far. Dig even stopped a 1/2 mile out from camp, where we could SEE THE TRAILERS and insisted that he needed a break. Once I got him to actually look up and notice where he was, he happily decided he could make it that far.
Bringing new people into the sport is probably my # 1 most favorite thing to do, so I'm glad that we all had such a great time and that everyone (well... maybe not Quik, LOL) is looking forward to doing it again!