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September 2011
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Trail(er) Pony!

This past weekend, Lindy made her road-trip debut.

Which is to say, I put her in the horse trailer for the first time since I brought her home a little over a year ago.  But what made Sunday special was that after she got in the trailer, we headed over to my friend Mariah’s house and we went for a trail ride!  And this, my friends, was marvelous.  And so marvelously grown up for a little pony (actually, I measured her the other day, and she is now officially 15 hands– not quite so tiny as she used to be).

Lindy wasn’t totally sure she wanted to get into the moving box at first, which seems reasonable.  I mean really, why would a prey animal want to get into an enclosed box and head down the freeway?   But she was very calm about the whole enterprise, and once she figured out that yes, indeed, I wanted her to get in that thing, she was pretty game to try (see my post from Thursday describing my trailer loading technique).  She hauled well (despite a bit of pawing when we stopped to get gas), and even better, she got out of the trailer, looked around Mariah’s yard, and decided to try eating the lawn.  Now, that I like!

After letting Lindy cruise around Mariah’s yard, meeting Mariah’s horses and the neighbor’s horses and eating grass (I had to make good on my promise to Lindy that it was gonna be a fun road trip!), Mariah and I saddled up and went for a ride out in the fields around Mariah’s house.

Lindy was a star!  About 10 minutes into our ride, she settled into her usual mellow walk, happy to let Mariah and Kanan cruise well ahead of her.  She was a little worried about some of the weird things dumped out in the fields (old bathtubs, old propane tanks…), but really, who wouldn’t be concerned about those things?  And even better, she just stopped, looked, and figured it would be more fun to follow Kanan (who obviously had not been devoured by said weird object) than continue staring.

The real purpose of our ride was to work on cantering though.  Since cantering in the roundpen or arena has proven tricky, Mariah suggested trying to canter out on the trail, where Lindy could follow another horse’s lead and learn the aids for cantering in the process (and get stronger carrying a rider at the canter without having to worry about turning).

When we got to a nice relatively level straight-away, we trotted uneventfully.  So we decided it was time to canter (at this point, I should say that I like to call Mariah “The Instigator” and thus I use the term “we” here loosely.  Really what happened is Mariah insisted that we were going to canter.  I was already so happy with the outcome of the whole trip that left to my own devices, I might have called it a day… although I would have gone home slightly disappointed with myself for wimping out).

As discussed ahead of time, Mariah cantered away on Kanan.  The idea was that Lindy would see Kanan cantering and would want to canter with him.  The reality was that she just trotted happily along, letting Kanan get farther and farther away.  Yeah, I guess now we know why she didn’t last at the track (and oddly, Sadie is exactly the same way).  I will admit here that I didn’t really urge her to canter.  I just wanted to see what she’d do.  I will also admit that I kind of liked that she didn’t just canter off and get all competitive (have I mentioned I’m a little wimpy?  or that I always have time faults going cross country?).

So then we tried plan B, which was that we started trotting with Lindy in front.  Mariah and Kanan then passed us by at the canter, at which point, Lindy was supposed to canter.  Only she didn’t.  This time I urged her to canter and lo and behold, we got it!  A nice, smooth, easy canter.  Not an amazing, Clue-worthy canter, but a very, very nice canter.  We cantered for awhile and then turned around and cantered back.  Just like at the trot, Lindy was happy to stay at her own speed, regardless of how far away Kanan got.

The only “trouble” we had was that every time there was a little downhill slope, Lindy would trot.  I’m not sure if this is because I couldn’t help myself and subconsciously half-halted to try to help her balance or if she was trying to balance herself by trotting.  My guess is that it was my doing.  Next time I’m going to channel my inner eventer and just kick on!  Especially now that I’m fairly certain Lindy isn’t going to trip and fall and kill us both.


Comment from Mikaela Cowles
Time September 28, 2011 at 1:12 PM

Well, I guess I wouldn’t expect you to run around yelling about your “new,” cough, blog. You’ve had a blog since 2007 and you started writing it again? Well, I’m so excited to have finally figured it out. How fun to read about you and the horses! I can’t wait for more updates.

Although for the record, I’m more excited about the book.

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