Trail

*

Got out for another really short, quick ride today. This time I spent most of the ride in the woods, but I still think I see a nice change in my horse. It’s like she’s less spooky and more settled or something. I don’t know why and I can only attribute it to having taken some time off this summer. Maybe Dharla grew up or passed that point where she isn’t quite so immature anymore. Whatever it is, I like it a lot and I hope it sticks. I haven’t done any ring work with her in a LONG time. I might give that a try soon and see what I’ve got. I get the sense that she’s not real big on ring work. That doesn’t surprise me much. Some horses just like trail riding more and are better suited to it. Still, there are a couple of things I’d like to work on with her, so it might be worth the time and effort to put in a little ring time. We’ll see. I’m not big on it either, so it’s kind of easy to talk myself out of it on a nice day like today!

Elusive

*

It was a long, hot, humid summer. I didn’t get a ride in for almost seven long weeks. When the temperature finally broke early last week I couldn’t wait to get out on Dharla. I contemplated lunging her, but decided it would be a good test of how well behaved she is if I skipped it. I guess I was feeling edgy and I so wanted to do what I was used to doing with Tia, which is just tack up and ride. No matter how long it had been, I just got back on Tia like it had been yesterday. No fuss, no lunging, just gear-up and ride! I liked that and I want Dharla to have the same work ethic. I figured the only way to know if she’s capable of that is to try it out and see.

I grabbed my helmet and cell phone (something I have to remind myself to take on rides) and headed out to the barn. Dharla was unsuspecting and walked right up to me. Not that she’s ever all that hard to catch. Usually she’s curious and friendly and wants to interact with me. As is my habit, I’d groomed her at breakfast, so I started piling on the gear. She was quiet and cooperative, bored with the whole process almost! We walked through the gate together, listening to Bullet who, though his head was buried in a fresh pile of hay, was already lamenting Dharla’s absence. I made a few adjustments to our gear, swung up into the saddle and off we went.

The first thing I noticed was that Dharla seemed to be walking at a slightly faster pace than normal. I liked that. Nothing irks me more than a plodding walk, and sometimes Dharla can really drag at the walk. That’s something Arabians are not usually noted for and I don’t appreciate it when she does that. (She’s quite capable of a faster moving walk!) The second thing I noticed was that Dharla was a lot less spooky than she’s been in the past. That’s not to say she didn’t spook at anything … she did. But she didn’t seem to anticipate the scary spots on the trail like she usually does. All I can think is that the seven weeks we took off was good for her mentally and apparently she needed a break. A lot of the little issues we get into at certain places on the trail were gone. Non-existent. At first I thought it was just a fluke, but as the ride progressed it became more and more genuine. I was tickled pink, but not thoroughly convinced it would stick. That remained to be seen.

A couple days passed before I could get out again. This time I rode with my husband, so I didn’t expect any of the occasional wariness that I get when I ride alone. Overall we had a great ride and both horses seemed happy to be out together. Then a few more days passed before I could get back out for another ride, but my second ride alone was as pleasant and unencumbered as my first. All I can say is that Dharla feels more “grown up” if that makes any sense? She’s just not giving me the kind of resistance we’ve struggled with in the past. I’m really not sure what changed or if it will stick, but I’m liking what I’m seeing. I do wonder if she just needed a break? We’ve been riding very consistently since I brought her home over a year ago. Maybe she just needed to digest some of what we’ve done? I dunno. I do know the seasons are changing again and that means the trails will start to look different. She could find new things to spook at …. or not! Only time will tell.

My eye surgery date is fast approaching. I know that will mean at least a week, if not more of no riding. I can only hope and pray my vision is improved by this procedure. If not, I’ll be up against some big problems. If nothing else I’ve learned how much we take our vision for granted and how valuable our sight really is. I’ve been impacted by this journey in ways I’d never imagined. But I’m tired of not seeing well. I’d like to have my life back now, thank you very much!