Monday, July 25, 2011

Thunder on a Sunday ride

Finally - riding!

With the boys' feet done, T home, and the humidity (and the temps) a bit lower, we actually managed to get a nice long ride in on Sunday. And I'm still wearing a big happy smile.

We loaded up Sunday afternoon and headed over to J's - and Thunder got to go, too. Not only did he load like a champ (in both directions), but he ponied as if he'd been doing it all his life. Didn't fuss at the strange horses, either. Next time he can go along saddled.

We did an 8 mile loop, scared up a deer and several pheasants, passed dogs, were followed by a tractor, and navigated the railroad tracks, all without him turning a hair. Of course, it didn't hurt that as lead monkey, Sunny was his usual calm self, but Thunder did me proud as the monkey-do part of the equation.

Back at the trailer,
after a cool-water rinse

Since I wasn't sure how Thunder was going to react to the world beyond the pasture, I did ask that we not risk too much speed as a group. I really didn't want it turning into a race and subsequent wreck - and thankfully, everyone was considerate.

But nobody, including me, wanted to walk the whole way, either. We jogged and trotted some as a group, and a few times J or C loped ahead solo while the other three of us loafed along and talked. Where the footing across more of the road was good for loping in something other than single file, the other three either let me go on ahead and then loped up, slowing down before they reached us, or two loped ahead and two just jogged along quietly behind until they slowed down and we caught back up. I've done enough rides solo that even on his own Sunny doesn't mind riding away from a group or get particularly anxious about being left by himself. With company right beside him, yesterday was no exception and Thunder took his cue accordingly. Good boys!

Everyone got a kick out of the fact that I'd lope Sunny off, and Thunder would be right alongside, his head at my knee, ears pricked, eyes soft, floating along at this lovely road trot. He never did lope - if I'd ask Sunny for a bit more speed, Thunder'd just extend some more.

I didn't gallop, and did more trotting than loping, but it was a definite thrill to have both of them moving out so freely and easily with no fussing, fidgets or antsiness. And I've ponied enough real pills to know just how sore my arm (and other assorted bits) could be today.

That loop in the leadrope?
Stayed just like that 95% of the ride.
Not too shabby for his first time off the farm in 5 years.

Hope everyone else had a wonderful weekend, too!


Kate said...

Pretty nice experience all around - both horses get kudos!

SunnySD said...

I can't even begin to say how thrilled I was with both of them :)