Thursday, October 3, 2013

Fun in the Sun

Those of us on the east coast have been experiencing somewhat of an Indian Summer recently, with temperatures in the high 70s and 80s, so I was pretty excited today when one of the women from the barn, "A", asked if I wanted to trailer with her over to a local park to take the horses for a ride and a swim.

I was a little hesitant at first, since I don't know this girl really well and I was afraid Charlie might be a jerk and embarrass me (in front of this girl who has three nice horses, one of whom is currently a local OTTB hunter champion), but I decided it would be fun and I should take advantage of every opportunity I can to go out with Charlie. Even so, I did give him an extra double scoop of Vita-Calm before we left, just in case. :)

On a quick side note: Charlie started the day off great by snapping out of his nice leather halter before "A" arrived to pick us up and proceeding to trot away down the road. AWESOME. I had decided not to use the rope halter (which I've been using  to try to teach him not to freak out with tension on the leadrope when he's tied), in favor of his pretty leather one. At least then he'd look more respectable. Well, he looped it around the hitching post and snap snap snap! Off it came. I was really surprised: the leather didn't break, the metal did! So much for leather being safer....anyway, off he went so I ran for his rope halter and took off after him, held up my hand to stop a car, and then called and he (moraculously!) turned around and came cantering down the road right toward me...Probably looked pretty impressive to the people in the car... I actually turned away and sent him down the driveway because he was slipping on the road a bit and couldn't slow down to come up right to me. When I got back down to the barn he was eating grass and, with a shake of some grain, came right up as if nothing had happened. GREAT start to the day.

Once "A" arrived Charlie was back to normal and he loaded almost perfectly - he keeps getting better and better with that. He also immediately fell in love with "A's" little paint pony, Jack, who she had decided to bring along instead of her big horses since he would likely be the most calm and level-headed companion for Charlie.
Pony butts!
When we unloaded at Marsh Creek Charlie was looking at stuff but wasn't crazy, a little jigging but only until we got in the woods. "A" knew the trails pretty well and led us on a really nice little 5-mile hike (well, Charlie led, under her direction).

At one point we got to a big open field and we decided to canter. Charlie was great!! We only had one argument when, after making a complete loop of the field together, I told "A" I wanted to try it again once more with Charlie and she decided to stay back and give Jack a rest. Charlie was good at first but when we reached the other side of the field (probably about two football fields away) and realized that Jack wasn't with him he started to panic. He spun around and called out, looking frantically for his new BFF. When Jack called back, that set Charlie off and he started to bounce and spin, calling out nonstop, and even reared a little, but it was more like he just didn't know what to do with his body and was trying to figure out where the pony was rather than a reaction to me. I turned him in circles a few times and gave him something to do until he focused on me again, then we trotted the length of the field back to Jack. The whole trot back Charlie kept whinnying under his breath, kind of cute actually, but he listened to me and didn't take off so I was proud. I guess that was asking a lot of Charlie, but now I know his limits.

There's Jack!
The coolest part, though, is that before all this happened I got to gallop Charlie for the first time on a flat expanse of was awesome! Not as awesome as racing Gypsy, my favorite old grey TB, but still pretty cool. He may not move his legs super quickly but he can cover some ground!

After that we continued through the woods until at the end of the ride we got to a beautiful little boat launch area where we could let the horses play in the water. Charlie hesitated only for a second, but once Jack went in and started playing Charlie was right there beside him. Then when I asked him to go out deeper he went right on ahead. I was afraid of going out too far and having us really swim (I wasn't prepared to get soaked) but I think I'll have to try real swimming in the future because I'm pretty sure Charlie would have done it.

This is fun!
A and Jack
All in all, not a bad way to spend the day :)

1 comment:

  1. Looks like so much fun!!!!!! :) What cute ponies!