I don't even know where to start. Today got up at 6:00AM to get to the barn to trailer with Rebekah to the Bay State Trail Riders Association's trail ride at Goddard State Park in Rhode Island. This is a ride I've heard about for two years. The trails are along the edge of Narraganset Bay. This is an annual ride, so its in the summer and hot. I never felt I could ask Jeeps to trailer that long a distance in the potential heat, then ride her for about 2 hours and then trailer back. So each year when Rebekah headed out I felt a pang of...well envy.
But I did it today with Cici! We had a wonderful amazing time. We had runners come up behind us. The first time she did a little spook. We passed a guy on a bike. Dogs. Cars. Crossed a road. Walked on the road. Saw a deer in the woods. Other horses, both coming up behind us, in front of us. Even heading the other way. Waves lapping the shore. Voices coming out of where? Had to walk through big puddles. Mud. Along trails in the woods, that then opened up on one side or the other to large expanses of ocean (okay bay) or grassy fields. Pass picnic tables. Did I mention dogs? Barking dogs. Hikers.
And through all this I was comfortable. Cici did her snorting most of the time. There were only short periods where she was truly relaxed and really lowered her head. I did not ride with a casual rein. I kept them bridged and worked on not having contact, but I did have them short enough so I could take contact easily.
I did a lot of yawning, like Kelly Sigler did in the clinic, to see if I could relax any tension I might have and to get Cici to relax. Apparently I was doing it loud enough that Rebekah asked me if I was going to be able to stay awake! LOL!
When we reached the end of trails and began heading back Cici really started to toss her head. I think she was just tired of the bit. The half way point was about what the longest of our home rides is. So I got lots of arguments from her about any sort of contact.
I learned I need to work more on her zone 5. Things, people, animals coming up behind her. More in zone 3. Saddling her in the field where she was more interested in the grass than me. Mounting, well I mounted from the right. Although out on the trails at one point we heard loud voices but could not see the people. Patrick would not go forward and Cici this time would not go forward. I hopped off and hand walked her past and then mounted from a tree root from the left. And zone 1 - the bit issue.
And I passed another threshold!