I had hoped to write a post today about finally getting Shiloh out on an actual trail for a ride. But that’s not going to happen because it didn’t happen. Follow me? If not, let me explain.
So far this year, I’ve trailered the horses four times. Each time to a different place. Each time my horses, Bear and Shiloh, loaded and unloaded pretty smoothly. They both have a history with me of refusing to load so I was quite happy with having no major problems for four trips in a row.
For our most recent outing about a week ago, we visited a friend’s property where I used to trail ride Bear and my other pony, Pumpkin Spice. She has an amazing private trail system through woods, hills and a winding creek. It is interesting and beautiful, making for a great ride with equally great company.
After arrival, Bear (shown above) stayed in a stall with another horse in the barn for companionship while my friend and I rode. We warmed up in her outdoor arena and then rode a bit around her pasture. It was a short ride, but both her horse and Shiloh did well despite not riding together before.
Even with another horse in the barn for company, Bear still called out for Shiloh. Shiloh answered Bear’s calls a few times, but otherwise was very well behaved.
Since that ride went so well, I had high hopes of returning this past weekend to actually get out on my friend’s trail system and see how Shiloh does in the woods. I suspect trail riding is where Shiloh really shines, but in the almost three years since I’ve had him, we have yet to hit the trails.
Unfortunately, Bear decided he wasn’t going to trailer load yesterday. I called my understanding friend and sadly cancelled our plans. I spent the rest of the morning practicing trailer loading and then taking a ride on Shiloh at home. I was eventually able to load both horses several times, but it look quite awhile.
So my plans for a trail ride didn’t work out, but I did have a good ride at home. Since Shiloh’s lameness incident that I wrote about in a previous post, I have been riding him in my pasture with the thickest grass cover, keeping him out of the round pen with the more solid footing. But for yesterday’s ride, I took Shiloh to the round pen to see if he would still ride sound.
Fortunately, Shiloh seemed very sound on the firmer footing while walking and foxtrotting and doing small circles so that was great to feel. He didn’t take one bad step. I noticed when I dismounted though how hard the ground felt to my own feet. And that got the wheels in my head turning.
I think the footing has firmed up quite a bit since I had it installed. It is time to explore adding a layer of something to provide more cushion. So I have some research to do on what I can afford to install AND what will do the job I want it to do AND be easy to maintain considering I have no arena drag.
So I had a horse-filled weekend, but not exactly the kind that I had planned. Even when my efforts don’t work out the way I hope, I try to make the best of whatever happens. Life is too short to not try to do something with the hand I am dealt, even if it is a disappointing one.
The full title of this blog is “The Backyard Horse Blog: Living the dream and the reality of keeping horses at home”. This weekend I experienced more the reality side. Here’s hoping Shiloh and I live long enough to report more on the dream side which translates at the moment to eventually getting Shiloh out onto those trails.