Endurance Riding

Jul 13 2011

Discovered a New Trail

Published by under Endurance Riding

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Today the weather was beautiful and so Mom and I decided to take the boys for a ride. Since I am still resting Asali from our Tevis Trail training, I rode Forest bareback. Mom rode Winnie and ponied Declan on Donovan. Jakob rode his horse, Beauty, of course.

We went down to the creek first and Jakob was able to get Beauty into water that was almost knee-deep (when Beauty first came home to us, she was apprehensive about water crossings)! Then we crossed the Skyway, on a new path towards Stirling City.

When we got to the wooden bridge, however, we turned right down a trail that followed alongside the Feather River. The water was deep and rushing. It made waves next to us and the quiet roar of its churning comforted me.

The views to our right were overwhelming. It looked as if the trees went on forever, until they got lost in the sky. We had no idea where we were headed, but Jakob and I both felt propelled to keep moving forward. Mom and Declan followed us close behind.

We had no water and no snacks, for we had originally thought we would do a short ride today. I could hear cars off in the distance and when I spotted a row of telephone poles, Mom and I both knew we must not be too far from the Skyway.

We continued forward until the trail veered off to the left, away from the main road we thought we were headed for. I spotted a steep narrow trail to my right and we decided to head down it in hopes of finding the Skyway.

Once on the road, Mom took the lead with Winnie. I reminded Jakob to keep his horse inside the bike lane and I was pleasantly surprised that both Forest and Beauty were very calm with the cars rushing by.

We only had to walk a few hundred feet before we crossed the Skyway and found the trail down to the railroad grade, a well-known trail that would lead us back to the creek and then back home.

At the creek, Jakob asked if he could go on ahead. I have never let him ride by himself, but I finally decided that I should let him go. He has been doing well with Beauty, and today, he tacked her up almost completely by himself. He also mounted her without my help. I recognize the bond he has with his horse and I am trying to foster his independence and growth. In the past, I have sheltered him many times and I continue to struggle with moments when I know I should let him go, but my fear keeps me from doing so.

The trail was short and it was familiar to both Jakob and Beauty. We knew they were not too far up ahead when we came upon fresh evidence of Beauty. And when we never came upon a riderless horse or a horseless rider, Mom and I knew Jakob and Beauty were fine.

I was so proud when I saw Jakob at the horse trailer with Beauty. He already had her bridle off and had gotten the halter on her. Beauty was standing quietly, tied to the trailer, when Jakob said, “Beauty got a little nervous when she realized she was by herself. But I encouraged her. I just pat her on the shoulder, talked to her, and asked her to move forward.”

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