|Hoss checking out his surroundings.|
|Hoss eating breakfast|
|The ride as seen from between Hoss' ears|
|Diane with Remmy (white horse) at lunch time|
|Hoss and I at lunch time|
My friend, Diane, next door to where we board Hoss and Scout, has a Quarter Horse named Remmington (Remmy), and has been up for going on some trail rides. We arranged to take part in a trail-riding clinic hosted by Kristi Plutt. The clinic features some time in the arena in the morning, followed by a ride along an equestrian course that takes you around a lake named Pelican Lake, out near Brighton, CO.
One of my goals this summer has been to work on getting Hoss to load and trailer more easily, and actually get him out to enjoy the trails that this horse really likes. Hoss has some bad 'baggage' in the trailering department. He's a long, tall horse, who doesn't like confinement, and most trailers are pretty tight for him. He's been loading in our 3-horse slant, taking up the back two spaces, and is fairly comfortable there, especially when he's got a horse friend on board. I worked hard about 2 weeks ago to trailer him alone, and finally ended up putting Scout in and taking them both for a ride, so I'm not quite at where I'd like us to be, but it's coming along.
The brakes on my trailer have been heating up something awful, so I arranged to have it looked at, as Pelican Lake is close to an hour each way. Of course, timing was awful, the trailer had to go in the day the ride was scheduled. Diane also has a trailer, a 2-horse straight load. She was happy to take Hoss along with Remmy in that...if he'd fit! Her trailer is actually extra tall. We had to see about the length.
So, for 3 evenings prior to the ride, Diane hooked up her trailer, loaded her horse, and I worked at loading Hoss. He got in comfortable after about 30min of work the first night, and we reloaded him and let him eat and relax 3 times that evening. The next two nights he loaded up great, only backing out once when we didn't ask. So on the 2nd evening, we closed the bottom half of the back door.
On the 3rd evening, we ended by loading and closing him in for a short time--Remmy was also in the other stall in the trailer. Hoss handled it well.
The next morning we loaded them both up without a hitch and headed out. We all met up at Kristi's place in Platteville, and opened up the window so the horses could look around while we waited for one additional trailer. Off we went toward Pelican Lake. When we arrived at the equestrian center, Hoss was a bit wiggly, but Remmy was great. We tacked up and spent a short while working them from the ground. Kristi had us do several exercises in the arena together to get us and our horses aquainted, and to head off potential problems before they showed up on the trail.
The ride was good--quite a few gates to open from horseback, some hills, some flat, a beautiful lake and a few deer. Only one encounter with a snake--a dead one.
Hoss must have lost 10 years out on that trail! He walked out like a pro. He did not like the cattle guard near one of the gates we went through, but everything else he seemed to enjoy thoroughly. The only worry I had was that Hoss was so picky about drinking that he hardly drank on the entire trip--even the water I brought he turned his nose up at. He did readily drink when we got home, however.
It was definitely a step forward in our journey together and a very enjoyable time with Diane and Remmy!