Today was off to a questionable start, though it ended wonderfully enough. There was a loose horse outside Tarma’s fence when I hiked out to find her, and of course the Thoroughbred had to take off running right when I reached her. She of course had to show off as well, which meant I got to hike some more before I caught up with her. Thankfully she let me halter her and get her boots on with no further hystrionics. Unlike two weeks ago when she just couldn’t settle down, she chilled and seemed as ready for an adventure as any horse.
Unfortunately again, when we unloaded at Hardy Creek, the trailhead was busy. The BLM folks were also setting up a canopy to take a user survey. I got Tarma tacked up quicker than usual as I could feel her vibrating uncertaintly. We had a few tense moments right after I mounted and we set out, she kept tossing her head and being very light in front. It wasn’t as if she was going to rear, more like she wanted to tell me she could because there was just so much going on. Thankfully the first mile at Hardy is a big climb uphill, and she settled right down and set to work climbing.
Everything (well, except for one moment) from there was awesome, exactly the type of ride we’ve been working towards. I opted to do all the climbing right at first, heading up to Rim Trail and working our way south. We finally reached the burn areas, which I haven’t been to yet. Our one rough moment came on our way back down, she kept stopping and looking at me, probably a tack issue or just downhill being harder. I found a different way that was less straight down and she moved out easily again.
The high point of the day was our “third time’s the charm” canter once we reached Huckleberry trail again, which is an old logging road. Nothing broke or fell off my saddle and all her boots stayed on, and we cantered easily on a light rein. It’s wonderful to ride a mare that wants to go but never feels bolty or out of control. We took a snack and pee break at Annie’s Cabin and reset tack, which helped us both. She set out at the ground eating, hugely swinging walk she’s got, marching us easily back to the trailer.
I asked a lot of her today, that climb is no joke, but judging how she trotted out to the pasture after rolling in the arena when we got home I had plenty of horse left. We did eight miles in just under three beautiful hours. We were alone together for most of it, only passing three other groups; one mounted, one hiking and one pair of e-bikes, none of which she gave anything more than a quick once over.
All around a wonderful day with my spicy chocolate mare!