As I sat in my truck, waiting for the big diesel engine to warm up enough to haul to the barn, I hmmed and haaad and made a decision. I balanced the training and time I’ve spent with Tarma over the past year, how she’s been on our past few rides, and Benny’s training level and decided to take a chance.
I hauled Tarma and Benny to one of my favorite places to ride, the Molalla River Corridor. I figured if I had to hike the whole thing, it would be good for my butt anyway. I tacked up pretty quickly as it was already afternoon, and I decided to keep Benny on leash and walk up the hill, just to see where everyone’s brains were at.
I was so focused on the Chocolates that I forgot to go pee at the trailhead, a requirement post two babies. Luckily there’s a hitching post at the top of the hill so I tied Tarma up and did my business and no one passed by. I checked tack and hopped on, shoving the leash in my saddlebags. We only saw one set of people, and from my perch I was able to warn them about the incoming puppy. Benny said an enthusiastic hello to their chocolate lab and followed me as soon as we passed, easy as pie.
From there on out it was a beautiful, quiet ride. I kept tossing treats to Benny and offering treats to Tarma and we all strolled along, just enjoying the snowy woods together. There were a few trees down we had to navigate, and Tarma was being extra careful. My goal was Annie’s cabin, but I turned back a bit before as I could feel the light slipping away and I wanted this to be a solid experience, not too much.
The only weird part of the day was Tarma holding in her need to pee until I let her into the arena at home for her post ride roll. She rolled three times, groaned, and peed up a storm. You couldn’t have peed anytime in the past four hours, including in the fresh shavings in the trailer? Weird mare! But also an excellent mare, she put up with Benny and everything I asked of her today calmly and with that “what’s down the trail?” thoughtfulness I adore. Good chocolates and such a wonderful way to kick off the new year!