Why do the wildest things sometimes happen with no witnesses? And no video to prove it? Welp, today’s ride was a tad wilder than I hoped for, but both Tarma and I survived together, somehow.
My main goal for the day was just miles, in whatever fashion Tarma was up for. She let me walk up and halter her without any fuss or pooping, which I considered victory number one for the day. I’ve been changing up my heading out for a ride routine, building in some time for Tarma to chill and eat after each step and she seems to be enjoying it a bit better. She loads right up and starts munching away without any stomping or angry ears, so have I mentioned how much I love my trailer lately?
I took some extra time tacking up and booting, wanting to make sure everything was just right and give some other riders time to get ahead of us. This was a good chance to see what Tarma does with race brain, and while she was rateable and not jiggy, she was marching right along at her fastest walk, determined to catch up to them. I knew I didn’t have 100% of her brains but we were working it out.
Enter: frisky spring cattle. I knew they were usually in one particular pasture, but in years of riding there I’d never had an issue with the cattle. Not these guys, they came barging up right at as and even though they were on the other side of a fence Tarma wasn’t sticking around. She exited stage right in a full on bolt, her worst one to date. I still couldn’t tell you how I stuck it, even with one hand fisted in her mane, though I had time enough to think I didn’t want to do the walk of shame back to the trailer if she dumped me. I managed to get her head turned around and as soon as we were heading back towards the cattle she stopped like any good cow pony, on a freaking dime. She let out a huge snort and then chewed, like “Oh, I ran from those guys? Ooopsie!” Even through they followed us along the fence line cavorting and farting for another minute or so, she didn’t care nearly as much. 100 yards away and I was back to one rein, though I did take time to lecture the cattle for testing my blood pressure.
After that we were down to business, though I would guess it took us both at least 10 minutes to really calm down. We explored a bit and chatted with everyone we passed by. A few little kids even fed Tarma treats, so she immediately tried to follow them home cause she doesn’t care that I actually pay her bills. We stopped for a mock vet check and snack break at the trailer. While we were eating a few ladies were trying to load a bay horse into a little straight load trailer, and I felt for them because I’ve been there, but I didn’t feel qualified to offer any advice so I tightened up Tarma’s girth again and we headed back out.
Tarma set right out, a little slower this time but still willing. We trotted on some less mucky roads a bit more and just enjoyed the sunshine and the green woods. We trotted all the way back to the trailer and she was at about 68 beats per minute, so I stripped her tack and checked again-56 bpm. I trotted her out and futzed a bit and within five minutes of getting back she was at 42 bpms, with good gut sounds and good gums. I gave her some applesauce with salt and LMF disgest and tossed her cooler on. By the time I had opened my snack she was munching her hay bag again.
She loaded right up to head home easy as pie and kept eating. Her hay bag in the trailer has alfalfa in it and some local orchard, and her outside hay bag has coastal which is her absolute favorite, even more than alfalfa, and which she only gets when we adventure out. I had enough horse by the time we got home to trot around, though with a bit more encouraging than before we rode almost 9 miles and almost died together. Ah, bonding!
74 days until May 19th and I think despite two weeks off we’re right on track. I have a saddle fitter scheduled for the next farrier day for the Wintec’s yearly checkup…and a Stubben rep coming out the week after because why not shoot for the stars? Today I also tried the new endurance gaiters I purchased for the Scoots, as with her white stockings this time of year she can rub from the mud and constant wet, a few more rides and we’ll see if they help.