It seems like for the past few weeks, I had been scheduling rides around the vet, farrier, my own photo shoot schedule and the unbelievably hot and humid weather. A couple weekends ago, I was shooting a horse show and bumped into my friend Kim on Saturday. Kim asked if I’d like to go trail riding some time. I was game! So, last week, Kim and I went out on our adventure…I on Jewel and she on Annie, a Thoroughbred mare that is in training with her.
Kim drove over and pick us up. We headed over to Natural Valley Ranch, an 80 acre farm located in Brownsburg, IN. Natural Valley is available for anyone who wants to trail ride. You can either haul in with your own horse, or you can rent one of theirs. They have flat grassy areas, lots of wooded trails and a nice, sandy-bottomed creek that makes for nice riding as well.
The mares were SO good. Jewel is 12 and has been trail riding multiple times — even at Natural Valley. In other words, she is old enough and experienced enough to be behaved. Yet she was the one that started off needing support. Now, in her defense, this was the first trail ride we’d been on in over a year. Annie is a 5 year old (I think) recently retired TB mare who had only been trail riding one other time at a different trail riding place. She had every excuse to shy or spook, but she didn’t. She was a superstar! The mares completely supported each other. When one of them was worried about going forward, the other would take over. Sometimes, they would both stand together and check something out, but given some time to consider their situation, they never refused to go forward. Such good girls!
In the creek, they were on high alert! I’m quite certain that they thought that every ripple, rock poking out of the water or shadow was an alligator waiting to pounce on them. Even so, once they determined that the area was safe, they would move forward. They soldiered on and were really good.
It was great to get out of the ring (even the freedom of the outdoor) and experience something different. We definitely need to do more of that. Until then, I hope you take a slight risk with your horse. I’d love to hear of your adventures outside the ring on your own horses.