Friday, April 8, 2011

Day 90 Experimenting... yet again!

Today I did something I had never done before.  When Becky left on her trip, she asked me to ride Col at least once while she was gone.   I agreed and planned to go for a trailride one day.  With all this food drama and osteo appointments going on, I never got to it until today.  My initial plan was to go for a walk with Little Love and then for a ride with Col.  But doing the same loop twice didn't sound very appealing.  So why not take both horses at the same time?!  The more I thought about it, the more sense it made.  The horses were so much better together.  I could ride Col and pony Little Love.  Brilliant idea! 

This wasn't the first time I had thought about going with the two together.  I had actually mentioned it to Becky, who was mildly shocked by the idea.  She was worried Col would freak out and then I would be in trouble.  But why would Col freak out?  I had never seen the horse do anything but stop when he got scared.  And what was the worst thing that could happen?  True, the horses could get afraid and take off (highly unlikely scenario).  In that case I would simply have to let go of Little Love and ride Col to my best ability.  If Col decided to take off to the sunset with me on his back, Little Love would surely follow, no?

Just for the record, I have never done this before with any horses, but it was the perfect day to start experimenting with this sort of a thing.  It was a really hot, exceptionally hot for April, and the horses were quite docile.  They had been outside all day and were literally sleeping when I got to the barn.  I did my usual hoof soaking rituals and then tacked up Col.  To be on the safe side, I went into the arena with him first and trotted him around, after all, he hadn't been ridden since Tuesday.  He was not very motivated to move.  Perfect. :-) We went to get Little Love. 

With Little Love in hand, I climbed back on Col, which was not easy, because Little Love wasn't sure what was going on and kept shoving her head into Col's bottom, which in turn made him move forward.  Once I sorted the two horses out, I went into the arena to do a test run.  Little Love pinned her ears back at Col and gave him the evil eye, which in turn made him shy away from her.  Hey, this is not how it was supposed to go!  I had a little talk with both horses and it seemed to help; we went around the arena again, the two horses side by side. So, what was I waiting for? 

We went out the gate, stopped at the road to wait for several cars to pass and then crossed over like pros.  Little Love was slow and Col, bless his heart, kept stopping and waiting for her without my initiative.  By the time we got to the field part, I hesitated.  Could I keep Little Love under control in the field?  My greatest worry was the fact that there was so much lush grass that I knew she would try to eat, something I just couldn't allow while I was sitting on Col.  If she got her head down, I wasn't sure I would be able to get it up again.  But I guess the only way to find out was to go ahead and ride into the field! 

It was fine.  Lilo tried to eat a few times, but I told her it was important to keep walking.  So she did.  There was a weird muddy part and her left hind boot got stuck.  Next thing I knew it was twisted sideways on her foot.  I guess I hadn't tightened it down enough.   So, once I got to the road, I had to get off and fix the boot while holding onto the two horses.  No problem, both horses stood like statues while I took my time adjusting the boot. Then I climbed back on and continued our treck.  

Once we started going back towards the barn, Little Love picked up the pace.  And one point she thought it would be a good idea if she led our little entourage, but I held her back, asking her to stay next to Col.  She sighed and accepted.  Three cars came down the (one lane) road and we had to make room.  I directed Lilo behind Col and me, and the cars got by. 

Next we encountered a man washing his dump truck with a pressure washer.  Col stopped in his tracks and refused to move.  Little Love naturally stopped, too, curious, rather than afraid like Col.  We stood stock still for a minute, then Col took a few tentative steps towards the man, who had kindly turned off the washer and stood there smiling.  But Col was still not convinced.  He started backing up into Little Love.  I quickly jumped off and stood between the two horses.  Little Love touched my hand.  "I know this drill" she seemed to say and started walking with me towards the truck and the power washer.  Col followed, his eyes on sticks, but at least he was now moving towards the scary sight.  We passed quickly and I climbed back on. 

What next?  We had maybe a half a mile to go, I could already see the house up on the hill.  But we weren't done yet.  We still had to pass a guy who was fixing his roof and throwing the old tiles onto the road (and this was not a small house, so you can imagine...).  Seriously.  I don't think I have ever had this much action on this particular loop.  Luckily the man refrained from throwing the tiles when we passed, but both Col and Little Love eyeballed the broken tiles on the ground, stepping carefully around the pieces like they were landmines. 

A few minutes later we crossed the big road and walked up the driveway.  We had made it!  I was so proud of both Col and Little Love for being such great sports.  The truth is they are horses and horses prefer going together to going separately.  I have to admit that I was a bit nervous at first, but after I had to get off the first time and fix Little Love's hind boot, I was so over it.  I think we'll have to do this again!


  1. How excellent. You are intrepid!

  2. The three of you will turn the conventional horse industry on its ear!

  3. I am so happy for your succesful first trip with both horses, and wish you much pleasure with this new way of doing things together!

    At our stable we have four horses and three owners. The other two girls are used to take a second horse along on trail rides, but I did not dare do this till last autumn. This meant that from time to time, one unlucky horse had to stay alone in the paddock while the others were away. Since last autumn I found my courage and trail riding has finally become a pleasure for me (and my horse), I started to try out if I could take a horse along. My friends were very helpful and supportive, and today I can do it even at the trot (but less well at the galopp). It makes me very happy and we don´t have to leave any horses behind now. Also I can help with my friends horses the way they used to do it for me. I have not yet dared to go out alone with two horses, but feel confident that it will happen, someday.

    As you say it: horses enjoy everything so much more when they can do it together. For my horse, this is also true in the arena. We once were part of a theatrical production with many horses and this was an incredible experience for both of us.

  4. Nipomuki, loved your story! I'm happy others are trying this, too. I certainly will do it again and would love to try trot (and canter? That could be challenging).