Sara already covered most of the good parts, so here I am to tell you how she totally glossed over how annoying P was.
First off, neither P nor I have ever done a hunter pace. We’ve planned multiple times to get out there, but have never been able to make it to a single one for various reasons. So when Sara and I planned to meet up Sunday morning at 9 (meaning a barn departure time of 7:15 AM), imagine my utter shock and disbelief (sarcasm) when I get this message at 7:00 PM Friday night.
We JUST moved barns and the old farriers couldn’t get out to the new one with their schedule, so we were switching to the NEW farrier (who is old farrier approved), but he’s not scheduled to come out until Oct 6th. So I had to find someone who could do it sometime Saturday. NBD.
Thankfully, old farrier took pity on me and let me haul to her place so she could tack it back on in between riding her own horses. Back in business!
The hunter pace ran from 9:30-3:30, so you could show up anytime during those hours and ride. Sara had the good sense to start early before the trails got crowded, so we were the only 2 there at 9 AM. P was uncharacteristically spooky at first, probably due to the sudden cold front, but took the lead and we headed into the woods.
It was a lot of fun to catch up with Sara, who’s actually done this stuff before. We did some trotting and some cantering, then Gem revealed her plan to get some snacking in- loosen the girth!
With the saddle firmly in place, we got back on the trail…and got ourselves lost thanks to a mostly hidden trail marker.
There were some open places where we could canter, which was so much fun. P has such a slow canter and gallop, but Gem is 15h and just couldn’t keep up. BUT she’s ridiculously smart (and uber competitive) and tried to cut across the field to get in front. Seriously, don’t cross this mare.
Then my helmet cam unfortunately shut off because I neglected to delete previous videos and it ran out of memory, so now I don’t have footage of the Worst Trail Horse Ever.
It was a ONE foot creek crossing. P came to a sliding stop but Gem, being the awesome endurance horse that she is, led P over it, and we went back and forth a couple of times to solidify that no trolls lived there.
Joke was on me.
Again, P resumed the lead until we came to another one foot crossing. P cared nothing that Gem survived over it, he wasn’t going. So I got off and led him over, re-mounted and we resumed….
For about 10 feet until we came to ANOTHER one. This one there was nothing I could do. He wouldn’t follow Gem, he wouldn’t follow me, he wouldn’t back up. It was just a hell no. And then a nice couple came along and took pity. The woman tried her hardest- she teaches bombproofing clinics but P was determined to take her ego down. Her husband used his (obviously experienced at these kinds of things) horse Duke to get behind P and nudge and bite him along, but P just backed further into the woods. When Sara says we were there for about 30 minutes, she’s not exaggerating.
Now…I was trying to keep my wits about me and channel my inner Denny Emerson. P has never seen this before, he’s scared, right? Yeah…I thought so, too, until, as I’m pony club kicking him trying to get him even just to LEAN in the right direction, Sara busts out laughing and says he’s just standing there, with a back hoof cocked up, like he’s resting.
So we finally gave up and took our own little path to the road. And then got back on the trail, where P pretended like nothing had ever happened.
And then along came a bridge that had no railings but a pretty far drop, so I promptly hopped off and P just walked next to me like he walks over bridges all the time. So 12 inch creek crossings are the end of the world, but bridges that look like certain death (to me) are fine?
Then we had to get IN the water. Again, P said, no thank you. So I grabbed a long stick with lots of leaves in it and we headed in…together.
So then we come to another creek bed crossing. It was a little steep on either side but there was no water, so surely this will be fine.
When I tell you that at one point in time I was contemplating HOW I was going to tell my family that I couldn’t get out of the woods and I was just going to have to live there, I’m not kidding. It was so frustrating. Gem crossed back and forth just fine multiple times, but P was having none of it. Finally Sara tied Gem to a tree to help….and was it ever a sight to behold. Sara had P by the reins pulling and I’m behind him pushing. We must’ve looked like total rank morons but my horse was just having NONE of it.
I’m pretty sure this is where I threatened to sell him, but then realized that I couldn’t because who’s going to come out to the middle of the woods to try my horse?
I gave up on that one also, and we found a different route, got back on the trail and headed for the finish.
Minus those blips, I had an absolute blast. Sara is so much fun and Gem is a really cool horse to trail ride with. There’s obviously some things I need to work on with P that our nicely manicured trails with no creek crossings or ditches won’t help with. New trail adventures are in order, stat. And I need to wear spurs. I don’t know why I keep thinking I don’t. That morning I had packed them, but P was so fresh and a bit spooky so I figured I didn’t need them. ALWAYS WEAR SPURS, KC. And for good measure, a crop,too. It would’ve been one thing if he was scared, but he wasn’t. He wasn’t snorting, shaking, or doing anything that indicated he was worried. He was just letting me wear myself out trying all sorts of tricks to get him to move. And he won twice, which I HATE.
So all we can do is get back out there! Armed appropriately this time, of course.