Well, not 'grand' so much as 'fun'.
Part of my process goals this year is to do things without worrying about perfection or even perfect control. So I arranged to meet up with Nancy and hack at the barn where she boards. It's the one with absolutely stunning trails.
|just as magical with other characters...|
I gave myself some extra time for loading, just in case. But I didn't need it, although clearly a bit tight she walked right on. At the stable we were greeted by two small goats. Nancy asked how Carmen would be with them. The truthful answer was I don't know. The other half of that answer was that I wasn't all that worried.
|I grabbed a photo of the adorable goats at the end of the ride|
The cute little goats were very curious and were climbing on the ramp of the trailer as I dropped it. Carmen gave them the hairy eyeball but seemed unworried. She unloaded and headed into the barn. She always seems so comfortable there. Part of me would love to leave her there for a week to get used to all the things.
You may remember the donkey too. He was not to be overshadowed by two hooligans.
|love that nose|
It didn't take long to get ready. I asked Carmen to line up by the rock wall (which she did like a champ) and we were off. Carmen was exactly as I expected- up and a bit tense but not melting down. I gave her a long rein, relaxed my seat and we followed Beau and Nancy.
And we stayed on the long rein for the whole trip. A couple times I shortened the reins to prevent a potential crash but I never held her. Even when we went by a small 'sculpture' of rocks piled on top of each other. Carmen looked, said 'meh' and carried on.
|tempting to trot/canter here but the ground was still a bit soft.|
|Can you see the view behind me?|
Shortly after this photo (I think) we were walking back along an open area when all of a sudden all hell broke loose. A grouse flew off in a great flap, Carmen said EEEK and spun and I tried to say 'whoa' but am pretty sure it came out as 'ARGHHHHHH.
Even the redoubtable Beau jumped. Nancy was perfectly calm of the four of us. After her jump Carmen turned back to watch the Grouse flap off.
Me: god I hate those birds.
My heart was pounding- mostly from the bird. They get me every time (I call them heart attack birds). We both took a deep breath and I dropped the rein and we walked on. Carmen was keeping a suspicious eye out but didn't become a basket case.
Frankly I don't blame her.
We finished back at the barn tired and happy. I loaded Carmen and we headed home. She spent that day and the next being very relaxed and mellow.
|that tail! Believe it or not I've trimmed it 3 times this winter|
I think it was a great idea to head out so soon in our riding season. It's all part of the plan to mix things up and keep them interesting.