There’s been a thread on the COTH forum recently about how hard it is to find a good trail horse. A horse that’s sane, brave and safe.
Most of my horses have been great on the trails, if not immediately, then eventually, but Zelda is proving to be a candidate for one of the best. I’ve been hacking her on my own for the past few days, gradually expanding our territory and introducing new challenges.
Yesterday, she made me proud. She crossed the scary bridge on her own. Okay, she had a little help, but it came from an unexpected quarter.
We have two bridges near our barn. The first one is haunted by birds (see Things that spook horses) but it’s not the really scary bridge. That honor goes to one that crosses and active waterfall. It’s noisy and looks strange. It is guaranteed to make a horse pause.
When I first rode Zelda up to it, she did just that. She stopped dead and started to back up. I returned her to the base of the bridge and let her look at it for awhile. I wanted her to cross it but I really didn’t want to get off. Zelda is probably 17 hands and I am not nimble enough to mount her from the ground. As we stood there, contemplating the many ways she could get to the other side, my dog, Woolly, trotted across. Zelda followed. She apparently needed proof that it was safe.
Who knew that a 28 pound dog could give reassurance to a 1500 pound horse?!
But seriously, Zelda is pretty unflappable. She’s curious (she looks at everything) but not is not bothered by much.
Today she even managed a ride with another horse without bucking or squealing once. Maybe she’s starting to realize that there’s plenty of work without making it harder on herself.
Is your horse a good trail horse? Did he or she come that way or did it take a lot of wet saddle blanket therapy?