This morning, Marley and I went on a trail ride hosted by some local professionals who gave us pointers along the way. This was rated as a beginner ride which is exactly what Marley and I needed. Not only was it our first trail ride together, it was my first trail ride in over 25 years!! This was a big deal for me!
I've been waiting a long time for this and it was great fun to finally take one of those from-the-saddle-and-through-the-ears photos.
Riding among the pine trees was a treat for Marley and Me. At first, he was full of bundled energy and it was a challenge to stay one horse length behind the rider ahead of us. We did some circling, and flexing, and some zig-zagging along the trail to slow down and occupy Marley's mind. Half way through the ride he became more relaxed and mellow and it was a joy to ride him.
It was chilly and raining lightly when we started on the trail, but the rain stopped during our ride. It poured yesterday, so the trail was very wet with lots of water puddles to cross. This was a great opportunity for Marley, as crossing water has been an issue of his in the past. He was quite hesitant at the first couple of puddles, but soon he was sloshing right through them, mud and all. I was very pleased with him.
We also got some practice going up and down some small hills. This is a challenge for Marley since he has a very drafty build with a big thick neck and is naturally very heavy on the forehand.
Toward the end of the ride, I could tell Marley was getting tired; he began stumbling here and there for no apparent reason.
The last stumble Marley took was a big one. The other riders said he went down onto all four legs. I thought for a moment I was going to taste dirt, but I stayed on and he recovered. I'm confident he'll get better with more experience and conditioning.
I hope this is the first of many trail rides for Marley and Me.
Next post will be on Wednesday.
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