Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bad Mommy, Good Mommy

It was a fantastic long weekend. Lots of sunshine, lots of friends, lots of family and lots of riding. It was a very relaxing weekend for me. For the first time in a number of years, My Husband and I did not have to prepare a huge meal or entertain. I had Friday off so I got my nails done and went for a ride. Saturday I met a girlfriend for lunch and Saturday night, My Husband and I went to friends' for dinner. Sunday we did some work around the house and went to my parents' place for Thanksgiving dinner - my sister prepared everything from appetizers to dessert. Yummy! Monday, My Husband and I had late breakfast and he went golfing and I went on a trail ride.

The weather was amazing all weekend and continues so far this week. My ride on Friday was interesting. I was the only one riding Friday afternoon. One of The Arena Gang was grooming her horse, so I took advantage of the company and rode in the arena. Gem was "off". He was fidgety while I was grooming him. He moved around as I saddled him up. He nipped at my clothing a few times. I thought it was because he was missing mid-afternoon snack. When we were in the arena, I couldn't get on him. It didn't matter what I tried, he always seemed to be able to move just out of my reach. I had to ask for assistance from the other boarder. While riding him, he pushed back on everything I asked him. He was resistant to my cues through the whole 45 minutes I rode him. He pulled on the bit. When I was untacking him, LA's 75-year old mother (she lives on-site) asked how Gem was when I rode him.

Me: He was not himself. He was off. Why do you ask?
Her: He didn't get up this morning when we arrived to feed. Usually, he's up and very vocal because he wants his breakfast.
Me: (alarmed) He was lying down???
Her: Yes, his head was up, but he was lying down. It took him a while to get up.
Me: (very alarmed) Was he struggling??!!!
Her: Oh, no! I put his breakfast in his stall and that encouraged him to get up. He ate. Perhaps he has an upset tummy.

I spoke to LA about it and she thought he was fine. His poops (along with other horses) have been a bit loose on and off because of eating apples that have fallen from the trees and perhaps some other Fall grasses that they don't usually eat. She has been monitoring poops. Whew! But, Bad Mommy!!! Gem was trying to tell me that he wasn't well. This explains his behaviour. I hate the thought that I pushed him when he wasn't well. :-(

Monday he seemed like his old self. It was a stunningly gorgeous day. Warmish and sunny. I was pumped about going on a trail ride, but also nervous. I placed my Confidence Vest in the trunk of my car, and headed out to the stables.

Driving through my neighbourhood......

Crossing the river....

There was quite a turnout at the stables on Monday afternoon. We were all in the front paddock. Gem was excited and frisky, not exactly how I would like him to be going out on the trail. I jogged Gem on and off for 20 minutes. I wanted him loose and calm when that gate opened out to the fields. Once we were ready to go, I put on my Confidence Vest and the gate was opened.

Loosening up the horses before going out.....

There were 8 of us that went out. I positioned myself with a very experienced adult rider. I was stiff and had to keep taking deep breaths to calm myself. About 5 minutes into the ride, I found myself LEADING the trail. At first I panicked, but then I realized that Gem liked it! Because I am such a chicken, I usually try to position myself in the middle. He is always rushing when we are in this position - I thought it was because his stride is bigger than the quarter horses. But now I am wondering if it's because he likes to be out front.... I started to relax a bit and let him do his thing.

I did try to take some pictures while we were actually walking on the trails, but I wasn't coordinated enough to get my camera ready and ride at the same time!

Stopping for a drink.......

I survived two horse-eating squishy mud puddles - Gem was able to hop like a bunny over them and I remained in the saddle. I survived him telling another gelding of lower rank to get out of his face. I survived Gem being happy and breaking into a jog - he allowed me to bring him back to a walk. We were out for a couple of hours. Gem loved it and after I calmed down, so did I! I am sure he had a smile on his face. I felt good that Gem was out of the arena and that we were riding on grass instead of sand. What a great way to end a great weekend. I have already started arranging another trail date. :-)

This last picture was taken a couple of weeks ago from my deck. I was putting the dogs out when I got home from work and the sky was an amazing pink colour. It's not a very clear picture, but I think you can get the idea of how brilliant everything was.



  1. Sounds like a great trail ride for you both!

  2. What beautiful pictures! Can Tucker and I come visit and tag along? Would the western riders laugh at us in our hunter gear? Sounds like a lovely relaxing weekend. Don't worry about pushing Gem when he wasn't feeling well. Now you know what to look for if he acts that way again. All part of the process of first time horse ownership.

  3. Your pictures are beautiful, great colors in the last one.

    So glad you and Gem enjoyed your trail ride. I think that Confidence Vest is really doing the trick. It does sound like he likes to be out front, some horses are happiest in the lead. I'd be so proud of myself and Gem if I were you. Good going.

  4. Lovely photos. Sounds like a fun day.

  5. Sounds like it was perfect! What a lovely long weekend - don't you wish they could all be like that!

  6. Don't you just love fall? I'm a little jealous right now since I can't trail ride while I still can't put my foot in a stirrup (shaking fist).

    Once you start trail riding more and more you and Gem will find tons of bonding experiences. I'll never forget the day I was riding my arab out of the woods and encountered an 8 point buck and his does in a field. We stared at each other for a good 3 minutes before anyone moved.

  7. Good afternoon!

    Kate - yes, it was a good experience from a pleasant perspective and from a confidence perspective.

    Marissa - you and Tucker are welcome anytime!! No one will laugh at you. We have western and english (and bareback) riders come out on the trails. :-)

    GHM - the vest is working!! And, I am glad that I discovered Gem's comfort zone in the line.

    JanLou- yes, it was a great day and the scenery was fabulous.

    Nina - I do wish all my weekends could be like last weekend...minus the huge amounts of food I ate! :-)

    Shannon - geez, I hope you get to enjoy some of this weather soon! Fall is my favourite time of year. I wish it lasted a little longer here. By November, it gets pretty chilly. An 8-point!

  8. Awesome pictures! I love fall colors! Sounds like it was a great ride!

  9. WOW!!! What fantastic autumn colours! Great pictures!!
    Don't feel bad about not realising Gem wasn't feeling well; I used to miss that with my boys sometimes when they were little!!! Now that's bad mummy for you!
    Your trail rides sound so much fun... & go Wolfie, up front & leading!! Woo-hoo! And thanks for sharing the pix.
    Sounds like one fab weekend all around :D

  10. JM - We had a great time.

    Joy - Glad you liked the pictures.

    Miles - Thank you! Gem will be celebrating next weekend with a few of his friends.