Look at his cute gray face!
I know I've said that about rides before, but to date this probably was the best one ever! It was more my own accomplishment than it was Chrome's, but he was a huge part of it for being his calm, confident, sensible self! This probably won't sound like much to a lot of you, but for me it was huge. :)
My legs still look so long on him... does his chest look any wider at all??
I'm still doing Chrome's Prep work, but I've decided on his walk days that I'll ride instead of walk. The thing is I was so proud of Chrome (and myself) and happy that I completely forgot to do his other exercises after we got back from the ride... oops!!!
I've ridden Chrome on the road before obviously and my hubby was with us (of course he took the pictures), so you would think there would be no reason for me to be nervous, but there was! For one thing the tree trimming crews had been through (in the above photo I'm leaning forward to look down the road to see if they were gone and they were) so there was a ton of leaves, sticks, etc. on the road and obviously the chopped off trees (under the power lines) looked different. Some horses are freaked when things in their environment change, but I wasn't sure how Chrome would react. This was also my first ride on the road since Faran left. Last, but definitely not least, we were planning to have me ride him past the neighbor horses without my hubby grabbing the reins (previously I would get off when we went past horses)!!!! So yeah I was super nervous. If you haven't seen how he acts around unfamiliar horses check out the video in this post (LINK). I was terrified he would act like that with me on his back...
So we set off down the road...
I LOVE his mohawk!
Chrome was sniffing the road where the tree trimming trucks left marks on the pavement. That's the only thing he noticed. He wasn't worried about the stuff on the road or about the chopped off trees. He was cool as a cucumber.
Anyway I don't have pictures of us passing the neighbor horses because hubby wanted to have his hands free in case Chrome got too excited. As soon as we got close to the neighbor's pasture Chrome's head popped back up. I was sooooo nervous my stomach was burning. I'm so glad he doesn't feed off of my nerves. He was alert, but calm.
As we got to the pasture I was looking around for the two horses. They were in the barn hiding from the flies, but they had spotted us and were headed our way. Thankfully it was very hot and they were feeling lazy, so they just walked. Chrome's walk got floaty, but he didn't break into a trot or flip his tail or anything. He was trying to stop and was swinging his head around to look at them, but he kept walking when I asked. I had my reins short, but we did it completely by ourselves. The two horses walked behind us until we passed the end of the pasture, then they trotted (well one cantered) up to the fence. Chrome didn't even react to having them approach him at speed from behind.
As soon as we got past there a couple of high school students (they go to the school where my hubby works) came flying up their driveway. Luckily the one in front spotted us and slowed down. Once he'd pulled past us he stopped, opened his door and said he was trying not to spook my horse. I thanked him. He got out and was asking what breed Chrome is and said he was very beautiful. He pet him all over the face and neck and even hugged him. It was soooo sweet!!!! Chrome LOVED it!
The other kid that was following him was a little antisocial and stayed in his car. They were on their way to go fishing. When two more cars started approaching they said bye and left. So four cars drove by and Chrome was totally fine. He was even trying to eat the antisocial kid's Jeep hehehe!!!!
We continued on toward the hill. As we were approaching it, the kid in the Jeep came back because they forgot something and he was flying!!! Chrome didn't even bat an eye. We went to the top of the hill and he did really well going up. He was pushing from his rear and was fairly straight. We turned around at the top (there is an intersection at the bottom on the other side and I didn't want to be out there since it has a blind turn in one direction) and walked back down, headed home. Going down he wanted to trot sooo bad! It's difficult walking downhill apparently hehe. He listened though and stayed at a walk.
Luckily we got past the kid's driveway before he came back in the Jeep. On the way home the horses stayed in the barn (the only time I've ever thanked flies lol), so Chrome was very forward, but relaxed. As soon as we passed their pasture I was ecstatic!!!! I was finally relaxed, completely comfortable and my stomach wasn't queasy anymore hehe. We did it!! My hubby never even had to grab the reins. :D
I took the camera on the way home because it's heavy and the strap around my hubby's neck makes his back hurt.
There's more! When we got close to home I asked Chrome to trot! He trotted and then slowed to a walk perfectly!!!!! He didn't get excited or out of control. This was our first time trotting on the road, so I wasn't sure how he would react. We did it again and he was perfect. I LOVE this horse!!
I was so proud of Chrome and so happy with him that as soon as we got home I took his bridle off and let him graze as his reward, even before taking the saddle off hehe. I used the thicker fleece pad this time and I think Chrome liked it. The saddle seems to be sitting level and I was totally comfortable in it (didn't tip with me in it or anything like that). :D Oh and I rode in my breeches and it was sooooooooooo much more comfortable than jeans!!!
So shiny! Even on the dry parts hehe.
After taking the saddle off I was happy to see sweat! I never really ride him enough to make him sweat, but it was warm (very warm) during our ride and he sweated under the pad and girth. Still no sweat on his chest or anything. Since we only walk that's not really a surprise though.
I love how his mohawk is back lit by the sunshine hehe.
I rinsed him off and used my sweat scraper (LOVE my sweat scraper, so happy to finally have one). He'd never had a sweat scraper used on him, but he just kept grazing and wasn't bothered at all. No surprise there hehe.
So the next step is to try riding out alone.... I have a lot more confidence after this ride, so hopefully I can do it! I'll wait for a time when my hubby is home though just in case something happens so I can call him. Anyway I know it doesn't sound like much, but to me it was huge! I saw this on Facebook and it sums up how I feel now perfectly...
It's me holding us back, not Chrome. He was perfect. :D
P.S. I almost forgot. The ride was thirty six minutes and 1.66 miles. Also the ride was on 5/4/14, I'm writing this post on 5/5/14 because my computer froze up yesterday, but I'm scheduling it to post on 5/4/14... sorry for any confusion lol.