I was supposed to ride Chrome yesterday, but I had such a bad headache I didn't get out of bed for most of the day. Today however I felt GREAT! So did he. :) So we went for our first solo ride... which I obviously survived or I wouldn't be writing this. The reason the title says sort of solo is because my hubby was in his car either following us or driving on ahead to park and wait on us. I wasn't confident enough to go completely solo without first seeing how he was going to act. As far as Chrome knew we were totally alone though! :)
First here is a short video of the very beginning of the ride when we were still walking along our fence line. After that I was concentrating too hard on Chrome to get video. I wish I had a helmet cam though! You guys would have been laughing through the whole video. :D
The reason I say you would be laughing is because Chrome was spooking at everything. Chrome is not a naturally spooky horse, but he thought he was totally alone so he was being a bit jumpy. Once I started talking he calmed down a lot.
The first thing he spotted was a stump. Just to tell you how nervous I was when I first passed the stump I would have sworn to you it was waist or shoulder height on a human. When I passed it for the second time (on the way home) I laughed out loud because it was only a foot to a foot and a half tall!! :) So when he spotted it he slammed on the brakes and stared. I asked him to keep walking. He went a couple more steps, then stopped again. I let him look at it a second and then asked him to walk again. He walked very hesitantly (by the way it was on the left side of the road and we were walking on the very right edge, so we were nowhere near it) by it and once he was past he tried to speed up like he thought it was going to take chase. I asked him to walk and he never offered to trot again the whole ride. Good boy!
So that made me more nervous (although I wasn't as nervous as the other day when I rode past the horses for the first time). We kept going and we were back on the left side of the road where it's heavily wooded and a squirrel spooked him. Just for clarification what I'm calling a spook during this ride was more just a startle in place kind of spook, not a spin or run away kind of spook, thank goodness!
So we kept going to the corner and turned right instead of going straight past those two horses from the video the other day. We passed my husband at the corner, he turned around and was following us about fifty yards back when he ran over a stick which snapped and startled Chrome again. A short way down the road we turned on is another house with horses, but their pasture isn't right by the road. Chrome's head got high and he kept wanting to stop, but he listened to me and kept going. Then a rooster crowed and he startled again. Then I heard something move in the ditch I was startled, but Chrome didn't do anything. By this point I was cracking up laughing because his spookiness was so out of character, he was making me jumpy and it was all just so silly I couldn't help it.
We kept going by a place with greenhouses. There was a guy out there that slammed his car door and Chrome looked, but he actually didn't spook at that. Also cars were passing us during all of this too but he's totally fine with them. I think there was three cars that passed us besides my hubby. After the greenhouses I asked him to go through the ditch into an open field because I'd never ridden him off the road and I wanted to see what he would do. We walked through the field just fine.
While out in the field he saw something else (no clue, I didn't see it) and spooked. That was the biggest spook of the ride where he actually spun his forehand away from whatever it was, but he stopped when I asked and turned back around to keep walking the direction we were going. That made me nervous, but I was actually proud of myself for sitting the spook easily. While still in the field he started eyeballing a round bale of hay (that may be what he spooked at, it was the right direction) really hard. I was laughing my butt off. A round bale?? This is why I wish I'd had a helmet cam. You guys would have gotten a kick out of it. So I asked him to approach the round bale and he was all puffed up like ooooh it's soooo scary. Then he realized what it was and it's like he deflated. LOL!!! So funny!
So we kept going. There was a gravel pull off that I used to get back on the road because the ditch further along got deeper and muddier. We walked to the driveway of the guy who owns the field I was riding in (he's a cop my dad knows), then turned around. Obviously on the way home we were both a lot more relaxed. I got my camera back out for a couple of pictures.
Hubby probably looked like a stalker sitting on the side of the road hehe.
Ahhh it's the paparazzi!
Here is the picture he took of us.
Sorry it's bad quality. It was too
dark on my computer, but I think
I lightened it too much.
On the way back there was only one more spook (startle). It was when we were back on our own road and a bunch of noisy crows flew by behind us. He didn't even look at the stump again even though I was tense, looking for it. Then I saw how small it really was and started laughing again.
On our road headed home I trotted him two more times. We actually went a fair distance each time and I tried standing in two point, but my stirrups were too long. If I held onto the saddle horn I was able to stay up. His trot has SO much movement!
I have no idea how long the ride was. From the first picture I took to the last picture I took it was twenty minutes and the last picture was taken right after we turned around. He probably walked faster on the way home so I'm guessing thirty to thirty five minutes. It was also only 2 miles.
So that was our spooky, hilarious first solo ride! I can't wait to go again! :D Oh and I didn't do any of his other exercises. It started sprinkling toward the end of the ride, which is why I trotted at the end hehe, so I just let him graze when I got home. :)