There comes a point in a horse’s training when the trainer needs to step aside and assess what skills the horse is able to transfer to another rider. It is one thing for a horse to be able to perform for the trainer, but it is quite another for the horse to demonstrate the same skill level with a new rider aboard. This past weekend Summer Snow (Rainier) got a chance to demonstrate his talents with a different rider, Carolyn, one of Devin’s more advanced students, on a trail ride.
Trailering over to the park was no big deal to Rainier. He loads and unloads easily. He “loads, clips, and baths” as the saying goes. He also stand patiently tied to the trailer watching what is going on around him. There are other horses and trailers in the parking lot for him to notice and observe.
Devin was getting her own horse, Beaty, ready while Carolyn tacked up Rainier. Rainier is pretty tall, close to 17 hands we estimate, so Carolyn had to stretch up tall to get him saddled! But as usual, Rainier stood patiently throughout the process of putting on the saddle, boots, and bridle.
And they were ready to hit the trail!
Walking nicely down the path.
The park we ride in has a variety of different conditions and obstacles for the horses to enjoy, plus a couple of “spooky” areas full of shadows and animals. You never know when a deer will appear, and people claim there is a herd of elk that live there as well.
One area that frequently causes horses to spook or get excited is this area. A horse must head down a steepish path into a densely wooded area and then come right back up the other side. A lot of horses like to rush through this section of the trail. Devin led the way for safety sake, but it turned out Rainier was happy just to calmly walk in and out of this section.
Rainier was very confident on the ride, so Devin and Carolyn took turns leading on the trail. Either way was find with Rainier. He didn’t rush or push up on the other horse. He was happy to walk about on the sunny afternoon sharing good times with friends. These trails are lined with blackberry bushes, so the real test of trail control is can you pick a blackberry from you horse’s back?
But true friends share, so she offered Rainier a taste of what she had captured. He wasn’t too sure about blackberries… but he wasn’t afraid to check them out and stand for Carolyn to pick what she wanted.
Next on the agenda… the water crossing. It was a hot summer day and the water looked appealing. The crossing isn’t too deep right now from all our dry weather, but the river rocks are still slippery and take some getting used to and you wobble around trying to navigate the stream.
It was a great day to stand around in the water… and Rainier was comfortable with his new rider aboard for the ride. I left the journey at this point, but Devin tells me the rest of the ride was just as great. Rainier did some trotting and cantering along the way and never rushed or tried to race his trail buddy, Beaty. Both horses are OTTB’s, so it could have been quite a race if they weren’t both so well behaved.
Devin said this ride went so well that the next day she took her young, 14 year old working student out for a trail ride on Rainier. Again, he was calm. cool, and collected. Rainier is demonstrating how much he has learned and how he can transfer that knowledge to knew situations and riders. Imagine what he will be like when he has a person to call his own!