Wednesday I hauled Lance to Perrydale Trails for 2 1/2 hours of exposure to all kinds of trail obstacles, both natural and man-made. Proprietor Rebecca Herron greeted me graciously and showed me where I could warm up while she got her horse ready. Now warm-up is usually not a pressing need with laid-back Lance, but a new building was being erected right next to the warm-up area and that had Lance doing his best llama impression!
We decided to leave that area and head out for a guided tour of the various courses, after which she left us to proceed at our own pace. But first she took some photos of us navigating the "Gully," the least developed of all the courses and one she doesn't have photos of in use. It doesn't look like much here, and presented no trouble at all to Lance; he had negotiated much more on his first horse-camping trip.
|LOVE those listening 'airplane' ears!|
The "Woods," where we started our solo journey, had the most schooling opportunities. Some that I thought might be scary, like walking between sheets on a clothesline and yellow caution tape strung between two trees, or a plastic feedback on a clothesline that you pulled along behind you with an attached rope, didn't generate more than mild curiosity on Lance's part. Others, like the shallow water crossing and a step-up onto a big, filled tractor tire, were met with great reluctance and took lots of coaxing and patience. A couple obstacles, like the narrow teeter-totter bridge and the tarp-covered mattress, were interesting new challenges that took some time to master but were conquered conclusively. I was so proud of my boy!
The "Pond" area had its own set of questions to ask, including a campsite complete with tent and camping 'scarecrows,' a TALL bridge, a hunting 'dummy' (surprisingly scary!), and a balance beam.
|There are lots of obstacles in those little trees as well|
|Balance beam, low bridge, scary deer at bottom (click to biggify)|
|Lance was cautious, but approached to touch noses. (He said it didn't smell 'right')|
I was most surprised by how well he managed the balance beam after a couple tries. Marched right down the middle of it from beginning to end! (That's two RR ties wide, two RR ties long.)
|"I see dead people." Legitimately scary, but he got over it.|
I couldn't have been more pleased with how my young horse handled it all. The only real "hole" in his skill set is guided backing, and I knew that going in. Fortunately, that is something we can work on here at home – and already have. Last night I worked on backing him around two plastic bins in a figure-8, and he improved in just one session. We will continue to work on that and side-passing, two arena trail class standards, between now and his show on Wednesday. That, and standing still for his halter class!