Thursday, March 19, 2015

On the Road! (Mimi part 5)

Mimi, ready to go to work

Things are starting to shift a bit in the battle of opinions between Mimi and myself.  We’ve had her on the trail again, this time with minimal problems.  A small group of people had gathered for a Sunday trail ride and I saddled up Mimi to join them.  She has shown no problems when riding out with a group.  Her opinion is that she shouldn’t have to leave the farm alone.  I’ve had incremental success in persuading her otherwise, but we haven’t yet pushed out by ourselves.  The biggest obstacle is that the only way off the farm is out the driveway and onto the paved public road.  I’ve tried a couple of things to avoid having a fight out in traffic.  I figured that this was the day to see if it was having any effect.

I’m usually among the first to be saddled and ready, and so it was on this day.  While the other folks were taking the time to pamper their horses, Mimi and I saddled up and got to work.  We rode down the long drive to the road.  There was no traffic, and I didn’t give her time to think about it.  We pushed right out onto the road and turned toward the trail head.  Mimi never flinched.  We went down the road about a hundred yards and turned back to the farm.  About halfway down the driveway, we turned back and went onto the road again.  This time, I pushed her all the way to the power line right of way where we usually take the horses off the pavement and out of traffic.  Mimi handled it like she had been doing it every day.  I still wanted to join in on the group ride, so we turned back to the farm again. 

When we got back to the barn, the other folks were ready, so we turned around once more, and this time hit the trail.  Just as before, she never flinched at the cars, trucks or cyclists that we shared the road or trail with.  We did encounter one new problem.  Mimi has a nice little ambling gait, but she is not a fast horse.  The horses we were with were all long legged, eager trail horses with ground eating gaits.  When they moved out, poor Mimi couldn’t keep up.  In spite of our victory on the road, Mimi is still buddy sour. 

As the other horses pulled away from her, Mimi would break gait and try to canter.  Each time, I checked her stride and started over.  But the rest of the ride was a constant test of wills.  We still have to work on the buddy sour problem.  But now, we can get off the farm and work on it in a safe place.