away working with her shires today, Iris and I had to go out without our expedition photographer today. This was the first time we have been off the yard without Sari on foot ( although last time Iris was in such a hurry that the effect was quite similar ) and it was the first time we actually went beyond simply walking to the end of the road, making a very short loop and coming back, so in a way this was our first trail ride.
Iris did amazingly well- I am getting way better at riding her through tension and realising that I really need to just give her the rein as much as possible, relax and let her find her composure through me. She spent the first few hundred yards trying to break into a trot the whole time, but I just kept bringing her back to walk and she figured it out very quickly. She snorted at a man building a step and some bags of paving stones, in fact she was snorting most of the way down the road, but those two were snortiest. I am wondering whether she has some concerns about the building trade in general. Possibly she is worried about the potential for a second housing bubble.
We got to the path onto the common ( past very
snort-at-able road works ) and out onto some pathways. Iris was a bit jumpy at first, but settled. The only slightly anxious moment was when I discovered that being a hand taller than Zorro an two hands taller than Cash, when I ride her, my head is significantly higher up than I am used to. We learned this with the help of an oak tree, which was quite twiggish around my face and resulted in a lot of branches rustling and waving around which Iris wasn't sure she liked.
We got onto the path along the side of the woods, where we followed a fox for a good few hundred yards- we were walking and he was walking, so he just stayed well ahead of us and seemed to be in no particular hurry.
We left the woods and stepped out onto the fire break where Iris thought I was definitely about to ask her to canter. After a few false starts she figured out that walking was sufficient and dropped her head so we could amble on.
The colours are beautiful there now- heather and gorse still in full flower and the birches just starting to show sparks of bright yellow among their leaves.
It really is quite inviting to just go, but I want to get the idea that we can just walk places as a foundation.
We climbed one of the long hills, which is a great place for a canter but again we restrained ourselves, then looped back towards home. As we wound through the woods I discovered that we could walk through muddy puddles but clear ones are apparently portals to the dimension of danger. Not entirely sure what the deal is with that, but when we were confronted on a narrow section of track by a puddle or a fallen tree lying under the branches of a still standing tree, I thought we should go through the water but Iris wasn't keen, while I was very conscious of my earlier tree related problems and didn't want to find us hopping over the tree trunk on the ground resulting in me ending up in the branches. In the end Iris kind of scrambled over the trunk ( which was only about six inches wide) somehow managing to put all four feet on it in turn while I sort of lay on her neck.
I was ever so pleased with her today- she was certainly silly in places but it was a proper trail ride on proper trails, which I haven't done in the last eighteen months at least. It turns out I have missed it so much.