A Historic Ride
On our second September long weekend, Ellen and I took Dante up to the showring trails. That isn’t historic at all, but we did have a few “firsts.”
As is typical on our vacations in the fall, we tend to run into park maintenance. Sometimes they are fixing our trail, sometimes trimming trees and then there is road maintenance.
This time, the road maintenance was not a problem for us in the least. We rode past it the day before. It was far enough from the trail that the horses didn’t care. The good news was they closed the 2 fords, so there was no traffic between them.
The following day, we decided to ride across the ford. The only risk would be a truck from the construction passing us, but since we hadn’t seen one, yet, we figured we could do it.
This would be the first time Ellen ever rode Dante across the ford. I ride Cole all the time, but Ellen still gets nervous in traffic, so she leads.
Since the road was all ours, Dante was perfect. I didn’t realize it until Ellen told me, but this was literally the very first time Ellen had ever ridden Dante on the street in any way except to cross the road. It was a big step for her.
We rode up to the show ring. At the end of the pine forest, we can either go left to a very pretty trail or right to the show ring, itself. We haven’t gone to the show ring proper all year. The trail loops around the show ring and it is almost all sunny—not something you want to do in the hot summer.
As we neared the intersection, a horse went by at a walk going down the trail we wanted to go, and we didn’t really want to follow her. She was bareback, and it looked like she was out for a quiet stroll. We wanted to trot. Rather than catching up with her and having to pass, we just decided to go the other way towards the show ring. It wasn’t historic, but it was the first time this year.
When we got back to the pine forest, we found Kevin on Starry. We then all continued down the trail that we originally wanted to go on. We got to do all our trotting, and we were happy.
On the way home, Ellen decided to ride down the big hill—for the first time. It is a really long and steep hill. Dante has always been good on it, but she preferred to lead—just to be safe. Cole hasn’t always been good on this or any hill, but I have been riding him down it, and he has proven to be a good boy. Dante did, too. He was so good that Ellen rode him down the next day without hesitation.
Since she was already in the saddle, she didn’t lead through the lagoon, either. That is the part of the trail that is closest to the street for about a half mile. Last year, she was riding through it, but this year she wasn’t comfortable with it. I encouraged her to just keep leading through it until it felt right. Well, this day couldn’t be any righter. Dante was perfect.
Just to round things out, she rode back across the ford on the way home, too.
It was a historic ride because Ellen and Dante did some things for the first time and others for the first time this year—and Dante proved to her that her confidence in him wasn’t misplaced. He was just stellar.