I had today off from work, and what a gorgeous day to do so! 70 degrees, not a cloud in the sky, the multi-colored leaves still on the trees.
With plans for trail riding ahead, I arrived at the barn early to blow some steam out of Lim in the outdoor arena. She was docile as I groomed her but shortly before I led her over to the outdoor arena, her boyfriend Nick began calling for her from the pasture.
Lim called back and became riled up. We were alone in the arena and she looked about for other horses. If she spotted one, she whinnied at it. It wasn't looking good for the trail ride! She wanted to trot fast and long so I let her. During the canter, she wanted to eat the ground up with her strides and I let her. She slowed and I made her continue cantering. By the time we walked again, she was quiet.
A half hour later a couple of other boarders and I headed for the trails. One horse led, Lim was in the middle, and another horse followed.
Oh, what a beautiful day!
We trotted along tree-lined paths, the brightly-colored leaves a canopy above our heads and yet more leaves a rustling carpet beneath our horses' hooves.
We stopped by the Danada Equestrian Center and visited the Percheron foals. Mirror images of each other, they peered over the top railing of the pasture fence at us. Lim and the other Thoroughbred (a 21-year-old bay gelding) watched with curious, apprehensive eyes and ears. I remembered a time when Lim saw the Thoroughbred/Warmblood cross foals at our eventing barn a decade ago, how bright and curious and almost longing her eyes were. The Percheron foals did not rouse the same feelings!
We went beneath the tunnel--no problems there--and by the grass racetrack. When the lead horse trotted slowly I sat the trot on Lim and collected her. Her strides were so long (as is normal for her) that there was no other way to keep pace, and I was amused to find myself doing dressage moves on the trail.
We cantered a short stretch and she did not grab the bit and run, as I partly expected. I slowed her to a nice, collected canter and she was content and happy with the pace.
We went through a patch of thick woods--woods so thick that bicycles could not enter, and those on foot would be fighting the shrubbery. But the horses glided through and around it as if they had been doing it for thousands of years. The crimson, golden, and orange leaves high above us filtered the sunlight and I could hardly tear my eyes away from it. I let Lim loose on a long rein and she followed the horse before her, head down. The only sounds I could hear was the crunch and rustle of hooves on the forest floor.
We entered a clearing and followed a narrow path through tall grasses. A couple was ahead of us and the woman watched, delighted (horse lover, no doubt!) as we smiled and waved at her and her husband before disappearing through thick bushes.
On our way back, the woman riding the paint horse commented on how pretty Limerick was and what a nice trot she had.
Lim stumbled a bit and jumped, spooked by herself. She eyed a large patch of thick white fuzzy seeds in the grasses along the trail, wary. I laughed each time and that was the end of it.
We were gone for almost two and a half hours. What a wonderful Halloween!