I am a trail riding fool, and loving it.
A fellow boarder allowed me to use her Giant warmblood, seems giant for a someone used to a 15.2 hand mare, on a trail ride. There were three of us, and two of us were good riders, I was the third one.
Pippi is a careful horse, who watches out for her and her riders safety. There are good things about that, (i.e. she will not carry you off a cliff), and bad things about that (i.e. she could stop and refuse further movement due to a squirrel). Yesterdays trail horse was not a careful horse, and was described by his human as "obedient" and "fearless." All good things for an eventer, but potentially sketchy for a newbie like myself.
Now I really like this horse, he is sweet, calm and "wherever you point him he will go." Truer words have never been spoken. We rode around the arena for a while, until I was used to his swinging motion. Compared to Pippi, who takes small bumpy steps, he was like riding a sailboat. I tried out his trot, in case we did that, just so I would be prepared, and it felt great. So smooth.
Off we went. I was excited. Both ladies are great riders, and their horses great trail horses. I have never gone on a trail ride at the new barn, and was not prepared for the steep climbs or the sheer drops. Remember the part where this horse will go where you point him? Holy crap. When he started to trot up a very steep incline, it was all I could do to grab mane, and hang on. Forget the steering part! I was fortunate in that he chose the follow the lead horse, because we could have gone anywhere at that point. We did steer off course going up one hill, and that is when I realized that I better ride, 'cause this fella was gonna go anywhere. EEEK!
The view from the top was great, and I was rather proud of having gotten there. But the thing is we were going to have to go back down again. Screwing up my courage............... actually I was not really worried, which kind of worries me now, what am I an IDIOT? I was enjoying myself immensely, really loving it. Down we went, and we did great, Giant and I. We got to a section with a fairly sharp decline with a small creek at the bottom, which we would have to traverse. Giant's human warned me that he would jump it, but we had jumped a ditch earlier, so it was fine with me. I was last in the pack. The horse in front of us went down, and we followed, until the other horse decided to sidestep. Giant leaped over the creek prematurely, and I lost my balance. Hanging on for dear life, and therefore not steering at all, Giant went straight forward into small trees and brush. Bounce bounce, lost stirrups, squeezing legs to stay on, grabbing handfulls of mane, I was able to straighten up, steer back onto trail, and come to an uneasy stop.
To some this may seem as a complete failure. I choose not to see it that way, because I stayed in the saddle ,dang it, and stopped after only a few strides and before a sharp drop into a ravine. And I loved it. Oh, it could easily have gone horribly awry, but it didn't, and I made it back to the barn on the back of Giant. Not sure Giant's human wants me to ride him again, but I would love to. Guess that's what makes me a crazy horsegal huh?