Monday, December 12, 2016

Bella’s First Trail Ride in the Snow

Bella’s First Trail Ride in the Snow

We got just about an inch of snow overnight.  Suddenly the bleak December landscape looked just a little bit prettier.  We were going to meet Shari with Bella for a trail ride.  I took Cole to meet her at the trailhead closest to her barn.  We saw her prancing down the driveway and when she reached the street, she slammed on the brakes.  She got startled by going from a white driveway to the black top!  We knew that this was going to be a challenging ride for her.

She pranced over to Cole--and then refused to step onto the trail unless he went first.  Bella was afraid of the snow.  Bella, the horse that insists on being leader, now needed Cole to show her the way.  Shari told me that this was the very first time she rode Bella on the trail in the snow.  Bella thought everything looked different, and it just wasn’t safe.  

We caught up with Kevin on Starry.  They were about halfway down the hill, poking along.  Bellas still followed Cole.

The trail was frozen solid from the day before, and there really wasn’t enough snow to soften it.  There would be no trotting, today.  Our trails freeze like cement, and though we see some people trotting and cantering on them, we are concerned in protecting our horses’ long-term soundness.

There was no ice on the river, so we crossed with ease.  Well, Bella was worried about it, so Cole went first.  Bella was looking at everything.  On the other side of the river, Cole had to lead, too.  It was like some sort of “Twilight Zone” ride.

As we rode along the fence which is right by the road, I told Shari we needed to be on the lookout for snowplows.  If we heard one coming when we were in a bad spot like by the fence, we would need to scurry towards safety.  Between going fast, making noises, spraying snow high into the air and scattering salt--they were just too much for the best of horses.

As soon as we got into the woods, Kevin warned us that a snowplow was coming.  We stopped the horses and waited  The plow was far enough away, but it made a loud noise and all of our horses jumped.  Yes, snowplows are a risk.

Bella gave one big spook when she approached a large boulder that was covered with snow.  Of course, she knew that rock quite well, but it was different now.  It could have been a horse-eating monster.

As we rode along, Bella would walk next to or follow Cole.  Starry was thrilled, because now he could follow his girlfriend without Cole in the way.

About halfway down the trail, I stopped Cole to see if Bella would take the lead.  Not only did she refuse to pass Cole, but she started to go backwards.  Was this really the horse who wouldn’t let any other horse take the lead all summer for more than 30 seconds?

After some disagreement, Shari was able to get Bella to take the lead.  Starry then insisted he follow her.  Cole happily trailed behind.  That lasted for about a minute, and then I found myself leading the pack, again.  When we approached the next river crossing, where we planned to turn towards home, Bella happily took the lead.

We figured she would do better on the way home, and she did.  Most of the time, she was either next to Cole or right ahead of him.  Now, the biggest issue was Starry crowding Cole, so he could get to his girlfriend.

Once we started heading up the hill, Bella was more than happy to lead, and she got well ahead of us.  She was going home.  I’m sure our next ride in the snow will be back to normal with Bella leading the way the whole time.

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