Charles came out to the barn yesterday with me, for the first time since moving to the new barn. He normally comes out quite often but we've just had completely opposite schedules for several months now.
We took him on a tour of the trails. He was happy to hike behind Mary on Willa and myself on Lily; it was his first time going for a hike in the fall! He earned some serious points with everyone at the barn.
|Mary and Willa. That's Lily and me on the other side of the driveway, behind Mary.|
|Walking down the driveway...|
...and out the gates.
I put a knot in Lily's tail so I could wrap her hinds and forgot to take it off...
|Riding up the slope. The horses in the background are retired broodmares belonging to a neighbor.|
|This couple owns the field adjoining the bridle path. They have two brown Newfoundlands that look like baby grizzly bears. They dogs are super well-behaved and when in doubt, the owners are awesome about grabbing their dogs when we're riding by.|
|Riding up the bridle path where I do hill sets...|
|...and down the path past one of the neighboring horse farms.|
|I've been wanting to get a photo of that sign for awhile now.|
This is how in sync Charles and I are: I never even mentioned it, and he got the shot!
|Following the fence line through the yard we're allowed to use to access the trails.|
This is the spot where Lily likes to spazz out when riding solo.
|The big orange tree is more orange now.|
|Entering the back woods.|
Following the trail.
|I LOVE this photo.|
Up the first, smaller hill that leads towards Four Corners.
Lily hesitated at this giant log initially. She's jumped over it before. Willa, a former eventer, had no problem going over it.
Following the street that runs through the woods. It's actually a neighborhood driveway. It leads to a main road - when you cross that road, you're on the trail that leads to Four Corners. The hunt was out on this day, so we turned around at the main road.
Another great shot of Mary and I, riding on opposite sides of the street.
I had not noticed before how much this trunk looks like a sea serpent!
Mary and I paused to wait for Charles to catch up. He was thoroughly enjoying his hike and had lagged behind. :)
Headed home on the bridle path. I walked Mary to the gates. She went to the driveway to do trot sets, and I returned to the slope with Charles to do canter sets.
Practice run on the lower portion of the bridle path.
Trotting away from Charles.
...and cantering back.
We trotted up the slope once, then trotted back. I wanted to make sure Lily could see Charles and realize it was him, but it didn't really work. She was fine when we were going up the hill facing him, but when we were returning back down facing his back, she kept trying to spook. Goofy in-heat mare!
And then we turned around at the bottom of the slope, and cantered up the hill.
Trotting past Charles. Note that she was looking at him.
The one moment where we truly galloped.
Trotting past Charles. :)
Walking back down the hill. Finally thought to remove the obnoxious orange safety vest...
Nice controlled canter. She was tired by then. We did 6 reps.
Walking back to Charles.
This photo shoot was a big deal. Ever since seeing Dom's profile pic (go to her blog and look at her profile pic at the bottom. LOVE that photo!!!) a year ago when I first started to read her blog, I'd wanted a photo of Lily and I cantering, if not galloping, out in the open. Outside of an arena. I wanted to be able to trust her enough to canter outside of any enclosed spaces. It was one of my biggest goals for this year.
It took 2 years, but we made it. We would have made it sooner if she had not been injured, but I don't know if we would have made it this well. Not only that, I now excitedly look forward to this kind of work with Lily. Yes, I look intense in the photos and video, but that's how I look when I'm focused. I had that same grim look when flying over fences. It certainly did not mean I wasn't having fun. I was. :)
What can I say? I have a pretty freaking awesome mare.
I love you, Lilybird.