Horses have a way of communicating with their riders. Sometimes it’s a buck to show excitement or a tail swish to show their discomfort. I may not be the horse whisperer, but I could tell that Axcent was screaming at me to get out of the ring for weeks. Last Sunday afternoon we finally got our chance. We made plans to ride to a public park up the road from the barn, Moore State Park, with two of my best friends, Emily and Catherine.
Although it was beautiful out, it was freezing. I felt a little bad for Ax’s naked bum being exposed, but that was nothing a good gallop in the sun couldn’t fix. Our ride started out relaxing, but that was quickly interrupted by what I will call “The Poodle Debacle.” We got chased by two poodles that had clearly never seen horses before and the two kids who were supposed to be watching them. I quickly found out that my steady horse was not a fan of being chased by barking dogs and screaming children, not that many horses would be. After suggesting multiple times that they should grab the dog’s collar and the kids insisting that they didn’t want to do that, the poodle took off back toward their house. We continued on our way, thinking that we were free. We were wrong. Back came the barking and I looked behind me to see one of the poodles rounding the bend in the road, legs and ears flying, with the two kids screaming close behind. Once again, we stopped to allow the kids to grab their dog and this time they took our advice, grabbing him by the collar. I think it is safe to say that we were all glad to see them walk away. The rest of our ride to the park was uneventful compared to that, minus one horse-eating man raking leaves and a ferocious photographer in the middle of a photo shoot; Ax even left a nice, steaming present for an elderly couple getting out of their car.
Walking through the field to the top of the hill was beautiful and definitely worth the wild ride there. The field was huge with a mowed path around the perimeter and diagonally across the center. We walked through the center of the field to a trail the led to other fields and the rest of the park. Thankfully, the trail was smooth and my clumsy boy didn’t trip onto his face. The next field we entered was shaded and the ground was too soft for much more than walking. We walked around the edge then followed the trail back to another field that connected to the first one. This one was solid enough for trotting and we did a little warm up before entering the large field with the hill. Then we had some fun. The slope of the hill was just long enough for a good gallop up without straining the horses, so off we went. We reached the top too soon for my liking so we walked down the other side and turned to trot around the perimeter. Trotting turned to cantering. Cantering turned to Ax taking off. He is the kind of horse that starts out slow with no idea where his legs are supposed to go and then all of the sudden he figures it out and he is off like a rocket with no desire of stopping. Off we went around the field and back up the center to the top of the hill. Our freedom had distracted us and we realized that it was going to get dark soon and we headed towards home. The ride home was relaxing and free of any pony-spooking events. We got back just in time before the sun started to set. This was definitely what the Prince and I needed.