Thoroughbreds On Their First Trail Ride

trail-ride_20100327_032What a great Spring day we finally had today! Five off-the-track Thoroughbreds, one Friesian and six riders from Bits & Bytes Farm set out to enjoy the day at a friend’s farm in North Georgia.
Read about our wonderful ride . . .

Two of our Thoroughbreds had never been away from Bits & Bytes Farm since arriving from the track and their moms had never been on one of our outings either. It was our goal to expose Bubba (Lynn’s Vision) and Monarach’s Reign to trail riding away from the safety and quiet of our farm. We like to make the first trip away a short ride and quiet experience. These horses expected that they might be headed back to the track when we loaded them on the trailer in the early morning. Their fears were quickly erased when we arrived at our destination. It only took a few minutes of riding their OTTBs before we had big smiles on Melanie and Suellen’s faces too.

trail-ride_20100327_003All the horses were antsy to get off the trailer and see where they were. We tacked them up in the trailer and then led them down the ramp and mounted for our ride. Bubba was jigging – we call it a milkshake ride, and Monarch’s Reign was just happy to see green grass. When Suellen got his head up we were on our way.

Bubba and Melanie trotted on ahead. When horses are excited it is better to let the energy flow forward. If you try to contain it, it could explode in a buck or a rear. Bubba had no desire to run, he just needed to work off his fears of being at the track. We all followed along behind with the goal of finding some wet areas to cross to teach Monarch how to cross a creek.

trail-ride_20100327_009We found our first wet area at the bottom of the first hill. Monarch walked through the wet area without much thought. It was only when we got to a real ditch with water that he expressed that he was not a swimmer. Even though several horses went across to show him that he really did not have to swim, Monarch was not convinced and Suellen was not convincing enough to get him across. On to Plan B.

trail-ride_20100327_082We left the wet areas and headed to higher ground with the thought of giving the horses a fun ride down grass covered lanes and through the woods. As we got into the woods the ground had more wet areas but by then Monarch was following his buddies and did not even notice the water.

Time to implement Plan C – a rear attack on the watery ditch by approaching from the opposite side heading toward the trailers.trail-ride_20100327_062

Success! Monarch’s Reign followed the other horses across the same ditch he had refused an hour earlier. Next we did a 180 degree turn and went back over the ditch and another 180 back over the ditch one more time. Monarch was a star and so was Bubba! Of course Political Pull and Aly’s Alpha Boy went through the water without a second thought as it hardly compared to the flooded trails at last week’s hunter pace. Classic Casey was the tripod for the day and he did very well catching all the action. Louie our Friesian friend and his mom Kristie crossed all the wet areas without a problem which was a big surprise for everyone since Louie and Kristie moved from the deserts of Arizona to become boarders at Bits & Bytes Farm in the last two weeks!trail-ride_20100327_068

We finished our ride with the traditional Bits & Bytes Farm pot luck picnic. We all had smiles on our faces as we enjoyed the warm sunshine of the early Spring day. A perfect finish to a perfect ride. Thank you Julie for allowing us to enjoy your beautiful farm!

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