My mom, Mindy, is relatively new to being a rider and owner of a horse. She always wanted a horse growing up, but was told she couldn't have one. Now as an adult, she has taken the opportunity to purchase her own horse. Her first horse ended up being a bad match which concluded with my mom in the hospital for two days. The horse (ironically named "Lady") bucked my mom off at the bottom of a hill on a short trail ride. My mom had tried to flex her into a circle after Lady started trotting down the hill, and Lady decided it would be better to just offload my mom. Lady is now with a more experienced family who adores her. That whole debacle convinced my mom that she wants a calmer, more steady horse rather than one with attitude. She also has been drooling over Norwegian Fjords for several years.
She now owns Tapper, a 6 year old Norwegian Fjord gelding. She boards him with Rocky, and they are friends in the same pasture. Mindy takes riding lessons from our barn owner/manager, and listens to my advice as well.
Her goal is to trail ride, and someday train Tapper to pull a cart. She has some fear issues due to the incident with Lady but has been much better about taking more regular lessons. Tapper is a sweetheart, and his biggest issue at this point is that he can be pretty clumsy. I think he's still growing into his large feet!
With all of that background, two days ago I went on a trail ride with my mom. Rocky has been doing super well (I still have to write about a trail ride I did almost a month ago now...it's coming...) so I figured he'd be a good, steady trail horse for me while I watched over my mom.
We started out and it was really hot that day, close to 80 degrees plus some humidity thrown in for fun. My mom said that she wanted to do the loop of the trail by the barn that we have already done before, and I was a bit disappointed. The day before my BO and I went for a trail ride to the neighbor's trails, which were beautiful and a nice change of pace for me.
I agreed to do the smaller loop, and we were most of the way through when I stopped to chat with my mom for a bit. I talked to her about her desire to go on day trip trail rides with Tapper, and how I want her to be confident doing trail rides at the barn before going on a ride in a new location. She acknowledged my concerns and told me that her plan is to ride Tapper as much as possible this summer, getting more miles under their feet.
I offered to take her to the neighbor's trails again, as Tapper was doing well that day and so was Rocky. She thought about it for a minute, and then decided to go for it. She said, "I need to go by what Tapper is showing me, and he's fine. I'm the one that's worried."
We got over to the neighbor's trails, and talked about how pretty they are with their wide, grassy riding lanes and tall trees. We rode down a gravel road to the back of the neighbor's property, then took a left past their burn pile. Here, I stopped to watch my mom's face as we turned the corner to a long, beautiful stretch of trail. It was grassy with a lot of pines on one side, and other deciduous trees on the other. Her eyes lit up and she laughed in delight when she saw it, exclaiming, "Wow! This is gorgeous!"
I felt happy that I could be there with her when she got to enjoy her longest trail ride to date, and that it could go so well. We even trotted together down that long, grassy lane, the dogs loping along beside us with grins on their faces.