Millie’s First Trail Ride

We did it.

A good friend, Kathy, contacted me on Facebook last week and invited me to stay with her at a local state park, Potato Creek, for the weekend. I hemmed and hawed and finally realized that I was putting off something that I really wanted to do, so I hustled through some writing that I needed to have done, and loaded up the truck and trailer. All I needed to do was decide who to take. It’s been horribly hot, so horses are not in shape for an all weekend trail ride. My solution was to take two horses, but which two?

Millie has been begging me for attention, and since I had already ponied her once on trails at York Hills, I decided to take her and Baby on the camping trip.

Kathy’s horse Dixie, Millie, and Baby at the hitching post. Photo by Mindy Lightner

We arrived at camp late Friday night, and quickly set up and took care of the horses. I wasn’t sure how Millie would feel about being tied to a post all night, but clearly I shouldn’t have worried; she was laying down before it was even dark. The ground was a bit wet from the rain, but nice and sandy, so the horses seemed perfectly happy to curl up and nap. No problems overnight, and the next morning Kathy and I rode while I ponied Millie. That afternoon, I had a nice surprise– my new Gary Lane Lady Lite saddle fits Millie perfectly! She’s so narrow still that I had figured I would be using my narrow English saddle, but nope– it really worked!

So saddle in place, bridle on, and … phew… I was nervous. Not a good way to get on a horse, especially a horse with mounting issues. I breathed, went through the whole confidence building, heart rate slowing process before I led her to the mounting block. One foot in the stirrup and she swung away from me. By then I was telling myself constantly, ~calm calm calm~ in a silent mantra. I talked softly and brought her up to the mounting block again, and the second time she stood. I mounted quickly, and she took about three steps and then stopped and dropped her head. I swear she was showing off.

“Look Mom, I remember that we are going to stay quiet and calm.”

The entire trail ride on Millie was magical. She led, she followed, and she watched the world around her with what I can only assume was complete happiness. Her ears stayed up, and her only mistake (and proof that she isn’t actually a trail broke horse) was when she got too fast going down a hill with some tree roots littered all over. That Looney Tunes skit where Daffy Duck sings, “And we Trip and Trip and trip…” That was us.

Fortunately, we made it to the bottom upright with no damage. I apologized for not catching her and preventing the surge of speed, and on we went, still calm and happy. Kathy was nice enough to snap a couple of pictures for me, so for the first time, here is Millie being ridden.

Millie on her first trail ride. Photo by Kathy Minich


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