They had a planned burn up right by our usual 6-8 mile loop. I desperately needed a hilly ride with enough work to see how well Fetti’s breathing was improving. However, it seemed like a really dumb idea to go into a super smoky area and assess breathing.
We went out with her sister and rerouted to the nearby park. 20-30 minute walk on local roads to get to the trailhead. I’ve taken Fetti out there alone once before, last spring; it’s a lot of hill and she deemed it not especially trottable at the time. In fact, she tried to tell me she was alone and dying. Her sister has never been out there. The park is not especially well marked and my usual trail partner and I have gotten completely and utterly lost here once, to the point of needing some help to find our way out. Nothing could possibly go wrong!
Ponies were well behaved. I remembered the trail I wanted and made the turns that I needed. We trotted the flats, and walked up all the hills because.. she’s still not 100%. Not total freight train, but not 100%. Also, I suspect that having four days off work prior did not do great things for her arthritic hocks and she may have been a little sore. Decision made: no competition for us in July, and probably not this year. I will keep conditioning the heck out of her because I think we both need it, but we will not be going until I am happy with her breathing on hills.
Then there was a bridge. Recall that I am on the experienced horse. Also recall that my experienced horse throws hissy fits occasionally about Things, and insists on Not Doing Them. I have no photos, because I was too busy going sideways and backwards and squishing bushes and running into trees and smacking her and insistently kicking and waiting her out and dangit, horse, just go across the bridge, this is NOT THAT HARD. And she just. could. not.
Forty minutes later her poor tolerant sister was finally starting to lose her patience. I bailed, and tried to point Fetti over the bridge in front of me. Nooope. She thought about running me over and going sideways.
I said (more) unkind words. I walked across the bridge in front of the horse and pulled on the reins, and the blasted horse looked at me. You want me to cross? I don’t like you very much right now. I grumbled, glared, may have waved things in her general direction, and my dainty princess deigned to cross the bridge less than a foot over the water. No guardrails, no rotting planks, no water over the bridge.
She did redeem herself slightly on the way home. She thought about refusing when she was in front, and I was just not going to have another battle about it, so we sent her sister up; sister-pony said “eek!” and Fetti decided she wanted to go home. With zero urging, she asked to go forward and marched her way bravely across the bridge.
I think she was still convinced there were trolls. She was definitely ready to not speak to me for the rest of the day. The feeling was mutual. I love my pony, but oi! Some days..