Alternate title: I ride two mustangs and a pony
If you’re a non-local horse blogger coming to the Bay Area, expect to meet up with a whole bunch of people when you get here. Possibly all at once. Possibly also while on not much sleep and still jetlagged. Sorry, Jen!
Cobjockey was flying into town, so Olivia set up a trail ride and picnic and wine tasting for whoever wanted to go. Which, it turned out? Was everyone. Not everyone could make it, but there were still eight of us. This involved Olivia’s three horses, borrowing three horses at her barn, and Kate trailering in two ponies.
I had already met Nilla (once at Fireworks, before I knew about the blog – that may or may not have resulted in an awkward comment a few weeks later when I stumbled on the blog and went “oh hey I remember you” – and once at Quicksilver in 2015) and Eugene (when he was clearly in better shape than my pony at QS ’16), but Levi was a new face. And a very adorable one. I’m still a sucker for palominos.
Eventually everyone arrived, we got all the horses tacked up with appropriately sized tack, and we all sorted out our steeds for the trail rides. Olivia already ran down the list, so let me just say: Eugene is still in better shape than my pony. Holy cow. He’s also definitely gaited and that was fun to ride occasionally, but OMG the uphill power makes me super jealous and inspired to work more hills with Confetti!
My stirrups were super long and functioned mainly as footrests/aids to get on the horse. That said, Eugene is super trustworthy and I spent the whole ride pretending I was riding bareback. I was completely unbothered. Giant cliff on one side? Meh, he does these all the time and so do I. I was riding on a loose rein with no pressure on the stirrups and taking photos with one hand. It’s probably the fastest I’ve ever gotten over my “new horse, new saddle” anxieties. Gold stars all around. Would totally do again.
We moseyed our way up to the winery, tied the horses.. to trees! .. and half the group wandered on in for a wine tasting. I’m not usually one for wine, but why not? I found one I liked, and two that were sort of “meh,” which for me is still pretty good. Then: food. Olivia was not kidding when she said she had lots of food. We also all failed spectacularly at getting photos of food or thinking to take a group photo at the picnic table. Much food! Much chatting! Much more food! Much amazing setup by Olivia!
Eventually we wandered our way back down the hill on the
ponies horses. I may or may not have needed someone to hold Eugene and the other stirrup to help me get back on. Mounting confidence: needs work. Still not used to using stirrups to get on very often.
Back at the barn, we pulled tack from most horses, then took Kate’s ponies, Levi, and Nilla back up to the arena for more pony playtime.
I hopped on Levi. He’s like a giant couch, and has the most comfortable trot, and sometimes questionable steering, but he’s green and has a great trot so that was totally fine! Could trot that horse forever, although he might get tired eventually. Also, he’s really tall. This may be a recurring theme.
Finally I hopped on Ginger, Kate’s little pony. Stirrups not needed to mount. Now this felt like home! Cantered a few laps, even cantered a jump, felt super accomplished with myself and sat in the center watching everyone else play with Levi and Nilla. Yessss, pony-size.
It was an excellent day. Three horses, no migraine, and I contemplated as I left whether I wanted to get on ‘Fetti in the moonlight at home.