It’s been three months since Raglan and I went down to Bridle Trails with part of the R2R team to ride in a flat class during one of their monthly schooling shows. I’ve put showing on hold until my new saddle comes in October, but when InstructorA invited me down to Bridle Trails just to putz around in the warmup ring I was excited for the opportunity to get Raglan out and about again.
InstructorA and I were planning on leaving the barn by noon or so, but thanks to a Saturday workshift and a parent that was late to pick up their kid after her tutoring session, I was already running behind when I got to the barn. That makes it no surprise that we went to load up Raglan and he did his best impression of the Black Stallion—KEEP YOUR FEET ON THE GROUND YOU COW! It took a very rowdy free lunge and a lot of patience, but InstructorA and I managed to get his butt in the trailer.
He unloaded from the trailer at Bridle Trails like a pro. I tied him up next to InstructorA’s horse, Kody, where he proceeded to be a little too friendly. They played a couple of rounds of bitey face and then Raglan latched onto Kody’s shoulders/neck in a forced grooming session. Kody looked so miffed. 😂
Once he was tacked up, I took him over to the round pen. Just like the last time we were at Bridle Trails, he was super boring on the lunge line—which always makes me suspicious.
We ditched the lunge line at the trailer and went to hand walk around the showgrounds. The moment we got around the rings Raglan tensed up. We had a few meltdowns (Raglan striking, rearing, leaping—his norm LOL), but eventually we made it into the warmup arena without crushing any dogs or children. We walked the perimeter a few times, then I took him over to the mounting block.
The first time I went to get on I could feel something nasty brewing the moment my butt touched the saddle. I tried to pull his nose to my knee to stop him from exploding, but he went with it and started spinning like a mad man so I bailed. My confidence was shaken, so we went back to hand walking.
A very kind woman offered to hold him for me while I got on, but Raglan didn’t feel ready to try again yet. Instead we parked it down at the end of the arena and took some videos of InstructorA. Raglan finally took a deep breath, stopped bashing his head into me, and stood quietly while I filmed.
We went to the mounting block outside of the arena, where things were quieter. My anxiety tried to talk me out of getting back on—what if you fall in the gravel? what if he takes off and hurts himself? we can do this another day, come back with your trainer, it’s fine to quit now—but I told those little voices to shut up. I swung my leg over, fished up my irons, and walked him in a few small circles. I dismounted and then got back on again. We stayed in small circles until he got bored and started locking up, then I took him into the warm up arena. We spent most of our time walking around, but we did a couple of laps at the trot, too. 😁
Afterwards, InstructorA and I went for a short walk on one of the trails! I’ve never taken Raglan on a trail ride before, but he was a very good boy. He followed quietly along behind Kody and didn’t get worried about anything we passed by. I think he’ll end up being a good trail horse.
Last time we were at Bridle Trails we had all day to settle in since our classes were late in the afternoon. Yesterday we had a much shorter time to acclimate to the show environment. Despite some challenges, Raglan met all the goals I set for him—getting on the trailer, riding in the warmup, going on a short trail ride—and I’m super proud of myself for recovering after a bad start. 💗
I’m going to keep an eye out for more opportunities to take Raglan off property!