Saturday, August 23, 2008

Happy Trails

Trainer Tracey, Kim, Genevieve and I ventured south to Willamette Mission State Park for a trail ride yesterday (State Parks generic photo to right). This was Phantom's first major trail ride since we partnered up. We've taken a few short trips in the neighborhood but that's about all. And it was his first trailer ride since we arrived at Canby Equestrian Center (in about 4-5 years).

Phantom was a very good boy! Took a little coaxing to get him into the trailer going and coming, but the promise of a treat seemed to do the trick. Once at the park -- which, by the way, has wonderful accommodations for equestrian types -- Phantom unloaded well, waited patiently to be tacked up, and set out looky but willing.

Guinness turned out to be the star of the day. Lefty demonstrated an immediate distrust of all signs, logs, and anything else that might suddenly come to life and attack. So Guinness stepped in to serve as our fearless leader. Phantom was content as long as he was with the herd, and Zorro ambled along at the rear. Lefty provided the most entertainment of the day, NOT to Tracey's riding pleasure. However, by mid-trip he was getting a little too tired for shenanigans. Phantom started out on ALERT, but he settled down and enjoyed the change of scenery. Zorro got tired of bringing up the rear and on the return swing he started a little ex-racehorse jig.

The weather was perfect -- low 80s. Much of the trail was in forest habitat. The trail makes a couple of swings by the Willamette River with access to the water at one spot for a quick sip. Our arena horses weren't quite sure what the huge water hazard was all about. We encountered a couple of "killer" squirrels and one "attack" bunny. The "Alfred Hitchcock" osprey caused a bit of concern. But we weathered all the hazards, had an enjoyable two-hour break from arena work, and safe drives to and from the park.

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