After the show earlier this month, I decided that Gem needed a break from all this hard work. It didn’t come to fruition until this past weekend when my mom agreed to watch Wyatt so Dusty and I could have a date. It was the first date we had been on since last October (8 months!) and long over due.
I watched the weather closely. The unusually cool and wet spring has continued into an unusually cool and wet summer and it poured all evening Saturday. Sunday was clear though, so we loaded the Dynamic Duo up and hit the trails for the first time together in over 2 years!
It was amazing. Both horses were relaxed, happy and forward without being pushy at all. Pete lead the entire way as per our usual: Gem hates to lead and Pete hates to follow so it works out perfectly. Pete got tired around mile 5, but I was really proud of the old man. At 26 and with his mostly retired state, he tackled those hills and technical trails like a pro.
Here is a photo dump from the ride. Be prepared to see Pete’s butt a lot!
At the end we returned home with two happy and relaxed horses and riders. It was one of the best trail rides we have had and it really made me miss the days when we went out together all the time. Dusty is my favorite trail partner.
I got to thinking on the way home. Part of me thinks the best thing for Gem would be to sell her or lease her out to an active endurance home. A place where she would get to be out on trail all the time and competing like she loves. I just can’t dedicate the time right now. It is too much to ask of the family to be gone for 6-8 hours every weekend to condition in addition to the actual race time. If she were leased out to an endurance home, I could look at leasing a horse for eventing.
But I’m dedicated to Gem. She is 19 and has a forever home with me for better or worse. She isn’t miserable and at her age and with her personality I wouldn’t trust her with very many people. I would never forgive myself if I leased her out and that person lamed her and that is a very real possibility in this sport if someone rode her too hard or too fast. I think getting her out when able and giving her these mental breaks will serve to keep us both sane and happy and she does really love the jumping we are now doing. A better mix should help even out our relationship once again.