The valley where they will live once they figure out how to drink from the automatic waterers.
Yesterday the barn owner's daughter offered to show me some of the trails. I saddled Jasper up in the western saddle as he danced around. I got on and he bucked. I looked up the hill and her horse was trotting down full speed to break into a canter at the bottom and went flying past us. She finally got her to circle right before crashing into a bunch of farm equipment. We decided to go on a trail that did not require us to get off and open any gates at that point. As we headed out she asked if my horse cantered. Um, well, yeah- he DOES canter...? Then she told me that her horse has a bad habit of galloping up hills. As she was just riding with a halter I believed her. Oh boy.
The trails are gorgeous. You kind of ride down a trail and into a big field, then onto another trail to another field, repeat. I was completely lost after the 3rd field. I would have loved to take some pictures, but I no longer have access to the ranch camera and it's way too hard to use my phone camera and be in charge of keeping Jasper on the trail at the same time.
We were following them down a trail and I swear in an instant with no warning they disappeared. When she said gallop she meant it- all out flying up the hill. Her little compact Arab mare bolted away gathering speed with each leap. I had to make a lightning quick decision- try to hold him back and fight him all the way up or just let him go. I decided to let him go. It was the fastest I've ever gone with him and I was making deals with God that he wouldn't buck. I could tell when there was a curve or turn on the trail when the mare would disappear from in front of us and I would try to half halt to warn Jasper to gather himself a little. I could tell he was surprised he was allowed to be going this fast and seemed a little unsure of himself, probably the first time he had ever carried someone up a hill at speed!
We survived and decided to go ahead and open the gates to the creek trail. Neither horse wanted anything to do with the water, so she GOT OFF HER HORSE AND LED HER THROUGH. I like this kid. Jasper did NOT want to be left behind and he sidepassed down the bank until he kind of fell in. On the way back, after a lot of encouragement and a lot of time, he went first.
Both horses were lathered in sweat. Jasper's was mostly from being nervous. He did dolphin kicks and pawed while tied to the post outside the tack room while I was unsaddling. He didn't want cookies. He and Alexandre have to live in a pen by the house until they figure out how to press the metal plate down with their noses in the waterer to make the water come out. Alexandre is in heaven with the all you can eat hay, and Jasper is glued to his side but could care less about hay or anything else that would actually put weight on. He's already lost weight and is starting to look sucked up again.
Heading out today to put antibiotics in Al's eye and maybe an easy ride around in the arena on Jasper...