Hi Jo, I had to email you and tell you about Hayley and my great adventure today!
I went to the barn this afternoon to ride and there were a bunch of people and kids running around, but Hayley was cool as a cucumber. Turns out they were all going on a trail ride. Everyone thought Hayley was adorable and wanted us to join them. I wasn't sure if I was a good idea, after all, walking around an arena is much different than walking around the Gettysburg countryside. But they quickly convinced me such the weather was beautiful and we would only be walking.
So Hayley and I decided to go and while everyone was in the best western gear, we looked like we were going foxhunting! There were about 10 horses on the ride for an hour and a half tour through the trails. We were second in line, behind a little paint who had obviously done this before. Within the first moments a horse behind us acted up. We were walking by a big pasture and the horses in the pasture started galloping. As all the experienced trail horses got jittery, Hayley remained cool, calmed, and collected, not at all phased by the other horses' shenanigans.
A while later, the girl in front of us asked if Hayley liked the water. "Well I don't know" I said, "he likes to drink it." Following that we arrived at a sizeable creek that had to be crossed in order to continue the trail. I knew for sure I had a serious problem. No way this racehorse would walk right into the knee deep water!!
But Hayley proved me wrong once again, taking one look at the creek, he swiftly waded in and had a blast! He walked around in the water and he put his nose it in (but believed it too unsanitary for drinking). I thought perhaps he was in fact a quarter horse, not a thoroughbred like you told me since his temperament was more level headed than the actual trail horses! We continued walking around gorgeous fields and Hayley soaked up all the sights, sounds, and sun.
On the return voyage, somehow we had become first in line, leaders for the entire group. At that point I called Hayley "General Hayley", an appropriate name for a horse in Gettysburg, espe cially one who so willingly lead the troops. It's easy for a horse not to spook when a horse is in front of him, but when he leads the way, he needs to be brave. As the people in the back grumbled about their unruly horses, I couldn't help but chuckle that they fact that the thoroughbred was the best of them all!
When we came to the creek for the second time, Hayley didn't have a horse in front of him to coax him in, but he tip toed through the mud into the creek without asking any questions. We safely lead the group back to the farm and no doubt Halyey earned his rank as "General" and trail master.
Today was a wonderful experience for Hayley and certainly should help his adoptability, since he is comfortable on trails and with large groups of horses.
Thank you so much!
Catherine and "General" Hay Hay