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#TBT: My Family Tried a Trail Ride

Let me start off by saying my family is the best. I’m so fortunate to have had two parents that have always emotionally supported my riding and love of horses. However, that being said, neither of them are horse people themselves. My dad can recognize my horse out in a field and pick up his hooves, which I still find impressive. My mom is really great at holding Hershey for the farrier and keeping him from slobbering on her clothes, and if you knew my horse you would know this is equally impressive. The more recent addition to my family, the boyfriend, is a total horse-muggle. He knows enough to know both ends can be dangerous and that most horses like carrots, which really are the important parts anyways.

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A few years back with this motley crew in tow, I arranged for us to take a trail ride while on a family vacation. The website for the service wasn’t pretty, but the reviews were amazing and I figured ‘what’s the worst that could happen?’. Let’s flash forward to arriving for said trail ride in a semi-abandoned field where a string of horses was tied up. That’s when all sorts of gruesome images started appearing in my head of the worst things that could happen. I’ll spare you the gory details, but I was already planning on being thankful if we all came out on the other side alive and un-kidnapped. However, the trail guide in charge of the operation was courteous, friendly, knowledgeable, and, as an added perk, he seemed very invested in finding the right horse for all four of our levels of experience and confidence.

Once mounted up, we started out on no discernable trail walking up a hill. At the top he had us check our girths and I gave him brownie points. We then started playing Simon Says (touch your nose, look at the person behind you, stop your horse, etc.) which seemed like a nice way to break up the nose-to-tail dullness some trail rides stick to, and I breathed a sigh of mixed relief and disappointment. Then the game took a turn. Our trail guide Simon Says’ed us to stand up in our stirrups, and then Simon Says’ed us to grab mane. Something in my brain started to sound an alarm, but it was too late. He spurred his horse into a flat gallop, and I nearly went over the tail of mine as the previously dead-quiet horse below me followed suit- good thing I’m awesome at Simon Says. Once I was sure I hadn’t fallen off I looked back in a panic, what happened to my poor, unaware, unconditioned family!? Boyfriend’s horse was keeping up at a comfortable clip and he had the biggest grin I had ever seen, so I took a breath, knowing that one was safe at least. Farther back, mom and dad’s horses were each slowly loping along like the best western pleasure horses that money could buy and they waved to me cheerily. I laughed, this is why the reviews were amazing!

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The entire ride was a blast, and other than the initial take-off I couldn’t have felt safer. More importantly, my family couldn’t stop smiling. We walked a lot through narrow trails, up steep hills, against scary cliffs, and then, trotted some where it was flatter, and had a few really great gallops (or lopes for my parents) through fields and wooded areas. The scenery was amazing, the horses were perfect, and I couldn’t believe our luck with the whole experience. I look back on my terrible logic in scheduling that kind of trail ride for my non-equestrian family and shake my head at my younger self. She sure had a lot of confidence that it would all work out, but, in the end she was right and it did. My family now requests trail rides on every vacation we take, and though none compare to that first one, it’s been nothing short of wonderful to share some saddle time with the people I love most. This is always my favorite #TBT memory to share with friends, and a good reminder that non-horse people can still be horse-people for a day, if given the chance. Next time your family needs a little adventure, take them on a trail ride (but read the reviews first).

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One comment on “#TBT: My Family Tried a Trail Ride
  1. Mira Leggett says:

    What a lovely story! Glad it all turned out well. Kudos to your Trail Boss!

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