Black Friday began the way it always should – at the barn. Mechele wanted to trailer Lina to Nockamixon. Jill and her daughter were going, and Maria and I tagged along.
Driving behind Mechele gave us the opportunity to watch Lina. Lina is… well, Lina. I’m not sure I have the adjectives or appropriate experience to correctly describe her, especially since I was not there when M first brought her home. She’s flight and fight, sweet and reserved, curious and cautious all at once. She seems to be a constant contradiction. She floats like a cloud yet manages to bounce bounce bounce everywhere, and she tries so incredibly hard for Mechele. M should be so proud of what she has accomplished with this mare – one which she was originally told she could never ride.
Lina circled, snorted, and called plaintively at every vehicle during red lights, stared intensely out the windows as the rig moved, and kicked out over every bump. When Mechele pulled her off the trailer she had gouged her hock and cut a bit of her heel bulb from kicking. It looked an awful sight – she is gray (the perfect color as M would say), but her coat only served to highlight the bloody contrast and make it appear worse than it was. Thankfully she was sound, so off we went.
Nakai and Beamer bored quickly in the first couple miles, both wondering “why all the walking?” I’m not sure how I became trail boss, but when riding with fickle creatures I tend to ride especially conservatively. For the first few miles I was hesitant to even trot – I did not want to provoke a spooky, snorty meltdown or make Lina’s expedition anything less than positive. Seeming to read my mind, Mechele pipes up from the back “we can troooot!!” Ah, sweet relief.
Maria and I swapped positions to let Beamer relax into trot, and we split up from the group so Nakai could rip up our favorite gallop hill. Practically dancing beneath me at this point, we hit 30 mph in a split second. It felt so good to let him move out! 8 miles later, Maria and I had a blast and Nakai finally settled. He thought it would be great fun to go twisting through the wooded trail, skidding through the leaves with Beamer hot on our tail. I did not enjoy the possibility of slipping on leaves, so we had a bit of discussion when I asked him to travel at a contained chaos. Who’s idea was it to get my horse super fit??
We missed connecting back with the group a few times, zigging when they zagged or taking the top trail when they took bottom. It could have been easily remedied with a phone call – but what fun is that?
The last long stretch back to the trailer allowed us the opportunity to trot side by side. Maria’s been encouraging Beamer to stretch and extend his trot, and she was able to get a few beautiful strides out of him. Nakai was back in work mode, pounding out the last remaining miles. As silly as he can be during warm ups, I do love his work ethic. He loves his job, and he loves to move out.
We did almost 12 miles, and M did over 10 with Lina! She was all smiles as we regrouped back at the trailers and said the mare was patient, thought through the more tricky footing, and brave on the trail.