I had a couple of great rides on Nakai prior to to the Holiday, and Monday morning I had plans to let Ben’s nieces meet him. I was thinking some grooming and a couple glorified pony rides would work. I had commented multiple times that while he is extremely broke and bombproof, he is very sensitive, quick ride. He isn’t one of those dead school horses who plod along at 5 mph oblivious to what their rider does. In order for everything to go well, everyone needs to listen to me.
Nakai loves children (I think he views them as perfectly sized cookie dispensers) and politely carried two of the girls without a fuss. I let the eldest, an 18 year old, ride unassisted incorrectly thinking she had more riding experience under her belt than she did. The whole thing lasted less than 10 minutes – whether from fear or just wanting to show off, she refused to listen to me or use her reins. There I was, standing in the ring, repeatedly voicing “Sit back. Sit BACK. Reins. Reins. REINS”. It was the strangest thing, she wouldn’t pick up his reins and kept her hands on the pommel (normally beginners are quite opposite and too hands-y). Nakai was trying so hard to understand what she wanted. I was walking out toward them, intending to grab Nakai and settle them both when she bumped him into a trot, let him canter, lost her balance and took a nice spill onto the still semi-frozen ground in the ring.
I feel it was completely my fault – I should have collected Nakai from her and said ‘nope’ when I saw she was having a hard time keeping her heels down.
Fortunately (unfortunately?) it was implied that both Ben and his sister believed something like this would happen as she had previous issues with not listening to instruction. I feel badly that she fell, but it was not Nakai’s fault and I wasn’t going to discipline my gelding. A fall is always a humbling experience (especially in front of witnesses) and I know her ego took a good hit. I told Ben’s sister that while the younger girls are more than welcome to see him and take pony rides any time, the eldest would not be allowed more than a leading pony ride in order to keep both she and Nakai safe.
As if to reinforce the fact that he would not be adding ‘school horse’ to his resume any time soon, Nakai was absolutely on fire yesterday at Nockamixon. Originally Mechele and I intended to ride the home trails as Margot scheduled to drop Annie off for her winter vacation sometime during the day. Luck was with us, however, and we were able to madly dash around and haul the horses out for a quick ride.
Rose and Nakai haven’t been out together since Mustang, and I haven’t been able to do much in the way of working miles for various reasons (most of them weather related). They were so happy to be out! I only managed to take one picture as I had my hands full the entire ride.
Convinced he could do 12 miles in 10 minutes if I would just go along with it, Nakai challenged my core strength as he floated over the rocks and technical terrain. Rose was hysterical, trying to egg Nakai on and play games. Mechele and I positively bounced down the trail on our respective knuckleheads, laughing the entire way. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that Rose is early twenties and Nakai mid twenties.
The only frustrating moment came when I realized that my GPS tracker had stopped on its own! I have been using Endomundo which up until recently has been the most reliable tracker I’ve found. At a minimum, I need to know my miles, duration, average speed, and top speed. I started the app when I mounted but somehow after 4 seconds it stopped. I have already missed logging many workouts through November and December due to the cold sucking my phone battery dry and randomly shutting off. I need to find a better app, as I can’t have this happening on more serious conditioning rides.