First Trail Ride, Part One

It is too early to start talking Resolutions?
Along with a new exercise resolve, I’ve picked up a horsemanship resolution.
This time, it came from the strangest place.
Michael Pollan was talking about his new book, “Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation.” He mentioned a favorite chef IMG_1968who used three words for her best kitchen advice:

Practice. Patience. Presence.

Perfect for working with horses, too.
That’s what I channeled on the first trail ride with Jolene, the mule.
It’d been more than a month since our initial round pen rides. At our new place, we have no round pen or any other smallish, enclosed space yet. But I figured the hills and trees and eight inches of snow would slow her down if she upheld her tendency to bolt.
We saddled up; Jolene fussed immediately, hunching her back and giving me one of those funny mule sounds.

I mounted in a safe place, with Steve Peters and Comet nearby. Jolene trekked up a short hill immediately. I held on and kept slack in the reins (They were split reins on a rope halter. We have yet to introduce a bit.).
A downhill, open trail lay ahead. I tried gently bumping her with my left rein to turn and wait for Steve and Comet. She turned but kept trotting and bucked out her nervousness.

“I don’t think I’m ready for this,” I cried out, holding on to the night latch. “I don’t think Jolene is either.”

But we wanted to keep going. And, so we did.

Part Two, with excellent advice from horsewoman Kyla Pollard, next week!