Larely, while the Goblin Child has been happily riding around ON her horse, she has been saying how nice it would be to go on a trailride. I point out that she is in fact currently trailriding.
That doesn’t count of course. She wants real trails, beautiful and scenic and somewhere she has never been before.
We have two horses. Three of us. There are trails nearby. But getting there and figuring out the logistics is daunting.
Finally it occurred to me that we could manage that. Fort Robinson isn’t that far away. They offer trail rides. One of which goes up into the buttes. She could have her trail ride and I could get a bit of revenge. Don’t like riding your horse here at home? Here, how do you like these trails 😈 as we climb the steep terrifying buttes.
It rained all night long and we woke up to a cool damp morning. I was worried they wouldn’t be giving rides.
Telling the kids we had to get some shopping done I drug them out of the house. We drove through the town with the stores and out the other side. I thought they might be engrossed in their tablets and not notice where we were going. Instead they were happily looking out windows. And still never questioned that we had passed the store I had said we were going to.
Pulling up to the fort we were supprised to see a neighbor of ours get out and beat us to the ticket line. She was signing up for the next available traileride for her kids. We signed up for that one too. Plus a jeep ride to fill the time between.
The goblin Child had texted one of her friends about something completely unrelated. It was a huge surprise when the friend texted back that she was at the fort, and they, she and her family, were going to be taking the same trail ride we were!
Wow, what a small world.
We toured one of the museums. Took our jeep ride. It was very pleasantly cool in the open top jeep as we wound up the buttes. Lunch in the restaurant, buffalo for everyone! Then it was time for our ride.
The trail horses were the usual tired, bored with life, and sick of people. I got a big raw boned sorrel who came with the warning to watch him and not let him bite the horse in front. My son got a cute little bay roan, rabacino? who walked so nicely right behind. My daughter got a long lanky grey who fell in line next to her friend. They were clear in the back of the line.
We started out across the gentle rolling hills. I fell into conversation with the girl leading the ride. She was a horse girl, of course! who also loved her milk cows. We had a lot to talk about. I remembered to look back and check on the children once in awhile. Every time I did my horse took the opportunity to reach out and bite the lead horse. Then we started climbing. The trail went straight up for quite a ways. The horses panted and climbed dutifully upwards. We stopped occasionally to let them rest.
The trail was mostly wide and not terrifying. Not even to me who is terrified of heights when horseback. A couple of places got narrow on steep side hills but we all survived. It made me think how nice it was not to be riding out flabby out of shape horses. They would never have made the climb. At the very top of the butte we stopped to admire the amazing view, and let the horses breath a bit. I took the chance to get my phone out and get the few pictures I did get. My horse took the opportunity to bite the horse in front of him.
Then it was time to start down.
At first the trail was gentle, winding down along the sides of the hills. Then it took a turn straight down. Holding my breath and tensing I let my horse know how terrified I was. He stumbled a little. I forced myself to breath, deep and regular. Then made muscles relax, as much as I could. I thought about how embarrassing it would be to insist on getting off and walking. On a guided traileride. On a horse who had packed all sorts of non horse riding tourists in sandals and shorts down this same hill. That was enough to make me stay on. Each slip on a loose rock made me gasp and cling tighter to the saddle horn. Each time we brushed against a sharp yucca I was sure it would be the last straw that made him take off bucking down the hill.
Not surprisingly, we made it to the bottom without incident.
Back on the gentle rolling hills I was able to breath again. To check back on the children riding behind me. My horse too the chance to bite the horse in front of him.
We all survived the ride. My son was exhausted. All that long slow was a lot more work than zipping around on his little mare in the yard. My daughter had a great time coming up with stories with her friend. They had decided on the worst case scenario for the ride. Her story goes like this:
Your riding along on your horse and the horse gets bit by a rattle snake. That makes the horse buck. You fall off the horse, over the steep cliff we were riding along. You get impaled on a tree on the way down. A mountain lion comes along and eats your legs as you hang there. Then you catch on fire!
Luckily, none of those things happened. But think how fun if they had.
She enjoyed the ride greatly, but doesn’t think it would be worth it to work on steering her own horse so they could go do it together. It was more fun on a horse she could just sit on.