Despite the lingering summer heat, we have been celebrating the disappearance of the deerflies by getting out of the arenas and off the farm. Austin, Koda and Toby are all in a similar place in their training, and now that we have spent some time getting to know them as riding horses it’s time to enjoy the season and hit the trails!
We are lucky to live close to Camden Hills State Park, and we ride in from the Lincolnville side which is a bit quieter with trails for miles. As a second option we often head over to the local fairgrounds, which gives horses the chance to see new things (buildings, vehicles, etc) and offers us the chance to see how they do in wide open spaces. Typically we also try to make it up to Acadia National Park at some point in the fall, because if a horse can handle walkers, bikers, AND the carriages which use those trails, then we know they can handle just about anything.
However, we have to admit that our favorite fieldtrip is always to the Flying M Ranch in Searsport, where Lige Moore guides us in introducing our horses to cows and the art of moving them around.
Thus far Austin, Koda and Toby have proven themselves to be solid citizens on their outings, and we look forward to a few more trips to make sure that their nonchalance was not just beginner’s luck! We have also begun easing them into hacking out solo around the farm and on our trails. Once they can lead confidently when out with other horses, we will arrange to meet up with a hacking buddy a little ways out on the trail, or split up and take different ways home. With horses like these who were not particularly flighty or spooky to start with, we try to take the extra time so that they can become as reliable as possible when hacking out.
After all, with those gorgeous fall days just around the corner, who wants to stay in any arena? Happy trails to all!