I do a lot of trail riding. Both of my horses, the aforementioned Wally and my mare, Lexi, are ex-show horses now enjoying second careers as trail mounts. They each have their specialties when it comes to the trails. Wally is a happy wanderer in the wide open spaces and wonderful in the water. He'll march through mud puddles, step through gutter water and slosh across the river. He's kind of like a Humvee in horse clothing. But Lexi? She's quite happy to cruise up and down the trails in our neighborhood. I swear she looks at landscape projects in the newer homes and enjoys watching kids play in the front yards. She's a city girl at heart, I guess. But cross water? Not without some major convincing on my part. Lexi could have the first known case of psychological hydrophobia in horses. She's been this way since I bought her. In fact, when I did my pre-purchase test ride I tried to ride her across a swath of boggy ground and realized she preferred to avoid it at all costs. Fortunately, it's getting better. Now she pauses only for a few moments on the banks of whatever wet spot we've encountered. She always seems to be contemplating if there's a bridge nearby or an alternate route around the wetness. Ultimately, she goes forward. And of course, I reward her profusely. But the Great Water Crossing Debate will resume once again the next time we come to a wet spot in the trail. Which, of course, means I can't wait for the rainy season!
Tomorrow I'm joining my sister for a trail ride. We're going to the local nature park, where the undeveloped Santa Ana River runs through a setting of trees and scrub brush. At several points in the trail, we'll have to ask our horses to cross the river. Hmmmm.... Which horse do you think I'll take to the river?