She started off with her usual "YOU'RE ON LET'S GO NOW" marching walk that is often fast enough to fall apart into a disorganized jigging prance. Jigging isn't high on my list of fun ways to spend a trail ride, so we spent quite a while arguing about what the proper speed for a trail ride actually is. At some point, we stumbled upon a beautiful meadow, and I let her trot around for awhile in order to try and vent a little steam. Mare, can't you just SLOW down for one second? You're shaking up my already very sore stomach ulcer!
The real issue on the trail began when I decided to turn back around, about an hour into it. My ulcer was really, really, really bothering me - I actually didn't know that I had an ulcer until that day, when I took some Ibuprofen for a headache and then wanted to die from pain for the rest of the afternoon. No amount of antacids or aloe juice could help me, or even remotely touch it. I even took a spoonful of slippery elm in a last ditch, extremely desperate effort (ugh, talk about the Cinnamon Challenge... don't ever do that), but to no avail. I was utterly miserable, and when Pangea turned for home, she shifted her now relatively quiet walk into a frantic, seasickness-inducing powerwalk that shook my stomach all over the place and literally made me want to rip my own esophagus out. Every time she broke into a jig, I turned her around and trotted back in the opposite direction, then halted and waited for awhile until we could quietly turn back around and walk on. She absolutely did not get the hint, and after about 20 repetitions of this, I finally managed to get something resembling a normal-ish speed walk. It wasn't going to last long, so I gave in and rewarded her momentary good behavior with a stretch of trot. Holy lord, she could have outpaced a racing Standardbred with the trot that she picked up. I just got up out of the saddle and
Maybe they're smarter than we give them credit for. In theory, if a horse realizes that by doing something they get to stop working, then who is to say that they won't continue to do it long after the problem ceases? A horse whose rider gets off right away after they buck is going to continue to buck every time anyone gets on, because then they get out of work, right? Who knows.
Either way, by the end of the trail ride she has considerably quieted, but had worked herself into quite a sweat. I was about to die from ulcer pain, so I think we both went home a little disappointed at the end of it all. Oh well, the next trail adventure hopefully will be a little less frantic.