Thursday, April 26, 2012


Hooray more trail adventures! This time, Pangea and I headed to the Mineral Wells State Trailway (or well, the Weatherford section, that is!). The two trailheads are connected by a 20 mile stretch, which we obviously did not travel the entire length of. Pangea, I must say, was NOT on her best behavior for this journey and I was not too happy about it.

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 hung the crap on let her cruise. When she broke into a bucking, plunging canter, I promptly turned her around again and made her trot back the other way. Interestingly, this was the point at which she decided to mysteriously be three-legged hopping lame, unable to do more than limp pathetically in the opposite direction, left hind leg completely unusable. I turned her back around, and trotted towards home again. Voila! Instantly sound, power-trotting her way back to the trailer. I turned her away from the trailer... dead hopping lame. Turned her towards the trailer... sound and powerhousing her way on. Ever wonder if they fake it? I'm not sure they really think like that but it was pretty interesting to see her being lame only when she was going in a direction she didn't want to go in. She has also on occasion done this immediately upon starting her work, and at first I would of course immediately stop... but shortly after figured out that a little bump in the ribs caused her to go forward and the lameness to immediately go away. Hmmmmmmmmm.

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.


  1. LOL Cinnamon Challenge.

    They absolutely fake it. Not always, of course, but if the horse is ONLY lame pointed away from home - and you can back it up on the longe at home - she's faking.

    I gotta say I agree with Pangaea - that is a slow-trot trail, not a walk trail! ;) Good luck with the ulcer. Lay off the NSAIDS. :(

  2. Haha, what a cheeky cow! It made me snort with laughter, but I imagine for you at the time it was not funny at all. Hope you're feeling better.. xxx

  3. I am sorry you are not feeling well but your story had me in stitches. Hopefully next time will be better - and Pangea decides not to lame herself!

  4. Poor "lame" pony. And poor you! That sucks about the stomach ulcers. I think I've mentioned before, get some DGL. That stuff WORKS.

  5. The Hanoverian I used to lease did that. At the beginning of a ride, he limped so hard you felt like you were on a carousel horse. This was when I first met him. When he discovered I wasn't even close to letting him get out of work, he was miraculously sound.

    Amber is an awesome trail horse, but she sometimes like to to the jigging, rush home. I do pretty much what you do, and she eventually figures it out. If we're walking on the road, I'm so mean though. I just keep making her march past the barn about 10 times.

  6. Hahaha, she's too smart and sassy sometimes! GORGEOUS PICTURES! So sorry to hear about your ulcer pain - hope you find a good solution soon. Only remedy I know of is Aloe juice. Oh wait - maybe that's for horses and not humans.

  7. Ugh, I'm sorry your ride wasn't the greatest. I'm with you, jigging is NO fun and not something I like to put up with either.
    When I was little and learning to ride, I used to go to my friend's house and ride her Shetland. Her shetland had figured out that, when she started breathing really hard, the rider would call it a day, so often times as soon as you got on she would start breathing hard, and then mysteriously stop once your feet hit the ground.
    Smarty pants.

  8. Do magic blue pop rocks work for people? Lol, might be worth a shot. ;-)

  9. I seriously have never heard of a horse faking it, that pretty ingenious.

    As for the ulcer...ouch :(

  10. There are a lot of horses who do seem to learn to fake injuries . . . never experienced it myself, but there are some pretty convincing stories lol. On the other hand sometimes they are hurting, but they are so eager to get home they can ignore it. When they are going away from home they don't ignore it. Hard to tell which is actually happening.

    Sorry about the ulcer. Sometimes I wonder if I have them, but apparently not from the way you describe it!! I am however considering switching to Tylonel for most of my pain relieving needs though because that does not sound pleasant to go through. I hope you're feeling better.