When my mom visited me in late March, we had oodles of fun riding together. We rode together a ton in my childhood, including foxhunting together, but we’ve not done it for years.

Mom rode Lila (the large dark brown horse), and I rode Elsie (the chestnut pony). (Click to enlarge.)

My mother is 5’8″, yet Lila takes up her whole leg and a bit more. (She’s very wide!) On Elsie, I feel like my feet might scrape the ground at any moment.

I’d not ridden Elsie before, except in preparation for Mom’s visit. Alas, Elsie is very agitated in the ring, so much so that it’s an accomplishment just to have her walk quietly, without jigging or tossing her head. She’s not being naughty: she’s just anxious, perhaps used to being galloped around. She’s improved greatly with every ride, but I have lots of work ahead of me with her.

When riding with my mother, I was delighted to discover that Elsie is great on the trails. She’s reasonably quiet, and she’s perfectly willing to go almost anywhere, without any of Lila’s hesitancy or fussing. She’s a bit leery of water, but that just needs a bit of practice.

As a result, I’ve been pretty regularly riding one horse and ponying the other on the trails. (“Ponying” means that I’m leading the horse that I’m not riding by the halter.) It’s slightly tricky business, but it’s excellent practice for the two horses to be out together, feeling more secure and comfortable, while we explore the trails.

Oh, and did I mention that I’m now working with a trainer? It’s high time… and I’m seeing some good results in Lila already!

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