No matter how great your Sunday was (and if the temps were like ours, it was probably great), it still wasn't better than mine. My greenie was a rockstar.
Today, we loaded up with Pam and Baaz and headed to my friend Jim's house. He backs up to the forest, so we planned to do a steady walk ride and help Java learn how to adult with some experienced endurance horses. Both Baaz and Rusty, Jim's horse, are Top Ten horses with lots of mileage, and we'd already ridden with Baaz. They got along well.
Java came galloping out of the field to meet me and got on the trailer completely relaxed. He unloaded at Jim's and immediately started making friends and playing bite the face with his geldings, Rusty, Epic, and Cezanne. Completely casual, totally relaxed, and he stood perfectly for saddling. That's two days of good behavior, both following a saddle fitting.
Mounting was slightly sticky, since Eileen had arrived with her mare, Spring, and all the boys were a little distracted. Jim held him briefly, and I scrambled up. Once we were moving, though, he was fantastic. We walked out together, crossed the road, and went past the gun range. He barely flinched, and walked out pretty bravely under the power lines and into the woods. Rusty and he were the fast walkers, and they took the lead past the baby car seat dumped in the trees.
I forget that he hasn't seen anything like what we have in the forests of south Jersey, so the deep tire track puddles were alarming. He followed Rusty in, but looked down and realized the dirt was a different color and got worried. Jim came back for us, though, and all was well.
We passed walkers, a lady on a bike, some kids in an ATV, and our very first dirtbikes. The bikers were fantastic, all stopping, cutting the motors, and talking to the horses, so Java was looky but not scared. Later, some went by a parallel trail at speed, and he watched them go by like he was watching the ducks at the park.
Jim took us on the five mile loop, which was scheduled to take about two hours. Java was fantastic about his pace, walking out and swinging over his back. He went on a loose rein nearly the entire time. Towards the end of the ride, Rusty and Baaz had had enough of being slow. Rusty was a little more worked up, so Jim was playing games with him, weaving trees and backing over and around logs to keep him busy. He was getting amped, and I expected Java to feed on it.
But he didn't. Not a single bit. And when we were done, he yawned his face off and happily went to munching hay in a paddock while we waited to go home.
Every day, I love this sucker more. Now, if only he'd stop pinning his ears at me. Day by day, I guess.