I know I say this all the time, but I can't get over what a good little mare Karma is. After jumping through all the DMV hoops I was determined to go some where. Originally, I planned on going to a park that is about 30 minutes from where I live. But I discovered that they were having a campout for the group that maintains all the horse trails in the park. I think they were still letting day riders in, but that just seemed like too much for a beginning adventure and I really want to set her up for success.
So I decided to head to another one (it's only about 20 minutes from the barn but 45-50 minutes from where I live). This turned out to be a fabulous decision. I didn't realize that the horse trails are only horses. Hikers have their own trails and I think bicyclists do too, but I don't think the horse trails even cross with the bicycle trails. So it was a great way to get her out without having to worry about many of the things you run into on the trails.
I gave her a snack as soon as I unloaded her and she dove right in and didn't even really worry about the new surroundings until she ran out of food. There was a bit of pawing and calling for other horses when I was over looking at the maps and trying to figure out the whole self registration for the pass thing. But overall she was quite good and really good for a 4 year old with about 6 months of consistent work and no buddy.
I decided to try the "technical" loop first, which was supposed to be about 4 miles and would run me into the 6 mile loop. The technical loop was not what I would call technical, but I might have a skewed view of what is technical. Either way it was a nice variety and did require her to pay attention to where her feet went in places. There were some ups and downs which is one of the reasons I wanted to do that loop.
Once we hit the intersection of the two loops I decided that she was feeling good and since we were just walking, the longer distance wouldn't over tax her. I saw more riders on that section of the trail, but there was plenty of places to pass and she was very well behaved. I even stopped and chatted with a couple of ladies at one point. They didn't know where they were and didn't have a map. I knew I was getting close to camp and the trails had been well marked so I wasn't worried about getting lost so I gave them my map.
She started to get a bit pokey on the next to last mile to camp, but she has an excellent sense of direction and got perky when she realized we were headed back towards the camp. I was very surprised that at every trail option, she would pull towards the one that headed back to camp. Good news is I shouldn't be able to lose the trailer if I am on her. The bad news is if I ever come off her I bet I am walking all the way back to the trailer 😂
She was a bit sweaty when we got back to the trailer and much to my dismay she wouldn't touch the water or alfalfa I offered her. She happily took treats and was trying to eat the weeds so I wasn't worried about her. Mostly annoyed that I hand pumped a bucket of water and she wouldn't even touch it. Once we got back to the barn she promptly drank and then wandered off to eat, so clearly not out of sorts.
Overall, I was really impressed with her. She was a bit nervous in the beginning but settled in well. She was quite skeptical of freshly cut logs and wasn't too sure about the tiny water crossing, but there were no big dramatics. I was very happy that she didn't ever try to pull towards other horses when we passed them going the opposite direction. I guess I have done enough with her by herself that she is ok walking away from horses.