After a couple of weeks of riding bareback on relatively flat ground, and a couple of successful trips around the Ski Road loop, I felt ready to tackle a small hill. Ski Road has a long, slow hill which had given me some confidence that I could handle a small, slightly steeper hill.
That day had been spa day for the horses, so Mom and I spent a good deal of time washing and grooming. The horses were looking good, so sleek and shiny and purty. After the horses got their spa day, I decided I wanted to go for a short ride and maybe tackle a little more challenging hill than the hill on the Ski Road loop.
For some reason, Mom decided not to ride, but to walk while I rode. I hopped up on Meeker and away we went looking for a short trail. I knew that I was not ready to tackle the switchback to the trails in the forest, so we wondered around town. Finally, Mom lead us to a trail that fit the bill. It was a short loop with a short downhill and uphill section.
I had about ten whole miles on Meeker bareback, I was ready. I mean, I had been able to re-learn to relax and stay balanced. I'd even done the Ski Road loop a couple of times with its hill. How daunting could a short - and I mean thirty feet max - uphill climb be?
We made it down the hill without any incidents, stepped across a small creek and headed up the hill. Mom was walking behind us. Meeker decided that it wasn't nearly as much fun to walk up the hill as it would be to lunge up the hill. After the first lunging step, I realized that maybe it wasn't the best idea to get on her when she looked so sleek, shiny and purty. By the time I grabbed a handful of mane, Meeker was almost out from under me and I was afraid I was going to end up sliding off of her back and landing on my mom. Two more lunging strides and we crested the hill.
Meeks was kind enough to stand still while I readjusted myself and my mom was kind enough not to drop to the ground laughing (though she did laugh - a lot).
I learned two important lessons that day: 1) maybe a sleek and shiny and purty horse isn't all its cracked up to be and 2) the mane is my friend.