Today Craig and I attended the 24th annual Rattlesnake Ridge Riders Chili Feed ride at Horn Rapids park in Benton City, Wa. It is a big trail ride put on by the backcountry horsemen that is open to everybody, and there is usually anywhere from 200 up to 400 riders that turn out. The weather was really wonderful today! Lots of great sunshine, and the wind was surprisingly calm for the Tri-Cities area.
Going to a few trail rides early in the year is a great way to get young green horses used to new things before venturing onto endurance races. For the last three years I've done the long ride that is around 2 hours in length, and the backcountry horsemen feed everybody a big bowl of chili when they get back into camp. This year I managed to sweet talk Craig into going with me on his trusty old steed (Dee, Octopelle's mother). Everything went perfectly for us today.
Octopelle got to experience lots of new scarey things for the first time today: other peoples horses following too closely behind us - right up our butts, gaited horses doing fast running walks right beside of us with sleigh bells jingling away, people galloping beside of us at high rates of speed, loud gunshots from the shooting range next door to the wildlife area, big scarey white trail signs that make noise when you touch them, horse devouring giant boulders, unexpected folks stepping out of outhouses at the exact inopportune moments, and alas - a little white pony that kept circling us that Ox wasn't sure was friend or foe.....
Overall, it was a great experience for him. I was fiercely proud of my young horse for taking things in stride today. =:)