After lunch, after packing, after settling Ransom back in his stall, R and I asked barn-master D if we could enjoy the same trail ride a few other cast members had played on.
Her BF, M, pulled two horses out of stalls in the main barn. He asked us, "Who is the less experienced rider?" R volunteered. M said, "This is your horse. This is LittleMan. He's super gentle. When I broke him, he never bucked - he just laid down. He's a wuss!" My horse was named Gypsy.
We took them up to the ownerbarn, and got a nice Western ranch saddle on LittleMan. I talked to M a bit about saddling Gypsy, then ran to my trailer to pull out my dressage saddle and helmet. Whee! I watched intently as the two horses were being prepared, waiting on M to pick a horse of his own and join us as a guide. But it didn't happen that way.
M got us saddled & aboard, and after a little maneuvering, R and I were both ready to go. M said, "Head that way (pointing) behind the barn, stay to the right of the pond, and then all trails lead back to the arena & the front pasture. Have fun!"
Then I realized - it's just us! The barn staff isn't guiding, isn't babysitting, they're trusting us. Someone saw enough of my riding to not only trust me in a dressage saddle on their horse, but trusts me enough to go out alone with an inexperienced rider on their trails! Talk about a self-esteem booster. Whew! Whee!
We sloshed through the mud, we found cross-country jumps (Breathe D, we didn't hop over anything... I think Gypsy wondered why I stood on that hill looking at them so intently though), we went off the trail here & there to avoid some mud, but when we approached the creek, I found us another way. It was beyond fun. Super relaxing! At one point, I turned around to check on LittleMan & R, and found his rope reins over the saddle horn, and R looked so incredibly relaxed. Just awesome...