The vaunted trail ride was today. Izzy was wonderful. We went with Star, a cute paint who wouldn't be fazed if a train came out of no where and was headed straight for him. He'd just calmly step out of the way. Also along was Iree, a darling little Haflinger pony who apparently doesn't mind when mares bounce off his rear end. Needless to say, their respective riders accompanied us.
I was pretty happy with how Izzy did. She had never seen the foothills before to my knowledge, but while she was a little looky, she didn't get too worried. She was a bit strong (more on this later), but never bucked or spooked or did anything untoward. Because she's never lived in the mountains, her technique was kind of lacking. She thought it was just of good of an idea to trot down a steep hill as to sit back and walk. Fortunately, I just stuck her nose in Iree's tail, and we'd bounce off him all the way down. If I ever become a full time trail rider, I'm totally getting a bombproof gelding like the two boys we went with.
She was perhaps not surprisingly much more forward than she had been in the past few days. In one flat sandy spot, we all cantered. Izzy was trailing a little bit at that point, so she kicked her speed up a notch and we almost blew through the calm boys. That reassures me as to her ability to one day do cross country. I certainly didn't want to have to force every stride around a course, and today she showed that there is a forward gear. Good.
So... I don't know where that leaves us. She was forward today. I've at least temporarily ruled out ulcers because she doesn't get too upset about anything (feeding time or otherwise) and she hasn't really exhibited behavior change in anything other than not wanting to go forward under saddle. She also lives out 24.7 with a friend, so I think she's ok. She does go forward nicely on a lunge line and, obviously, on trails. There could be a chiropractic type problem that I aggravate by riding her. She could be cranky about the weather, since it's been dramatically colder the past few days. She was good today and she had her blanket on last night. Are the two related? I don't know.
Any other ideas?
I'm thinking she'll get tomorrow off, since the trail was pretty hilly and she's not used to that sort of exercise. Besides, I'm teaching a lesson and letting someone else try my saddle. It will be a full day.