Falling In Love All Over Again

Don't let the ears fool you, he was having the time of his life! 
If there's one thing Dino is the absolute Best at, it's trail riding.

Any time, any place, any terrain, he's game. This pony LOVES exploring new territory, and hitting the trail alone or with friends is just so, so good for him mentally and physically.

That being said, I was super excited to get out to the state park on Friday morning for our woefully-belated first big trail ride of the summer!

The whole crew went out, and we had an absolute BLAST together riding our 2-hour loop around the park. Our new boarder was a star on his first big trail outing with the gang, and bravely conquered a bunch of new things he'd never experienced before.

Dino, in true SuperPony fashion, reminded me once again why he is The Greatest Pony in the Known Universe.

This guy. He's just incredible.

There is a covered bridge in this park that needs to be crossed to get over the river and into the main trail system. Most horses find it somewhat horrifying, as the path goes up a steep incline into the big, dark, gaping bridge with an echoing wooden floor, and shafts of light coming through the sides of the bridge make terrifying patterns once inside. It's not a crossing for the faint of heart.

So when Sully and our other buddy started balking at the sight of the covered bridge, Sully's Mom confidently exclaimed, "It's OK, EuroPony will lead us through!"

And that he did.

Dino is just so, so confident out on the trail. He marched up and through the bridge without a care in the world, being a rock-steady leader for the other two horses.

Have I mentioned that I LOVE THIS PONY?!

When we walked through the woods and on paved pathways, Dino sauntered confidently along on the buckle. When we trotted, he blasted down the trail - hairpin turns, hills, and fallen branches be damned. When we cantered, I got a lot of great practice in half-halting, since Dino wanted to be at the head of the pack. He hopped calmly down a stone-ledged bank that freaked me out, bravely walked past a crew of nail-gun-weilding roofers, crossed several streams, and didn't flick an ear when passed by hordes of bicyclists.

We even jumped a few logs! There was a very clear way to go around the first one, but I asked Dino to jump, and he locked on and flew over. The second log surprised him a bit and while he did peek at it, he popped right over when I asked. By the time we got to the third log, Dino locked on and jumped like a total pro. I was ecstatic that our cross-country buttons seem to be getting back in working order again!

To top off his performance, Dino and I led The Gallop.

Towards the end of the loop we usually ride, there is a huge wheat field. Along one side of it, there is a beautiful, smooth, mowed grass pathway that slopes gently up, and is absolutely ideal for a long, fast, no-holds-barred gallop.

Usually we follow, with Dino's short legs and easygoing nature putting us somewhere in the back of the group, but today it was our time to take the lead.

And boy, did we.

My WonderPony was off like a shot the second I asked him to go, and we flew.

I floated the reins, got off his back, and he gave me more. And more. And more after that.

We were galloping flat-out in a beautiful rhythm, whipping up our own breeze, hooves barely brushing the ground, and I couldn't stop myself from laughing with joy! Our barn friends were somewhere far, far behind us; we were untouchable.

And I fell in love with Caradino, The Greatest Pony Ever all over again.


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