There is a neat piece of land that was created by Detroit Metro Airport for taking up other lands to build the airport. It is called Crosswinds Marsh. They turned this chunk of land into a wetland and wildlife preserve, built trails, and opened it to the public for free. I have taken my dogs there many many times and I have canoed the waters.
|Arial view of the marsh. It has boardwalks (not for horses) and trails.|
Today, I took Shyloh to the marsh. Jaime and Kyle picked us up and along with Notch and Clutch we traversed the equestrian trail.
|Map of the marsh with the various trails|
There was a local riding club there, so lots of people where out. Lots of people and their crazy horses and less than ideal handling. Jaime summed it up best when she said that she was glad that we hang with a group of people that really focuses on safety. They had horses going beserk in trailers, horses backing into each other tied to trailers, and people that seemed less than capable of handling these horses. Then there was the guy cooking hot dogs, who caught the grill on fire and threw it where there were horses all around!
|But we did see baby geese!|
I must admit, I was a little uptight. . .I did not trust these people. But we unloaded and tacked up. As usual, Notch and Clutch were the highlight of the trip. Everyone loves a giant horse! Really, how could you not love those two big guys? Jaime was driving Notch in the forecart and Kyle was riding Clutch.
Shy was a little nervous, most likely feeding off of me a bit. She wanted to walk, so I let her walk around me in circles and she was perfectly content just as long as she was moving. As soon as the forecart was assembled, off we went.
The first obstacle we faced was a wooden bridge. Shy wanted no part of this bridge. Jaime and Notch went over the bridge. Kyle and Clutch went over the bridge. Other horses went over the bridge. Shy would not go. We kept circling. . .I was determined to get her over this bridge by line driving her. Eventually, with a few taps of the whip we got over it. Then we went on our merry way. The more we trudged along on our 4.5 mile trek, the more comfortable Shy got. I discovered she likes to lead. We were in the lead pretty much the whole way.
|And, Shy did not dive for grass once!|
Jaime worked on bringing Notch and the cart up past her, since Shy seemed to be a little scared of that. After about three times, it was not a problem. I did feel a little bad because Shy was very forward and wanted to trot, but I could only run after her for so long. I did get her to a super slow jog where I could walk behind her as she was jogging, but she wouldn't keep that up for too long because she wanted to go! She really seemed to be enjoying herself. She had a low head and her ears would flick from forward to back on me. Shy listened incredibly well, too. I was very proud of her. And of course, Notch and Clutch were perfect gentlemen on the trails!
|Good giant ponies|
After a while, we came to a part of the trail where we had an option: walk through a giant puddle of unknown depth or cross a bridge. Jaime and Kyle were feeling brave:
But that puddle would have swallowed me and Shy! So, we tried the bridge. Shy put up a little fight (side note: there were other people around), but eventually went over it. Then I took her in the water as far as I dared.
|I think she would have gone all the way in. She was splashing around here.|
Jaime went back through and lost her boots! So I had to bring Shy back over the bridge, get a stick, and fish the boots out. I was prepared for a bridge argument, but crazy Shy walked right over it, no problem, on loose lines. Note: There were no other people around this time. Coincidence? Most likely not. One of Shy's major goals in life is to make me look like a fool.
|Found myself a boot catching tool|
At the final stretch, Jaime and Kyle raced their boys and me and Shy walked behind. I was aching. Jaime kept telling me to hop in the cart and we would pony Shy, but I wanted to make the walk. Shy was being very good while we were line driving. She even worked up a small sweat!
When we finally got back to the trailer, all I wanted to do was keel over. We untacked and loaded everything and everyone up and went home. It was a great first outing of the year. It was me and Shy's first real trail adventure. I think she did fabulous and I know what I will expect from her in the future. A little bit of a nervous start, a very forward pony, but listens well, and willing to lead or follow. I think I can deal with that! I think!