This ride was amazing. I had a wonderful time! I really felt like Boomer was fit enough to hang. The problems we encountered (dehydration/decreased gut sounds) were not too serious and were huge learning moments for me. I felt like I was finally riding a 'real' horse. Boomer behaved himself and was very fit. It was so cool to have him performing at that level. Our ride time was about 9 hours, which was 45 minutes faster than our first ride!
The camping aspect was a blast. The shelves John made really helped to keep me organized. Everything I needed was in sight and in reach. Perfect! Another huge improvement was that we weren't sleeping in the trailer, so that freed up a bunch of space in the trailer. The truck bed tent and cots were really comfortable.
I wish I could describe how soothing the sounds were in camp. We were about 20 yards away from a running creek and I could hear it all night. That, with the constant sound of Boomer chewing hay were some of the most soothing night time noises I could imagine!
We had a friend from the barn come with us and she was a blast to camp with as well. It was her first 25 with her horse and they did awesome! Her horse JJ is a beautiful palomino gelding with a great personality. He did awesome on the trail and made me jealous because he has the 'habit' of drinking from every stream they crossed!
To be honest, finishing this ride really helped to confirm in my mind that this is all possible. In the back of my mind, I have been harboring the thought that we finished the Thanksgiving ride due to dumb, beginners luck. Like it was some sort of fluke! I feel much more confident now and I can't stop thinking about the next ride, and the next, and the one after that... Honestly, I'm just excited in general. My horse is awesome.
Part of me can't believe that Boomer does this for me. I feel so much closer to him after these rides. By the end of the ride, he has my 100% trust. I really try to convey to him that I am working for him too, trying to keep him fit. I hope he knows I appreciate him. He amazes me and I feel like I have a really special horse. I am lucky to have him.
I am also lucky to have John. For not being a 'horse person', he is so good with Boomer and so accommodating to me. I can be snappy and bossy when I am under stress and he takes it all in stride. I am amazed at how much information and knowledge he has picked up over the last few years. I love that he can pick Boomer's feet while I eat. I love that he thinks to bring Boomer his own water when he is dehydrated. I love that he enjoys feeding Boomer apples. I love that he loves me so much that he totally facilitates these camping trips. I love that this sport is something we can do together.