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Begonia on the Trail

Posted by greygelding , 02 October 2017 · 782 views

The next weekend I decided to take Begonia on the trail. Pam was working so it would just be Begonia and I heading out to Point Reyes. I hooked up the trailer, loaded the riding gear, and led her down to the trailer. She apparently was happy with her new accommodations and had no desire to get into another trailer for another long trip anywhere. Despite my best efforts she refused and gave me a look like "I belong to Pam and I'm certainly not going anywhere with you. Rather than have a long battle by myself I returned her to her stall and brought Tess down to the trailer. Delighted at the prospect of another trail ride, she loaded herself eagerly and was ready for today's adventure. We had a great, and more importantly, uneventful ride and returned home.
The next day Pam decided to take Begonia on her inaugural trail ride. With no clue as to how the "Be" would handle herself outside of the arena they set out with Mayo and I along for support. Down the hill and past the arena with other horses being worked we went with no troubles but the real tests lie ahead. As we rode along the dirt road leading to the stable a couple of cars passed showing us that she was car savvy. The first real test was next. The trail turned to the right, passed a few houses that were on the left, then it went uphill into trees. The last house had a dog. Not just a dog, but a BIG dog, with a bigger voice, and an even bigger sense of humor. The trail was about 30 feet from the very sturdy backyard fence that retained him. He delighted in laying low until a hiker or equestrian was at the proper spot, then he would race up to the fence. As he got close he would suddenly unleash that very loud voice which would startle the first time passerby and was still unsettling even after passing by many times. He would then retreat back to the center of the yard to await fresh victims. Mayo would still flinch but the first time brought a full fledged shy, one of the few he ever gave me. Begonia had no clue as to what was coming and there was no way we could explain it to her. When we were at the approximate spot the dog launched into his routine. Begonia took one look at him, stopped, inflated herself, and took an aggressive stance as if daring the dog to bring it on. The dog was visibly disappointed in this response while "Be" stood tall and proud, ears perked, eyes bright, and her nostrils flared blowing a challenge. This would turn out to be her reaction to whatever surprised her. Pam, delighted that she didn't have to try to control a wild horse, threw her arms around Begonia's neck in a big hug. Begonia seemed to be quite pleased with Pam's reaction and carried herself proudly for the rest of the ride.
The following weekend I tried again to take Begonia to the park for a solo ride. This time she walked right into the trailer apparently assured that she had found a home. We arrived at the park and we went for the ride. I was surprised at how rough her gaits were but the this ride will always be remembered by me for something else. Begonia's neigh didn't sound much like a horse but more like a raspy, loud, strange sort of bray. Shortly after we started the ride she decided that she needed to call out to her new friends to come and keep her company. Unfortunately they were about 15 miles away. About half way along in our ride we came across a couple of hikers. About that time Begonia took another deep breath and let out another call.
"Is that what is making that strange noise? A horse?"
"I'm afraid so."
"We wondered what that could be. We never would have thought a horse could make a noise like that."
We continued on our way and I decided that Mayo and Tess were a lot smoother, not too mention quieter as well, so this would be my last solo ride on her. Returning to the ranch I have no doubt that every one within a square mile knew of our arrival.
A few weeks later found us at our favorite riding place, Point Reyes, riding the Rift trail. We reached our usual turn around point and Pam still had a big grin on her face and it almost looked like Begonia was smiling as well. About 5 minutes into our return ride a deer exploded out to the brush right next to us. Mayo took a few startled steps but once again, Begonia took that hard aggressive stance that Pam came to enjoy. I was thrilled as I only had to take care of me with the full knowledge that the "Be" would take great care of Pam. I now had an eager trail companion and Mayo and the "Be" could be found leaving hoof prints on most of the trails in the area.
Varian Arabians put on two events at their ranch each year and we decided decided to attend one. We went to the Spring Fling in 2009 and it was a lot of fun. The horses were beautiful and the ranch was gorgeous. Lunch was provided each day as well as food before the event started each morning. Sheila welcomed us like old friends and asked about "little Begonia". We showed her a video of Begonia set to the music "My Girl" which she seemed to enjoy. I took lots of pictures on Saturday and posted them on the Internet that night. Apparently everybody at the ranch watched them as they all let me know on Sunday. One unexpected event happened because of my posted video. Never having been here before we were unsure as to exactly what to expect. We had been told that the mare walk was an event for the Summer Jubilee but we were unsure and didn't want to miss it. When we saw a visiting trainer who was a good friend of Sheila's, a Varian employee, and a small crowd of people heading into a pasture where mares and foals were located. We, along with some other bystanders thought this must be part of the event so we all went out into the pasture. We petted the mares and foals and everybody had a great time. The next morning we saw some hastily made signs that the pastures were off limits and to keep out. Sheila had seen my video and apparently was a little upset that people were invading her pastures.
We did attend a couple of Summer Jubilees and went on the official mare walks. The horses all spread out as if on command and seemed to soak up all the attention. In 2010 we went again and at the conclusion of the event, we were gone for 4 days, we went home to find something disturbing.

July 2020

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