Since Lousiana had the week off, I invited her to join me for a real trail ride the next day, day 3 for Sydney. We trailered over to the Kern River, a three mile drive, and parked at the entrance to the Panorama Preserve (a section of the river set aside for trail riding and hiking).
Both horses were a bit fussy while we saddled, but we were right on the edge of the oil field and there is a fair amount of traffic. Once we entered the preserve, both horses settled down really quickly. Sydney was so brave that I spent the next two hours riding him almost entirely on the buckle!
We did a fair amount of single track trail that wound through the trees. We also crossed one of the bicycle bridges that can be pretty scary for most horses. Sydney strode across it confidently. We also plodded through deep sand, climbed small whoop-de-doos, and even rode alongside the river. Sydney was brilliant until we arrived at Rancho Rio (one of Bakersfield's largest boarding facilities with close to 200 horses).
As soon as he saw the stalls, he got rather anxious. The facility is huge, so we walked to the far end where the big arenas are situated. Louisiana held both horses while I hopped off to use the restroom. I really wanted Sydney to stand near the arenas since I hope to show him there in the spring.
By the time I got back on him, he was relaxed and walked happily back through the property and out onto the trail. We had hoped to cross the river and ride back on a completely different trail, but the city had just let water into the dry river bed from the canal, so the water was frothy and rushing. Neither horse wanted anything to do with it. I can't say that I blamed them.
We crossed another one of the bicycle bridges, this time with Sydney leading. The trail after the bridge is as wide as a vehicle, but it has a steep bluff to the right and drops off sharply to the canal on the left. It can be a bit scary because when a horse spooks, there's nowhere safe to go but forward.
Sydney did spook pretty hard at some birds rustling in the trees, and he looked to the left, but my smart boy realized that forward was his best bet. He stopped immediately and waited for me to tell him what to do. For the rest of the ride, he was quite the happy camper.
Either way, Sydney and Speedy had a great couple of days!