For some time we have been thinking of going to Brzózki for a longer trail ride. It's about 22km from our stables. This year we finally decided to go (Asia & Wisełka, Iza & Rossini, me & J).
We set out just after 12PM armed with food, water, horse treats and maps. It was warm and the sun was shining. The night before I sat down and studied the road through the woods on Google Maps. I've been to Brzózki before, when I was in pony club, but this was ages ago. This time I had to choose the road on my own as Asia and Iza didn't know the way. I learned our route almost by heart so the next day we had no problems in getting from point A to B.
The way to Brzózki took us 5 hours. There was a lot of walk, some trot and canter. We also stopped a lot for grazing. Juliano spent most of the time we walked with his nose in fresh, green grass - he mastered eating and walking. There were parts of the trail when we had to go through villages or on tarmac roads. I got of and walked with J, it was cool, walking besides a horse, not holding him, just with rope from natural hackamore under my belt.
All three horses behaved beautifully. They immediately assigned roles between themselves. Juliano was leading, but when he was unsure to go over a bridge for example Wisełka would take over the lead for some time. Rossini was in the back all the time and Juliano made sure that he wouldn't get to close to Wisełka, he is very jealous of her. It was a calm ride. The forests in that area are more wild, there are no people around just deer and roes.
I was worried Juliano would go extreme right-brain at a different stable, especially this one as they also keep cows, pigs, goats and sheep. We arrived to Brzózki and turned our horses out to a small paddock. They all rolled in sand and drank water we brought them. To my surprise Juliano remained left-brain. He was curiously looking around. He pranced in collected trot around Wisełka for a bit to show the horses in the next paddock who is boss. We were amazed to see our horses approach the opposite fence of the paddock. In the paddock on the left hand side cows were kept. Juliano has seen cows before, about 4 years ago and he was scared to death than. After an hour we took our horses to the stables. Juliano and Wisełka got boxes side-by-side in an English stable so they could see the area all the time. They got their evening feed out in the paddock so now we gave them plenty of hay and water. They were happy in their boxes, eating hay so we went to unpack. I was also worried Juliano wouldn't lie down in this new, strange environment but when I went to check on him at 10PM he was fast asleep on his belly.
Next day it was raining cats and dogs all morning, we were thinking of calling for a trailer to get home. Just our luck, it stopped reining just after 12. There was an exam going on at the stables that day, sort of like British BHS Stage 1 & 2. A lot of people had horses from Brzózki to pass their badge on. I was sitting outside the box with Joanna when a lady came with tack and went into J's box. She must have confused him with a different horse. We didn't say anything until she started brushing J. We were just waiting to see what will happen. It was quite funny to see expression on Juliano's face when she got in "Wait a minute, you are not my rider!".
We left Brzózki at 1PM. It took us 4 hours to get home. Horses were happy and relaxed and though it was a second day of intensive riding for them they were still full of energy. Back home Juliano went galloping and bucking down the field.
It was a great experience, the scenery, silence, wilderness and spending time with our horses. Trips like this create an even stronger bond between humans and horses. After all we are going into unknown together and depend on each other. I was pleased to see Juliano brave, calm and interested in new surroundings. What more can you ask for :)