Louie and I went for a nice ride down the road today. There is a gravel road that starts about 1/4 mile from the barn that we can ride down, and the shoulders are actually quite nice sandy footing to ride on. Louie, as it turns out, is a great trail horse, he's much more brave and confident riding out by himself than most horses are.
Something I found surprising was that Louie didn't seem to be scared of garbage cans or mail boxes like most horses are, but culverts are another story. He also didn't seem to mind the cars whizzing by him either from in front or behind him, as I had expected he may. Louie hardly spooked at anything, but sure looked that classic wide-eyed Saddlebred part!
We did a little bit of trotting along with lots of walking. We got some really nice active, reaching walks that are great for developing each individual leg's muscles. We also got some nice saddle seat style trots! Louie definitely livens up when he's out of the arena, or out of his comfort zone in general. He was sleeping when I tacked him up, but was wide awake and high-headed when he realized we were going someplace new. I got to work a little bit on my saddle seat equitation with his head up like a saddle seat horse, and it got me thinking I should maybe try showing him as a saddle seat horse at some point, maybe in a WSCA open show. After all, I already have a saddle suit and a beautiful day coat, along with lots of other saddle seat attire.
Perhaps you noticed the two links in the last sentence. A fellow Saddlebred enthusiast has started a new company that I think deserves a second look. She sells gorgeous custom saddle seat apparel made by Victor Layne as well as ready to wear suits at very reasonable prices. They make hunt coats too! Perhaps when Louie and I need an upgrade, we'll have to check out Blue Ribbon Diva!
For now, we're taking it easy on the trails and roads, and Louie is loving the simple life. He and his lady are also finally integrating into the herd, which is a bit of a relief, as he has survived a month in his new home and being a "real horse" with very few marks to show for it!