Zip Hits the Trail


Email to Morgan: “I’m going trail riding tonight. Are you jealous?”

Morgan: “YES!”


Yesterday evening, Zip took a trail ride–and so did I!

First, horse trainer Mike Trader worked Zip in front of his barn.

He’s had Zip for a week, doing groundwork exercises, teaching her respect. Last night was the first time she was saddled up at Soggy Bottom. (She’s not really in the cross ties here at this point, just standing behind them.)

He tested her in the ring.

Flexing her if she doesn’t do what she’s told.

Then he took her outside the ring, to the yard around the ring. Next, we all got on horseback (me on their horse Sierra, Mike’s wife Sheila on another of their horses) and Mike on Zip–and took to a pasture.

And she was so well-behaved! So he decided she was ready for the trail, and Zip and I took a lesson together, Zip being trained and tested on the trail, and me learning how to handle a horse on the trail.

I have to work on my trail riding photography because all my pictures look like this:

Me on Sierra, Mike on Zip:

We were out in the hills, up and down steep trails, through the woods, and out on wide-pathed easements for a couple of hours, stopping a few times to eat wild black raspberries. Zip did fantastic all the way, didn’t try to take off ever, didn’t care if she was in front or behind. She’s going to be a good trail horse. I loved trail riding and can’t wait to do this on my farm! If only I could sneak Sierra into the trailer when they bring Zip home…. I’m still not sure about Patriot, and Morgan and I can’t ride together unless we have another horse we can trust. I may send Patriot for training also, but I’m not sure I will ever trust him–at least on the trail–after seeing him buck Morgan.

I’m thinking about whether I deserve a big birthday present next year….because I am hooked!


  1. CATRAY44 says:

    I hope, so much, that Patriot will have the opportunity to work with Mike. And at the risk of repeating myself over and over, “I am so happy for you, Suzanne!”

  2. wkf says:

    Don’t give up on Patriot yet. He just may need his attitude adjusted and his saddle checked for fit. Then let Trainer Mike train Morgan. You may end up with an awesome duo.

  3. wildcat says:

    Patriot may just come around, when he sees Zip having all the fun without him. :yes: Zip looks like she’s doing great!!!

  4. enjay says:

    One round of bucking does not a bad horse make. I do think that Morgan and Patriot both would benefit from lessons from Mike, but I’m sure that they’ll be able to come to terms and have a wonderful working relationship.

  5. SwissMiss says:

    Zip is quite the beauty now. She seems to like interacting with people. She looks very fit and healthy.
    From your pictures of the two horses I have always though that Patriot seems to just tolerate (barely) people interacting with him. He always seems annoyed/irritated that you expect more from him than being a pasture mower. I really thought when you showed the video from the rescue where Morgan was trying him out that his body language said I am not happy doing this riding thing. Hard telling what kind of life he had before the neglectful vet, but you do have a good idea of the life he had after she got him. If he was well trained before that he has probably forgotten most of it and now operates on the bad attitude gets me what I want philosophy. A session with the trainer would hopefully let you know if he could be a riding horse for inexperienced riders or if he needs a really firm, experienced handler. He may just be a pasture mowing kind of pet horse for you. It is also possible that he may not like being ridden but that he could be trained to be safely driven. Then you could do horse drawn wagon rides at the farm.
    When or if you do go to look for another riding horse please take Mike with you. By that time he will know what you and Morgan can handle in a horse and be able to guide you to ones that will work for you. I know that if I ever get the opportunity to own horses again that I’m going to need some help in picking them out. I’m not the young teen/20something that could handle a rodeo ride before the horse settled down to work any more. Plus I’ve got an weakness for the flashy looking horses which isn’t always a good thing.
    Happy trail riding.

  6. outbackfarm says:

    I agree with Jeanne. Mike is such a good trainer. And Zip is beautiful. She will be a great horse. I think with Mike’s help and training that Patriot will be a better horse and ridable too. He just needs to know who’s boss. Be careful and have fun out there! It looks so fun.

  7. Jane L says:

    Most horses are not bad, so I would definitely encourage you to take Patriot to Mike for evaluation. Horses also live for a very long time, and to have one just as a pasture mower is not the best goal for him as he should be worked. Take your time with him, but please don’t write him off yet.

  8. Jane L says:

    I want to add that I am so happy that you went trail riding this w/end! I thought you might blow it off since Ross was home, but I think, when you’ve gotten comfortable, that you will likely love riding a horse more than you ever will a tractor or a redneck truck;)

  9. NancyL says:

    Going by how closely you said Patriot and Zip are bonded, I would think he’d want to be part of whatever activity she is involved in. I’ll bet he’ll take to trail riding, politely, when he sees Zip enjoying it!

    Nancy in Iowa

  10. doubletroublegen says:

    So thrilled for you that Mike is getting you involved in the horses!!! :snoopy: What a wonderful way to see your farm from a new angle. Thumbs up for Mike! :shimmy: I did, however, notice something was missing- safety first, where is your helmet?

  11. Remudamom says:

    Bucking can be fixed most of the time. You’ve got to figure out why he bucked. If he was in pain you can probably fix it. If it’s attitude you can fix it. If it’s pure d mean orneriness you have a problem.

  12. Miss Judy says:

    Uh-oh…daughter and Mom…both of you in love with horses. you’ll be able to talk each other into all kinds of horsey things! :-)Sounds like a lot of fun.

  13. princessvanessa says:

    One thing I noticed in the pictures of the two horses. Whenever Patriot had a rider or was awaiting being saddled up…his ears are back. This is a horses signal that they are NOT pleased with what is happening. Does he also show agravated tail swishing when mounted? Not the kind of tail swishing to drive off flies but the kind that say “get this saddle off of me” or “get this rider off my back!”.
    However, Zip has her ears forward in most all situations. She is alert and interested in what is happening and responding in a calm and mellow manner.
    I predict that Patriot is going to need some rigorous attitude adjustment before he is ready for pleasurable riding.
    Just stuff that I learned in years of 4H.

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