This seems like a silly milestone for someone who's been riding for 16 years, but today I managed my first completely solo trail ride. I've ridden alone on the farm dozens of times, been on more trails that I can recall and even ridden alone off our property, but I've never hitched up, drove out, rode, and come back without someone else along for at least one part of the journey. The Beast has finally fulfilled its purpose; I'm no longer dependent on anyone to go out for a ride. Damn does that make me happy!
Now, I just have to work on timing. The first beautiful day at the end of October at a Metropark is a bad time to try and log miles. They have a tendency to put on Halloween-themed carnivals with all sorts of horse-eating monsters. This lead to several impromptu desensitizing lessons, yay for learning experiences! Even with all the spooky things, it was a really good ride. Freedom's gaiting was dead on today, there was no jarring trot and he had good, ground-covering strides with a wonderful head bob; I think he really enjoyed himself, I know I did. Thank you, Weather Gods, for at least one nice day this Fall; I will sacrifice a pumpkin in your honor!