Over the holidays, Elphie joined the workforce. Herman, one of the guards at the Mountain Pine Ridge Forest Reserve Gate, sent a family, Irena and Tim and their daughter Sasha to us to go on a horseback ride. They stopped by one morning in between Christmas and New Year’s, and we made arrangements for a ride to Big Rock for the next day. I was very excited that Sasha was the right size for Elphie, and since she goes to horse camp for a week every summer, she knew how to ride – perfect for Elphie’s first time out as a “tourist horse!”
The next morning was gray and foggy, but after a short delay we set out on the trail with Selwyn on Esmerelda, Tim on Tony, Irena on Ness, Sasha on Elphie, and me on Glinda. I was happy to act as the tail guide to keep an eye on how Elphie was doing on her first official trail ride – and was very happy to find that I wasn’t really needed since everybody was fine. We had a good ride, and arrived at Big Rock after about three hours of very nice riding through the broadleaf jungle and the pine savannah of the Mountain Pine Ridge. On the way, we ran into riding groups from both Blue Mountain Rider and Mountain Equestrian Trails, and Joe from Blue Mountain Rider and Rego from MET were both amazed to see our little one-eyed pony packing a tourist. Joe had warned us that he didn’t think a one-eyed pony, especially a just-three-year-old filly, would ever make a good trail horse, but Tom and I had both been telling him how good she is. Joe was delighted to see that she was a good as we said she was. Tom met us at Big Rock with Tim and Irena’s rental car and lunch, and we had a good lunch on the rocks by the falls. Then, Tim, Irena, and Sasha stayed at the falls to swim and enjoy the scenery, and Tom, Selwyn, and I rode home, ponying the extra horses - but not until after Sasha climbed up in the saddle one last time to give Elphie an extra big hug!