I took some extra time loading her in the trailer to make sure that it was a positive experience for her, though she wasn't concerned at all. Once we got to Red Mountain trailhead just north of my place with Carol and Shambhu I tacked her up at the trailer just like at home.
Once mounted, Carol and I headed out to start our ride. Ferriana was a little confused since she was wearing a lot more gear than we've been using at home, including saddle bags, extra lead rope, and a halter under her bridle. She started out following Shambhu, Carol's horse, since he's a seasoned veteran on the trails and was exuding confidence.
Eventually we got to the little stream at the bottom of Ruby Wash, and Shambhu walked right through like usual. Ferriana wasn't so sure. I took my time, because this type of thing could very easily escalate to a big fight with Her Majesty. I was persistent, however, and eventually she gave up trying to turn around and go back to the trailer and just walked over the rocks and water with no drama.
Shortly after the stream we encountered a very large herd of free range cattle. There are often cows all over this trail area, but this was Ferriana's first time seeing them. She thought they were awfully strange looking and smelled funny, and when one of the babies suddenly got up from its nap she decided that this was not a safe situation. She spun around and hopped down a ledge to get away from the cows, and did this a few times. Shambhu has been around cattle quite a bit so he didn't care, and I hollered at Carol that I was going to trot Ferriana down the trail so she didn't have too much time to worry about them. She certainly hustled by at a brisk trot and then canter, but once past the cows she settled down just fine. It even boosted her confidence to have made it past the monsters, and she decided she could lead the ride for a while. She paused and shot Shambhu a look that said, "I wasn't scared, were you scared? Because I wasn't scared."
We rode through the wash, and got some fun photos of the incredibly red rocks as well as a brief video.
Once through the wash portion of the ride we headed up a hill to the watering tank. Ferriana wasn't sure that it was wise to get too close to the odd looking water, so she just stayed back a little ways and observed Shambhu partaking of a beverage.
The water was about the halfway point, and it was about here that Ferriana quit stopping and asking me if we could turn around now. She realized we were headed back to the trailer, and she put on a good march.
Here is a short video of Ferriana leading the way.
Overall it was a great trip. She ended the ride more confident than when she began, she loaded up in the trailer to go home with minimal discussion. It was really good for Ferriana to get off the property and go do something completely different that made her really think. There's so much to look at and process on a big ride like this, I figured she'd enjoy it and she sure did! Shambhu was a good sport about the whole thing, despite the green horse moments he tolerated amazingly well from Ferriana. I'm sure grateful to have Carol and Shambhu to help me with these green horses on their first trail rides!