I'm very pleased to say that Zanny and I got our confidence back hacking out and about around the roads today. We have been extending our rides gradually, and today we managed one of our favourite longer rides around what I call the small block. Since being buddied up with Tara she has been more anxious leaving the company of other horses, which has led to one or two minor dramas. She has felt very tense as we headed off down the road, but we had a couple of lovely rides out with friends, and I pushed us further each time.
Today I aimed to conquer the scary hayshed, and once we passed that with only a minor sneaky sideways shuffle and snort, I thought we might keep going and check out the wee creek. Zanny was striding out happily and negotiated a trailer with big rotting haybales. I thought we should check out the scary chicken house, which has chained dogs outside the property. She passed that with barely a flinch. So we then kept going around the rest of the block, past the unfamiliar horses, up the driveway, with tractor and harrows roaring around, and safely home.
Now we have been having masses of head flicking in the arena, and today there was not a moment when I felt she wasn't having a good time. Her ears were pricked, and she was obviously enjoying looking around. I deliberately rode her almost the entire way "on the buckle" which means I held the very end of the reins with no pressure on her mouth at all. I can steer her with either my legs, looking where I want to go, or with very gentle reining. No head flick. No issues with controlling her. She is so much happier out and about than schooling in the arena. Maybe we just need to focus on what she likes to do, because when she is happy, I'm happy too.
A huge happy birthday to my lovely dad for yesterday. We did have a lovely chat yesterday, but you
can never have too many birthday wishes. I wish we could have been there for the fun and surprises. I love how much my dad loves being Poppa to the three grandchildren. I'm a bit sad we haven't produced some more for Poppa to dote on, but I think the grandcat, granddog and grandhorses are pretty special.