Saturday I just got Izzy out and lunged her. She was actually really quiet (and didn't even spook!), but I was grooming and tacking up in the crossties, which she's never had before, and it was stressing her enough that I didn't want to take the time to put the saddle on. She's doing really well figuring them out--it's just that sometimes she turns her head to see what I'm doing, and then she shifts around, and then she can't figure out how to get back to where she started.
Still, she was lovely. We lunged in the indoor and the large sand outdoor and aside from being annoyed by the gnats (which are really bad right now), she was totally fine. Afterwards, we walked back behind her barn and looked at the scary bridge over the irrigation canal. I didn't make her go on it, but I thought she should at least see it.
Ok, so Sunday. I showed up and turned Izzy out in one of the pretty pastures. She was antsy because I was out of sight and she felt alone. Fortunately, another boarder showed up and turned out her horse and a friend's nearby so Izzy could see them. Peace was restored. We talked for a while and then caught our horses and went across the street to the big outdoor. Izzy was fabulous!! She's really starting to get the dressage work we've been doing and it feels amazing.
The boarder commented that Izzy looked really relaxed. Before I could agree with her, she said that she was riding down the road to the ditchbank and we should come, too. Yikes! Izzy has never been on a road or a ditchbank, but we had to start sometime and the other boarder's horse was a SUPER quiet draft cross.
We did it. We walked down the road and Izzy was really good, aside from wanting to stop and see the horses in the pasture next to us. Fortunately, no cars came by on her first trip out. Then we turned and went down the ditchbank. This is no ordinary ditchbank; it's the New York Canal. It's bigger, deeper, and faster than most rivers in this part of the country. People drown in it. Needless to say, it made me a little nervous. Izzy just stuck her nose in the draft x's tail (her name was Joy) and we were fine. The other boarder is used to going with spookier horses, so she warned me about scary parts and even yelled at some ducks to get them to take off before poor Izzy walked by.
Next, we went down the bank and into the hayfield the barn owns. We walked around the cool irrigation overflow pond and saw a blue heron, among other things. Izzy was worried, but she behaved nicely. We did dismount before coming back to the barn because the scary bridge had been oiled recently and it was somewhat slippery. Still, Izzy marched right across it (with me leading her) because Joy crossed it and she didn't want to be left behind. All told, I was in the saddle for just over an hour and my super brae and amazing pony did not spook at a single thing despite it being our first ride in a totally new place.
You see what turnout does to her? I love every minute.