It doesn't matter that we've ridden by AND through this part of the forest many times before. It doesn't matter that it was a perfectly normal day. It was even a.o.k to be hand-walked by.... But as soon as I hopped on, it was a flat out No. There were definitely monsters in the woods and Max felt this strong need to shy and run away from them, taking me with him.
I guess I should be grateful he's got my back..in a sense....
Anyway, this little episode extended our ride by at least half an hour. We did a lot of circles, serpentines, leg-yields, transitions..each time bringing him closer to the scare zone. I don't really know exactly how long it took and what clicked in his brain but at some point he started to chill out a bit so I decided to try trot over the jumps and poles I had set up for him.
After doing a couple of rounds of that, he was looky towards the woods, but no longer trying to sprint away. Whew. We ended our ride with some nice canters over the jumps in both directions and gallops down the long side (Yes! Even along the scary side!) Woohoo!!
It's all good. We're all good. The monsters are gone now.
By the end of the ride I realized I was on him for a good hour and forty five minutes! 0.0 Poor fella! So I quickly hopped off and gave him a nice cool-down bath.
I discovered that Max enjoys drinking water out of the spray nozzle. It is SO funny to watch and I greatly regret not having my camera on me. I'm going to have to glue it to my arm!
Tomorrow is a big day for Max and myself. We are meeting up with a fellow boarder and her lovely mare for a stroll through the woods. If Max and her mare get along then she might take us out venturing away from the barn! How fun would that be!!
However, after today's episode I'm a little nervous about it. I hope it all goes smoothly tomorrow!! Updates to come!