Luckily Max seemed to take it all in stride and only had a small spook when the door we rode past gave a LOUD rattle. I jumped first, so that's probably what made him jump!
After working hard indoors, I took him out into the windy outdoors for some confidence training. First we tried walking to the road. It is quite a scary exit/entrance as it crosses a big bubbling brook, which Max has some nervousness over. Of course he refused to walk past and over, but I managed to keep his nose pointing at it and in the end he willingly took two steps forward before stopping. This was a HUGE accomplishment. Usually he'd rear and spin around at this point. So we ended there on a really good note! On our walk back I made sure we used the 'scary' route - by the cross country course. There was only one refusal but he willingly walked forward and we circled and went back to the barn.
I brought my little pup Milo along that day. He was waiting so patiently in the car so after I put Max away we went for a nice long stroll, and a mini doggy gallop through the field. Such a fun place for all creatures!!
We met up at 11 a.m., and another boarder decided to join us. I wish we had taken a picture together because all three of us rode paints!! How cute is that!!
She brought me up the big hill and it opened up to an amazing space with the most breath taking views. This was the very edge of the property and we had a nice ride around the hills before heading down towards the road. When we got there there was a very steep drop leading right into a rocky stream. I'm not sure who balked first..myself or Max (probably me..the big chicken)...but I made the executive decision not to approach that stream by way of a steep downhill path.
My two companions were very gracious so we turned around and took another route, which brought us behind the 'scary' dressage arena, through a backdoor route into the cross country field!! Max plodded in like it was no big deal and seemed relaxed as can be.
Then the nice lady in front brought her horse across the cross country water obstacle so Max could see it was no big deal...and guess what? After sniffing and pawing at the water, he plopped right in and walked across like it was nothing ...!!!!
Speechless, we continued on into the most amazing part of the trail. Something I've never seen before that seems pretty common in this area are big tall reeds, about eight to ten feet tall. They clump together in huge groups and look like giant silky hairs growing out of the ground. We went through this ethereal forest , even through some muddy ground. Wow.
Then we circled back, crossed the bridge that Max refused to cross yesterday without a blink, then approached the stream and downhill except now it was a stream and uphill. He didn't do anything silly across the stream and walked up the steep hill like a champ.
We retraced our earlier steps back up on to the hill and did some trotting and cantering up there before heading back to the farm.
It was an incredible time. I'm hoping to set up another ride soon - seems like it would be fairly easy to do as everyone there rides outside more than inside! That's for winter time!