Something magical happened. The latest thing I’ve been working on with Heidi is riding out alone. I’ve got her going well in the arena and the pasture, but riding off the property alone was too much for her. Sometimes she would go down the driveway to the road, but then have a meltdown and want to go home. Other times we wouldn’t even make it down the driveway. I started walking her down the road to the lake, then getting on and riding her home. That’s been working really well.
The thing is, I need Heidi to ride out alone or I’m never going to be able to do the conditioning we need to get ready for a ride. I don’t have a riding buddy in the weekdays, and weekends for 5 miles aren’t going to cut it. This issue is something I need to get fixed.
Today was the first time I tried riding her out alone in a while, and she did great! She went right down the driveway, walked down the road like it was no big deal, and made it almost to the lake before she stopped. She didn’t try to turn around, just stopped. It’s very tempting in those moments to try and press for just a little bit more from the horse, to ask her to keep going, but I’m learning it’s much better to quit while you’re ahead. Rather than trigger a meltdown, I asked her to turn around so it was my idea, and we walked home totally happy and under control. It was the best she’s ever done, and a big step up in her confidence and trust in me. I’m a happy horse owner today.