The next "to-do" on the list of things for Mia is exposure her to as much as possible. With show season now in full swing, that is admittedly harder than I had hoped it would be however doing new stuff is still on my list. With her antics at the clinic, a big priority was hauling somewhere and exposing her to other horses without having the brain lag we had last time. This Memorial Day weekend was set up to be extremely relaxing, we didn't have any real plans for chores for once and we were going to have a true "stay-cation" instead of a "work-cation"
On Friday I got a random text from a friend, shw was going to be hauling over to a park to trail ride on Saturday and asked if I wanted to go. I checked my schedule, double checked it and even checked with SO, for once I had the time and ability to go on a spur of the moment haul-out ride!!! Saturday SO and I ran errands that were desperately needed and still made it home in time to head out. Mia was brushed and wrapped and we went to the trailer, would she be a good girl and hop on? Why yes, yes she would be! Thankfully that first/only trailer loading session we had seems to have stuck and she isn't even fighting trailer loading, she says Yes Madam and is hopping right up. Such a good horse, I hate bad loaders.
We got to the park a short 30 mins later and unloaded, she was already much calmer than she was at the clinic. She did scream for other horses several times but not nonstop, that was a huge improvement. I got her tacked up and hopped on and walked to the outdoor arena to see what kind of horse I had, did her brain ship with her or do I have to wait for it to catch up with us? She was very hesitant to go through some mud in front of the arena but after a couple good boots with a spur she went over it. Once in the arena I walked her all around and even walked her through a large puddle (much to her annoyance). By that time my friend had joined us so I tried trotting, Mia was quiet, calm and relaxed. So! Much! Awesome! After trotting for a few minutes I said I was ready and so the green bean mare and I walked to the trailhead.
As we walked up to it, we were in the lead and Mia said No Thank You and balked. And then sidepassed. And then backed up. There was no way she wanted to go from the field/parking area into a big scary trail! My friend tried to get her TB to go down the trail but she knew he wouldn't behave well and he didn't, he backed up and threw a much bigger tantrum, backing into us several times. *Sigh* Why so difficult? I grabbed my crop that I had hoped to not use and was able to convince Mia that it was in fact better to do as I ask, several swift hard smacks got her to move forward and eventually we inched onto the trail. Ugh, baby horses.
We moved down the trail a short distance before we came to our first obstacle, more MUD. Mia really, really didn't want to get her toes dirty but some firm persuasion got her through it. Wash, rinse, repeat about 8 more times before she finally decided that mud wasn't going to kill her and it was much easier to just walk through it than fight me. Yay for learning progress!
Our ride was 2 hours long and had us going up hills, down hills, through very narrow trails and through wide open fields. Mia was remarkably calm, other than at mud or water she showed absolutely no worry or concern. She didn't care when other horses passed us from the front or the rear, she didn't care when we walked away from my friend or when my friend walked away from us. She crossed water, mud, small trees and branches without more than a strong look! Once we got back she got a bunch of treats and she may have stopped at the trailer door but a swift smack with the lead rope sent her hopping right into the trailer for the ride home. All things considered, a green horse, little to no actual trail experience, new horses, new landscape, new expectations, leading, following she did wonderfully! Mia's big day was a resounding success, now I just have to find time to do it again.