Fed the boys early, ate supper myself, tended to the kids inside, and headed outside. Grabbed Romeo, western saddle, english french link bit. I had mosquito repellant on both of us, but hid under a long sleeve shirt & thick blue jeans. It was hot out, but not so hot I was willing to be a living sacrifice for the blood suckers.
Warmed him up only on the end of the lead line for about two minutes, just to see how he was feeling. Seemed calm enough, so I hopped on. We walked away from the house to the left on the side of the dirt road, for our standard "three driveways" distance. I didn't see anything interesting, neither did he. One neighbor was outside, but otherwise, we didn't have any traffic. Bugs were b-a-a-a-a-a-d. Headed back towards the house, and I had a thought.
I hadn't checked the mail yet. I had one lesson where I worked on getting closer to the mailbox without Romeo spooking or shying. I hadn't seen the one neighbor's horses in the roadside pasture, so I figured, "Why not?! I can always hop off & lead him if I need to."
Headed away from home, headed towards the mailboxes. Did as much of the trip towards the boxes as I could in the grass. As it turned out, the mosquitoes, while damaging and monster-chewing size, were a needed distraction. I was so busy swatting & squashing them on my pantlegs, I wasn't fiddling with Romeo's face, and stayed mostly on a loose rein. He looked hard at the neighbor dude's goats, but they weren't right at the fenceline, either. He also searched intently for the little Arab cross mare that used to live on the other side of the street up a few houses, but she's been sold, so no little mare to say hi to.
We approached the end of the dirt road, headed out on the pavement. I have this weird fear of steel shoes & pavement - I'm always afraid of a slip & fall... so I dismounted, and led Romeo over near the mailboxes. Grabbed the mail, looked through it, folded it up & shoved it in my back pocket. Looked back at Romeo, shaking at the skeeters and licking & chewing. He was quite pleased with himself, and I was, too. So I led him back to the dirt, and hopped back on.
We saw the neighbor that has all the horses, goats, and ponies standing at the end of their driveway, on the paved road, watching us with great intent. "What's she looking at?", I wondered. I quickly dismissed her curiosity, and realized in my mind, "She usually has a pasture full of skinny horses. Probably don't know what a fat one looks like."
Approached the freshly mowed grass roadside where the mare used to live, and I decided to pick up a trot. We trotted the about 0.1mile that is the front of their yard. Romeo was happy to trot along, even collected up a few strides. Cute!!!
We giggled and swatted mosquitoes the rest of the trip home. I measured it this morning. From my house, to the mailboxes, is about 0.5mile. So round trip, about a mile. Not a long trip, but plenty of opportunity for surprises in the form of deer, bunnies, other livestock, and a blind turn that could've greeted us with a 4-wheeler or auto traffic. Had a fun time.
Total ride, about 30 minutes. He wasn't even sweaty when I untacked, except for a spot or two where the saddle pad rested. Happy little monster... sent him back to pasture with a hug, a few cookies, and a flake of hay.